Yoga Compass Pose

The Wheel of Chi


A number of Chinese practitioners divide the dynamics of the organism into passive/active, soft/hard, active/receptive parts that correspond somewhat to a chart of the yin/yang of the organism This chart has different nuances from one school to another, but it is often read in the following way:38

1. The back, the right side, and the head are yang.

2. The front, the feet, and the left side are yin.

At the heart of these great classifications, we find the sophistications of the I Ching. The female sexual organs are yin, but contain important yang modules that are needed when the matrix produces an embryo.

The alchemists take up the respiratory circuit that I already described in the sections dedicated to the pranayama and coordinate it with the wheel of the chi (fig. 2.3) that they also associate with the cycle of the seasons. Everything happens as if chi was some sort of fluid made up of a subtle but powerful substance. This fluid should go up the back during inhalation, having a yang quality, and return yin on the front of the body during exhalation.39 To get everybody to agree, Taoists also speak of an underlying current that moves in the opposite direction. These two directions are well described in the bottle exercise, already practiced by the yogis.

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