As discussed in our article on jing, there are several components in the human body that make up the fundamental precursor of qi. Saliva is one of the most readily available and easily accessible types of jing. Learning how to refine it and store the qi in the lower dantian WILL speed up your progress.
If you read Taoist texts such as the Eight Brocades Seated Qigong (specifically the 3rd brocade), saliva is given such an important role in the development of the immortal fetus that it is called Divine Water. The very act of purifying saliva in the mouth with the following process simultaneously helps practitioners to both control their breath and increase the flow of qi in various meridians throughout the body. When this saliva is swallowed, it stimulates and adds to the yang qi in the ball.
It’s important to remember that qigong and neigong practitioners for millennia have considered the various fluids in the body to be as valuable as gold (jade was roughly as valuable as gold) in the hands of an expert. There’s a good reason why Taoists specifically referred to saliva in their “Refining Jade Secretions” practices.
When combined with celibacy and a tranquil mind, purifying and swallowing salivary jing will help you to restore lost health and will act as an additional source of fuel for the warehouse in your LDT. What’s not to love about that?
I like to do this technique first thing in the morning, before I brush my teeth. In order to avoid any nastiness (especially having leftover food swirling in my mouth), the night before I thoroughly clean my teeth by doing some simple oil pulling, flossing and brushing. In the morning, after stretching, I take one glass of water, swish it around my mouth for a few seconds to get my salivary glands up and running.
Step One: The Red Dragon Stirs Up the Saliva
Sit comfortable in a chair or on the floor. Grasp your hands firmly into a loose fist. Specifically, make sure your ring and middle fingers are touching the center of your palms (the dragon and tiger qi cavities, left and right hands). Place them slightly above the knee or on your upper thigh, whichever is more comfortable.
Place your tongue in front of your upper teeth. Rotate it to the right cheek. Then rotate it to the left cheek. Lastly, return it to its original position in front of your upper teeth. Take special care to keep your tongue in front of the teeth as much as possible.
Simultaneously, follow the tip of the tongue with your eyes. Meaning that when the tip of the tongue is at the top, gaze up. When it is at the right, gaze right, etc…
That is one cycle. Do 36 cycles clockwise and another 36 counter-clockwise.
When you finish your cycles, your mouth will be absolutely full of saliva.
Initially, your tongue will get very tired as its muscles are adjusting to the movements. If you find your inner peace getting disturbed, simply rest for a moment, compose yourself and continue. With time, it gets easier.
Step Two: Rinse The Saliva
This is the important part where much of the refining is done.
Place the tip of the tongue slightly above the back of the front teeth and connected to the upper palate. Press the saliva forward to the tip of the tongue as if to spit it out. Then move it back to the back of the tongue without swallowing it. This is one cycle. Do 36 cycles.
You may notice a change in your breath and feel a difference in your qi while doing this, especially towards the end.
Step Three: Swallow
Stretch the neck up slightly and tilt your head back a bit.
Rest your awareness on the Xuan Jing point, which is directly in the center of the clavicles and slightly below your throat (between your collar bones). If it’s difficult to mentally find this point, you can make a light scratch there with your finger or brush it lightly with something before beginning the practice.
Making sure to keep your tongue connected to your upper palate, swallow one third of the saliva. You don’t have to be completely precise, but at the same time, don’t be so lax that your last gulp is significantly smaller than your first (or vice versa). When gulping down the saliva, listen for a sound in your throat that’s like water going down a drain.
Swallow the next third and the final third in the same manner.
Initially, you won’t feel very much while practicing this technique. However, in time, you will gradually feel a growing vibration/swirling in your ball as the qi travels down to and enters your LDT.
There are other visualizations, mantras, etc… associated with this practice, however I’ve simplified it and removed anything I don’t think is completely necessary to successfully complete this practice.
Practice this technique every single day before you begin your main practice.
The following technique is simple and easy to understand. However, proper swallowing and transference of the refined jing through the Xuan Jing Xue (Mysterious Well) is difficult to master. The underlying principles behind it are not simple and take years to properly comprehend. Do not practice it without the guidance of a competent master.
Special thanks to Stuart Alve Olson for his in depth translations and elucidating guidance. For further insight, read “Embryonic Breathing: The Taoist Method of Opening the Dan Tian” by him.