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Qigong 氣功 / Neigong 內功 / Daoyin 導引

A therapeutic exercise system historically documented at over 2000 years old, Qigong has been called “the mother of the Chinese martial arts.” Ancient texts demonstrate that its practice was instrumental to the development of Chinese acupuncture. Although "Qigong," is a modern catchall phrase for a wide variety of exercises, the fundamental movements are seen time and time again in most training systems.

"Qì," or “Ch'i,” is a complex word that can mean something as simple as breath or as complex as the subtle animating force that indigenous Chinese Medicine perceives as responsible for health and vitality. And the term "gōng," or “kung,” (as in "kungfu") connotes a well-developed, internalized skill.

Qigong exercises develop relaxed and efficient body alignment, well-integrated strength and movement, and mental awareness to promote the body’s innate self-maintenance and performance. In many ways, Qigong is at the root of many of the health benefits ascribed to Tai Chi practice. However, the wide variety of exercises allows more specific tailoring of practice to the individuals needs and many of the exercises are easier to learn than Tai Chi. For many people, Qigong may offer the most immediate opportunity to improve the way you feel on a daily basis.

Qigong can be divided into a number of categories. One method distinguishes “therapeutic,” “martial” and “spiritual” systems. However, the boundaries between these categories can be easily blurred. Still, we do not teach any overtly “spiritual” Qigong at this studio and make no claims to any transcendental “truths.” All practices are grounded in the anatomical body.

Another manner of categorization differentiates the methods of practice (such as active/tranquil and internal/external) rather than the “goals.” Active Qigong appears more like exercise and can range from gentle and to physically demanding. Some tranquil methods are recognizable as meditation techniques, however, the emphasis is usually on correct body alignment. Giving the mind a simple goal makes it easier to set aside distractions. The “internal/external” distinction is more challenging to pin down but can refer either to the "active/tranquil" division or to “soft” v. “hard” methods of training. Most of these methods are mutually supporting, and we teach them together.

Daoyin Fundamentals 導引進門: there are basic principles of posture and movement that underlie most Chinese therapeutic practice. "Dǎoyǐn" is the most basic (and ancient) term for these exercises. The list below attempts to identify these fundamental strategies and can be practiced individually or as a series for health maintenance or to form a solid foundation for more challenging practices.

1st Principle: basic posture, swinging arms

2nd Principle: gentle flexion-extension

3rd Principle: open the arms and chest

4th Principle: alternate arms, turn the waist, wring the arms

5th Principle: revolve the head, turn the head

6th Principle: roll shoulders, crossed arm twist, cross arms overhead

7th Principle: circle the hips, circle the knees, rotate the hips, lateral weight shift

8th Principle: push forward, pull back, push the body forward

9th Principle: squatting, bow over one leg, bow forward, extend back

10th principle: single leg balancing exercises

"a-list" series: exercises 1a - 10a

Tranquil Qigong 靜功 (Jìnggōng or Ching-kung) develops meditative calm and core strength by holding stationary postures. The goal is to reach a comfortable and profoundly calm state that remains alert and internally active.

Basic Body Alignment

Four Posture Standing-post

Dynamic Qigong 動功 (Dònggōng or Tung-kung) develops skeletal alignment, flexibility, soft tissue integration and kinesthetic awareness through movement of the trunk and limbs.

Eight-piece Brocade 八段錦

1 Both Hands Support The Sky - 2 Opening the Bow

3 Lift a Single Hand - 4 Look To the Rear

5 Shake the Head and Wag the Tail - 6 Both Hands Pull the Feet

7 Clench Fists with Glaring Eyes - 8 Lift the Head to the Rear

Five Element Qigong 五行氣功

1 Metal (Lung) - 2 Water (Kidneys)

3 Wood (Liver) - 4 Fire (Heart)

5 Earth (Spleen/Stomach) - 6 Three Burners

Eight Qigong Exercises

Swimming Dragon

Shaolin abdominal exercises

Five Animals Play 五禽戲

Bear (basics, walking) - Bird (basics, walking)
Deer (basics, walking) - Tiger (basics, walking) - Monkey (basics, walking)

Breathing Qigong 吐納 (tǔnà) develops strong, relaxed and integrated action of the respiratory diaphragm with the thoracic and abdominal portions of the torso through relaxed breath-centered exercises.

Three Longevity Exercises

Six Character Recipe

Qigong Self-massage 按摩 (ànmó) encourages relaxation and circulation in the soft tissue through pressing and rubbing different areas of the body.

Channel Patting Qigong

Anmo self massage


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