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Strengthen and Heal With Qigong: Body, Mind, Heart

Qigong: A Practical Approach to Health and Healing
Instructor:
Kelly Whelan-Enns
110 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated]
Understand basic and intermediate levels of coordinating movement and the breath
Improve concentration and focus
Develop a personal practice to develop a deeply healing personal practice
Practice basic movement and breathing techniques to relax the body and mind together

Qigong is an exercise method that uses repeated sequences of movements to stretch the body (muscles, tendons, fascia) and open and close the joints increasing fluid movement (blood, synovial and lymph) and stability through structural alignment.

The word Qigong (also spelled Chi Kung / Chi Gong) is made up of two Chinese words. Qi (Chi) is pronounced chee and is usually translated to mean the life force or vital-energy that flows through all things in the universe.

The second word, Gong (Kung), pronounced gung, means accomplishment, or skill that is developed through regular practice. In basic terms Qigong (Chi Kung) means developing the vital energy of the body, the mind and the heart with regular practice. It is a system developed and used for health maintenance, healing and increasing vitality. The main methodology used to accomplish this is with deliberate breathing coordinated with specific body movements.

Qigong can be classified as health, martial, medical, or spiritual. All Qigong styles have three things in common: they all involve a posture, (whether moving or stationary), breathing techniques, and mental focus. Practices vary from the soft internal styles like Taijiquan, Baguazhang & Xingyiquan; to the external, vigorous styles such as Hung Gar, Choy Li Fut and Shaolin.

Most Qigong forms can be easily adapted, even for the physically challenged and can be practiced by all age groups.

Qigong is not a a one stop cure all, but it is an extremely effective health care practice that can compliment virtually every other form of physical health care and therapy.. Many healthcare professionals recommend Qigong as an important form of alternative complementary medicine. 

Qigong practice will build an awareness of and influences aspects of ourselves that are not accessible through traditional western forms of exercise. Within Qigong, there are both external movements (Wei Dan) and internal movements (Nei Dan). These internal movements are called neigong or “internal power”. These internal neigong movements make qigong a superior health and wellness practice.

The internal movements also differentiate qigong from almost every other form of exercise that emphasizes prolonged aerobic endurance such as jogging, tennis, biking,) or that focus on muscular strength training such as Crossfit and weightlifting.

Most other forms of exercise do not involve the meridian system used in acupuncture, the massaging of arteries or engagement of deep tissue anchors inside the body, nor do they emphasize the importance of adding mindful intent and breathing techniques to physical movements. When these elements are combined, the benefits increase exponentially.

Consistent practice of Qigong builds a deep internal resilience to stress through the repeated connection to the calm focus built by moving and breathing in a coordinated and relax fashion. With a regular personal practice, anyone can develop deeper awareness of their body, breath, and how the mind feels as it interacts with their body and emotional states leading to a personal language of self awareness. 

In this course students will learn one of the original qigong sets first recorded roughly 3600 years ago in China – the Ba Duan Jin or 8 Pieces of Brocade. Alongside this versatile and profoundly effective qigong set are included stand alone qigong movements designed to deepen connection to the body and provide even more tools for anyone to strengthen and support their body’s healing process.

Core Elements of Qigong and Developing A Personal Practice

1
Welcome to Ancient Design
2
The 8 Pieces of Brocade Qigong Set

The 8 Pieces of Brocade Qigong set - the Ba Duan Jin is one of the first qigong sets recorded as a formal sequence in China 3600 years ago. These eight simple movements open and close all the joints of the body while engaging deep fascia and tendon connections to improve blood flow and and fluid transfer between the organs, lymph glands and inside the endocrine system. As a result of the direct impact qigong has on the nervous system a person can with enough practice re-wire their nervous system and rebalance organ function and rehabilitate old injuries and dissolve scar tissue. 

Medical diagnosis of injuries and health issues should be made by a qualified medical practitioner. However, qigong will compliment any and all paths of rehabilitation as well as provide a substantial toolbox for injury prevention through increased structural integrity, improved balance, relaxed breathing methods and the calm awareness of the body and personal surroundings that naturally develops over time.


My personal experience over 30 years of practicing this particular set has been profound. I had asthma that almost killed me a few times a year growing up as a kid and teenager, this qigong set changed that completely. My asthma was getting worse and I was not growing out of it the way kids often do. When I was 15, two years after I began practicing this qigong set three times a week, my asthma was completely gone - along with the severe chronic bronchitis that accompanied it. I have not had an asthma event since. When I was 19 I developed hypoglycemia - the opposite side of the diabetes coin - 100 days of practicing this set three times a day and keeping my blood sugar stable with almonds and sunflowers seeds (think dense protein and complex carbs) I was able to re-wire my body and have not had any blood sugar issues since. THis obviously does not take into account busy days of not having time to eat. 

In 1997, we had a major flood here in Manitoba where I lived and I spent three months in cold water and sandbagging and moving pumps. All the time spent with my hands in cold water moving pumps meant I developed bursitis and tendonitis. Two weeks of doing the 8 Pieces of Brocade two and three times a day and the bursitis and tendonitis was all gone. 

This set is amazing when it comes to strengthening the body and supporting the boy's natural healing capacity. 


3
Earth Marrow Washing Qigong Breathing Basics

A basic introduction to Zhan Zhuang or Standing Stake neigong. Standing Stake method is at the heart of the Chinese internal martial arts such as Taijiquan, Baguazhang and Xingyiquan the three orthodox Chinese internal martial arts. It is also the foundation of medical qigong and iron body qigong and iron palm. (Zhan Zhuang is pronounced "Jan Jong", or in Southern China, "Jam Jong" and is often translated as Standing Like A Tree, or Standing Pole Method).

This seemingly simple meditation/breathing method is very deceptive. It is one of the most potent mindfulness methods I have experienced in my 32 years of training. Once you develop a strong connection to the sequence of visualizing your breath moving in the body this way it is important to practice it whenever you can. Washing the dishes, standing in line at the grocery store. Making it a common habit helps build the momentum of rewiring the mind and shifting out of limited ego or the monkey mind spaces a person can get caught in and not be aware of. 

The depth in this simple practice is a continuously humbling experience. Combine it with any qigong or neigong practice and you will give yourself an amazing tool for disolving tension in the mind and body and supporting a deeper more conscious heart space.

4
Bone Breathing Neigong

Zhan Zhuang or Standing Stake method is at the heart of the Chinese internal martial arts such as Taijiquan, Baguazhang and Xingyiquan the three orthodox Chinese internal martial arts. It is also the foundation of medical qigong and iron body qigong and iron palm. (Zhan Zhuang is pronounced "Jan Jong", or in Southern China, "Jam Jong" and is often translated as Standing Like A Tree, or Standing Pole Method).

The benefits of such a simple practice are too numerous to list. The simplicity of this practice is deceptive. Using structural integrity, aligning the bones to open up the deep tissue layers of fascia all the way down to the bones and to allow the stabiliser muscle groups and the tendons and ligament anchors to come into play to support the postural alignment of the body can with time facilitate a deep release of tension in the body throughout the nervous system, organs, vascular system, endocrine and lymph glands. 

Understanding this kind of neigong or deep tissue work is essential to progressing and developing the kind of personal practice that will remap and rewire your entire body while building a truly profound conscious connection to your entire body.

Not for the faint of heart. It requires a specific kind of courage and strength of will to be able to practice this method of body awareness. It is one of the most potent mindfulness practices a person can challenge themselves with. Imagine sitting in zazen for three hours but you are standing and having to hold not only your mind quiet and still and manage your internal mental discipline and emotional dialogue - but you are also holding your body in a still and quiet way. Five minutes of Zhan Zhuang can feel like an hour and an hour can feel like a mere five minutes. 

The combination of mental and physical discipline focused like this will turn any person into steel wrapped in cotton.

5
Lift Cauldron Push Down Mountain - Spiralling & Rooting Dragon Body Qigong

This is a basic introduction to the type of structural articulation and body alignment required to develop sensitivity to rooting into the ground and expanding into your body while you move. With Lift Cauldron Push down Mountain you are sitting into your feet and learning to round the arms to open the back and then lift the arms as you spiral the forearms and then expand or reach out in front of the body. This engages the fascia sleeves in the arms and hands to move blood all the way up, into and through the body to the fingertips. 

This movement is a combination of Zhan Zhuang postures turned into a flow drill to learn the feeling within the body of rooting and spiralling properly.

6
Wild Goose Leaves Flock & Green Dragon Stretches Claws -Baguazhang Spiralling

Baguazhang (8 Trigrams Palm)  is one of the three main Chinese internal martial arts, the other two being Taijiquan and Xingyiquan.Baguazhang's movements employ the whole body with smooth coiling and uncoiling actions, utilizing hand techniques, dynamic footwork, and throws.

In this video we work on a basic drill to open the body, spiral the fascia and massage the acupuncture meridians in the forearms while using a simple twist of the torso to massage the organs all at the same time. OPening and closing the joints of the body with this drill strengthens them and allows blood flow to be strengthened and refined as you lift and lower the arms. The turning of the body is very important as opening and closing or wrapping one side of the body in one direction then the other has the added benefit of washing blood left and right in the body at the same time as the twist or coiling of the body gentle massages the organs.

7
Purple Swallow Fans Tail - Baguazhang Open The Root and Wash Qi Left & Right

Baguazhang (8 Trigrams Palm) is one of the three main Chinese internal martial arts, the other two being Taijiquan and Xingyiquan.Baguazhang's movements employ the whole body with smooth coiling and uncoiling actions, utilizing hand techniques, dynamic footwork, and throws.

Developed from the conditioning required to learn the Jiang style of Baguazhang, this movement engages a deep twist of the body that gently massages the organs. the engagement of the fascia through specific arms movements washes blood left and right through the body. An important movement for opening the deep tissues of the arms this movement can be found repeated many times throughout the Jiang Rong Chiao Baguazhang form. 

8
Rowing Ba Qigong - Xingyi Lui He Quan Spiralling & Rooting Qigong

Xinyi Liu He Quan (literally - Fist of Mind, Intention and Six Harmonies) is a martial art that has developed in Henan Province among Chinese Hui (Moslem) nationality. It is considered one of the most powerful and fighting-oriented styles among other Chinese Martial Arts, and for a long time it has been known for its effectiveness in fighting.

A foundation of all Xingyi Liu He Quan methods, this movement trains a person to move their whole body in one fluid motion. Synchronized body alignment that is found in Rowing Ba develops compact spirals and whole body opening and closing. This movement can be used to wash blood through the body, refining its movement and conditioning the fascia through the twisting of the body and the spiraling of the forearms. 

Equally important to note is that this movement also has within it the perfect body alignments for use as a Zhan Zhaung or Standing Stake method. 

9
Rolling The Firecracker - Rooting & Spiralling The Qi Of The Inner Gate

Xinyi Liu He Quan (literally - Fist of Mind, Intention and Six Harmonies) is a martial art that has developed in Henan Province among Chinese Hui (Moslem) nationality. It is considered one of the most powerful and fighting-oriented styles among other Chinese Martial Arts, and for a long time it has been known for its effectiveness in fighting.

Rolling the Firecracker is designed to open the hips and develop coordination of the hands and hips while spiralling the fascia of the forearms to open up the deep tissue connections of the body and create a more refined flow of blood in the whole body. The twisting of the body uses the ribcage to massage the organs. The use of the horse stance is important as it uses the bone alignment and tendon engagements to pull on all the deep fascia layers of the legs and hips to lift blood up into the body and out into the hands as they open and close.

10
Cat Washes Face - Wash the Qi Left & Right, Massage the Organs, Open Dai Mai

Xinyi Liu He Quan (literally - Fist of Mind, Intention and Six Harmonies) is a martial art that has developed in Henan Province among Chinese Hui (Moslem) nationality. It is considered one of the most powerful and fighting-oriented styles among other Chinese Martial Arts, and for a long time it has been known for its effectiveness in fighting.

An ancient blood washing method, Cat Washes Face is everywhere in Xingyi Liu He Quan, Taijiquan (Single Whip, Cloud Hands) and Baguazhang (Green Dragon Stretches Claws). 

Lifting the hands the way you do in Cat Washes Face lifts blood above the heart so the vascular system gets a soft workout and you strengthen the heart. Spiralling the forearms you are again opening and closing the deep tissues of the forearms and massaging the meridians and arteries inside the hands and forearms.

The horse stance in this qigong movement engages the large muscles of the legs and the tendon and fascia engagements to lift blood up into the torso which is then pulled to the hands and fingertips refining and deepening efficient blood flow through the whole body.

The twisting as you move from one side of the body uses the rib cage and pelvis to massage the organs, allowing for deeper and more controlled breathing to be trained at the same time.

 

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