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 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:
- 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.
- Raise the Bai Hui point. Place your intention at the point, and throughout your entire body. Stand still for three minutes.
- Change to a slouching position: spine curved, chin out. Keep your attention on your entire body. Stand still for three minutes more.
- 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.
- Open your eyes, and move around for a few minutes.
Try this experiment and share your results with us.
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.
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. 😉
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!
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?
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.
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!
A weird exercise I felt a tingling sensation there. It just seems to be very very odd
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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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Straighten your spine and drop your chin slightly.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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 😀
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!
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.
Dude I’m laughing my ass off right now..if you only knew what is “Bai Hui” in Bulgarian…
Thanks for the great reminder about posture , because it is very important in tai chi, and daily consciousness.
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?
Thank you so much for the best, clearest explanation of how to correctly locate the ba hui point I’ve ever encountered in more than four and a half years’ serious (i.e., almost daily) qigong practice, including about two and a half years of classes once or twice a week. Somehow I never quite got it right until after reading your explanation. What a wonderful, liberating difference!
You’re quite welcome.
I’ve been studying Taiji Chuan very seriously for the last couple of years, and especially this past year, as it has helped me so much, personally, through my current period of unemployment. I do standing meditation several times per week and have started feeling good Qi flow, but inconsistently.
Last Saturday my Shifu was discussing the importance of the correct placement of the bai hui point. I have been thinking about this with mindful intention, and tonight I just Googled it and came across your blog. I did the exercise, and experienced tremendous more Qi flow in addition to a wonderful feeling of relaxation/gentle stretching of what I perceive to be my internal organs! It also enabled me to more correctly align my back and slightly sink in my chest.
Thank you so much for this enlightening information! ‘May The Qi Be With You’
40 years of Taiji. Yes this connects you to your Essence, your true self. Circulates Qi which is electrical energy from all of nature. This practice is Peng (expand) instead of contract. Contracting isolates you from the energy around you and lengthening opens the gates to the universal knowledge and energies. This gives you the unbendable arm or body. This shows you that there is another form of energy for power in the body not just muscle contraction but lengthening. This power is not from the ATP of the muscles but from Nature which is unending. If you are not using Peng you are not doing Taiji Quote From Master Madam Gao Fu.
Bai hui point GV 20 (governing channel or vessel 20) (the one hundred meeting point of yang chi), just look up an authentic acupuncture manual to accurately locate the point using “Cun” measurements is linked with the point on the forehead in-between the eyes and the piniel gland in the centre of the brain lol one of the main dantians of the body. Linked to heaven channels, + or top of the eight trigrams (ba gua or pa kua) in the yin/yang theory and 8 trigrams along with the 5 element or (wu xing) theory. Separate Heaven & Earth! ^^
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