Archive for Qigong Principles
There are many good reasons to travel. One reason is to refine your views of life by seeing the new and seeing anew. Another is to get re-inspired; to go home with renewed vigor for creation and living well. Refreshment and relaxation are important aspects of vacations, though not always as prominent as they could be. Another good reason to travel to new places is to be reminded of what you know but haven’t thought about enough or lived enough lately.
Visiting places of beauty— whether natural or manmade—are on the top of my list of places to visit. Being around the beautiful and bountiful speaks to deep parts of myself, ancient wisdoms, subtle whispering that I do well to listen to.
In the Allerton Garden in Kauai is a water feature I recommend visiting. I was just there on a tour of these gardens on the island’s southern coast. It is situated in a magnificent little valley opening into the ocean. There are many lovely outdoor garden rooms, sculptures, trees, plants, waterfalls, pools, flowers, and vistas. For instance there are some stupendous ficus trees that were used in the movie Jurassic Park.
My favorite portion of the garden is the wave form water feature. This water sculpture is a long line of a structure that has an inner and outer shape of double undulations. The water flows through these wave shapes via a barely perceptible slope from a circular pool on one end to a circular catchment pool on the other end. Because of the beaded shape, the water pulses through, rather than rushing straight down. The set of double undulations that contain the water, manage its flow. When water comes to the end of the 127-foot long stream, the pulsations of the water pour into a basin in discrete amounts, creating audible beats. This slow, regular pulse is about 52 beats per minute. To be near it is mesmerizing, relaxing, wonderful. It entrances. It quiets the mind, soothes the spirit, and strengthens the inner senses.
It is a water massage of the body, mind and spirit.
There at the garden, I wondered how I could get one of these in my backyard.
To see a photo of this feature, go to Google images and enter “Allerton Garden Mermaid Fountain”.
In such blendings of art and nature, of science and spirit, of flow and directionality that we can access what it means to be more fully in tune with the power, presence and potential of our reality.
Being near the waveform sculpture reminds of Qigong and Taiji movements with their slow, wavelike rhythms of movements and breathing. These movements are the structure that entrain and train your physiology and psychology. They balance the flows of nerve pathways, lymph pathways, blood circulation. The fluid flows become strongly entwined, whole, regular, pulsating. This brings about a delightful inner peace, satisfaction, quiet joy.
In your own backyard, so to speak (your body), you have such water features. You have organic metronomes that can bring you home. The focused focused, slow movement expands the production and interconnectedness of your cells, systems, waters, electricity, magnetism. You can connect to the resonance and microcosm of nature’s power. Through the constructed and evolved arts of Qigong or Taiji you can open to the great river flows of possibility that already flow through you, informing and impassioning you.
I think that the 52 beats a minute rhythm connects to some ideal, at-ease, heart beat within a person. This brings a calmness and connection to many parts of the body at different speeds. It just starts with that one slow heart speed. It is one doorway to the great collections of rhythms that make up your being. Opening that one door, other rooms become affected.
Qigong can be thought of as the Art of Waves. You move in slow frequencies that tune you into the natures rhythms.
Repeated waves of movement wash away the stones, smooth out the rough spots, move and endlessly continue to move all in its repeated path. Thus the rough and jagged becomes smooth and soft. Thus life flows better.
For older people falling is one of the more frequent causes of trauma. Tai Chi (Taiji) is a classical Chinese movement method for being more stable in your body (and emotions, mind, and spirit). In its full flower it is a potent martial art, but most people practice it for health purposes today.
Tai Chi Decreases Falling
Tai Chi is a practice that is proven to decrease the number of falls that senior citizens take. By extension, probably everybody who learns some Tai Chi becomes less prone to falling. There have been a number of studies that look at Tai Chi practice and vertical stability. I remember first reading about such a study one in the mid-nineties. A group of senior citizens were taught a simplified Tai Chi form 2 times a week for 10 weeks. Their number of falls decreased significantly. Other exercise programs tested did not give that kind of physical stability. Even months after the end of the class the number of falls amongst them stayed at the lower levels. There have been several such studies about the efficacy of Tai Chi. The one I am referring to is known as the Emory Study. It can be found (among other places) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in the May 3, 1995 issue.
You Can Learn to be More Balanced
Taiji (Tai Chi) is, among other aspects, a precise method of developing body awareness, physical relaxation, structural alignment and body unity. If you are not too stable now, Taiji can teach and train you to become more physically stable, more dynamically able. Balance in your body, in this world, is not set in stone, but can be greatly improved. If you are like most people, when you were learning how to walk—and then growing up—you got little or no express guidance in the best way to stand, walk, stride, jog, run, or change directions with skill and safety. Few people have. You probably just scrambled and ambled as best as you could figure out at the time. This probably left some less-than-optimal habits that still influence you today, habits that lead to more or less instability. These can be changed with Tai Chi training.
How Tai Chi Improves Balance
Slow Movement: Slow and deliberate movement builds strength, body awareness and presence of mind. You can pay attention to motions that were tripping you up when you went at normal or fast speed.
Rooting: Rooting means learning to sink your weight into the earth. This makes you less tippy. You learn to step by sinking the power of the standing leg into the earth and slowly rolling your other foot onto the ground in front of you. You don’t go all out, all-now with the step, but rather commit in a steady, forward and down continuum.
Smooth Movement: Taiji smoothes the rough spots. Taiji polishes ratchety movements and crotchety joints.
Soft Stepping: Instead of plodding and plopping down you practice placing each foot gently. It is a foot “fall” only in the sense that feather falls to the ground on a breath of wind.
Kiss the ground with your foot: Don’t stomp it.
Relaxation: Tension leads to instability, vertical uncertainty and wobbliness. The relaxation training of Taiji naturally brings more ease and space to rigid muscle fibers and compressed joints.
Breathing: By making your breath more full, low into the belly, even and smooth you gain an automatic improvement of stability.
Getting out of Your Head: Being overly heady as you walk is dangerous. By not paying attention to your surroundings you could trip over any little thing. Tai Chi practice helps you become aware of the ground in the present moment.
Tai Chi Secrets: Learning such Tai Chi “secrets” as the Loading the Kua, Turning from the Gate of Life, Separation of Yin and Yang, Song, and Peng helps you greatly in your movement strength and abilities.
For instance, practicing the Separation of Yin and Yang; instead of being all balled up in one congealed mass, you differentiate the parts that are the stable from those in motion. Envision a panther stroking the ground in its majestic walk, flexibly reaching then bringing back—always stable, always soft, always in full control.
Find a Tai Chi Teacher
The form I am teaching this Autumn is based on the 10-movement form taught to those study participants. If you are not in my geographical area I encourage you to seek out Tai Chi where you are. There are more and more experienced practitioners and teachers out there. The sooner you learn it the sooner you will start to reap the benefits. A little Tai Chi practice can make an outsized contribution to your life. It is best to begin your balance training before you are a senior citizen, when you are likely to have more falls. If you have already reached that golden plateau, there is even more reason to seek out the practice.
The Balancing Tai Chi Form
The ten movements of the compact form mentioned above, as I am teaching it, are:
This short Tai Chi form is performed on a line, rather in circles like the Simple Taiji Forms. The line goes from right to left. It is easy to learn and fun to practice. Later we will perform the mirror version, stepping on a right-handed line.
1. Opening Tai Chi (Face North):
– Step out to the Left to Shoulder Width
– Raise, Press, Receive and Lower Hands (Peng, Ji, Lu, An)
2. Ward Off Left (Face West)
3. Rollback (Turn Waist North)
4. Press (Face West)
5. Push (Face West)
6. Cloud Hands Left (Face North, Move West)
7. Single Whip Left (Face West)
8. Left Kick (to Southwest)
9. Right Kick (to Northwest)
10. Conclusion (Face North)
– Step to Shoulder Width with Right Leg
– Gather Qi, Press Crossed Wrists Down
– Bring Left Leg to Feet-Together
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.
14 Powerful Reasons for Slow Qigong
Many Qigong exercises are done slowly, sometimes very slowly. Why is this? There are many reasons that going slow is one of the best ways to get the most out of a Qigong practice. There is overlap between the many reasons given below, as every piece stated contributes to all of the other pieces. We are whole beings, not a conglomeration of separate parts. I speak of each reason separately for ease of personal exploration. There are more than 14 reasons for frequent, slow movement practice.
The Race to Slowness
Engage in the oft-missing luxury of unhurried movement. Life is so fast, especially modern life. We get out of balance with the speed, intensity, complexity. Slowness is something we miss, at a deep level, something we crave.
1. Improve Lymph Flow
Going at slow speed activates the pulsing lymph flow in the entire body, because it resonates with the slow, rhythmic way lymph likes to move. An enormous flow of lymph fluid can move through your body. Optimizing your lymph flow will increase the many valuable tasks that the lymph does, such as clearing up cellular wastes, draining toxins, reducing inflammations, fighting infections, preventing illness and generally cleaning up the interstices of your body. Going at Tai chi speed activates the lymph flow in the entire body. Lymph likes to pump through the many nodes and vessels of the body at a slow rate: a six to 8 second pulse is ideal.
2. Notice More
The more you can discern in a relaxed state, the more you empower yourself. Practicing any movement slowly allows you to notice more within the movement. You enhance awareness of sensations, your breath, where your mind is, and different aspects of your body. Going fast, you skip over things. There is so much to notice in your body that you never have before. The more you can, in a relaxed state, notice, the more you empower yourself. Take time to enjoy the scenery, to partake of the pleasures of movement. Learn and assimilate what you notice.
3. Allow Time to Connect More of your Body Together
In Qigong and the internal martial arts you practice using all parts of the body. You don’t want any portions of your body languishing, lazing, hiding. You want complete movement everywhere. Slowness allows the ignored or left-out places a chance to engage in the movement. These shadow places are areas of pain, chronic problems, lowered function, and trauma. Getting them involved in the healing movement is quite empowering on many levels. Parts and places are better; and the whole is better
4. Ground, Root and Center
Three of the most important principles of Qigong are Grounding, Rooting, and Centering. Each of these are easier to learn and enhance by going slowly. Grounding is when your body’s energy flow is equalized within and without (like the grounding you would do with an electrical wire.) Rooting is relaxing the tension downward to create physical stability. Centering is putting your mind into your lower abdomen (Lower Dantian.)
5. Improve Your Breathing
It is easier to take deep, full, even, long and relaxed breaths when you move slowly. In slowness, it is easier to integrate your breath with your movement. Improving your breathing is probably the most basic and most useful method of a long life of health. Qigong at it’s bedrock level is really breath training. Proper breath training can alleviate, improve or cure just about any chronic illness you can name. Chronic illnesses, whatever they are called, are, in a big way, a failure of whole body, healthy breathing.
6. Switch from Fight/Flight to Relax/Heal
Our stressed out nervous systems are usually unbalanced in some kind of futile fight against the intensities of the modern world. The autonomic nervous system handles the various internal processes of the body like organ function, digestion, blood cell production and internal communications. The sympathetic part of this system is Yang—active and fast and easily overfed by stress. Slow Qigong practice releases the hole of the overworked sympathetic side and engages with the too-ignored parasympathetic side. It is the parasympathetic nervous system where most healing is enabled. The parasympathetic slows you down (think “parachute.”) The parasympathetic slows us down (think “parachute.”) This is the Yin aspect of the autonomic (automatic) nervous system of the body.
7. Qi Moves like Water
Qi is a vast concept that basically means full, fluid, intelligent, enlivening flow. The Qi of your body connects distant parts of your body into one unit of movement. But it does it within certain rules of motion. “Qi,” it is said, “moves like water;” while consciousness moves as fast as light. One aspect of health, is the full flow of Qi throughout the body. Qi, like water, flows by going under, over, through, or around obstacles in it’s path. Whatever obstacles you may have in your body—whether through tension, injuries, congestion or compression—your Qi has to find a way through. Water and Qi are ever-changing. This takes a moment. With your thinking you can just be somewhere—poof, instantly. With Qi, which is the interconnecting flow of your body, it takes time. If you go too fast, you don’t give your Qi time enough to authentically flow. Going too fast is a mechanical approach dictated by your brain. Going slowly, you give your Qi time enough find its way and to strongly flow. Going too fast is a mechanical approach dictated by your brain.
8. Coordinate Posture, Movement, Breath, Mind, and Qi
Aligning these five factors is Qigong. When all five aspects are engaged in synchronized, mutually-supporting, principle based concert, you are practicing Qigong. For instance, when you begin a move, you begin to inhale. Likewise, when you finish the move, you complete your exhale. All through, the movement is smooth and regular, as is the breathing.
The effects of Qigong can be felt very early in your training. Your body is not doing one thing while your mind is doing another. You are not exercising while thinking about the movie you watched last night. You are not haphazardly breathing while sending Qi to your toe and slumping your torso. Yet, it takes a long dedication to practice and refinement of principles to gain gobs from Qigong. (Remember: practice is fun.) When these five factors are all moving together, in a whole-body synchronization, you are engaging in great self-healing work. You will like what you feel and love not getting sick much (or at all.)
9. Strengthen Muscles
Many of us use faster movements to propel our body into movement. We use momentum rather than strength. Throwing ourselves around with willpower, we drain our internal resources. (This is the story of my first 30 years on this planet.) Slow movement develops a full-muscle strength that is different than that unhealthy explosive power. By actively using more of each muscle in each moment of time within the full extent of a motion, we become more integrated. Your muscles become smarter, stronger, and gain greater endurance. More importantly, this kind of strength, this longer, slower, easier strength leads to more relaxation. The muscles of the thighs (the longevity muscles) are particularly important to strengthen and Qigong (and Taiji) are great at developing them.
10. Relax the Heart and Blood Vessels
Cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart and strongly pushes blood through the blood vessels. Slow Qigong moves blood through the body by relaxing the heart and vessels. Qigong helps regulate a heart that is often too anxious and working too hard. Moderately vigorous exercise is important for long-term health. Overly vigorous exercise is usually an imbalanced behavior that, if continued, will eventually lead to serious health problems. Besides the physical health issues of heart and blood, over-work of the heart and over-energization leads to unhappy emotional issues. A tense heart is also a heart prone to anxiety.
11. Increase Body Awareness in the Moment
Practicing slowly is moving meditation. It is meditation that doesn’t put you to sleep. You can better access the peace and promise of this moment. If you have heard of the benefits of meditation but cannot seem to sit still for it, trying these slow Qigong approaches. The moving meditation of Qigong brings your focus to the present moment, the place of healing. Moving out of the past, we let go of the dragging hold that past has on us. We can let go of fears that were once valid for us, but are not more. We can release, day by day, the hold of our previous injuries, mental, physical, and emotional. We can better access the peace and promise this moment. For myself, I would much rather move to meditate than sit. Many people extol the benefits of sitting meditation, yet, we in the 21st century already sit so much. Our bodies stagnate and so do our minds. Get off the cushion, off the couch, off the chair and get your calming meditation in as you move your joints, pulse your lymph, massage your organs, and breathe with Qi.
13. Develop Smoothness of Motion
Gaining smoother movement is both a method of and sign of healing. Herky Jerky motions are indications of blocks and rocks and dry spots in your inner environment. When you slow down, you notice the places that are not smooth and fluid. The clicks, and ratchets, and hatchets in our movements; the sticky, stagnant, and stuck places; the rickety, rackety, hacked places. Noticing, you can take measures to bring more fluidity to each spot.
14. Release Tension and Finally Relax
Slowness encourages release of tensions throughout your body, calmness in your emotions, clarity of your focus in the moment and superior whole body, whole being relaxation. Relaxation leads to the healing of stored traumas and a sense of well-being now.
Qigong: The art and skill of working with the body, breath, mind, and subtle energies to attain health, vitality and longevity.
Highly Accessible Healing
I created the Super Gentle Qigong set for seniors as a highly accessible way to get some of the great healing benefits of Qigong. It is also an excellent practice for those new to Qigong, people recovering for surgery or serious trauma, and people with other physical issues, whether from injury or long-term illness.
Standing, Seated, or Lying
Each movement can be done seated or standing, or even lying down (except for #4).
Practice each movement until you sense shifts of energy with it, maybe 12 to 20 reps.
Key Results to Expect
- Easier breathing
- More energy
- Stress relief
- Improved lymph flow
- Better disease resistance
- A sense of greater peace and inner ease
Super-Gentle Qigong Emphasizes
- Hand and arm motions
- Slow motions
- Synchronizing breath with the movement of the hands and arms
- Simple, non-Oriental, non-philosophical, not technical terms
- Smooth movement
- Equal speed of movement in both directions
Key Lessons for all the Movements
- Belly Breathing
- Equal Breathing (inhale and exhale the same rate)
- Time breathing with movements
- No muscle force
- Feel all of your body
1. Hands Up and Down
Palms up-fingertips face each other at the level of the lower belly. Slowly raise hands to the chest. Turn palms over and slowly push them to the pelvis.
Main Principle: Keep shoulders down. Don’t use the shoulders to lift the hands.
Other Principles: Move smoothly.
2. Turn Palms Over
Upper arms hang at your sides. Elbows are bent 90 degrees. Palms face down to begin.
Inhale: Slowly turn palms to face up.
Exhale Turn palms to face down.
Main Principle: Move hands at a continuous even rate. Do not speed up, slow down, or stop.
Other Principle: Palms face Earth/Palms face the stars.
3. Open and Close Palms
Palms face each other at the level of the lower abdomen, not touching.
Inhale: Separate hands sideways, keeping the palms facing each other.
Exhale: Bring the palms closer together, but not touching.
Main Principle: Feel energy in the hands (heat, tingling, magnetic sensations, etc.)
4. Forward and Backward Rocking
Inhale: Rock forward on your feet while letting the relaxed arms rise forward a little
Exhale: Rock back while lowering the arms
Main Principle: Let body rest on the feet.
Other Principles: Build balance.
Become aware of the ground.
Relax the shoulders.
5. Belly Breathing
With hands on the lower belly, slightly press inward to activate muscle awareness there.
Inhale: The hands will be pushed forward by the belly moving forward.
Exhale: The hands will relax backward.
Main Principle: Breathe with the diaphragm.
Other Principles: Relax the abdomen.
Relax the chest, shoulders, and neck. Don’t use them to breathe.
Use breath to massage the abdominal organs.
6. Rotating Palms
Arms hang. Elbows bent 90 degrees at the sides. Left palm faces up to begin; right palm faces down.
Inhale: Slowly turn the palms over. Now left palm is down and right palm faces up.
Exhale: Slowly return the palms to the original position.
Main Principle: Rocking left and right balances the nervous system.
7. Rub Around the Belly Button
Brush your palms in a circle around your umbilicus, the inner aspect of your abdomen. The circle will start on the left and move to the right before circling around the belly button.
Inhale on the upper part of the brushing.
Exhale on the lower part of the brushing.
Main Principle: Aid digestion with hands and intent.
8. Rub the Outer Belly
Brush your palms around the outer aspect of your abdomen. Brush up the right side, then over across the top of the belly, then down the left side, then across the lower abdomen.
Inhale on the right side and upper part of the brushing.
Exhale on the left side and lower part of the brushing.
Main Principle: Aid elimination with hands and intent.
Extra Technique: Tapping Your Knees
In the sitting position, tap your knees with your palms. In Chinese medicine the knees are understood to be connected to the life force powers of the Kidneys. Tapping your knees give you energy, helps your bones, strengthens your brain, and helps you sleep more deeply.
I am excited to announce the completion of my new Qigong DVD.
You can pay through Paypal, or with a credit card. I will send the DVD right out to you. This would make a great Christmas gift, a way to encourage yourself or loved ones to get a Qigong practice going in their life for the new year. It is just $19.95 plus $3.99 shipping and handling.
The Delightful Dozen
• Consists of 12 exercises.
• Teaches many Qigong principles you can apply to your life.
• Is accessible, doable, and useful for people at all levels of health
• Fosters internal relaxation and coordination of body, mind, breath, and energy.
• Is easy to learn. It is not confusingly philosophical, or super-serious.
• Helps all parts of your body become equal with the full flow of energy, information and awareness: left and right, palms and feet, arms and legs, head and feet, torso and legs, front and back, inside and out.
Developed from Primordial Qigong
Each of the 12 exercises is found in the flowing body of a gentle exercise form called Primordial Qigong. The word primordial here, refers to your original vitality. The Primordial Qigong form is a flowing, connected sequence of the movements, much like Taiji (Tai Chi) is a slow stream Qigong sequence.
I first developed the Delightful Dozen Set as a way to teach the moves of Primordial Qigong. Eventually I realized it was a marvelous practice in itself, and an ideal teaching tool for the principles of Qigong. It is a beautiful Qigong on its own.
After you master the Delightful Dozen, you may want to go on to learn Primordial Qigong, which I also teach.
Deepen and Expand Your Self-Healing Skill
If you have learned the Five Flows Qigong, which is the first video in this series, The Delightful Dozen will expand and deepen your skill. If you haven’t learned the Five Flows, you might want to go back and learn it first.
• For this new video I again take out mysteriousness and make Qigong as accessible as it truly can be. With principles taught on the DVD, you can gain great benefits from a regular Qigong practice.
• The Delightful Dozen is slightly more advanced than the Five Flows, but you can learn it as a first set if you choose. It is also an introductory set for Qigong.
• In terms of the flows of Qi as defined on my Fun With Qigong: Five Flows DVD, the Delightful 12 is mostly balancing, with some charging and some centering.
• I hope you gain rich rewards from your learning, practice and eventual mastery of the Delightful Dozen.
The video is divided into several sections
• An introductory section covers the basics of Qigong training.
• In section two I present and explain the moves of each exercise,.
• Section three is where you deepen your experience and magnify beneficial results by focusing on specific principles in turn. In order and over time learn and practice the Structure Principle; then, get the Movement Principle, Qi Principle, and Consciousness Principle.
• Once you have learned each of the exercises, you can go ahead in the DVD to follow along with the Full Set Practice in Section four.
• Once you are completely familiar with the set, you can practice it on your own.
It’s fun, easy to begin and helps you feel great. The Delightful Dozen can boost your immune system and could protect against illnesses…from colds and flu to far more serious diseases.
The Delightful Dozen trains you to be natural, at ease and empowered in your own body. By incrementally improving how you move, stand, breathe, and think, you improve your state of body, mind and emotions.
The Progression of Learning the Delightful Dozen
This Qigong is simple to begin to learn and most people begin noticing results right away.
Yet, the Delightful Dozen, like most Qigong, has layers and aspects more that add depth, breadth, sophistication that, as you learn them, increase the effectiveness of the practices and magnify results.
1. Basic Idea. First get just the basic idea down—a rough sense of what you are doing with your arms, legs and waist.
2. Structure and Movement. As you get better with a new exercise you begin paying more attention to structural details and movement precision. You also get more able to align the movements with your breathing rhythm.
3. Energy and Consciousness. After a span weeks practicing a move, the exercise becomes more familiar. Now you can begin adding focus on what the Qi flow is doing, how your energy is, and where your mind is. By this time you are attaining a complete exercise, one that is replete with benefits.
The Delightful Dozen
1. Earth’s Breath Rises/Heaven’s Breath Sinks
2. Separating Yin from Yang
3. Holding the Qi Ball at the Dantian
4. Circling the Qi Ball Along the Microcosmic Orbit
5. Moving the Heart Through Time and Space
6. Blending Fire and Water
7. Rooting Left and Right
8. Scooping Energy From Nature
9. Dragon Washes its Face
10. Stirring the Cosmos
11. Drinking the Earth
12. Collecting the Qi
Here is a List of the Principle Articles and Videos on this Qigong Website
Note: These listed articles come from the Blog section of this website. There is also a section of Pages, which contains much information as well. The links to the Pages can be found to the right on any page.
How to use this site.
My first post.
A video explaining the basics of Qigong.
What exactly is Qigong?
A 55 minute overview of Qigong, along with a sample of the Six Healing Sounds.
Practice. Preferably daily.
A video guide to learning the gentle, powerful, principle-based Qigong set called The Five Flows.
All endeavors seeking health should not be excessive. Excess kills. Moderation heals.
Simple approaches to heart health.
Video detailing some Qigong ideas for lowering pressure.
Exercises and resources from a non-invasive, vitalistic, self-empowering approach. Every woman should learn about these methods.
Social justice through heartful needles.
Shock breathing is normal but not natural. Learn how to breathe with ease.
Decrease pain with Qigong.
An introductory form to practice the principles and basic movements of Taiji (Tai chi).
Thoughts and exercises for working on that night-stealer insomnia.
Overview of Qigong exercises for overcoming insomnia.
Charge the Kidneys and connect the Kidneys to the Lower Dantian.
Warm the feet.
Draw Qi from the Lower Dantian to the feet.
Practice extra amounts of Qigong before travel, expected stressful events, or busy times to come.
Qigong will warm and balance your hands.
A second class with the heat camera shows some fascinating photos.
Sink your Qi to relax your being.
Get out of your head and center in the lower abdomen. Health and joy await you. Let go of tension and sink your Qi to feel much, much better. [with a video]
Make hot flashes a thing of the past with this simple, powerful technique. [with a video]
Work within your limits, but don’t let them define you.
A Meditation and Medical Qigong Method for staying sane and clear in an insane world.
The overview video of the “Old Man…” exercise.
The second video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Lungs and sadness.
The third video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Open the heart and release armoring.
The fourth video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Clear worry, excess emotions, and anger from the middle burner.
The fifth video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Putting it all together.
Three ways you might practice: Focused, expanded, or sophisticated ways.
Understanding what Qigong sets are and how to utilize them.
Understanding what Qigong forms are and how to utilize them.
One exercise can take you through all of the flows, if you stick with it.
These gentle, immunity-enhancing exercises truly work.
Use healing sounds and slow, gentle, movements.
How, when, and when not to do Qigong when illness is in the picture.
A baker’s dozen of Qigong workshops your group may want to host.
From Wild Goose Qigong, there is much healing in the intracies of these fun movements.
So much of a person’s stress arises from the backward, upside down, unnatural, but entirely common practice of chest breathing.
With so much heady focus in our world, we lose connection to the whole of our bodies and the sustenance of the earth. Become more whole and balanced by paying attention to your feet as much as to your brain.
Crouch and survive.
Sometimes an entire set is too much.
The Gate of Life is so important and so practical and so unknown.
We desperately need inexpensive, effective healthcare. Qigong is one of the answers to this urgent need.
Gentle tapping methods for wellness.
How to reframe and refocus your experience in the moment with Qigong.
Using the wall sitting exercise.
Success with the wall sitting exercise.
Getting a daily Qigong practice started can reward you with big health dividends later on.
Bending your knees helps alleviate many chronic pain symptoms.
Use the Shaking the Body exercise to release fear, uncertainty, and tension.
Be gentle and moderate with your Qigong to get the most out of it.
“People just have to get used to it.”
Qigong could save huge amounts of money, nationally.
It is downright cheap. It is gold that takes put pennies on the dollar.
The first three principles of Qigong: Practice, Modify, and Refine.
Using the gentleness and gentility of Qigong for giant gains.
Multi-tasking leads to injury.
Qigong is cheap medicine, easily accessible.
Qigong practice cautions.
Invest in Qigong and reap the lifelong rewards.
At least do some Qigong. You will be happy you did.
Healing babies instead of watching the Superbowl.
The thermal imaging camera works great as tool for exploring certain aspects of Qigong. The swashes of bright colors give an overview of how someone’s Qi and blood flow are. The balance of colors show how balanced the body is. The type of color shows the level of warmth in each area. Extech i5 is the camera’s designation.
We took photographs both before and after class. Our class exercises consisted mostly of slow, whole body charging exercises with particuar focus on the hands, Kidneys, legs, Dantian and Lungs.
Following are some of the things we learned.
Even though cold at the begining of class, this persons’s hands were much more balanced to start with than earlier this year.
And the hands are way hotter after this class than before it.
Notice also how the heat of her head becomes more balanced by the end of the class compared to the photo before class. She has distributed some of the head heat down into her arms, hands, torso, and legs.
She is learning how to use Qigong to shift the state of her body in an intentional way.
This person’s hands and fingers heated up a lot from the Qigong.
These photos show that the hands heated up very well from the Qigong, and that there is more energy in the head than is probably healthy. Too much energy in the head is a precursor to many kinds of problems. After viewing the photos, I suggested she focus on her feet more to bring more energetic, thermal and neurologic balance to her entire body.
And focus on the Dantian when practicing Qigong.
In the photos below you can see that clothes keep the heat in. But both the head and the hands were visible and comparing them was useful. A hot head and cold hands are, in general, the reverse of what you want. Seek a cool head and warm or hot hands.
These photos show lots of energy in the head and moderate energy in the hands.
I suggested working on learning how to send that head energy to the palms and fingers.This is actually the essence of a Qigong headache remedy: Send the excess heat in the head down the arms to warm up the hands. The pain in the head will often reduce or go away through this simple prescription.
This person heated her hands up significantly.
My Hands on This Day
My hands are usually warm to hot. They tend to heat up and turn on when I do hands-on healing work with people. People who have practiced Qigong regularly for a few years usually have hands that are warm, alive, and balanced in Qi. This is a generally true even at the beginning of a practice. Warm hands become a way of life. Warm hands, balanced left and right, are usually indicative of health.
Here is another example of the power of Qigong to energize. This student’s palm areas (Lao Gongs in Qigong lingo) are warm to begin with, but his fingers and left thumb are cold.
With Qigong practice this person’s Qi and blood began to suffuse his fingers. This student has been practicing Qigong for less than two years, and is learning well how to reorder his blood and Qi flow.
Sixth Qigong Student
This student’s hands show a cold and imbalanced profile to start. Notice the marked purpleness on the right hand. The left hand is more lavender. Both are cold.
Seventh Qigong Student
Cold fingers with some brightness of heat in the central palms to start.
Take Fasting Slowly
According to an article on Vietnam net on Dec 12, 2010, a man died after two months of fasting, reportedly for a Qigong regimen. This 34-year old martial artist in Ho Chi Minh City was on a water fast in order to clear his blood and organs of toxins so he could build up his Qi . Instead he killed himself from starvation.
Going to the Extreme Does Not Heal
This fellow was practicing a method to the extreme. Extremes do not heal, strengthen, or make healthy. Extremes push boundaries, but healing happens with balance and relaxation. The great, crazed Nietzsche famously wrote that “What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” In the context of a personal health approach, this is nuts. Anything that almost kills you makes you need to rehab and re-strengthen afterward.
Gentle Qigong practice helps us recover from the stresses, messes, strains, and pains of life. Don’t reinjure yourself when you are trying to heal. Don’t break yourself trying to remake yourself into something greater.
My Fasting Story
I once experimented with fasting after reading various enthusiastic books about it and it’s magic. These books weren’t written from a Qigong perspective; more from the American Naturopathic tradition. After I graduated from Chiropractic college when I was 25, I checked myself into a fasting institute in order to capture some of this magic energy and health that the fasting books promised. I wanted a jump start for my upcoming professional career. My water fast was only 11 days, not two months like the guy in the news story.
The fasting institute was pleasant. It was in a former residence in the suburban hills north of San Francisco. A lovely setting amidst the rolling hills, fields, and oaks of Northern California. The doctor and staff there were personable, knowledgeable and committed to their work. There were 8 or 10 of us there for the fasting.
I Got Tired
My experience was not as promised from my studies and inquiries. Friends had told me that after 3 days I would be full of energy. Not having to eat food I would be on a kind of a high. Instead, I got more and more tired. I got around the place in slow, heavy ambles. Once a day I would take a slow, labored walk up the hill on the paved road, feeling a thousand years old in my steps. Maybe I was just so full of toxins that I never did get them cleared all out.
I Got Hungry
I was also told that I wouldn’t feel hungry after 3 or 4 days. Yet hunger never left me. I will tell you, just from this little civilized test, starvation is no fun. I hope I never have to face it for real. I got hungrier and hungrier. I never stopped craving food; never stopped thinking about it, longing for it, daydreaming of it. On day 9 of the fast I was the sickest, clearing toxins through my amber urine.
By day 11 I was no longer sick, but was so hungry, so physically and mentally frail. I was too tired to read much even. To have the time and leisure and books, but no energy for reading is a kind of a hell for a bibliophile like me.
Coming off the Fast
On day 12 I came off the fast, starting my caloric intake with a glass of watermelon juice each at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yummy. I savored that fruity succor. Another day or two of juices and then on to giant, dry salads that took an hour to eat, chewing at maximum speed. After the last day—number 17—I left the institute and drove home. Still weak and hungry, I craved fat and bought packs of macadamia nuts at a gas station/store. How delicious those were.
I Felt Weak for Weeks
I felt fragile and feeble in my body for several weeks after the water fast. I lost weight, but I also lost energy and oomph. It set me back, rather than vaulting me forward. It may be that I fasted wrong, or not long enough, or it just wasn’t right for my constitution. For me anyway, fasting wasn’t the answer. It would be 5 more years before I discovered the non-weakening power of Qigong.
Fasting should be taken in small amounts, a day or 3 for most people is plenty. Short, periodic fasts are a time-tested way to more health. Longer fasts may be appropriate for some people, occasionally, but I wouldn’t put much trust in going too long. Be careful of extremes of anything. Any extreme is an imbalanced state that doesn’t take into account the other extreme. It is a one-sided, lopsided, untenable position, for the other side must come along to balance out the lever.