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 #7).
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
- A balanced sense of the four polarities of the body
Super-Gentle Qigong Emphasizes
- Hand and arm motions
- Slow motions
- Synchronizing breath with the movement of the hands and arms
- Simple, English language, non-philosophical, not technical terms
- Smooth movement
- Equal speed of movement in both directions
- Body, mind and emotional 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
- Good vertical posture (if sitting or standing)
The First Three Principles of Qigong
Practice: Practice often to get results. Every day 20 to 30 minutes is a good goal. Maybe over two or three sessions of 10 or 15 minutes each during the day.
Modify: If a movement hurts or causes tension, lesson the intensity or physical size of the movement. Make it smaller and easier and you will stay relaxed and get results.
Refine: Day by day and week by week, gently seek to improve your skill and knowledge.
Two Subsets of Four
The eight simple maneuvers of Super Gentle Qigong can be viewed in two general categories of four movements each.
First Four Movements: Digestion of Qi
The first four movements enhance your ability to take in, assimilate and eliminate energy. These four exercises generally help with digestion by balancing what is known as the Triple Burner in Chinese Medicine; whether that be of food, air, liquids, experiences or emotions.
1. Rub Around the Belly Button
Slowly and with intent into the depth of your abdomen, 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.
2. 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. Find just the right slow rate of brushing to feel the movement internally. The more you feel the more you heal.
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.
3. 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.
4. Hands Up and Down
Palms up-fingertips face each other at the level of the lower belly. Inhale as you slowly raise hands to the chest. With all the exhale turn the 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.
Next Four Movements: The Four Polarities
Exercises 5-8 help to align and balance the four polarities of your body. You become more in electromagnetic and neurological balance between up and down, front and back, left and right, and inside and outside. Becoming more whole and less fragmented is the pathway to greater healing. Your body will be better able to heal your known (and unknown) tensions, troubles, and traumas.
5. Turn Palms Over
Upper arms hang at your sides. Elbows are bent 90 degrees, with the palms extended in front of your torso. 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.
Neurological Benefit: Balances the top and bottom of the body.
6. Forward and Backward Rocking
Inhale: Rock forward on your feet while letting the relaxed arms arc backwards a little (for stability).
Exhale: Rock back while raising the arms slightly forward.
Note: If your are doing this sitting, rock forward and back with your palms stabilized on your thighs.
Main Principle: Let body rest on the feet.
Other Principles: Build balance. Become more aware of the ground. Relax the shoulders.
Become aware of the ground.
Relax the shoulders.
Neurological benefit: Balances the front and back of the body.
7. 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.
Other Principle: Having heavy elbows relaxes the shoulders and neck.
Neurological benefit: Balances the left and right sides of the body.
8. 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.)
Neurological benefit: Balances the internal aspects of your body with the external aspects.
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.