Six Harmonies Explained

The purpose of Six Harmonies is to establish the conditions needed for conscious movement. In order to understand what those conditions are we need to understand what is required to function harmoniously. There are physical aspects to this and there is an energetic aspects also. The three internal aspects of the Six Harmonies are:

Essences or Jing

This is the energy we given at birth.

Air/Breath or Chi

This is our birth energy that we have cultivated through intention.

Spirit or Shen

This is when our Chi is refined or streamlined towards a specific point. This can mean to generate a great deal of force for an important task that is of a physical nature or it can also be directed towards a higher spiritual awakening.


These internal aspects are directly related to the physical body. In other words, the body is the vehicle by which these energies are cultivated. Likewise the cultivation of these suttle and dymanic forces assist in the health and transformation of the physical body. There are various methods used to explain the working dynamics between the physical and internal relationship. When explaining the three external portions of the six harmonies it is important to make a distinct connection to the three internal. The three external aspects of Six Harmonies are: Hands, Eyes, and Body

Hands or ‘Shou’

The hands are the one of the first physical appendages that we use to make sense of our environment. What we can grasp with the hands are things we want to understand. The first thing a child does before it eats something is grab hold of it. For this reason the hands are related to the essences. The hand is the first contact.

Eyes or ‘Yan’

The next step in the process is the conceptual vision of the environment we inhabit. We touch something and we develop a picture of what it is. We become attracted to the things we touch. This attraction leads our awareness towards the substance of our experience. To transform essences into chi one needs a clear conceptual understanding before an intention can be established. The eyes lead to the intention of ones’ desire.

That intention leads the chi. Therefore the eyes and the chi are connected.

Body or ‘Shen’

Once the hands and eyes become active the body will follow. In this way the spirit and the body are together.

Once one has a general knowledge of what constitutes the internal and external aspects to the six harmonies how they are explained can very. The following series of phrases is one example:

EYES———————-AND————————HEART TOGETHER >>>>>>>>

HEART——————-AND————————CHI TOGETHER >>>>>>>>>>>

CHI———————–AND————————-BODY TOGETHER >>>>>>>>>

BODY——————–AND————————-LEGS TOGETHER >>>>>>>>>>

LEGS——————–AND————————-HIPS TOGETHER >>>>>>>>>>>

All six aspects are connected harmoniously and simultaniously. These include both the internal and the external. This next series is and example of how the internal and the external can be explained separately:



CHI (BREATH)———————————–FORCE(LI)





 The following version is the Yin Style Ba Qua explanation for six harmonies. Note here that before the three external and the three internal aspects are presented the relationship between the heart and the mind are clarified:




 The three external

 EYES ————————————HEART

WAIST———————————- BODY



The three internal





 ‘The mind(heart-xin) leads the intent(yi-mind). The intent leads the breath/air (chi). Chi leads the force (li).’

(1) The popular translation for mind is Yi. Along with this term there is also another Chinese word for mind and that is Xin. The direct translation of Xin is heart. It commonly means “intention idea or thought”, referring to an unexpressed idea or desire. Xin must exist before Yi. When you want something it is Xin. When you intend to do it or actually accomplish the task, then it is called Yi. This is translated as “mind” or “intention”. From this standpoint Xin is the master of Yi and Yi is the one to make masters ideas a reality. Xin generates the idea and Yi is brought forth. Once Yi is generated Chi will flow. There is a common Chinese saying; Use your mind to lead your chi, “Yii Yi Yin Chi”. In the beginning the eye (what we see or envision) and the heart ‘Xin’ are together.

(2) The mind (Xin-heart) leads the intent (yi-mind). To create a clear intention there needs to be clarity of purpose. For these there needs to be the conceptual understanding (eye), the emotional need (heart) along with the physical ability (body). The intent will follow naturally from this course.

(3) The intent leads the chi. After enough practice you can move without hesitation. The body and the chi will move naturally and automatically. This is what is referred to as the intent leading the chi.

(4) Chi leads the spirit. Spirit is a higher level of alertness. When we are at this higher level the chi will go to the whole body at this higher level with the spirit.

(5) Spirit follows movement. Using what we see, hear and feel, the spirit receives the signal, which is sent to the mind producing an instant response. The power of the response will flow automatically.

(6) Movement without thought. This means to no longer focus on a technique or anything at all. Our response is instantaneous.


  • Body and joints move together. This refers to the spine, back and neck. Before the body can move as a unit the back must be engaged in relation to the spin and the base of the neck.
  • Hand and joints together. The hand joints move from the shoulder to the elbow to the wrist.
  • Foot and joints together. The foot joints move from the hip to the knee to the ankle.
  • Hand in relation the foot
  • Elbow in relation to knee
  • Shoulder in relation to hip

All joints must start and stop together in harmony.