Qigong

Qigong is an ancient Chinese method of integrating mind, body, and breath to achieve balance and harmony by moving Qi (energy) through the body. This is accomplished through gentle exercises characterized by deep breathing, focused intention, and mindful postures to facilitate the flow of Qi. It’s all about health and healing, relaxation, and letting go. The word QIGONG is made up of two Chinese words. Qi is pronounced chee and is usually translated to mean the life force or vital energy that flows through the human body and, indeed, through all things in the universe.

The second word, gong, is pronounced gung, means accomplishment or skill that is cultivated through steady practice. In a larger sense, Qigong is a practice of working with the life force energy to improve the circulation of Qi for health and harmony of body, mind, and spirit. It is a system practiced for health maintenance, healing, and increased vitality. Like any other system of health care, Qigong is not a panacea but it is certainly a highly effective personal health care practice.

Qigong is the “mother” of the Chinese arts of Taiji (T’ai Chi), feng shui, acupuncture, martial arts, massage, nutrition, and herbology. All of these focus on Qi, the life force, and gung, our skill in growing and using it.

Qiging is very user-friendly. There are a wide variety of forms and practices that range from supine to sitting, to the very active, and every range in between. Each of these forms provides health benefits to the practitioner. The gentle, rhythmic movements of Qigong reduce stress, enhance relaxation, build stamina, increase vitality, and stimulate the immune system. And there is considerable research available that supports the efficacy of Qigong as a healthful and healing modality. In addition to overall feelings of well-being, it has been determined that Qigong improves cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, and digestive functions. Qigong is an activity that can be practiced daily for health and healing, clarity and inner peace.

Taiji

Taiji was originally developed as an internal martial art, composed of health exercises and practices, and fighting skills. Today, however, Taiji is generally practiced for its health benefits and that is our primary focus.

We teach the Guang Ping Yang style of Taiji. This form consists of a series of sixty-four choreographed movements, practiced in a slow, meditative manner. The movements of the form promote balance, flexibility, relaxation and inner harmony.

Through the inner and outer work of Taiji, the physical body is thoroughly exercised, vital energies are balanced, the mind is cleared and the emotions are centered. This fluid movement form helps develop awareness, clarity of focus, and it enhances development of a Wu Wei state of mind.

Taiji is an exercise of body, mind, and spirit that connects us with the Universal Life Force through the dynamic dance of Yin-Yang.

Taiji Principles

From the teachings of Grandmaster Y.C. Chiang,
Wen Wu School, El Cerrito, CA.

1. Whole body relaxed; do not use force.
2. Keep the mind concentrated; do not let it wander or become confused.
3. Be peaceful and natural; do not be tense.
4. You must hold the head up straight and feel as though a string attached to the crown of your head were
holding you up.
5. The body must be straight; do not lean in any direction.
6. There must be a clear distinction between empty (non-weighted) and full (weighted) feet.
7. Both hands must move together; do not let one stop.
8. Breathing must be even, regular and natural; do not hold or constrict the breath.
9. In the slightest movement the whole body must move; do not let any part stop separately.
10. Let the waist lead the whole body.
11. Movements must be in squares and circles; the limbs must not be too bent or too straight.
12. Movement must be smooth and regular, do not suddenly speed up or slow down.
13. In stillness the mind must be active; in activity the mind must be still.
14. The body’s center of gravity is in one of three places: on the left foot, on the right foot or in the
middle.
15. The whole body must be in harmony:
Three outer harmonies:
Hand with foot
Elbow with knee
Shoulder with hip
Three inner harmonies:
Thought with intent
Intent with breath
Breath with strength
16. Why is it important in the practice of Tai Ji Quan to be careful in the fullness and/or emptiness of the
feet?
Because emptiness permits nimbleness, nimbleness permits change in one’s own position, change in one’s own position permits transformation of the opponent’s movement, transformation of the opponent’s movement permits advantage.
17. In the changes and transformations of Tai Ji Quan, rest and motion have no beginnings, change and
transformation have no ends, emptiness and fullness alternate naturally.
18. The method of using Tai Ji Quan is to seek straightness in the winding, gather it, then thrust it out; in the changes and transformations if the opponent does not move, I do not move; if the opponent moves even a little bit, I have moved first.
19. Concerning the use of the hands and feet in Tai Ji Quan — in extending do not extend all the way; be
relaxed but do not be limp; the strength may be broken but the intent remains unbroken.

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