Part 2- Respiration
Master Li Li Qun always emphasised the value of breath and the development of good respiratory habits in the practice of Qi Gong. He was fond of telling me that ‘one in breath, one out breath is Taiji’ and was emphatic that practice without a proper understanding of the role of breath meant that though you may appear outwardly to be doing Qi Qong, internally you were not.
In our ordinary daily lives most of us pay little attention to our breath as long as we do not ‘run out’ of it. When we get short of breath, for instance when we run up the stairs, have a cold or push our body to more extreme physical limits than it is normally accustomed we become acutely aware of its importance most specifically what it feel like to not get … Read More »
Part 1- The Physical Phase
When you begin to study the methods of Qi Gong you normally begin with some form of movement and postural practice that might typically be referred to as a “dynamic”,”self strengthening” method. This focuses primarily on structural integrity, co ordination, smoothness of movement, stability and relaxation/softness. There are many traditional sets of movement which belong to this category like “8 Section Brocade” and the “Yi Jin Jing”. These traditional sets of movement can be done in a moderate more therapeutically oriented way but are more typically practiced in a dynamic way. Dynamic normally refers to the stance width, low and deep postures and the extension of the limbs. The basic idea is to stretch and tonify the muscles and “unstick” the “interior” (especially the connective tissue fabric) strengthen the muscular-skeletal system and move blood and qi. … Read More »
I’ve just started teaching the Heaven and Earth Jian form to a full and mixed house. I have both advanced and intermediate students learning together which makes for a lively and interesting if not challenging class.
The Advanced students have already achieved a good level of skill in other weapons sets including 7 Star Jian. So although they will still be challenged it will be more in the department of memorising sequence and adding additional movements to their existing vocabulary rather than starting from scratch. Still,
I was somewhat surprised at their enthusiasm to take on another form given that they have so much to practice already. They also know how long it will take even with their experience to learn a new form let alone master it. What will make it so much easier for them though is that they already … Read More »
I teach Qi Gong as a process that starts from dynamic movement oriented practice to less dynamic and more therapeutic/medical practices and finally to still, seated meditation. I have found that this is the best way to induct students into a theoretical and experiential knowledge of the Art that is Qi Gong and for them to achieve the relevant skills to make it their own. As you will probably realise though, this is not a fast track or quick fix method.
I teach it this way because I know that each stage requires the cultivation of certain mental and physical attributes before you can understand and experience their benefits. Each stage and level of achievement build upon the previous one and in this way your experience and knowledge of Qi Gong deepens progressively. To achieve this ‘deeper’ experience though requires … Read More »
It’s often hard to balance out all the different and sometimes conflicting experiences we have that constitute our daily life. Most of them can easily be categorised as pleasant or unpleasant by degrees. Most of them are so mundane that they do not significantly impact upon us. They are the common everyday experiences that we get used to and which we call life. Sometimes though something happens, a life event, that is more serious which we can not and should not ignore.
Our threshold for coping is generally quite robust. Years of growing up and learning how to cope with daily life gives us a kind of ‘well- that’s – life’ armour.However, when ‘real crap’ happens cracks in our armour start to appear. Real crap is something like a death or a partnership issue, divorce or trouble at work, home or … Read More »
If you want to achieve the real experience of Taiji Quan, if you want the Gong Fu, then you will have to put in the time and the effort because the learning curve for achieving that level is steep and long. This is because the art of Taiji quan is multilayered, counter intuitive, technical and both physically and mentally demanding. But don’t let me put you off because it is also fascinating, rewarding, challenging and all embracing as well as being an Art for Life! The rewards are worth it all.
There are many stages of development within the Taiji journey. Some of these are obvious and some are subtle. Recognising them is important to your development. Generally, different phases of development are characterized by different hurdles that need to be overcome before you can claim an understanding and before your … Read More »