The Chinese concept of the “Golden Ball” refers to a kind of human energetic field that is similar to the Western concept of the “aura.” The word “golden” refers to the preciousness, rarity or difficulty in finding the ball. Working with the golden ball during Qigong exercises helps our nervous systems absorb and embrace disturbances such as shock, anxiety and panic. Imagine yourself surrounded by a sphere of golden light that extends slightly beyond the surface of the skin. We can detect this aura from someone else as a product of the energetic “glow” that they have even when they are not touching us.
The lower dan tian, just below the belly button, is sometimes referred to as the “sea of qi” because of its importance as an energy center, but it can be thought of in terms of a golden ball as well. The skilled practitioner should learn how to develop the energy oft his golden ball, and you can do this both internally and externally. The stronger the golden ball, the greater and more robust the overall energy level of your whole being. Individuals with a high energy level have a great deal of robustness and anti-fragility, and can maneuver, with a great deal of facility, throughout the challenges of life.
When you work with the golden ball, you imagine that it is a physical ball that we hold in a relaxed manner and can move as if it were actually there. Some people begin to actually experience its energetic presence between their palms. It may feel like a sense of tingling.
Dr. Jason Gordon has a great Golden Ball Qigong exercise here. This exercise activates all eight movements of qi and will tonify all eight extraordinary vessels. The eight arm movements of this exercise represent the eight movements of qi:
- Gather — Inhale to gather qi.
- Disperse — Exhale to disperse.
- Rise — Exhale to rise.
- Descend — Inhale to descend.
- Expand — Inhale to expand.
- Contract — Exhale to contract.
- Pull in — Inhale to pull in.
- Push out — exhale to push out.
Note that these movements are not conducted in exactly this order, and the reader should consult the video to see exactly when to do what. About halfway through the exercise, we will make it slightly more complicated by moving to the balls of the feet when inhaling, and to the heels of the feet when exhaling.
From an energetic perspective, this actual process involves does the following: Gather pure qi, rise it up the Tai Chi pole, expand it out through the entire body, collect turbid or bad qi from the entire body, pull qi in and down the Tai Chi pole, turbid qi pushes up and out the Tai Chi pole, turbid qi descends in front, turbid qi disperses into the Earth.