QIGONG FOR HEALTH & LONGEVITY
In Yunnan Shaolin Temple we teach Soft Qigong and Hard Qigong as part of building a healthy body. It is important to maintain fitness as we age, to stay youthful and healthy.
The terminology of Qigong is formed of two parts: Qi (energy) and Gong (work, practice). The focus of the exercises practices is on developing the Qi. The purpose of practicing Qigong is to increase the vitality of the body by combining the mind, body and the Qi (vital force). You can practice still or moving Qigong such:
- Meditation (still or moving Qigong)
- Zhang Zhuang (standing like a tree – still Qigong)
- Shaolin Ba Duan Jin (moving Qigong)
- Yi Jin Jing (moving Qigong)
Qigong is a way to train the nervous system, the mind and the internal organs all in the same time having as the result an increased level of fitness and power. The aim of Qigong exercise is to stimulate the flow of internal energy called ‘Chi’ through channels (called meridians) and build internal strength. Qigong uses breathing techniques, practices, and disciplines of Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, and Martial Arts. These breathing techniques control the internal movement of Chi while the body will be motionless. There are many schools of Qigong depending on spiritual development such as Buddhist and Taoist, purposes such as health, therapy, and martial arts.
Meditation has been detailed on a separate page of the Kung Fu Styles. Below we will explain the other exercises which we practice in Soft Qigong and the health benefits:
Zhan Zhuang is known also as Standing like a tree exercise. It is considered to be the foundation of all Qigong styles and dates back about 27 centuries. For many years this system of exercises has been kept secret. Although during practice you stay still and you might think you do not practice anything, the exercise is very energetic – develops the internal energy.
During the practice, the internal energy develops as the flow of energy increases. This has as a result of a cleansing effect of the body. Your Kung Fu will develop much faster if you practice on a daily basis Zhan Zhuang. This is because this specific practice increases your energy level.
SHAOLIN BA DUAN JI（少林八段）
Shaolin Ba Duan Jin is translated as Eight Brocade System. It has been created in the Shaolin Temple and has been known as the Shi Er Duan Jin (12 System). You can see the 12 stances on the Shaolin Temple walls.
The exercise consists of eight movements and each one is repeated eight times. There is not a particular order you should practice if you prefer only some movements. You can practice Ba Duan Jin not only standing but sitting or lying down.
There are several health benefits of practicing this system:
- Increased immunity
- Healthy body
- Muscle relaxation
- Qi and blood regulating
- Increased metabolism
Kids also benefit from practicing Ba Duan Jin because help them to train willpower perseverance and wisdom. Adults can benefit from stress relief and anxiety. During the Qigong class, you will receive the name and health benefits of all the eight stances.
YI JIN JING 易筋经
Yi Jin Jing is an exercise for muscle and tendon changing. Yi (易) means to change or to replace. Jin (筋) means muscle and tendons while Jing (经) means classic.
This exercise focus on Qi circulation in the 12 primary Qi channels and the 2 major Qi vessels (Conception and Governing Vessels). Practicing Yi Jin Jing strengthens the body (muscle and tendons) and maintain a smooth circulation of Qi in the internal organs. This helps to slow down the degeneration of the physical body.
Based on Chinese Traditional Medicine, the blood vessels are considered the Qi reservoirs. They regulate the body’s Qi in the organs and channels. The more Qi you have in your body the healthier and longer life you will have. Usually, the Qi decreases with age and is also influenced by the lifestyle you have.
Qigong is a way to train the nervous system, the mind and the internal organs all in the same time having as the result an increased level of fitness and power. The aim of Qigong exercise is to stimulate the flow of internal energy called ‘Chi’ through channels (called meridians) and build internal strength. Qigong uses breathing techniques, practices, and disciplines of Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, and Martial Arts. These breathing techniques control the internal movement of Chi while the body will be motionless. From Chinese Martial Arts perspective there are techniques known as ‘ Iron Palm’, ‘Iron Shirt’ and ‘Metal Bell Cover’.
WHY STUDY HARD QIGONG?
Qigong is the art and the science of using breath, posture, and movement in order to cleanse and circulate the Qi in the body. The benefits are seen in improving health, awareness transformation and increased power of martial artists practitioners (medical and vitality Qigong). In spiritual levels, the exercises help the student to experience other dimensions and to develop telepathic powers. If you practice constantly, you will be able to understand everything that happens to you internally (organs and muscle), be able to feel the changes inside and develop self-control.
By using the body and mind with breathing techniques we increase our resistance to diseases, adapt to the environment and improve our immune system (medical Qigong). Having a strong immune system we create a state of vitality and youthfulness (vitality Qigong).
Having a strong body will help you in competitions and actual combat (Warrior Qigong). Qi is much more difficult to develop but will last all your life and beyond and increase with practice.
WHAT WILL I LEARN?
You learn to combine your body moves, mind, and breath in order to achieve a peaceful mind. We teach you the requirements for practicing Qi Gong: breathing, controlling your mind and coordinate your body. Hard Qigong exercises consist of: iron palm, arm, body (practice with herbs), break a brick with your palm and wooden sticks on your body. In this class, you will also learn to through knives and needles.
Additionally, we teach you Intellectual (intelligence, creativity, memory, decision-making, and prosperity) and Spiritual Qi Gong (spiritual cultivation).
Qigong is the art and the science of using breath, posture, and movement in order to cleanse and circulate the Qi in the body. The benefits are seen in improving health, awareness transformation and increased power of the practitioners (medical and vitality Qigong).
In China, for medical purpose, there two main branches of Qigong: static breathing (including meditation) and moving exercises.
In spiritual levels, the exercises help the student to experience other dimensions and to develop telepathic powers. If you practice constantly, you will be able to understand everything that happens to you internally (organs and muscle), be able to feel the changes inside and develop self-control.
The best time to practice Qigong is early in the morning, before breakfast. Chinese people like to train in the presence of trees because they get their strength from the nature (earth, water, sun, air) and have a positive field of energy. If you practice during the day, you must allow 30 minutes after meals before starting to practice. The clothing must be comfortable and make sure to remove jewelry which might obstruct the blood flow.
The first exercise to warm up is your knees by doing slow rotations for 30 times each side. The next part to warm up is your shoulders by doing 60 full circles. The two largest and most important joints are the knees and the shoulders.
Qigong practice helps the vital systems to cope with the impact of stressful, polluted and daily lifestyle. If your internal organs function properly, your health will benefit tremendously. You can become more productive when relaxed under pressure. Chinese Traditional Medicine approach is to pay the doctor to keep you healthy and cease the payments if you become ill until healthy again. In Chinese medical tradition, illness is connected to the patterns of energy flow. Pain is a signal of blockage or stagnation in the energy flow. Qigong exercises are designed to enhance the flow of Chi and regulate the internal balance.
ADDITIONAL NOTES ABOUT YOUR TRAINING
When you join, the level of your skill will be assessed during practice time and your class will be decided based on this. We have classes for ADVANCED, INTERMEDIATE and BEGINNERS students in Qigong. We also run classes for COACHES and ASSISTANT COACHES.
During your training time, you can be moved between these classes based on your OWN progress.
INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED students which train for the short term, can train only on the main goals for their trip. The same is for COACHES and ASSISTANT COACHES.
There are many Healing Qigong exercises which are used for different parts of the body to rejuvenate and increase longevity. However, they are not taught as part of the regular timetable. They are taught only during retreats we organize during the year in China and abroad. Please get in touch with us if you are interested to learn them.