The following five skills are the principles by which to train your Qigong. They are a five-sided diamond that shine light on your practice. These five facets are approaches, principles, lessons and lenses that make the Qigong work. You learn from them, receive from them, then transfer them into the rest of your life. They are why you learn and practice Qigong instead of many other activities you could do. Building skill in each of these areas is what makes Qigong a powerful and effective way to improve your health, presence of mind, strength of being, and fun quotient. And you can take them into your other fun activities.
Facet One: Structure
Good structure is the perfected, relaxed, alignment of your body. It is how you hold your bones, muscles, connective tissues, joints, etc. These are basic life skills that are almost always a surprise to Qigong students. We just aren’t taught most of these functionally strengthening methods in our culture.
Examples: Heavy elbows, relaxed shoulders, vertical body, open armpits, open hip joints.
Facet Two: Movement
When you take your structure in motion, a number of movement principles come into play. These include the quality and quantities of your motion, the rate and rhythm, and the keeping of your key alignments. Strength in relaxation is the result. Stability in flow is another result.
Examples: Knees on a track, no bobbing up and down, pelvic tilt, push from the back.
Facet Three: Mind
Learning to direct your mind is key to health and strength of purpose. In Qigong training you gain experience in grounding, rooting, and centering. You get out of your brain and into your body—an important part of staying sane and living an inspired life. You balance your focus and expand your horizons from a grounded stance.
Examples: Center in your lower abdomen, sink your mind, feel your bones, quiet mind.
Facet Four: Energy
In Qigong you learn about your energy centers, points, vortexes, flows, reservoirs, and rivers. Getting these down—like all of the five facets—make your body significantly stronger, more resilient, more grounded, and present—almost instantly.
Examples: The Gate of Life, the Dantian, the Microcosmic Orbit, the Bubbling Springs, the Taiji Pole.
Facet Five: Breathing
Breathing is probably the single most powerful healing magic you can discover and develop. It is free medicine you can imbibe every minute you awake. You will learn how to breathe more easily, deeply, smoothly, fully, deeply, rhythmically. Breathing better helps every single aspect of your body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
Examples: Belly breathing, 3/3 rhythm, spherical breathing, Kidney breathing, full vase breathing, breathe with the movement.
Learn and Grow as You Practice
Know what you are attempting when you engage in movement practices. Just moving is useful, but if you know why you are doing something you get far more out of it. You can focus your training to build a depth of expertise. You will know how to shift something if it isn’t quite working. It is a fulfilling, ever-growing, ever-glowing way to practice.