Monday, February 18, 2008

Qigong basics

Reported Benefits of Qigong

- Improve and maintain health
- Develop greater power for martial arts
- Develop power that can rehabilitate failing health
- Recharge the human spirit
- Arrest illness
- Keep disease at bay
- Prolong vigorous life
- Regain lost years
- Attain proper circulation of the blood, find emotional balance and stability
- Increase the body’s resistance against illness and consequently be rewarded with a longer life
- Cleans the blood, congestions are removed, stiff joints are limbered.

What is qigong?

Chi /Qi

To the yogis of India, chi is known as Prana.
To the Tibetan Lamas,
Shinto priests of Japan cal it
ki, or sakia tundra
The ancient sages of china call it

‘The art of cultivating air pressure within the body’

- Chi kung is about increasing and controlling chi.
- Chi Kung – internal energy development
- Develop chi by practicing for short periods each day.

Chi can be cultivated by learning breathing exercises.

In Latin, the
spir of spirit or respirate, means to breath. Spirit is the breath of life, or life energy, which is another word for qi.

Breath – breathing is the most important biological function of the organism. Practice correct breathing habits for continued vitality and freedom from diseases.
We’ll begin each class by becoming aware of our breath, discovering the movement of air in our bodies, and enhancing our understanding of how the breath affects the body and mind.

Basic Theory

The premise of all Traditional Chinese Medicine is that energy flows through the body, and we are likely to get sick when it gets blocked off. Qigong’s goal is to allow the mind and body to release the past, and fears of the future in order to live a more flowing, healthful life

Chi was discovered by observing the correspondence between the ways people feel and the workings of nature. Change is an integral part of life. Humans are a part of nature.

The study of chi shifted from observing its flow to discovering ways to enhance chi for longer, healthier lives.

There are four main groups who have studied chi in the history of China:
- Confucians – focus to ensure that we are fit to perform our functions in society.
- Physicians – health, balance
- Buddhists – use chi to free themselves from the sufferings of this world through awareness. Using mostly still meditation and breathing exercises.
- Taoists – withdrawal from society to perfect the self and become immortal.

Part of chi theory is the concept of Yin and Yang

Yin /Yang – nature strives to harmonize opposing forces so that things are neutral and balanced.
Included in yin/yang theory are the five elements – metal, wood, water, fire, earth.

Chi is affected by periodic cycles such as air pressure, wind, seasons, humidity and time of day. Chi is affected by geography such as altitude, distance from bodies of water, distance from the equator.

Nature has a myriad of variations, and so does chi.

Our aim is to be balanced, just as nature balances itself out.

Chi responds to sounds, emotions, food. Chi is integral to health.
In Chinese Medica there are about 7000 different breathing exercises. In Traditional Chinese hospitals, physicians may prescribe a qigong exercise to help heal a problem, much the same way that a western doctor might prescribe a drug.

Qigong is a form of meditation. Qigong can actively be used to treat a specific organ or an area of pain and discomfort by directing qi to that area.

We understand that our mind can make us sick. Worry can cause an ulcer, chronic anxiety can cause a heart attack. However, we resist in believing we can heal ourselves with the same mind.

Qigong can help us mentally, emotionally, and physically, but the beginning of healing entails becoming more aware. Awareness necessarily means being aware of the positive and negative aspects of our reactions to qigong. The new self awareness is part of the healing process and you will gain enormous benefits if you stick to your training.

As you practice, you may experience tension and even anxiety. Do not let that stop you or make you think you are doing it wrong. The emergence of these feelings is an opportunity to begin releasing them, using your new tools of breath and life energy.

If your exercises make you feel anxious or tense, its usually because you are trying too hard to make the tools work.

Life energy flows effortlessly through us when we let the mind and body go. Life energy is completely effortless.


The Horse Stance

Increases balance, strengthens legs evenly, reflex stability, improves circulation, aids digestion and ends constipation. Focuses chi to the Tan Tien.

The Bow Stance

Increases stability. Gives you a solid base. Strengthens legs. Roots chi.

Read Taoist Texts

Notes taken from:
Chi Kung for Health and Martial Arts Dr Yang, Jwing Ming
The Power of Chi, Geoff Pike
The complete Idiot’s guide to t’ai Chi and qigong, Bill Douglas

No comments: