Here in the West we are used to aggressive, outward motion while being distracted with TV shows, music or magazines at the gym. But the Chinese internal arts, while from the outside does not look like much, inside there is an attentive focus that for many of us is the hardest workout of all.
Listen in for a conversation on the simple, but not easy practice of tai chi and qi gong and the health benefits that can arise from slow steady attentive focus.
In This Episode We Discuss:
- What got Marshall started and then took him deeper into qigong
- Turning around a chronic health issue with qigong and diet
- Qigong looks simple, but there is a lot going on inside
- Breathing from the bottom of the lungs
- The lessons of water
- Waking the body’s innate impulse toward health
- Different types of qigong
- Slow, slowly, slow
- How qigong is different from taichi
- The role of intention
- What is the right amount of qigong
- Marshall’s current exploration with qigong
- The problem is not that it is hard, but that it is so simple
The great Chinese philosopher Lao-Tze, a late contemporary of Confucius, wrote in his best-known work the Tao Te Ching (76.1)”
“At birth one is soft and yielding,
At death a person is hard and stiff.
Green plants at birth are soft and pliable,
At death they are brittle and dry.
Therefore, hard and rigid are associated with death.
Soft and tender affirm greater life.”
Lao-Tze’s lesson to us is: Keep moving. Keep fluid. Slow and easy does it.
About The Guest of This Episode
Currently certified as:
QiGong Instructor (Therapeutic QiGong)
Tai Chi Instructor (24-form Yang style)
Tui Na Wellness Practitioner
My QiGong and Taiji (Tai Chi) journey began over 20 years ago as an effort to get some exercise, relieve stress, lower my cholesterol, and live an over-all better lifestyle. Since I retired from the workforce in 2014, I have devoted my time to teaching Tai Chi and QiGong, and doing Tui Na for family and friends.
I’ve studied, learned, and practiced Daoist Tai Chi (based on the 108-form Yang style) and Chen style long-form. I have now settled on the 24-form Yang style (a.k.a. the “Beijing form”) to teach since it’s reputed to be the most widely-practiced form of Tai Chi in the world. It takes much less time to learn and become proficient in for the average person. It takes only five to six minutes to perform, so it easily fits into a busy schedule. Yang style is also less jarring on the body than Chen style and more appealing to older people.
Since the late 1990s, I’ve learned several QiGong forms in addition to Therapeutic QiGong: Wild Goose QiGong, Ba Duan Jin (8 Pieces of Brocade), Taiji QiGong, Sitting QiGong Meditation, and Zhan Zhuang (standing post QiGong). There are hundreds of others, each with its own focus, but all require slow and deep breathing, mental focus, moving with intent, and fluidity.
Links and Resources:
There is a lot of information about qigong at the website of The Qigong Institute
Natural Healing With Qigong: Therapeutic Qigong, Dr. Aihan Kuhn
Qigong Empowerment, Shou-Yu Liang
Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate, Rick Barrett
The Root of Chinese Qigong, Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming
Dr. Aihan Kuhn, Therapeutic QiGong instructional video (paywall),
Gail Garland, Therapeutic QiGong moves 1-36 and here is a PDF of the 36 movements
Shou-Yu Liang, Simplified Tai Chi 24 form Yang style
Bill Douglas, Stress Relief Relaxation Calming Sitting Qigong Meditation
A practice tip
Ideally, do the 36-move 23-and-a-half minute Therapeutic QiGong set every day. If you don’t have a block of time that big, break the routine into two 18-move sections. Use found minutes (waiting for a bus, car pool, or appointment) to do an exercise or two relevant to your problem. If you have a desk job, get up a couple of times in the morning and the afternoon and do a couple of exercises for about three minutes to get your energy moving. Remember: breathe deeply and slowly, relax, focus, and be fluid like water.