According to the jmexclusives medical health & fitness research team, the guiding principle of Qi Gong is the coordination of the eyes with the body movements.
What is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong (often spelled as Chi Kung) is a powerful type of health exercise, which has been practiced for centuries by millions of Chinese people. Whereby, it’s based on repetitions of very precise sets of movements. And specifically, designed to benefit health on many different levels.
Generally speaking, Qi Gong is easy to learn and enjoyable to do. Even a few minutes of practice can have an invigorating and rejuvenating effect. Not forgetting, regular practice brings about a deep strengthening effect for the whole body as well as its various systems. Like the nervous, digestive, respiratory, skeleton-muscular, hormonal, gynecological system, etc.
Above all, its ability to help in healing a large variety of chronic and acute injuries and illnesses has been the subject of various research programs. Particularly, some of which have been led by various Chinese medical authorities.
Over the millennia, Qi Gong has been practiced by intellectuals, monks, warriors, and ordinary people mainly for three different purposes: martial, medical, or meditative.
What is the aim of Qi Gong?
One of the main aims of Qi Gong is to promote the movement of Qi (energy) in the body. And this is done by opening certain gates and stretching and twisting energy channels. A key point in Qi Gong practice is relaxation and deep breathing. Both of which are prerequisites to allow Qi to flow.
Some of its movements are very gentle. While others are more vigorous. At the same time, some movements are very large and expansive. Others are more subtle, almost imperceptible. Meaning, all are different and have a very specific effect on body and mind.
For instance, the deeper one practices, the more one can understand the purpose of each movement. While allowing the Qi Gong practice to become ever more enjoyable. In fact, feedback from past and current students shows that, with a little bit of regular practice, it can have a powerful effect on the mind, body, and spirit.
The Different Types of Qi Gong Practice
There are yin and a yang aspect to everything, including the actual energetic practice. The nutritive qi and the defensive Qi are the main types of energy running through our bodies. They tend to our cells and service our myriad physiological needs.
For these types of Qi, there are practices designed to emphasize one or the other. In fact, there are also practices designed to enhance shen or spirit. As well as other internal practices designed to cultivate and refine essence and awaken the spirit within.
Here are the designations of the various Qi Gong practices:
This practice concentrates on the exterior energy (wei qi), which is responsible for health, immunity, and the defense of the system against pathogens and disease.
It is designed to route energy to these external “force fields” and to create an energetic barrier that protects the internal organs from outside invasion.
This is a general term for the practices that bolster the nutritive qi and that also supports the defensive Qi.
It increases flow to the different systems and provides the body with the necessary boost it needs to nourish and heal itself. Qi Gong is the most balanced approach; however, it needs to be modified. Depending on the circumstances of the individual or for progressing into deeper work.
This is considered the higher alchemical practice that is taught in the temples; it involves a great deal of dedication.
Nei Gong emphasizes the cultivation and preservation of essence (sexual abstinence mixed with specific practices) so that it can be further condensed and refined to qi and shen.
It leads to the formation of the Light Body and is what has been passed down by the famous Taoist “immortals.” It takes many months of qi gong practice with mental and emotional reconciliation before Nei Gong is considered safe.
This practice applies to the cultivation of the attention and, specifically, the cultivation of the psychic senses that help us perceive energetic rhythms universally.
It aids in clairvoyance, clairaudience, long-distance healing, astral travel, and psionics/mind control. This is obviously high-level stuff, but this practice should not be considered the most important. As far as I’m concerned, this stuff is “cute,” but the real gold is in the Nei Gong, which effectuates personal transformation.
Shen Gong is often taught to priests who need to intervene in crises, heal ailments, and perform exorcisms. It is an important part of the knowledge of the Tao, but the danger in the West is in how people glorify the “powers,” which can then serve as a dangerous trap of ego.
What are the Practices involved?
First, the reported benefits have included increased general health and well being. As well as, reduced levels of stress, with a brighter and more balanced outlook on life’s possibilities.
It is important to realize, Qi Gong can be practiced either as a discipline in its own right or as a perfect complement to your Tai Chi training. As an example, at a beginner level, the Mei Quan Academy, they teach the following 5 sets;
- Tai Chi Breaths
- Elemental Breaths
- Zhan Zhuang
1. Baduanjin (8 Pieces of Silk Brocade):
Baduanjin is a set of 8 simple exercises that have been practiced unchanged throughout China for nearly 1000 years.
Originally, it was used by the Chinese army to give strength and health in harsh adverse conditions. Nowadays, the set is performed to invigorate and strengthen the whole body. Including the internal organs. One set takes about 10 minutes to do and can be done daily for maximum benefits.
2. Ershibashi (28 Step Qi Gong) (1st part):
Ershibashi is a famous Qi Gong sequence whose soft and flowing movements are based on Tai Chi.
Practicing 28-step Qi Gong helps to learn the Tai Chi form faster and beautifully complements it. Each simple movement has many particular health benefits.
3. Tai Chi Breaths:
Basically, Tai Chi Breathing includes 8 simple exercises that help to develop an awareness of the body and feeling of Qi.
Tai Chi, often referred to as a moving meditation, is a martial arts discipline that combines slow, steady movements with deep, mindful breathing. In order to achieve balance and harmony in the body, mind, and spirit. And it may be just what you need to run faster, lift heavier, and go longer.
4. Elemental Breaths:
Elemental Breaths are fundamental visualizations and breathing exercises that help to purify the mind and heart.
They help to release anxiety and transform negative emotions into positive ones.
5. Zhan Zhuang:
Zhan Zhuang is a sequence of standing meditation postures, which is fundamental to the practice of Qi Gong and Tai Chi.
Practiced regularly, Zhan Zhuang postures help to develop concentration and mental and physical strength.
They are the basis of developing internal energy.
Once you have developed a certain level of skill and ability to perform the above sets, there are more advanced ones that you can learn. Including the Yi Jin Jing, Coiling Breaths, Meridian Qi Gong, and others, and are part of the more advanced syllabus.
Qi Gong forms an integral part of the Tai Chi classes as a means to balance and enhance health and energy. The above Qi Gong sets are practiced from the very beginning to support and complement your Tai Chi training.
What are the Benefits of Qi Gong?
Qi Gong is a powerful system of health, which has effects on many levels.
First of all, it can harmonize, strengthen, and have a healing effect on the functioning of all the internal organs and bodily systems.
Secondly, it increases the supply and flow of energy throughout the body. It can have a variety of rejuvenating effects and is believed to increase longevity. And it also induces calm mental and emotional states.
Initially, many movements focus on gently opening and stretching the joints and muscles of the body. Releasing tension that has often been there for years. And by increasing the flow of blood and energy, they help to fully nourish all parts of the body.
Many of the students practicing it report that they feel very relaxed and energized after a session of Qi Gong and that they sleep very deeply that night!
According to Chinese Medicine, the energy relating to the body’s internal organs flows around the extremities of the body – the hands and the feet. Thus by stretching the arms and legs in specific movements, the health of the internal organs can be improved.
In addition, the breathing in Qi Gong is all-important. The breath should be relaxed, slow, and deep, originating from the diaphragm. This type of breathing has a very calming and balancing effect on the mind. Above all, which is crucial in counteracting the effects of worry and stress.
Just a few minutes of Qi Gong, whenever you start feeling stressed, can really work wonders. These are just some of the benefits that you can experience in the early stages of practice.
And as you gradually become more and more aware of your body, you will start to feel some of the more subtle and refined effects of Qi Gong.
Finally, I hope the above-revised guide will be of help towards your next health and fitness plan.
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Here is a Qi Gong Full 20 Minute Daily Routine Practical Video;