Martial Development

Martial arts for personal development

Three Benefits From Lifting Your Bai Hui Point

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Taiji master Yang Cheng-Fu said that, without lifting your Bai Hui point, even 30 years of practice would be a waste of time. Why is this particular point so important to martial artists, and to everyone else?

The Bai Hui point, which sits on the crown of the head, is known by many different names. In acupuncture, it is identified as Du Mai 20 (百会), the point where the body’s Yang energy naturally converges. In kundalini, tantra and other Indian yogas, this point is named the Sahasrara (crown) chakra. In many esoteric traditions, Bai Hui is regarded as the gate between Man and Heaven.

Bai Hui diagram
Bai Hui is not in the middle of the head, but near the twirl of the hair.

If your Taiji practice is in line with the instructions of the old masters, then you are probably already familiar with the benefits of lifting the Bai Hui point. If, on the other hand, you do not currently practice Taiji, zhan zhuang or any other meditative discipline, here is a sampling of the benefits you can expect—benefits which exceed mere self-defense.

1. Lifting the Bai Hui automatically tucks your chin. Because the Bai Hui is located towards the back of the head (relative to most people’s normal posture), lifting it requires a slight forward rotation. This rotation brings the chin down and inwards.

Tucking in your chin reduces your exposure to a knockout punch. Boxers recognize the chin as a lever, and will strike that lever to indirectly attack your brain. Tucking your chin will also help protect your neck. As the old masters said:

Conceal your throat and challenge all the heroes in the world.

2. Lifting the Bai Hui straightens your spine. The modern sedentary lifestyle causes a pathologically curved spine, which manifests as stiffness, lower back pain, headaches, indigestion and other health problems.

By raising the crown of your head, you can decompress your spinal vertebrae, strengthening your back, and improving your posture and health. Furthermore, this straightened spine will improve your balance (zhong ding), agility, and martial skills.

3. Lifting the Bai Hui improves circulation in the brain. Eastern and Western medical science both recognize the critical necessity of this flow; when it is obstructed for mere minutes, the result is permanent brain damage. Stroke, or “brain attack,” is currently the third leading cause of death in Western nations.

Martial artists have known for centuries that, where intention goes, chi and blood follow. When strong intention goes to the hands, they become swollen and hot; when it goes to the Bai Hui, alertness and creativity are increased.

Try it Yourself

Without personal experience, you may find this last point difficult to believe. Here is a quick, safe, and simple experiment you can try yourself:

  1. Stand up straight, close your eyes, and relax. You do not need to assume any exotic kung fu posture; just leave your arms down at your sides. Do not proceed to the next step until you feel relaxed.
  2. Raise the Bai Hui point. Place your intention at the point, and throughout your entire body. Stand still for three minutes.
  3. Change to a slouching position: spine curved, chin out. Keep your attention on your entire body. Stand still for three minutes more.
  4. Return to the previous posture, with the Bai Hui lifted. Again, stand for three minutes, and observe the different physical and emotional sensations resulting from this change in posture.
  5. Open your eyes, and move around for a few minutes.

Try this experiment and share your results with us.

Categories: Fighting and Self-Defense · Health and Fitness · Qigong · Tai Chi · Training Tips

36 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rick Matz // Jul 17, 2007

    It’s just a good idea to remember that one point. It’s sort of a foundation from which a lot of good things flow.

  • 2 JoLynn Braley // Jul 17, 2007

    I’m familiar with the crown chakra but I’d never heard it called the Bai Hui Point before.

    This is very interesting, I wasn’t aware that martial arts involved these topics. I’ll do the exercise and report back. 😉

  • 3 JoLynn Braley // Jul 17, 2007

    Chris, this was excellent. When I placed my intention on the point I immediately changed my posture; everything lifted, I felt great.

    When I got to step 3, I couldn’t hang in there for 3 minutes because there was such a large difference in how I felt. I wanted to get back to feeling good. Thank you!

  • 4 taiwandeutscher // Jul 18, 2007

    Very important point, in deed.
    But your location source contradicts serveral chinese manuals on acu points. In them I find the point more in the front, on a line connecting both ears, near the fontanella. Also, my chinese teachers tell me this location.
    What is correct?

  • 5 Chris // Jul 18, 2007


    Thank you for your important question.

    My placement in the diagram above agrees with some sources, and contradicts others. I am not an acupuncturist myself, and I do not know why all these diagrams are inconsistent.

    The popular guideline of drawing a line between the ears places the point within a wide range, depending on how you rotate your head, and is therefore not very useful.

    This much I can verify from my own experience, and from the advice of many teachers: the head should be up, the spine should be straightened and the chin should be tucked. Whether you place the Bai Hui nearer the hair twirl or the fontanel (which indeed may be more accurate), the result is the same: your head is rotated forwards in comparison to Western postural standards. Superman was wrong.

    Fontanelles, Gray’s Anatomy

    For many years, I thought the ideal head position was basically flat. Now I know better. And I believe that anyone who tries my experiment above will agree.

  • 6 taiwandeutscher // Jul 19, 2007

    Leaving the final positioning of Baihui to the experts in acupucture, I totally agree with your statements. The correct head positioning really changes the whole body structure.
    Thanks for your nice blog from southern Taiwan!

  • 7 yogip // Jul 22, 2007

    A weird exercise I felt a tingling sensation there. It just seems to be very very odd

  • 8 James Holan // Jul 23, 2007

    I just came across your blog about martial arts and I wanted to tell you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here. I also have a web site & blog, so I know I’m talking about when I say your site is top-notch!

  • 9 FitBuff - Total Mind and Body Fitness // Jul 23, 2007

    Hey Chris!

    Great article! We’ve included it in this week’s Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog Carnival:

    If you have any questions at all, just let us know. And feel free to submit more great articles to our next carnival by using the submission link below:

  • 10 Bao Long // Jul 24, 2007

    I got to ask u something. What do you mean by ”Raise the Bai Hui point. Place your intention at the point”? Is it put 1 of ur fingers on Bai Hui point and concentrate on the point and ur entire body?

  • 11 Chris // Jul 24, 2007

    That method will work for the experiment, so long as you do not mistake your finger for the moon. Raising the point means lifting it up as high as possible without introducing tension.

    Outside of the experiment, you cannot just walk down the street with your finger on your head, or people will think you’re a nut case.

  • 12 Bao Long // Jul 25, 2007

    Err, so you meant that I had to press on the Bai Hui Point on the back middle of the head when they tell us to move about on step 5? And also, what do you mean by ”lifting it up as high as possible”? Means to lift ur finger slowly up to above ur head after you concentrate on the Bai Hui point and ur entire body? Sorry, I’m just a 11-year-old kid who live in Singapore and I wanted to learnt martial arts to protect myself.

  • 13 Chris // Jul 25, 2007

    Lift by using the muscles in your back and neck to straighten out your spine.

    If you also use your finger, it is only to help focus your attention on Baihui. The finger itself, its movement and its pressure are not important for this exercise.

    The purpose of step 5 is to move your attention away from the acupoint; focusing on it too long and too hard can lead to unpleasant side-effects.

  • 14 Bao Long // Jul 25, 2007

    Oh, so you mean that I just have to straighten my spine which is my back to lift to auto lift the Bai Hui point?

  • 15 Chris // Jul 26, 2007

    Straighten your spine and drop your chin slightly.

  • 16 Otto // Aug 13, 2007

    Today, incidentally, I hit my head against a ceiling while carelessy running up a flight of stairs, while coming from my basement. The bai hui point got hit with the ceiling, after which I was more alert and my intuition was faster and everything was clear. It’s all true, need I say.

  • 17 Martial art schools // Feb 16, 2009

    Great explanation

  • 18 azim khan // Apr 3, 2009

    hi, i read ur page about lifting the bai hui point, i find when i try it that it really works for me. i feel better and am sure i look better.

    my question is if i am doing this all the time is it bad for me? when i say all d time i mean literally all day and maybe even when i sleep. would liftig my head all the time while walking around and doing general stuff through out the day cause me harm?

    i would really love to know, its causing me such dilemmas, thank, look forward to hearing from you. thanx (great page)

  • 19 Chris // Apr 3, 2009

    Azim, why not let your own experience be your guide? If you feel tight or sore in the neck or back, then you are probably overdoing it, or not doing it in an ideal fashion.

    Can one’s posture be “too good”? I think the answer is no. On the other hand, “good posture” is no substitute for adequate movement. I doubt you are really holding your head erect for 16+ hours every day, without interruption.

  • 20 Joe Randall // Jul 31, 2011

    The change that I became aware of almost immediately upon assuming the position described in paragraph three was that my breathing became much more shallow. After that, an increasing discomfort at the back of my neck, between my shoulder blades, and at the base of my spine. I have practiced Tai Chi Chuan for a while, and have often heard that you should intend to lift from the crown of your head. Your article and exercise really brought that home for me. Thanks.

  • 21 Nia // May 22, 2012

    Wonderful! I tried it once and my shoulder pain are gone. But before I realized that the pain gone, I’m feel sleepy. Thank you 😀

  • 22 jazz bars london // Oct 8, 2012

    Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  • 23 William // Feb 22, 2013

    an old saying is ,
    “Point your ears like a fox” .
    This is similar to some personal realization i had as a child so i will share something slightly different it requires some degree of imagination. Above that point , in the air if you will, imagine a white lotus flower with silver blue edges on the petals .
    Over time consider adding dew that collects and rolls off the plant onto Bai Hui.
    That was gifted to me . Enjoy.

  • 24 Pesh0 // Feb 12, 2014

    Dude I’m laughing my ass off right now..if you only knew what is “Bai Hui” in Bulgarian…

  • 25 ron Harrison // Jul 26, 2014

    Thanks for the great reminder about posture , because it is very important in tai chi, and daily consciousness.

  • 26 ron Harrison // Jul 26, 2014

    I was taught by my teacher( Alduha) to practice with a book or a bowl of water on my head in order to correct my posture while practicing. Are we talking about the same principles?

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