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Tiandi Neigong

Combining Heaven and Earth

By Buddy Tripp


In this article I will describe the basic physical movements and some of the functions and benefits of a set I call Tiandi Neigong. This neigong (internal skill) set is an advanced form of energy and body development that I learned from Mr. Bruce Frantzis, who called it the Marriage of Heaven and Earth. It is generally the second one taught in his Taoist Water Method system. Initially it is best if one learns how to release tension and align the body with gravity by learning the first set, Opening the Energy Gates of the Body. Mr. Frantzis has an excellent book published by this same title.

This set is a simple one-movement exercise that contains many important internal principles. We will start the exercise with the feet parallel and the knees slightly bent. With the arms at the sides, palms facing backward breathe deeply and relax the body and mind. Slowly raise the arms up the front of the body to an overhead position palms facing each other. As the arms rise keep the shoulders down. Note that you may not be able to raise the arms all the way over the head while keeping the shoulders stable. This is fine in the beginning, as we will use this exercise to learn to lengthen the soft tissue of the arms.

Once the arms have moved upward as far as the shoulders will allow the elbows bend bringing the hands to the occipital area of the neck. This is where the spine meets the skull. At this point the palms are facing forward with the middle fingers touching the neck. The back will round with the shoulder blades moving sideways away from the spine causing the elbows to swing forward. As well the top of the spine will arch so that the head bows forward. Be certain not to allow the throat to compress but rather bend the chin around as if looking over something. Both hands move up and over the head until the palms come to the level of the mouth, palms toward the face. The forearms should remain parallel. The elbows then rise causing the hands to travel down the body until they reach the level of the belt. This completes the first half of the exercise.

At this point let me pause to briefly mention breathing. For the beginner, and indeed for anyone wanting to use this set as a heath exercise rather than one to develop power, it is enough to inhale on the expansive movements and exhale on the compressive ones. Further advanced breathing techniques can be used such as reverse breathing. These are best taught in person by a qualified instructor to avoid any damage.

From the previous point the hands then circle around the belt area to the sides of the body where the palms turn upward. Making loose fists the hands raise up to the ribs as the head once again bows forward. The hands then move forward away from the body turning the palms downward. The spine straightens up as the hands return to the starting position. This concludes the exercise.

Click here to view a video of Buddy Tripp performing this exercise.