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Beat the Heavenly Drum

Wooden drums
Heavenly Drum is another seemingly simple, but highly useful technique

Last week I talked about the facial massage and point massage that we perform at the end of our training session and how it is important in smoothing the transition from a qigong state of mind back into the workaday world. As I mentioned, everything we do in our kungfu and qigong training has a purpose. Once we’ve concluded the facial and point massage, we then perform Heavenly Drum, where we form a seal over our ears and drum on the back of our skulls. This exercise too, serves a valuable purpose.

I never really understood the purpose of this exercise when I started training with Shaolin Wahnam, but I was a good student and simply followed the instructions without question. Over time, a few interesting things emerged. Prior to beginning my kungfu and qigong training, I dealt with seasonal allergies. Every year when the pollen emerged, my eyes puffed up, my nose started running, and my head felt like I was underwater. For roughly a not so glorious month, I was sneezy and stuffy-headed to beat the band. But as I continued my training, that went away. Actually, I forgot about those allergies until I realized that a few years had gone by and they hadn’t bothered me at all. Of course, I credit some of that to simply consistently practicing qigong, but since my head felt so much clearer, I asked Grandmaster Wong about it and he talked about the efficacy of this exercise in clearing out “dust and rust” in the head.

Another thing I noticed was that my hearing became sharper and my vision became better. I’ve worn glasses since age 12. I got a few new pairs just before starting my training and found myself needing them less and less. I had been training for about five years when I went in to get my eyes checked again and get new glasses. I was sent out of there having been told that my vision was 20/20 in one eye, 20/25 in the other and that I didn’t need glasses. After a little bit of research, I learned that Heavenly Drum is actually one of the Shaolin 8 Eye Exercises, a simple set of qigong techniques to improve vision. When we beat the Heavenly Drum, we are actually drumming on the part of the skull that houses the visual cortex. In the system of scalp acupuncture, points for treating vision problems are, you guessed, right over where we beat the Heavenly Drum.

From how we stand, how we breathe, what we don’t think about, how we practice, to how we conclude, each part of our training works in its own way to restore us to health, while bringing our minds into perfect clarity and focus. But don’t take it from me, come see what our classes are all about.

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