Sunday, November 28A blog about Health and fitness with Home Gym Equipment Reviews
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How to start a Qi Gong practice at home?


You may have read or heard these two words from China, pronounced tchi kong. You may have even seen people practicing in a public garden, by the sea or in another natural landscape, and this spectacle left you wondering.

The movements of the arms and legs seem to float and yet are so grounded that they evoke the earth, the tree, the roots, wondering if Qi Gong is a link between heaven and earth.

For some, it is a meditation in movement, for others a tool for healing, for health. For all, it is a practice that connects the Qis (energies) of the earth, through rooting, and the sky, through breathing. In Chinese, Qi Gong means “control of vital energy”;

Considered as a gymnastic that is part of traditional Chinese medicine, it is inseparable from the Taoist conception of the balance of yin and yang.

Understanding Qi Gong without mastering it

This ancient tradition may seem difficult to bring into your living room as a novice, and a westerner at that. You don’t know how to approach it or you don’t dare to start? In her book “Enter the practice of Qi Gong” Ke Wen – Director and founder of the Qi Gong School Time of the Body – explains that it is a practice that brings us to the understanding of the energy in us. It is about calmness and joy, “that calmness in joy [that] comes from trust and self-acceptance.”

To arrive at the understanding of the energy body several methods exist, static and dynamic, but before venturing into complex sequences, it is perhaps best to start by getting in touch with one’s deep breathing.

Starting Qi Gong with breathing exercises

How to start a Qi Gong practice at home? - Good HealthifizerThe work of the breath is fundamental in Qi Gong. The control of the breath is part of a preventive action of health and is in direct link with the energy of the organs. The energy of the lung and the heart are essential to develop a Yang energy.

“Blowing and breathing, exhaling and inhaling, rejecting used air and absorbing fresh air, stretching like a bear or a bird spreading its wings, all this is aimed at longevity. This is what is prized by the adept who strives to guide and induce the energy of the man who wants to nourish his body, or the one who hopes to live as old as Peng Zu.”

ZhuangZi Ch.15< (Quoted in Chinese Thought, Anne Cheng).

Through the play of breathing, the internal and external come into coordination. The breath should be abdominal.

Thanks to abdominal breathing, the diaphragm, the viscera and the intercostal muscles are relaxed. The body relaxation is sought, it allows a deeper internal work, the abdominal breathing contributes to it in great part.

You can practice it on the floor or in a seated position with your feet on the floor and a very slight tilt of the pelvis forward (retroversion), or standing with a slight bending of the knees while remaining anchored.

Another variation of the standing abdominal breathing with movement of the arms and hands from the inside to the outside:

Start in a closed position with the palms facing the belly, the hands are joined by the fingertips, they form with the forearms a closed loop.

As you exhale, as you open your arms, your palms push the space out. Return to the closed loop and repeat the movement with the rhythm of the exhalations and inspirations.

Once your awareness is focused on your breathing rhythm, direct your attention to the six harmonies of Chinese thought: LiĆ¹ (Six) He (Coordination, Union, Harmony)

Qi Gong, a harmonizing practice

In Chinese thought, there are sets of coordinations called internal or external.

There are three internal and three external coordinations.

The internal coordinations:

  • Xin and Yi : The heart and the intention. In Qi Gong, it is a matter of connecting to one’s deep intention before starting to practice. Through the breath and the heartbeat it is possible to align with one’s intention and to bring motivation to life in movement as well as in stillness. Visualization is a tool that can be very useful. The first intention of Qi Gong is calmness.
  • The Yi and the Qi : Intention and Breath. Through the breath, open yourself; if there are some blockages in the flow of energy, observe them and continue to follow the rhythm of your breath while listening to it. Close your eyes if it makes it easier to listen. Look first for the body relaxation.
  • Qi and Jin: The breath and the internal power. This coordination will require you to connect with your natural power, try to feel it and associate it, with the help of visualizations, with something pleasant. Feel your power.

External coordinations:

  • Feet and hands and their mutual joints. In Qi Gong, the movement starts with the movement of the feet, the hands are activated in resonance with the movement of the feet, hence the importance of the coordination of the ankles and wrists. It is important to position your limbs, upper and lower, in harmony with each other to avoid bad twisting or tension in your joints
  • Elbows and knees. The attention paid to their coordination will improve the stability but also the fluidity of your rotational movements.
  • Hips and shoulders. The hips connected to the shoulders give the movements more unity, the axes of force will be clearer and will help confidence in mobility.

Self-massage, tapping and rubbing

Starting a Qi Gong session with self-massages, tapping and rubbing is a very good way to start. But where should you start if you are a beginner?

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced practitioner, it is important to contact the body surfaces to relax and stimulate them at the same time. Touch is an excellent vector of information, if you are looking for well-being you can communicate this intention to your body by a simple touch.

Example of exercises lasting 10 minutes:

Start in a sitting position, so that you can grab your feet and massage the soles, phalanges, sides. Pull a little on your toes, then, as if you wanted to grab a pencil, roll the toes on themselves and close. Release by opening and spreading the toes.
Take an ankle in one hand and rotate slowly, change ankle and hand and repeat the joint rotation movements. Pay attention to your hips as you do this exercise, connecting your hips and ankles in awareness.
Rise up from the bottom to the top and work your way up from your feet to your head, tapping your body with your fingertips, all the way to the top of your skull. Distinguish between the front and back of the body and according to the zones, awaken your body by tapping, rubbing or self-massage.
Face and belly massage are particularly recommended in Qi Gong, without forgetting the ears where the vestibular system is located, which manages balance.

The lower abdomen is in the Chinese symbolism: the man. It is located between the sky (upper body) and the earth (lower body), you can activate your Qi by massaging your lower abdomen in a circular motion, synchronize the movement with your breathing.

Preparatory exercises

These exercises are warm-up exercises to get in good physical and mental condition. It is as much about protecting the joints by preparing them for the exercise as it is about strengthening your motivation. Relaxing and stretching are the two necessary actions for a good warm-up.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of exercises:

Warm up by distinguishing the upper body: ankles, knees and hips and the lower body: arms, wrists, elbows and shoulders.

  1. Squatting
  2. Rotations: wrists, arms, neck, knees, hips, pelvis, shoulders, elbows
  3. Bending forward, backward
  4. Opening and closing of the arms
  5. Stretching the sides of the body

Conclusion

Qi Gong exercises, styles and methods are numerous. To begin, it is better to listen to your motivation and your needs. Then choose a suitable series. Start by doing little but well, the attitude is the main entry for a fulfilling and progressive practice. When spring arrives, don’t be shy: alternate your practice at home with a practice in a garden or in nature, that will strengthen your Qi!


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