Archive for the Qigong Category

Five Animal Qigong – Free PDF

Posted in Health, Internal Arts, Internal Development, Qigong, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2015 by chencenter

Five Animal Frolics Qigong

The 5 Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi) is a complete qigong system (created by Dr. Hua-Tou), and the most ancient qigong system still practiced today. The series of exercises not only help to keep the body sprightly & strong, but it engages both the mind and spirit as well. [3 B.C. Chinese San Guo- Three Kingdom Period]

Feeling is a language. This language allows your body and mind to communicate. But if you don’t pick up this feeling, the effectiveness of the exercise becomes shallow.”

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming

FREE PDF

From CHENCENTER.COM

(CLASS HANDOUT)

Meditation Can Reshape Your Brain

Posted in Health, Internal Development, Miscellaneous, News, Peace & Wellbeing, Qigong, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2012 by Combative Corner

Neuroscientist Sara Lazar’s amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.

Creating Joyous Practice with the Five Animal Frolics

Posted in Health, Internal Arts, Internal Development, Qigong, Spirituality, Styles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2012 by Combative Corner

Qigong is a unique & ancient Chinese exercise and healing system that allows you to enhance health & prevent illness by aligning the mind & body with Qi (“Chi”/Vital Energy).  Qi is the vital energy that we are born with, the energy that we receive into our body by the food we consume and through nature (e.g. the air we breathe). 

THE FIVE ANIMAL FROLICS

The 5 Animal Frolics (五禽戲, Wu Qin Xi) is a complete qigong system, and the most ancient qigong system still practiced today.  According to Kenneth Cohen, author of The Way of Qigong,”As story has it (Daoist Legend) Hua Tuo [110-207 AD/CE] received this text as well as instruction in Five Animals from two recluses living in a cave on Mount Gong Yi.”  The “more recent” teachers whom are credited with spreading qigong (and Five Animal Qigong, in particular) are Madame Guo Lin (1906-1984) and Feng Zhiqiang (who learned this from his teacher, Hu Yao-zhen)*.  The series of exercises that comprise the Five Animal Frolics not only help to keep the body sprightly and strong, but it engages both the mind and spirit as well.  The Five Animal Frolics helps to create depth to your practice by allowing your body to communicate in different ways.

“When you practice the animals, do not imitate the animals, become them!”

(Kenneth Cohen)

TIGER – Strong and ferocious, the tiger is skilled at pouncing and quick at snatching prey.  When practicing the tiger form, it is necessary to keep eyes alert and “paws” flexible at times and sometimes with great power at the fingertips.  [Organs: yin/Liver, yang/Gall Bladder]

DEER – Practicing deer play helps to develop grace and relaxation through stretching the legs and spine. [Organs: yin/Kidneys, yang/Bladder]

MONKEY – Practice the monkey form to develop suppleness and agility.  It is encouraged to not only do the large movements, but to squint and purse your face as a monkey would. [Organs: yin/Heart, yang/Sm. Intestines]

BEAR – Practice the movements of the bear to develop strength/power.  It fortifies the bones and develops energy in the kidneys, your fundamental source of vitality. [Organs: yin/Spleen, yang/Stomach]

CRANE – Light, agile and balance are qualities of the crane.  Becoming the crane, you stretch the ligaments and helps to release tension/compression in the spine. [Organs: yin/Lungs, yang/Lg. Intestines]

“Feeling is a language.  This language allows your body and mind to communicate.  But if you don’t pick up this feeling, the effectiveness of exercise becomes shallow.”

(Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming)

We encourage everyone to find the various movements/exercises of each animal that work for you.  Adding this to your training will keep you feeling young, invigorated, and well-balanced.  For more information on the Five Animal Frolics you can check out any of these suggested titles:  The Way of Qigong (K. Cohen), Five Animal Sport Qigong DVD (Dr. Yang), Five Animal Frolics Qigong (F. Fick) or Wu Qin Xi (Chinese Health Qigong Association).

Check out Master Jesse Tsao’s video for an introduction to Bear Play

*According to Kenneth Cohen, The Way of Qigong.

Informational sources:

Five Animal Sport Qigong (dvd), Master Jesse Tsao (Youtube Channel Videos), Wikipedia.org, The Way of Qigong (Cohen), Animal Frolics (Garofolo, Michael P.), Life Balance (Zhuang)

Related Articles

Standing Three Circle Qigong : Eli Montaigue

A Few Words : Master Chungliang, Al-Huang

Living 100 Years, Re-Learning to Breathe : Joyce

Martial Effectiveness of Wuji : Rodney Owen

Living 100 Years: Re-Learning to Breathe

Posted in Health, Internal Arts, Internal Development, Peace & Wellbeing, Qigong, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2012 by chencenter

The famous comedian George Burns was once asked, “What’s the secret of Life?” … of which he replied,

“Keep breathing.”

Wise words from a guy that reached the ripe ol’ age of 100 (and two months).

The word is Qi (pronounced “chee“).  We’ve heard it plenty… some of us have read up on it… but every one of us has experienced it [just most of us haven’t been aware of it]!

When I speak to youngsters about qi, I often allude to the Star Wars films in which George Lucas replaced “Qi” with “the Force.”  Qi is a term that means energy, or breath.  It is the prime-mover of our existence and permeates throughout the universe.

There are different types of “Qi Training” (called Qigong) such as: Buddhist Qigong, Taoist Qigong, Wushu Qigong and Medical Qigong.  Within these, the practitioner learns to harness and cultivate this energy for the purposes of: emitting, absorbing, cleansing, conditioning and healing. [Author’s note: Wushu Qigong should not be attempted without a qualified teacher. Practitioners should also have a basic understanding of qi and qigong training before wushu qigong is attempted].  And yes, there are even methods: Natural, Differential, Reversed, Dantian, Embryonic and “method of no-method.”  All have their benefits but it is the first, Natural Breathing Qigong, that we will focus on for purposes of “beginning at the root”, health and in developing a habit of “correct method.”

Breathing and its link to good health makes plenty of sense …for it’s the air we breathe, the oxygen that’s delivered to our cells and all the “energetics” at work that nurtures Life.  But it’s our awareness of our breath through both moving or non-moving activities that bolsters results.

  • Awareness: Concentrating on the “breath in” and the “breath out” focuses our mind internally and removes us from outside thoughts and common distractions.  Thoughts will always enter-in (it is our nature as humans to think).  But just as ripples appear on a pond… let the mind return to calm and think back to the breath as it is drawn into the body and finds its rest in the lower abdomen.

A MYTH:  Healthy breathing does NOT mean expanding the chest and letting as much oxygen in as possible.  By doing so, oxygen restricts the hemoglobin molecules and less is released to the cells.

THINK QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. 

  • Quality:  Soft. Quiet. Relaxed. Smooth… all of these should be words to describe how you are breathing.  As you breathe into your nostrils (at a relaxed, steady pace), imagine the breath going all the way down to your abdomen (aka. dantian).  By bringing your breath to your dantian, even smallest blood vessels will relax and open and will enrich your body with a greater flow of blood, oxygen and qi.
  • Natural or Diaphragmatic breathing: Breathe through the nose at a soft and steady rate and bring the breathe to the abdomen.  Allow the abdomen to expand (by way of the breath, and not by your abdominal muscles pushing outwards).  As you breathe out, do so by breathing out through the nose and allow the abdomen to contract/go inward.
  • Relax: This cannot be repeated enough.  The better you are at relaxing, the greater the benefits you will attain from your practice.  Bring your thoughts away from school, work or any other outside distractions.  If your thoughts drift… return back.  Over time, over practice… the “return” will be easier and easier.
  • Posture:  There are many qigong postures and all of them will have to be adjusted slightly since we all are built differently.  I have 3 basic postures that I use and they are: standing, sitting and laying.  I use each of these postures throughout the day (as I am often in one of the 3 postures naturally).  For instructional purposes, a standing posture should be made with a straight spine, head erect, knees slightly bent, arms by your side and the tip of the tongue resting softly behind the roof of the mouth (behind the first two teeth).  For more on standing qigong, please check out Eli Montaigue’s Combative Corner contribution entitled, Three Circle Qigong.

Illustrations of qigong movements are helpful, however the mother of movement will always be stillness.  There are many great books that may help you to better understand qigong such as: Qigong Empowerment, by Master Shou-Yu Liang & Wen-Ching Wu and The Way of Qigong, by Kenneth Cohen… but the act of qigong is a relatively simple way to improves your health and longevity.  Time, patience, willpower and correct intention are the only requisites.

Michael Joyce

Original article posted, April 2008 at ChenCenter.Com

Us at the Combative Corner welcome your insights as well.  Here are just a few of the questions we’d like to know.  Please post your response in the comment section below.

  • HAS QIGONG WORKED FOR YOU ?
  • WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCES ?
  • MIGHT YOU HAVE ANY WISDOM YOU’D LIKE TO IMPART ON US ?
  • MIGHT YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR US OR OUR READING PUBLIC ?

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Standing Three Circle Qigong | Eli Montaigue

Posted in Day's Lesson, Internal Arts, Peace & Wellbeing, Qigong, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2011 by chencenter

To me, standing Qigong is possibly the most important thing to start your journey in the internal martial arts.  And yet it the part most people spend the least time training in, because it’s too hard, and boring.  Whether you’re more interested in the healing or the martial side of the arts, standing Qigong is the place to start.

Everything else in your training, Tai Chi form, push hands, fighting form etc. will all be only external movements in the beginning.
You can not get internal Qi activation in these things until you have taking them to a high level, which takes many years for most.
Through that time, you’re working on perfecting the physical movements, gaining fitness flexibility and strength etc.

THE BEGINNING

Your Qigong however will start working on your Qi right from the start, as it’s just a stance, as long as you have someone put you in it right, then you’ll get Qi activation from it. Where is in forms etc it takes years to get right, and only then will you start to get some Qi flow.  Qi will also flow better the less active your mind is, so if you’re stressed out and thinking about loads of things, you won’t get the Qi flowing.
So again, with forms, if you’ve not perfected the movements, then you’ll be thinking about how to do them.  But with Qigong all you have to do is stand there, and so is much easier to get into a no mind state.
Your mind uses more Qi than just about anything else, so to switch it off means that all that Qi can be used to circulate through the body, cleansing and healing.

HOW IT WORKS (view picture below)

Standing Qigong works by having the knees bent, to create heat under the Dan Tien. This stimulates the Qi to rise up from the Dan Tien and flow through the body. The structure then held by the body and arms helps to open up the meridian Channels through out the body.  Qi is always flowing through your body, by doing Qigong we’re only opening up the channels and enhancing that flow.

The three main things standing Qigong will do for you, is to build, balance and unblock your Qi.  Most people will have some form of Yin or Yang imbalance. The Qigong stance is a physically perfect balance of left and right, and Yin and Yang.  So by holding it, your Qi will follow what you’re doing, and so it will re-balance to a normal level.  You may notice while standing, one hand might drop lower than the other, this is a left and right imbalance, so correct the physical, and your Qigong will follow.

Creating a higher than normal Qi flow, through bringing up Qi from your Dan Tien, and also from the earth, will one, fill your body with more Qi, so you will feel full of energy. And two, by doing this you will unblock your meridians.
Think of a blocked up hose, if it’s full of gunk, and you just let a bit of water trickle through it, the gunk will never clear.  But blast a high current of water through and all the gunk will be cleared.
So when you put a high current of Qi through your body, the same thing happens, you clear out the channels.  So in everyday life, you will have a smooth and clear flow of Qi through out your body.

This is why you shake when doing Qigong as a beginner – it is the Qi trying to break through the blocked areas.

HOW LONG AND WHEN TO PERFORM QIGONG

You should do your Qigong for at least 20 minutes morning and night for the first 5 years of your training.  When I got serious about my training at age 14, I would with out fail stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes morning and night till I was about 19.  From then I felt very balanced and strong, and my other training had come to a level where I was able to build Qi from it – But I still did my Qigong quite regularly.

Now, age 25, my form has become very internal, small frame, and I can get out of my form what I use to only get from my Qigong, and even more so, as moving Qigong such as the Tai Chi form is a higher level of Qigong.
But I still do my standing, as I feel it is such a great strength and Qi building method.

If you’re serious about your Internal energy development for what ever reason, get into standing three circle Qigong!

 WRITTEN BY: ELI MONTAIGUE.  (HEAD OF WTBA)

{visit the WTBA website by clicking pic below}

Δ

FOR ANY QUESTIONS ON QIGONG, TAIJIQUAN OR FOR ELI MONTAIGUE

Contact Us at : CombativeCorner@Gmail.Com

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A Few Words : Master Chungliang Al Huang

Posted in Day's Lesson, Internal Arts, Internal Development, Peace & Wellbeing, Philosophy, Qigong, Taijiquan, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2011 by chencenter

Master Chungliang Al Huang, is one of my favorite people on Earth.  For years I taught martial arts as a system… and it was only until I was able to relax inside my own body did my form “make shape.”  Taiji isn’t about this [boxing]*… it’s about that part of you that lets go and brings a smile to your face.  How did that happen? Was it your body? It was a feeling! A taiji feeling.  Summer is a great time for everyone to take to the outdoors and absorb the abundance of qi.  I hope you guys will take my advice.  Please watch this video (if only to smile)!

*Taiji/TaiChi and Taijiquan/Tai Chi Chuan are two different (but connected) things.  “Quan” or “Chuan” means “Fist” or “Boxing Style” and is often required if you are specifically talking about forms, systems or martial theory/principles/applications.  Taiji has a much deeper meaning, one of which is “letting go.”

Life, Is a Process, Experience it. “Ah-ha!”

Coach Joyce

The Martial Effectiveness of Wuji

Posted in Internal Arts, Internal Development, Qigong, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by Combative Corner

“To depict the ultimate principles of the universal laws of no truth and no untruth state, the mind should be observed with awareness. To adapt to the vicissitude of time and to no present and no unpresent state, its force should be harmonized with awareness.” –The Art of I Liq Chuan

Much attention is given to the concept of Wuji as a component of Qigong and meditation and the practice of Taiji. Wuji may be one of the most important, yet least considered aspect of Neija. Beyond the spiritual and health benefits, Wuji has important martial implications. The above noted quote, from the art of I Liq Chuan, summarizes the ideal martial state. We need to be balanced and aware, to observe the mind with awareness and to harmonize force with this same awareness. This describes the power and function of the state of Wuji.

In Zhan Zhuang, which we also call Wuji meditation, we reside in primordial stillness, a state of balance preceding the birth of Taiji. Of course, with movement Yin and Yang are birthed into existence and we are put into a position of seeking balance. But we needn’t seek very far, because the previous state of Wuji is a state of balance. To take it further, we need remember that movement is born of stillness, but there is always a little stillness in movement and movement in stillness, a little Yin in Yang, and a little Yang in Yin. Therein are the martial benefits of Wuji; finding Yin and or Yang when we need it, and always seeking balance.

The postural alignments and techniques of Zhan Zhuang, the Fifteen Basic Exercises of I Liq Chuan, or the basic principles and practices of Qigong and Silk Reeling should stay with us as we transition into Form practice, Push Hands, Chi Sau, Trapping, or other two person drills, and as we further transition into free sparring or grappling, and of course actual self defense. The point is that we want a state of balance. Wuji practices give us a feel for balance that we can take into interpersonal interactions. If we should find ourselves off balance, we adjust back to the feel of Wuji. Thus, these foundational practices have deep roots and broad applications.

Experimental embodied exercises can and do support the concept of power in structure. The process of tilting the pelvis forward and filling the mingmen are empowering. It is similar to the latent energy in a drawn bow. In this posture we operate from a position of power. Our movements are more efficient, as our bodies are unified. At the same time we are loading the bow, to be released through the issuance of fa jin.

Additionally, there is much to be gained martially from mindfulness. Wuji Qigong is a form of meditation, and we experience the myriad benefits of meditation in these practices. Among these is getting beyond conditioning and the habits of mind. This plays exceptionally well in martial situations, as conditioning and mental habits are counterproductive to martial effectiveness. Instead the martial artist should strive to be aware and present in the moment to deal with what happens as it happens. Push hands and other sensitivity drills emphasize listening as potent martial skill. To effectively ‘listen’ to our training partners we must be aware, present, and balanced, both internally and externally. We strive to know our attacker, to feel our own latent energy, and to be aware enough to utilize it when needed. In a nutshell, effective action in motion is premised and developed by effective awareness in stillness.

As we put it all together we find no separation between movement and stillness. It’s all the same, as evidenced by awareness. This is the true state of Wuji.

Rodney Owen (Guest Writer)

His Website: Naqual Time

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