Five Flows

Basic Principle: Gentle Movement Fosters Health

The Five Flows Qigong set is a health-promotion practice that is accessible, doable, and useful for people of all levels of health. Anybody with a desire for greater health and longevity can practice it and harvest its many fruits. High level athletes can benefit as much as an older person because the set teaches internal relaxation and coordination of body, mind, breath, and energy.

In the Five Flows Qigong set, I offer you a sensible, easy-to-understand series of foundational Qigong moves. It is designed to be approachable and to give definite results right away. This set is not technical, confusingly philosophical, scientifically complex, or super-serious. The exercises of the Five Flows Qigong set teach important health principles that you can use for all of your life’s activities. The exercises also bring benefits just from performing them.

A Qigong System of Practicing

There are many ways to practice Qigong. The Five Flows is one effective pattern you can follow to get the most out of your training. Five Flows Qigong will teach you how to distinguish what the purposes of different exercises are so you can use them to greater, more focused advantage.

Five Parts, Twelve Exercises

I chose to have Five sections and twelve exercises because they give an organized structure to the set that makes it easier to remember. Five and twelve are common numbers used in Chinese Medicine and Chinese culture. For instance, with the Five Element Theory and twelve pairs of meridians. Not that you need to know anything about the Five Elements or meridians. For me, I like the mental and aesthetic container that 5 and 12 create for this set.

Overview of the Five Qi Flows

Five Flows Qigong is an outline structure to follow; once you understand how to sequentially use the Five Flows you can insert other Qigong exercises into its slots.
Five flows is accessible and doable by people of all levels of health, and of people of all but the youngest of ages. From school age children to centenarians, the Five Flows Qigong set can bring greater joy and vibrancy to their life.

 Five Flows Qigong Teaches Principles

The Five Flows Qigong set teaches principles you can apply to all of your life, principles of movement, posture, breath, and being. These essential principles are taught so you can practice with, simplicity, physical ease, fun. This is not to say that the exercises are simplistic; for they are actually many-layered and contain much wisdom not immediately apparent. These lessons and deepenings are to be learned, uncovered, And embraced later.

The Five Flows Are:

1.  Warm-ups
2.  Clearing
3.  Charging
4.  Balancing
5.  Centering

Five Flows Set Overview

Following is an brief look at the exercises and basic principles and aims of the Five Flows Qigong Set. On other pages on this website are more in-depth descriptions of the exercises. For more guidance, see my DVD. In addition, I am currently working on a book describing the Five Flows Qigong in detail. This will be available both as an e-book, and a traditional volume. I aim to have the book ready for sale sometime in 2009.

Three Basic Principles of Practice

1)    Practice Everyday. Practice is the Father of skill and the Mother of healing.
2)    Modify When Necessary. Practice within your limits. Never force a move. Find a smaller, easier way if a movement hurts.
3)    Refine Over Time. Grow your understanding and build your skill to attain even greater benefits.

All 12 exercises are done with the following posture:

•    Feet are shoulder-width.
•    Toes point forward.
•    Knees are slightly bent.
•    Shoulders are over the hips.
•    Always be breathing as deeply and fully as comfortable.
•    Be as relaxed as possible in all the exercises.

First Flow: Warming Up


Warm ups get your body and mind ready for practice.


1) Shaking the Body. 1-2 minutes.

Movement: Bounce up and down.

Purpose: Releases tension.

Main Qigong Principle: Think less and feel more.

2) Turning the Waist. 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Movement: Turn the torso left and right.

Purpose: Opens the waist.

Main Qigong Principle: Turn the torso with the waist.

3) Waking the Breath. 6-12 reps.

Movement: Inhale raising straight arms high; exhale lowering straight arms to the sides.

Purpose: Deepens breathing.

Main Qigong Principle: Coordinate breath with movement.

Second Flow: Cleansing


Cleansing purges tensions, toxicities and energy blockages.


4. Outer Qi Shower. 1-2 times through the cycle.

Movement: Tap hands all over the body.

Purpose: Vibrates the dust loose.

Main Qigong Principle: Purge stagnations to improve Qi flow and health.

5. Inner Qi Shower. 6-12 reps.

Movement: Cleanse cells with descending hands and a vocally descending “Shee” tone.

Purpose: Clears the cells of sludge.

Main Qigong Principle: Use sound vibrations to clear the body of toxicity.

Third Flow: Charging

Charging helps you absorb, build and tonify with new, clean energy.


6. Charging the Center. 12-24 reps.

Movement: Hands on lower abdomen. Slightly tilt the pelvis with an inhale.

Exhale to neutral pelvis.

Purpose: Builds power in the lower energy center.

Main Qigong Principle A: Belly Breathing.

Main Qigong Principle B: Pelvic Tilt.

Main Qigong Principle C: Draw Qi to the Dantian

7. Charging the Kidneys. 12-24 reps.

Movement: Hands on the lower back. Slightly tilt the pelvis with an inhale. Exhale to neutral pelvis.

Purpose: Builds energy in the Kidneys.

Main Qigong Principle: Open and charge the Gate of Life.

8. Charging the Qi Ball. 12-24 reps.

Movement: Hands at the level of the lower energy center, expand out and compress.

Purpose: Builds healing energy in the body.

Main Qigong Principle: Use the whole body to move the hands.

Fourth Flow: Balancing

Balancing regulates and equalizes the energy in your body.

9. Streaming the Fountains. 6-12 reps each way.

Movement: Bring Earth energy up the inside column of the body and down the outside orb in a fountain. Reverse the directions for Heaven energy.

Purpose: Energizes and balances your body between Earth and Heaven.

Main Qigong Principle: Keep hips, knees and ankles centered and lined up.

10. Riding the Waves. 12-24 reps.

Movement: Raise arms up and down, pelvic tilting on the down.

Purpose: Balances the energy flow vertically in the body.

Main Qigong Principle: Move with the lymph rhythm.

Fifth Flow: Centering

Centering helps you internalize the energy and meditate.


11. Centering the Qi. 6-12 reps.

Movement: Reach up and out, then lower the hands, gathering energy to the lower energy center.

Purpose: Guides energy to the body’s center to store for later use.

Main Qigong Principle: Guide the Qi back to the center.

12. Nurturing the Qi. 6-12 Breaths.

Movement: Hands and mind on the lower energy center with eyes closed.

Purpose: Lets the healing changes from practice sink into your being.

Main Qigong Principle: Balance activity with quiescence