Tongue Power! / by Tom Maloney

Stuck at the bottom of your pistol squat? Having trouble getting that last pull up? One arm push up feeling wobbly? Nothing beats repetition for building strength and blasting through your calisthenics progressions, but what if we could gain more power just by moving our tongue?

The human body has numerous pathways called meridians that are constantly shuttling internal energy, or qi, through our system so that we function properly on a day to day basis. There are twelve principal meridians and eight extra meridians. Among the eight extra meridians, the Governing Vessel (Du meridian) and the Conception Vessel (Ren meridian) are the most important in the context of increasing physical power. The Governing Vessel starts at the perineum (Hui Yin) and follows the upward path of the spine to the base of the skull (Jade Pillow). From here it travels over the top of the skull, down past the eyes, and stops at the upper palate of the mouth. The Conception Vessel travels down from the base of the mouth (Jade Pool), across the front of the body and around to the perineum, thus coming full circle.

Ancient diagram portraying the Microcosmis Orbit.

Ancient diagram portraying the Microcosmis Orbit.

The upward moving Governing Vessel is associated with fire and aligned with Yang. The downward moving Conception Vessel is associated with water and aligned with Yin. That’s not to say that there is no Yin in the Governing Vessel and there is no Yang in the Conception Vessel, just relatively less. When the tip of the tongue is placed on the hard palate behind the front teeth on the roof of the mouth, the Governing and Conception Vessels are connected in a full circuit. When joined, there is a strong and balanced flow of internal energy through your body. With Qi flowing through the two joined vessels, the Microcosmic Orbit (Small Heavenly Circulation) is created, granting you more power for whatever technique you are trying to accomplish.

Next time you need more physical strength or mental focus, place your tongue on the roof of the mouth to complete your body’s electrical circuit and power through to victory.