Archive for seniors

Balancing Tai Chi

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.

Taiji wardoff 2d

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. 

Left Line

1. Opening Tai Chi (Face North):

     – Feet-Together

      – 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




Qigong and Eyesight

Qigong and Seeing

Until a few years ago I always had superb eyesight. The notion of wearing corrective glasses was something I never thought of—it was something other people needed to do, but not me. I knew that my eyesight would someday diminish, but that was in a vague and distant future. About three years ago I gave in to my increasing difficulty with reading clearly. I bought a few pairs of cheap reading glasses. Reading, to me, is almost as important as eating. In fact it is my necessary nourishment, the food for my mind, memory, intellect, understanding, entertainment, and encouragement. It is my main path to learning and self-education. In that way, the use of reading glasses has sustained me for the last 3 years.

Glasses in Middle Age

Glasses are nothing unusual for someone of my age, now fully into middle age. However there is another side to this story. For many years I collected and read books and notes about methods for strengthening one’s eyesight. The eyes, like most any other part of one’s body, can be exercised, educated, improved, or maintained in health. There are many sets of exercises developed by different cultures, different physicians, different teachers. There are many examples of people who did improve their eyesight—often dramatically—with such exercises. I know people who formerly wore glasses who do not anymore. One of them wore them from boyhood on. Now about sixty years of age, he was in his thirties when someone lent him a vinyl record album of eye exercise. He listened to the album; did the exercises; and put down his glasses for good.

I’ve known about these exercises, but haven’t much applied myself with them. I rarely practiced them. There were always other priorities in my Qigong practices. Finally I have decided to bring eyesight work up a few notches. For the rest of the year (at least) I will be leading people in Eye Qigong as a part my Simple Taiji classes.


Brightening Your Eyesight

The following Qigong exercise can improve your vision and aid in healing any eye condition you may have. By energetically and consciously connecting to your organs of sight; by creating more Qi circulation; and by enlivening the nerves, you can speed up the healing process of your eyesight.

I first gleaned this excellent exercise from an article on Lotus Qigong by Dianna Sun and Bingkun Hu from the June/July, 1996, issue of Kung Fu magazine. I have updated and enhanced the exercise to express my own understanding of Qi and self-healing. Several people I have taught this to have had noticeable improvements in some serious eye conditions.

1. Charge Palms and Connect to the Light

Rub your palms together until they are warm and energized. Place these Qi-charged palms together in a prayer position directly above your head, with your fingers pointing up. Imagine you are connecting to heavenly light or starlight—the light of seeing. Now draw your hands down to the front of your upper face, staying connected to the light of the stars. Separate the hands and place them two or three inches in front of the eyes. Feel the center of each palm radiating Qi and Light to its respective eye (right palm to right eye, left to left).

2. Palms in Clockwise Circles

Move your palms in small clockwise circles in front of the eyes, nine times. Both palms move in the same direction at the same time; they are in synchrony. Clockwise is down to the left. The palms circle in about 6 inches of circumference.

The eyes are open and relaxed. Do not follow the palms with the eyes, rather receive the circling energies of the hands. As you circle, feel the Qi and healing warmth of the hands penetrate the eyes, eye muscles, eye fluids, ocular nerves, even to the back of your brain (occipital lobe.) These circling motions will get stagnant energy in your eyes recirculating and refreshing. Stagnation leads to disease; motion leads to healing.

 3. Palms in Counterclockwise Circles

Move your palms in nine small counterclockwise circles in front of the eyes. As you hold your hands in front of your eyes, be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows heavy—basic practices of good Qigong. Also, keep breathing with ease into your lower belly. Belly breathing helps keep the eyes, neck, head and everything relaxed and flowing.

4. Palms Forward and Back

Move your palms forward and back in front of the eyes, going out 10 to 12 inches and then back to the starting spot of a couple of inches from the eyes. Feel like you are stretching Qi from your eyes, then pressing it back in. The energy connection between your palms and your eyes continues throughout the movements. This refines and builds the Qi by a wave-like kneading of the Qi. Do this nine times also.

5. Rest and Re-center

Lower your hands to your Lower Dantian (lower abdomen) and rest for a breath or two there. Forget your eyes and feel your Lower Dantian.


Repeat the entire sequence two more times.

Frequency of Practice

For vision health maintenance, practice this simple set once a day.

For helping with active vision problems, practice it several times a day. The biggest key is to feel the sense of movement in the eyes from the hand motions. If you feel it, you are getting benefits from it. What you feel you can heal. Your eyes will begin to self-heal because you are changing stuckness into dynamic motion.

Make a Study of It

There are many more exercises and principles for good and longstanding eyesight in Qigong and in many other bodies of knowledge. The above set is a beneficial one, but only one of many. If improving your eyesight naturally intrigues you, there are many resources available in print and on the web to learn more.



Super Gentle Qigong

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
  • Relaxation

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


The Movements

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.

                                Move softly.

                                Move slowly.


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.


Master List of Articles

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.

Fun with Qigong Homepage

How to use this site.

Welcome to Fun with Qigong

My first post.

Introduction to Qigong

A video explaining the basics of Qigong.

A Simple Explanation of Qigong

What exactly is Qigong?

Audio Interview

A 55 minute overview of Qigong, along with a sample of the Six Healing Sounds.

The First Principle of Qigong

Practice. Preferably daily.

My First DVD: Fun with Qigong

A video guide to learning the gentle, powerful, principle-based Qigong set called The Five Flows.

Moderation and Fasting

All endeavors seeking health should not be excessive. Excess kills. Moderation heals.

Healing the Heart

Simple approaches to heart health.

Reducing High Blood Pressure

Video detailing some Qigong ideas for lowering pressure.

Breast Health

Exercises and resources from a non-invasive, vitalistic, self-empowering approach. Every woman should learn about these methods.

Inexpensive Acupuncture

Social justice through heartful needles.

Sudden Inhalation Syndrome

Shock breathing is normal but not natural. Learn how to breathe with ease.

Qigong and Fibromyalgia

Decrease pain with Qigong.

Simple Taiji Video

An introductory form to practice the principles and basic movements of Taiji (Tai chi).


Insomnia Article

Thoughts and exercises for working on that night-stealer insomnia.

Insomnia Video 1

Overview of Qigong exercises for overcoming insomnia.

Insomnia Video 2

Charge the Kidneys and connect the Kidneys to the Lower Dantian.

Insomnia Video 3

Warm the feet.

Insomnia Video 4

Draw Qi from the Lower Dantian to the feet. 

Front-loading Qigong

Practice extra amounts of Qigong before travel, expected stressful events, or busy times to come.

Hot Hands of Qi

Qigong will warm and balance your hands.

Qigong and Warm Hands: Part 1

A second class with the heat camera shows some fascinating photos.

Relax Your Shoulders, Descend Your Qi

Sink your Qi to relax your being.

Qigong and the Upside Down Snowman

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]

You Can Cure Hot Flashes

Make hot flashes a thing of the past with this simple, powerful technique. [with a video]

Qigong, Vitality and “Limitations”

Work within your limits, but don’t let them define you.

Four-Part Protection Process

A Meditation and Medical Qigong Method for staying sane and clear in an insane world.

Alleviating Depression and Other Traumatic Emotions 1

The overview video of the “Old Man…” exercise.

Alleviating Depression and Other Traumatic Emotions 2

The second video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Lungs and sadness.

Alleviating Depression and Other Traumatic Emotions 3

The third video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Open the heart and release armoring.

Alleviating Depression and Other Traumatic Emotions 4

The fourth video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Clear worry, excess emotions, and anger from the middle burner.

Alleviating Depression and Other Traumatic Emotions 5

The fifth video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Putting it all together.

Three Types of Qigong Practice: Singles, Sets, and Sequences

Three ways you might practice: Focused, expanded, or sophisticated ways.

Qigong Sets

Understanding what Qigong sets are and how to utilize them.

Qigong Sequences

Understanding what Qigong forms are and how to utilize them.

Five Flows in a Single Exercise

One exercise can take you through all of the flows, if  you stick with it.

Preventing Colds and Flu with Qigong

These gentle, immunity-enhancing exercises truly work.

More on Preventing Colds and Flu with Qigong

Use healing sounds and slow, gentle, movements.

Qigong Strategies for Illness

How, when, and when not to do Qigong when illness is in the picture.

Qigong Workshops

A baker’s dozen of Qigong workshops your group may want to host.

The World-Famous First 64 Form

From Wild Goose Qigong, there is much healing in the intracies of these fun movements.

Reduce Stress with the Super Powerful Method of Belly Breathing

So much of a person’s stress arises from the backward, upside down, unnatural, but entirely common practice of chest breathing.

Pay Attention to Your Feet

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.

Save Yourself from a Lightning Strike

Crouch and survive.

Simplified Exercise Set

Sometimes an entire set is too much.

Open and Move from the Gate of Life

The Gate of Life is so important and so practical and so unknown.

Can Qigong Save America (and the World?)

We desperately need inexpensive, effective healthcare. Qigong is one of the answers to this urgent need.

Slap Yourself Healthy

Gentle tapping methods for wellness.

The Three Intentional Corrections

How to reframe and refocus your experience in the moment with Qigong.

Healing Knee Pain 1

Using the wall sitting exercise.

Healing Knee Pain 2

Success with the wall sitting exercise.

Change Your Life in Two Minutes a Day

Getting a daily Qigong practice started can reward you with big health dividends later on.

Bend Your Knees for Health’s Sake

Bending your knees helps alleviate many chronic pain symptoms.

When in Doubt, Shake

Use the Shaking the Body exercise to release fear, uncertainty, and tension.

Exercise with Ease

Be gentle and moderate with your Qigong to get the most out of it.

Qigong Will Soon Be a Common Sight

“People just have to get used to it.”

Spend a Billion Dollars to Save a Trillion

Qigong could save huge amounts of money, nationally.

Qigong is a Medical Bargain

It is downright cheap. It is gold that takes put pennies on the dollar.

Three Little Words Can Change your Life

The first three principles of Qigong: Practice, Modify, and Refine.

I Healed My Smashed Toe with Qigong

Using the gentleness and gentility of Qigong for giant gains.

Stay Centered or Suffer the Consequences

Multi-tasking leads to injury.

Breathe When You Type

Qigong is cheap medicine, easily accessible.

Train Your Qigong in Calmness

Qigong practice cautions.

The Secret Practice of True Wealth

Invest in Qigong and reap the lifelong rewards.

The Half-Half Rule

At least do some Qigong. You will be happy you did.

The Baby Bowl

Healing babies instead of watching the Superbowl.

Comments (1)

A Very Simple Exercise to Heal the Heart

In a short video that I have included below is a simple Qigong-like exercise to help a heart with any excess condition. Excess conditions are those of too much Yang in the heart, (or too little Yin elsewhere). High blood pressure, angina, tachycardia, and other physical heart issues can be the result. This exercise can also be helpful for such issues as anxiety, insomnia, over-excitement, night sweats, mental and emotional problems and dizziness.

In a two minute video clip, Stephen Sinatra, a cardiologist, talks about how the arms are extensions of the heart. Early in embryogenesis the arms came from the heart area.


“If you want to work with someone’s heart, work with the energy of the arms.”

He makes the point that conductors, who are raising their arms in motion, live healthily into their 90’s.

The key to the video is the little exercise Stephen Sinatra shows. He recommends swinging your arms back and forth a couple hundred times a day to keep the thoracic duct open.

The thoracic duct is the major pathway in the center of the chest where lymph flows from the abdomen and legs back to the heart

The video style is intense (itself a stress on the heart), but short.

The Heart/Arm Connection

I’ve often noticed this heart and arm connection with my healing clients and Qigong students. Symptoms in the chest can often be relieved by opening the shoulders and guiding attention, sensation and Qi down the arms, and off the fingers. In Medical Qigong training we are taught to take a patient’s excess heart Qi out of the heart, down three of the meridians of the arm (Small Intestine, Pericardium and Heart). Dredging down the entire arm, not just the meridians, works quite well also.

The arms and hands can be thought of the external manifestations of the heart. It is with the arms that we create, or hug ,or hold tight, or push away, or fight for our space. A post and video I made for lowering high blood pressure prominently uses the arms to release heart tension.

I almost included arm swinging in my Five Flows Qigong Set, and even made a preliminary video of it. (I put it into Five Flows Qigong Set 2). Here it is:

YouTube Preview Image

The swinging exercise has other benefits to the heart. It opens the thoracic outlet, relaxes the shoulders, sends blood to to the hands to relieve excess, and improves lymph flow from the arms via the axillary nodes and clavicular pathways.

This exercise—like just about everything else in life—works even better with lower abdominal breathing.

Note: Just about any Kidney strengthening exercises can help with excess heart issues. The fiery heart needs to be supported, nourished and controlled some by the water energy of the Kidneys. This is according to the useful (and quite functional) pattern of the Five Elemental Energies.

Comments (2)

Qigong in the Gardens: 2010

Qigong Classes on Monday Evenings in July

This Summer will be the seventh year I have offered free Summer Qigong classes. The first year I held them in Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham. Every Summer since I have held them at the glorious garden space of my home. 

These classes are open to anyone intrigued or entranced by Qigong, whether new to the art or a seasoned practitioner.  

Qigong in Nature

Yin Yang and Nature


Free Qigong in the Gardens

Summer 2010 

When:     Each Monday in July (July 5, 12, 19, and 26) 

Time:     6:00 pm to 7:00 pm 

Cost:      None  

Where:   1095 East Axton Road 

Who:      Anyone interested; and whoever they invite  as well.  

Directions and Confirmations

There is no need to confirm you are coming. Just show up. However if you need directions, please contact me directly and I will send them to you. 

Come to any of the classes you can get to, or to all of them. 

Contact Robert Bates to get directions 

2010 Free Qigong in the Gardens whole page

2010 Free Qigong Classes postcards (multiple copies)

Qigong is an Investment

Qigong (“Chee Gung”) is the art, science, and philosophy of natural healing and personal energy management. Qigong is extremely effective in increasing wellness, ensuring longevity, and curing many ailments. Qigong is remarkably effective as a significant health care approach, yet amazingly inexpensive (especially this particular series of classes). Practicing Qigong is a superb investment for both building wellness and saving money by staving off current or future health problems. Someday Qigong may be a primary part of American healthcare. The way the medical money tide is growing and insurance avalanche is going, that day may come soon. Start learning it soon so you will be ready. 

Gentle Exercises for Grand Results

This summer’s focus will be on The Five Flows Set, and on specific Qigong Prescriptions. The Five Flows Set is a satisfying set of slow and gentle exercises that brings great balance to the body and calmness to the mind. Prescriptions are specific exercises designed to help particular health conditions. The Qigong Prescriptions will include exercises for several common problems, including colds and allergies, insomnia, hot flashes, heart issues, and nausea. We will start each class with the basic Five Flows Qigong. Then I’ll lead people through particular Medical Qigong Prescriptions. 



Breathing Workshop

Awaken the Breath

When:         Saturday, June 5, 2010

Time:         10:00 to 2:00

Cost:          Only $40

Location:    Robert’s beautiful healing studio at

                  1095 East Axton Road, North of Bellingham.

Sign Up:     (360) 398-7466, or


Breathe Bigger, Better and Easier

Breath Practices are some of the most powerful healing exercises you can do. You can insert conscious breathing into just about any part of your day and be better off for it. You can benefit from conscious breathing practices virtually your entire life. Any amount of good breathing you do adds to your health.

With These Breathing Practices You Will

  •  Massage the internal organs for greater all around health
  •  Keep the head clear and promote mental clarity
  •  Help move the lymph throughout the body, increasing immunity function
  •  Increase your energy
  •  Calm your emotions
  •  Increase your lifespan
  •  Decrease tension
  •  Sleep deeper
  •  And much, much more

 What We Will Cover in This Workshop

  • Qigong breathing practices, each with different health goals
  • Simple tests to assess how well you are breathing
  • Easy ways to integrate vastly more quality breathing into your   everyday life
  • The Framingham Study: How your breath capacity can accurately predict your lifespan; and how to definitely increase your lifespan with breathing practices

 Breathing Exercises We Will Practice

Follow the Breath. Just watch. Notice how you are actually breathing. You can learn a lot about yourself this way.

Graduated Quiet Breathing Meditation. Build awareness and sink into a relaxed, healing mode of being as you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, coordinate your consciousness and balance your brain

Abdominal Breathing. The foundation of proper breathing. Breathe into and out of your abdomen, letting it expand with the inhale and flatten with exhaling.

Belly Book Breathing. Re-teach yourself how to use your diaphragm to pull air into your body by expanding your abdomen, instead of lifting your shoulders to bring air in.

Pelvic Breathing. Sometimes breathe low into your pelvis to build power and prevent many problems.

Low Back and Kidney Breathing. Drawing the air into the lower back to expand that area and fill the Kidney’s with Qi.

Filling the Vase. Fill your torso with breath like pouring water into a vase; the water fills up the lower parts first before working up. Empty your breath in reverse.

Gentle Breath Holding. Holding the breath for a short time—repeatedly—to help relax tensions in the breathing apparatus.


The Remembering Breath. Put up green dot stickers. Every time you see the dot, take a deep breath. This will give you many deep breaths each day.

10 Percent More. Add just a little to the size or seconds of each breath.

Breathing Awareness Set (to take home.) Begin to take more control of your daily breathing habits.


You Can Can Cure Hot Flashes

Hot flashes can sometimes be eliminated in a moment by the use of a simple healing sound from the Chinese Art of Qigong.  I have seen these amazing shifts happen on several occasions with different people.

A hot flash means you have too much heat being produced in the body. Usually the extra heat rises into the head, making you uncomfortable. It could arise for a number of reasons: sudden hormonal shifts, too much sunshine, a liver working too hard, or being drained of vitality so that your body has trouble keeping you cool.

YouTube Preview Image

Healing Sounds to Clear Your Body

Part of the expansive collection of Qigong exercises is the art of healing sounds. Over many hundreds of years, Chinese Qigong practitioners discovered and refined particular sounds. The basic use of healing sounds in this discipline is for cleansing the body, mind, and emotions of stuck, stagnant or excessive energy. Sounds vibrate the tissues, releasing contracting-tension and shaking loose what is stuck.

“Sheeeee” Helps Hot Flashes

Here is the sound for excess, high heat in the body: “Sheeeeee.” It is pronounced and performed in a special way. You will simultaneously do these three actions:

  • Draw your hands from the top of your head down through your legs and into the earth. The eyes and head follow the hands down.
  • Imagine and visualize and sense that you are clearing your body of extra heat from head to feet. It is like your cells are being showered with cooling water, or the inner windows are being squeegeed clean.
  • It is a descending tone “Sheeeee.” This dropping sound starts in the high range and descends very low, like going from soprano to basso. The farther down your body you go with your hands and consciousness, the deeper becomes the sound.

Note: Do not bend over as you get closer to the ground. If you bend too much you will, via gravity, put energy in the head. With this exercise you want to get energy out of the head, not put more in.


Healthy Joint Qigong Classes

In March and April of 2010 Robert Bates is teaching Healthy Joint Qigong.

To Sign Up for Classes: (360) 398-7466, or email

Days: Mondays and Fridays. Take one or both days for the same price.

Dates: March 8 through April 16

Time: 12:00 to 1:00

Cost: $60 for the 6-week series

Location: Robert’s Healing Studio: 1095 E. Axton Road, Bellingham, WA 98226

In Healthy Joint Qigong You Will Learn

  • Joint Rotation exercises for clearing the joints and increasing range of motion
  • Joint Expansion practices for increasing the space between bones
  • Joint Pulsing practices for building Qi in your joints
  • Joint Strengthening exercises to add more resilience to your joints
  • Joint Massage techniques for bringing blood, Qi, and lymph through joints
  • Bone Breathing meditations for clearing the joints and charging them up

Joint Motion Exercises Can

  • Lubricate the Joints through motion
  • Help you feel better. Joint exercises can decrease arthritic and creaky pain
  • Decrease calcium and other mineral buildup
  • Help you stand and be taller: Expand the body, rather than be compacted
  • Decrease the chance of injuries
  • Be used as a wake up in the morning
  • Be used as a warm up before being physically active
  • Increase your flexibility
  • Restore much lost joint health

Some Reasons for Qigong Joint Exercises

Health is movement and movement leads to health. Stagnation, in contrast, leads to illness. Impaired joints decrease the amount and types of movement you can do. While it is important to stretch and exercise the muscles and soft tissues of the body, the joints also need to be “stretched” and exercised. As a general rule, gently and frequently moving them in through their natural range of motion, helps them heal, helps them reconfigure closer to the way they were meant to work. If we exercise our joints we will be healthier and feel better. The joints have no blood flow, so they depend upon your movement to pump the synovial fluid through, and the toxins and detritus out.

Comments (1)

Qigong in the Public Consciousness

Qigong is slowly making inroads on the consciousness of America. An article on one of my students was recently in the local newspaper here in Bellingham, Washington, USA, North American Continent, Planet Earth.


Lee Willis has been benefiting from Qigong for a decade or so. I find Lee to be one of the most present, friendly, happy, helpful and engaging people I know. The photo and article don’t quite show her effervescence. And she vehemently denies–as the article speaks of–that she is a sufferer or victim of any kind. In the decade plus I have known her, I agree with this self-assessment. She leads not just an active life, but a thorough life.

Lee Willis in 2007

Qigong Awareness is Growing

Anyway, read the article. The benefits and joys of Qigong (and Tai Chi) are trickling up, seeping into general consciousness. Maybe we will soon see a bigger awareness of these arts. Most individuals–and the country as a whole–would be better off practicing these internal movement arts.

Lee Willis teaches a short, gentle Tai Chi form that was designed for people with arthritis (whether or not they are victims), but the form is actually great training for anybody seeking better internal and external balance, smoother movement and less pain in their bodies.

Modify Your Movements When You Need to

Lee mentions the principle of modifying in the article, which is so key in making a practice work for whatever your current physical needs, abilities, and areas of concern. To restate the principle of modifying: Find a way to move that doesn’t hurt, whether this means using less effort, doing slightly different movements, or making the range of the motion smaller. By modifying as necessary, you engage your body in relaxation, which engenders healing responses at all levels of your being.

The Omnipresence of Limitations

Another point she touches upon is the fact that most of us have some “limitations” in our health to deal with. Actually, everyone does. Working within the boundaries of whatever your current abilities are–rather than fantasizing or blithely stepping into the dangerous water of overdoing–is so much of what Qigong is all about. When engaged in healing practices, activated movement within relaxation is necessary. Working within your limits is both wise and pleasurable. Pushing into pain is the path to problems.


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