Qigong Practice - methods and commentary

Functional Qigong

Steven - taiji pose

Potent qigong practice is an intentional blend of internal allowing, external body movement, and mental coaxing of qi circulation. Some perform movement patterns beautifully while remaining somewhat energetically stagnant within, while attention wanders. Realizing meditative stillness while moving through designated forms, calmly directing qi as recommended, are key components of optimal qigong practice.
Qigong Practice - methods and commentary · Uncategorized

Swing Arms Slowly

Steven - Swing Arms Slowly                          Inhale arms forward and up.                   Exhale arms down and back.

Swing Arms Slowly – to circulate and balance qi!

This gentle qigong movement is energetically enriching with a calming influence. Some use it as a prelude to seated or still-standing meditation. Others find it a beneficial preparation for their morning walk, exercise routine, or athletic involvement. Swing Arms Slowly improves overall circulation of qi through all qi meridians and vessels.

METHOD: Stand relaxed with feet at shoulder-width, arms resting at your sides. Turn palms forward and begin to bring them forward and upward slowly and gradually with arms extended, as you simultaneously shift your weight forward. When your weight arrives fully forward on the big toes and balls of the feet, your arms will fully extend forward at shoulder-level. To complete the movement, turn your palms down, lowering them slowly and gradually, while simultaneously shifting your weight back to the heels. Some like to lift heels slightly as weight shifts forward, and lift toes slightly as weight shifts back. Move slowly and evenly using the least muscle effort, with relaxed, full, even breathing synchronized perfectly with the movement pattern.

Breathe in while lifting arms, breathe out while lowering arms. Move in a smooth, continuous, relaxed manner while synchronizing your breath with the weight shift and arm movement, as if your inhalation causes your arms to rise, and your exhalation causes your arms to lower. Establish a continuous, unbroken rhythm. Important: Keep your abdomen relaxed during inhalations, then gently contract your abdomen while exhaling (basic yogic breathing). Begin with 10-20 rounds per session, and increase with proficiency as inclined (some find 36 repetitions gives optimum results).

(I learned this qigong movement over 40 years ago, and continue to enjoy its particular life-enriching effects daily. Swing Arms Slowly can be experienced as a valuable moving meditation, which helps clarify awareness and prompt insights, and is also useful as a lead-in technique for still-sitting meditation practice.)

 

Qigong Practice - methods and commentary

Still Standing Qigong

Steven - Embrace the One pose

There are a variety of postures practiced in still Standing Qigong, some of which require standing “single rooted” on one foot. “Embracing the One” strengthens overall qi circulation, energizes and contributes to heightened awareness.

Preparation: Stand relaxed in a natural setting or indoors with fresh air access. Rest in position for a minute with feet at shoulder-width and arms at your sides. Breathe in slowly and comfortably deeply, then exhale and relax down through your body to the soles of your feet. Do this a few times until calmly settled in place.
Begin by inhaling while slowly raising your arms to the front, bringing hands to shoulder height. Then exhale while turning palms toward your chest – hands and arms form a partial circle, as if lightly holding a beach-ball to your chest.
Calmly maintain this position, being still and relaxed, with knees slightly flexed. Level your eyes, gazing softly without focus. Feel as if you are being supported marionette-like, by strings which keep your head, spine, hands and arms lifted and aligned. Stand deeply rooted like a great tree, drawing energetic nourishment from earth and sky.
To maintain relaxation and comfort in this still pose, breath can be used strategically: If you feel tension building in your upper body, draw a deep breath, directing it into the area of tension (mid-back, neck, sternum, shoulders or arms), then exhale letting the tension evaporate. Though the posture somewhat strains your upper body, use breathing to maintain a sense of effortlessness and lightness in your torso and arms.
General Considerations: Begin with 30 to 60 seconds of still-standing qigong practice and gradually increase the time through daily practice. Some seasoned practitioners enjoy still standing for 15 or more minutes, and some like to assume a variety of still standing postures in succession for a few minutes each. When used in conjunction with moving qigong, still standing can be performed just prior to, and/or immediately following practice. Proficiency in still-standing qigong is realized by learning to make subtle adjustments in alignment, muscular involvement and breathing, while being internally gathered and alertly present. Even a short period of quality still standing meditation can be vitalizing and renewing.