Getting Started

Introduction to the Practice of Qigong

 

 

do qigong now 

FAQ

Is a more complex type of Qigong better than a simple one?

Since there are so many types of Qigong to choose from, how will I know which one is right for me?

How can I find a teacher in my area?

How do I know how good a teacher is?

Can I learn Taiji or Qigong just from books or videos?When is the best time to practice?

How often should I practice?Is it OK to mix different Qigong systems?

Is it true that people should find one type of Qigong they enjoy doing, and NOT mix it with another form of Qigong?

 

Beginning Qigong DVDs, Videos, and Books

Qigong (“chee-gong”) is an over five-thousand year-old Chinese health method that combines slow graceful movements with mental concentration and breathing to increase and balance a person’s vital energy. It has been popularly referred to as Chinese yoga. Qigong is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine. Literally millions of people practice Qigong in China and around the world each day to successfully treat diseases ranging from osteoarthritis to cancer, to improve their overall health.

National Qigong Association Introduction to Qigong

 

Qigong is especially effective in reducing stress, thereby enhancing the immune system and preventing illness. As such, it is a proven way to implement anti-aging (for more information on the research that has shown this, see The Scientific Basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine). Qigong shows people how to take more responsibility for their own health care and achieve benefits for their body, mind, and spirit. This is vitally important in our society in the face of declining health care services and options. Qigong is not just a physical exercise system or a healing technique; it is a way of being.

 

"Qigong is more than a set of exercises, it is an attitude that works to restructure one's perspective in life, leading to balance and harmony with the world around us."

Francesco Garripoli. Chairman of the Board, Qigong Institute. Qigong: Essence of the Healing Dance.

 

Qigong can be done sitting, lying down, standing, or moving. The Qigong shown below is standing and moving Qigong. The main psyiological differences between the moving and non-moving forms of Qigong are additional oxygen intake and the exercise of additional parts of the body. There are thousands of different forms and movements of Qigong. Shown in Sample Qigong Exercises are repeated movements. Repeatedly doing the same Qigong movement is often called 'Tai Chi Qigong'. There are other forms of Qigong that are similar to Tai Chi in that they take some amount of time to complete, e.g. Wild Goose IV can take eight minutes or more, depending upon how slow the form is done.

Another example of a Qigong form that involves many individual movements is Wild Goose 5 demonstrated by Medical Qigong Master Bingkun Hu. Thus, the term "form" can refer to individual movements repeated, as shown below, or a form like a Tai Chi form, that can take years to learn and up to forty minutes or more to repeat once. By contrast, the forms shown below are repeated movements. Repeating the same Qigong movement over and over is sometimes referred to as 'Tai Chi Qigong', but more commonly, just 'Qigong.' The easier movements can be learned very quickly. Qigong requires no special clothing or place to practice, is free, and can be done anytime.

As with the rest of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the main focus of Qigong is eliminating deficiency (associated with chronic illness) and stagnation (indicated by pain) of your qi (energy) through a combination of movement, breathing, and awareness. At first, the dynamic adjustment of posture, breath, and mind is only done during the time you set aside to do Qigong. With more practice, you’ll begin doing these adjustments throughout the day as Qigong becomes a natural part of your life and personal healthcare program.

Introductory Articles on Qigong and Tai Chi from the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi.

A More Comprehensive (and FREE) Introduction to Qigong Practice - The Global Qi Project

The co-founder of the National Qigong Assocation James MacRitchie is sharing his Global Qi Project with the world, "Because the world needs this knowledge now." His website contains a FREE document, an 'ebook', called 'The Eight Extraordinary Meridians Qigong'. This is a very extensive introduction to Qigong and includes the comprehensive Eight Extraordinary Meridians Training.

Complete Idiots Guide to Tai Chi

The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & QiGong Illustrated, Fourth Edition. The following video is one of the nearly 150 web-video support videos that are designed to augment the 300 illustrated instructions in Bill Douglas and Angela Wong Douglas's world acclaimed tai chi and qigong instructional book. Without the CIG to T'ai Chi and Qigong (fourth edition) these video clips usage cannot be fully realized, but with your CIG to T'ai Chi and Qigong book these clips will profoundly expand on the book's world acclaimed text and illustrated instructions.

 

Example of What Class Instruction May Look Like Program.

Qigong Self-Massage

In addition to movement, breathing, and awareness, Qigong consists of self-massage practices. Here is an example practice for improving eyesight from the article 4 Ways to Improve Your Eyesight by Qigong expert, Dr. Maoshing Ni.:

These simple exercises will help you maintain optimal vision and may also keep those annoying eye floaters at bay. Perform these exercises first thing in the morning, before bedtime, or any time your eyes feel fatigued. Make sure that your hands are clean and that your mood is relaxed. Commit to daily practice and you may just see better results within one month.

• Warm your eyes. Rub your palms together to create heat, and then place them against your eyes for five seconds. Repeat this three times.

• Roll your eyes. Start by looking up and then slowly circle10 times clockwise and 10 times counterclockwise.

• Focus. Hold a pen at arm's length, focus your eyes on it, and slowly bring the pen closer until it's about six inches away from your nose. Then slowly move it back, keeping your eyes focused on the pen, 10 times in all.

• Massage your temples. Using your thumb knuckles, massage your temples in small circles, 20 times in one direction and 20 in the other. Repeat the same actions above the mid-point of the eyebrows at the forehead, then below the eyes on both sides of the bridge of the nose.

Fundamentals of Practicing Qigong

 

"Qigong is not exercise -- it is dynamic meditation. Doing repetitions is not the focus - it is conscious application of the three intentful corrections - lengthen the spine, deepen the breath, clear the mind or visualize healing." Dr. Roger Jahnke, OMD.

 

The Three Intentful Corrections

The first intentful correction (i.e. mindful adjustment) involves body posture. Incorrect posture results in decreased or blocked energy flow, the unnecessary expenditure of energy, a decrease in stamina, and greater susceptibility to injury or illness. An excellent text on posture and balance that can have a dramatic effect upon your health, all by itself, isageless spine lasting health book Ageless Spine, Lasting Health: The Open Secret to Pain-Free Living and Comfortable Aging . Doing moving forms of Qigong is a particularly appropriate way to train for sports like climbing because you must adjust and be totally aware of your weight distribution, balance, and posture as you make each move.

The second intentful correction involves breathing. In spite of years or decades of practice, most of us breathe in a non-optimal way: On the in-breath, our chest fills up with air and little air gets into the abdomen. Interestingly, we all came into the world knowing and practicing the right way to breathe; we had to learn the wrong way through the experience and conditioning of growing up. The form of breathing most used with Qigong is abdominal breathing, where on inhale the lower abdomen expands and fills with air before the chest, and the abdomen contracts on exhale. Tai Chi & Chi Kung Breathing Tutorial - from World Tai Chi & Qigong Day.

The third intentful correction involves mental state or awareness. Regulating your mind is a practice designed to reduce stress and increase your awareness of the moment, helping you to achieve a state of pure consciousness by stripping away thoughts and emotions that keep you unnecessarily immersed in the complexity of your daily life. Qigong meditative techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, are combined with slow, deep breathing and gentle movement. Start your Qigong practice using any meditative technique with which you are familiar. Three Intentful Corrections are explained in detail in Jahnke's  The Healing Promise of Qi: Creating Extraordinary Wellness Through Qigong and Tai Chi.

It is Qigong’s gentle movement that demands more oxygen in the system and helps regulate the body's critical oxygen/carbon dioxide balance. Slow, deep breathing dilates the blood vessels so that the heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Besides muscle contraction, the main way to enhance the functioning of your lymph system is through breathing. The lungs have been called the heart for the lymph system, which is key to your body’s immune function as well as removal of toxic metabolic by-products from your cells. Your body goes into a waking regeneration mode during Qigong practice as your nervous system switches from the overactive sympathetic mode to the restorative parasympathetic mode, with an immediate calming effect and an astonishing increase in focused awareness and effective performance. Note that when you are dreaming, even though you are not awake, your nervous system is still engaged and not in the restorative state.

As with all Qigong, use slow deep abdominal breathing, a relaxed posture, and alert but focused on nothing in the mind. No thoughts. This has been described as "cheerful indifference". All of these movements can be modified for practice sitting in a chair, lying on the floor, or in a hospital bed. Remember, with Qigong, “Pain is no gain”. Note that there are thousands of different types of Qigong. Enjoy, experiment with, and discover new forms and adapt them to your personal practice. Figure out what works best for you. Remember to breathe.

 

The Three Mindful Alignments (.PDF)

Starting the Practice of Qigong

Overview of Best Practices in Taiji.

Building Your Qi with Standing Qigong. Bruce Frantzis.

Improving the Flow of Qi in Tai Chi. Bruce Frantzis.

Stress Relief Relaxation Calming Sitting Qigong. A very basic sitting Qigong mediation video from Bill Douglas and World Tai Chi and Qigong Day.

Read the introduction to Dragon and Tiger Medical Chi Gung (5.7 MB .pdf) by Bruce Frantzis for suggestions on how to start practicing and what to expect when you do. More information and the complete document is available on the Energy Arts website.

How to Feel Qi

Violet Li gives a short explanation of Qigong, explains how to do Qigong, and demonstrates some easy to follow Qigong.

 

 

Qigong and Tai Chi as a Path to Mindfulness (.pdf, 219KB)

standing qigong

 

Qigong and Tai Chi as a Path to Mindfulness (.pdf, 219KB). Qigong and Tai Chi Teacher Seton Handville explains how the concept of Qigong and Tai Chi as a path to a mindful life contains the assumption that they are “transformative practices”, and if engaged in, will form a basis or foundation through which the practitioner will experience a shift in his/her state of being in the world. She discusses the fundamentals of Qigong (the Three Intentful Corrections of posture, breath, and mind) class experiences, and the transformation from mindless doing to intentful being for health and wellbeing. Class Feedback

Qi Advisor

"QUESTION: I`m a long time Spiritual seeker just getting into qigong. It seems qigong, as with Spirituality has a dizzying array of different techniques and opinions. I was wondering if you could tell me, in your opinion, which are the best qigong styles for Spirituality, as opposed to medical and other types of qigong."

ANSWER: Check out the Spiritual Qigong page. Gunter Weil's 'Qigong as a Portal to Presence' is an interesting read. Qigong has spirituality built-in to it, so any Qigong that you do can be done for spiritual purposes. The best Qigong is one that you like to do and will keep doing. Since you are starting out, we would recommend checking out different forms. You will potentially resonate with some and not others. You may be lucky enough to enjoy them all. You can't go wrong with trying the DVDs in the 'QIGONG DVDS' section of the Store page. Dont' start with the silk reeling DVDs unless you want to get familiar with tai chi. Silk reeling exercises can be done every day just as a warm-up for your joints first thing in the morning. Even silk reeling can be spiritual if you practice it that way, and it has some great health benefits. Any of Francesco's DVDs are great. Roger's 'Qigong Chi Kung' is the one that first turned me on to Qigong. Bingkun's '12 Treasures for Beginners' is really good, and his 'Creating Flexibility' has some really more complicated forms on it. Also, check out the examples of different forms that are in the Sample Qigong Exercises of the Getting Started With Qigong page. Some of the examples on the page are from the DVDs that are on the Store page. There are many different types of qigong to try in the Sample Qigong Exercises section on this page. More Qi Advisor on the Qigong Institute FAQ page.

 

 

How to Cultivate and Integrate Yi, Qi and Jing. Dr. Paul Lam. 

Yi, Qi and Jing are the three most essential internal components in the practice of tai chi. Yi is the mind, Qi the vital life energy and Jing (not to be confused with Jing which is the internal force or strength and Jing which means serenity) the sexual energy. These components constitute the internal power of tai chi. Improving them will enhance your level of tai chi. More

Singapore Provides Beginning Qigong Practices to its Citizens

Singapore's Health Promotion Board (HPB) is the country's main driver for national health promotion and disease prevention programmes. Its goal is to increase the quality and years of healthy life and prevent illness, disability and premature death. HPB implements programmes that reach out to the population, specifically children, adults and the elderly. 

Getting Started on Qigong Health is a brochure for people starting out with Qigong that includes illustrations of basic Qigong practices. 

National Health Qigong Programme Launch shows large numbers of citizens practicing Qigong during the launch of the program.

Structuring a Qigong Practice Session

Walking With Qi: The Nine Jewels Of Qigong Walking

jack bray racewalking"As the world’s fastest racewalking gerontologist, I have discovered that blending Qigong movement and exercise has helped me stay healthy and maintain my world class ranking in my age group. Making new and beneficial Qigong walking exercises can be interesting and enjoyable; it is a challenge to creative people. Racewalking and Qigong walking have helped develop my own excellence in exercise and in life. There are many studies that have discussed the various aspects of walking that enhance health, energy and life."Jack Bray.

Hints for Personal Qigong Practice

Here are some sample installments from the Breathe Deep e-Newsletter in which Qigong Institute Chairman of the Board Francesco Garripoli offers "hints" for your personal Qigong practice that could inspire you and support your healing and personal growth.

How much time does it take to do Qigong?

Does that make you smile? I hope so... It's like asking, how long does it take to become a Qigong Master? In China, no one would EVER call themselves a "Master"... it is bestowed upon you by peers... Nowadays the term is used way too loosely... Anyway, Qigong isn't about "time"... I know people who spend hours each day and they seem way too caught up in the details and intense to be gaining any real benefit... and I see others who say they "just have ten minutes a day, but I do my practice daily" and THEY seem to be flowing and healthy. It's not "what" you practice, it's "how" you practice. I would MUCH rather see you practice ten minutes regularly than sporadic long sessions. Qigong is a healthy habit... and as humans, we are extremely pattern oriented. We can't easily escape our pattern/habit orientation, so it is better to then use it to our advantage. Get a personal practice going that is achievable and you will feel so much better about yourself! Find TWO MINUTES a day to do one Qigong form that you like... just two minutes (we have some nice DVDs you can pick from :)) I promise those two minutes will feed your spirit and start wiring your plastic brain... Soon you will find sessions that naturally extend to ten minutes or even twenty minutes... You will begin to trust that your body/mind/spirit "knows" what it needs... Trust, listen, act... Qigong is timeless... healing takes place in a split second...

When should I practice Qigong?

This is a good question and it comes up a lot in my workshops. There are SO many theories about when is the best time to practice Qigong. Some talk about certain hours to feed certain organs, some discuss connecting with various stars at specific times. Theories abound. The problem with theories is that many disagree with each other... and many aren't proven... such is the way of theories. For my personal practice (which is influenced by many Masters who I studied with) includes a routine of Qigong energy harmonizing and physical stretching immediately after waking. Yes, this means before you check emails or make phone calls or eat breakfast. This is a great way to set your "resonance" for the day. I also do a shorter set right before I go to bed. Again, this is the last thing you do to set your resonance for sleep... so after you brush your teeth and after emails and so forth. I usually only spend 15 minutes on this session... it is a slow and deep practice, designed to put me into a peaceful state of mind/body/spirit. I immerse myself in gratitude for waking to a new day each morning... and immerse myself in gratitude at night for all the "waking dreams" I had during the day. The real key in Qigong practice is to find your own groove and savor your forms when it feels right for you... when you can be in your presence. Sometimes this may be amidst the chaos in the middle of the day, when you need to stop the patterns that get you all caught up... and then just take time for yourself to return to your core, to honor your energy, and return to gratitude and self appreciation and love. 

The Art of Practicing Qigong

 

Qigong is more than exercise or practice. It is an Art -- the Art of Wellness and the Art of Life

 

 

man doing tai chiTo get the most out of your practice there are a few basic principles that apply to the styles of Qigong presented in this book. Generally, you can practise Qigong at any time of the day, so choose a time that best suits you. Remember, we are creatures of habit and you will benefit more if you practise at the same time on each practice day. Some styles of Qigong are best practised at a particular time and sometimes facing a certain direction. In time you will find the best time that suits you. Exercising in the early morning and late afternoon, when the sun rises and sets, is a very powerful time as it’s a natural transition between dark coolness of night (Yin) and the bright warmth of day (Yang). ...More. From: The Art of Life, Simon Blow. www.simonblowqigong.com.

In this video Qigong Master Simon Blow demonstrates Taiji Qigong Shibashi Section No 1 which translates to interaction of Yin and Yang, energy skill in eighteen forms.
Movement No. 1 -- Raising Arms
Movement No. 2 -- Opening the Chest (Heart)
Movement No. 3 -- Painting the Rainbow
Movement No. 4 -- Separating the Clouds

The Relationship Between Wuji, Taiji, and Qigong.

Remixing Qigong Moves

There are many different ways to put together Qigong moves to form a practice session. For example, "Progressive Looping" is a term coined to describe a way of remixing Qi Gong exercises. A simple exercise is broken into some of its component “loops,” finding the points where new transitions can be created. For example, watch the above exercise for the Lung.

The principle of Progressive Looping can be applied to many Qigong exercises. Never be afraid to take things apart and put them back together differently.

This exercise is slow and simple. Touch the thumbs to pointer fingers, and extend the remaining three fingers. During the inhale, raise the arms, palms up, close to the body, eventually reaching the space over the head. The transition to an exhalation is accompanied by the arms now lowering, palms down, away from the body. This exercise can be repeated many times. Next, look at some of the loops that can be found by dissecting the movement.

There are certain pause points where we can begin to reverse the motions. Inhale and raise the hands, palms up. When the hands are level with the top of the chest, slowly exhale, and reverse the motion, as if you had a rewind button. The next loop is the opening and closing of the elbows in front of the face. The shoulders and chest act like a bellows to allow for very deep breathing and stretching during this loop. As the elbows and chest open, inhale. As they close together, exhale. This can be an extremely slow movement. Lowering of the arms can be broken into three parts: from the very top to the midpoint, from the very top to the bottom, and from the midpoint to the bottom. As the arms descend, exhale. As the arms float back up, inhale. Keep the palms down the whole time. Any of these loops can be performed and repeated as an exercise in their own right. It becomes very interesting, though, when we merge these loops together, and tighten up the transitions.