General methods of qigong
Qigong is an exercise to regulate the mind and breathing in order to control or promote the flow of qi. Since qi plays such an important role in the vital processes of the human body, the regulation of qi flow is therefore be used to preserve health and treat disease. Medical qigong, the qi exercise practiced to prevent and treat disease, is different from general physical exercise. While physical exercise is aimed at building up health or restoring physical functioning by enhancing strength, medical qigong is focused on the mobilization of functional potentialities by regulating the mind. In other words, physical exercise is purely somatic, while qigong exercise is generally psycho-somatic. Another important difference between physical exercise and qigong is that physical exercise expends energy by tensing the muscles and accelerating the heart beat and respirations, while qigong works to ease, smooth and regulate breathing to store up or accumulate energy in the body.
Medical qigong can be divided into two main categories: internal qigong, which is practiced by the patients themselves to preserve and promote their own health, and external qigong, which is performed by a qigong master on a person with health problems. Practicing internal qigong requires regulation of the mind, body and respiration. There are many kinds of internal qigong, some with motion and others without. Qigong can be practiced while sitting still, standing upright, or lying on the back or side. The basic requirement is to stay comfortable and relaxed.
Essential to the practice of Qigong and Taijiquan is the control of breathing, the coordination of breathing with specific movements, the requirement to do deep abdominal breathing, relaxing and opening the upper torso to allow for deeper breathing, and the release of breath when power is given out.
"Improper breathing is a common cause of ill health."
Bill on Dartmoor, Devon.
Qigong is not just a set of breathing exercises as it encommpasses a large variety of both physical and mental training methods designed to help the body and the mind based on Chinese philosophy. The implementation details vary between teachers, schools and the objective of the practitioner. A qigong system consists of one or more of the following types of training: dynamic, static, and meditative and activities requiring external aids. Each type of training originated from different elements within Chinese society and emphasizes different aspects of qigong theory.
Master Wang Zhi Ping at the training centre Hangshou, China.
Dynamic qigong can be easily recognized as a series of carefully - choreographed movements or gestures that are designed to promote and manipulate the flow of qi within the practitioners body. Tai Chi Chuan, a Chinese martial art, is one well-known representation of dynamic qigong. Other examples include five animal frolics or White Crane Qigong, Wild Goose (Dayan) Qigong where the practitioner performs movements to mimic motions of animals. To an external observer, the series of movements are similar to callisthenics's or other types of athletic endeavour. To the qigong practitioner, the practice requires a unity of mind, body and spirit with the aim of promoting and controlling the flow of qi.
Static qigong is performed by holding a certain posture, position or stance for a period of time. In some cases, static qigong bears some similarities to the practice of Yoga and its continuation in the Buddhist tradition. Yiquan, a Chinese martial art derived from xingyiquan, is a strong proponent of stance training. Eight pieces of brocade (Baduanjin qigong), a well known set of health exercises, is also based on series of postures. To the external observer, the practitioner appears to be fixed in space. To the qigong practitioner, the physical and mental effort required to keep posture results
in the appropriate manipulation of qi.
in the appropriate manipulation of qi.
Being Relaxed and Static Naturally
During qigong practice, you not only need both physical and mental relaxation, but also should keep a serene mind. A composed state of mind is a special awakening quiet state, which is different from sleep or rest.
Coordinating the Mind and Qi
It implies to use your mind to regulate breathing and direct qi flow in the body. However, it doesn't mean that you put emphasis on exerting your mind to guide qi to a definite direction, when you feel qi flow in the body. Never deliberately bulge your belly, or throw out chest, or take abdominal breathing improperly, or force "gentle, fine, even and long" breathing. Let matters slide, with natural appearance of the "gentle, fine, even and long" breathing. The cold, warm or water flowing feeling experienced during qigong exercises is known as the qigong sensation. Do not pursue such sensation on purpose or exaggerate it.
“A healthy body can rest the breathing; and the emptiness of mind can do the same.
The slow breathing can enhance wellness and anchor the mind.”
Bill on Dartmoor, Devon.
Most qigong training will involve some form of meditation. Meditation is a popular method of mind body training and can be found in many different cultures. The details of qigong practice will differ depending on the origins of the meditation tradition. In Confucius scholar tradition, the meditation is focused on humanity and virtue with the aim of self-enlightenment. In one of the Buddhist methods, the aim is perhaps to still the mind, either through a focus outward such as a place, inwards such as the breath, a mantra, a Koan, emptiness or the idea of the eternal as represented by a Buddha. In Daoist and TCM tradition, meditative qigong seeks to lead qi through the proper meridian pathways with the aim of completing a smooth continuous flow of qi through the practitioner.
Qigong with external agents
Many systems of Qigong training include the use of external agents. In Medical and Daoist method, specialized food and drinks are prescribed to aid in the manipulation of qi. In martial arts qigong, the use of massage and various other forms of body conditioning are used to promote qi flow. In some qigong systems, a qigong master can emit qi or manipulate the flow of qi with the practitioner as a form of treatment or to guide the flow of qi, even for our animal friends.
" You will never know the full worth of Tai Chi and Qigong
unless you make it a part of your daily life "
Jadeware with Description of Qi Flow
It was unearthed from a grave of Mawangdui in Changsha, Hunan province. It is a product of the Warring States period, and it is the extant object that describes the qigong exercises, which shows qigong had developed to a higher level at that time.
An Atlas of Daoyin
It was unearthed from a grave of the early Western Han dynasty. There are 44 colored drawings illustrating movements of the body with captions under the drawings. Some even emphasized combination of movements and breathing, and some movements of the body were similar to that of animals. So it is regarded as the source of the Five Animal-Mimic Frolics.
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