Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Common types of Qigong

Standing postures (Zhan Zhuang)  This was the main form of qigong practiced by my two teachers from mainland China. It builds up leg strength and helps straighten the spine. The lack of movement allows practitioners to scan the body for areas of tension and focus on breathing techniques, posture and relaxation.

Wild goose (Dayan) It originated from the Taoist Kunlun school at the end of the 3rd century. It’s one of the longest qigong sets consisting of over 70 movements. Madam Yang Mei-Jun first began teaching it publically of the late 1980s. She lived to be 106.

8 pieces of the brocade (ba duan jin) This 8 movement set can be learnt relatively quickly and easily. Practiced mainly for health and often attributed to General Yue Fei.

Neigong Means internal work/skill. The term is used to describe a variety of exercises designed the increase internal power. The external movements are relatively simple, but are combined with pulsing cavities, stretching fascia, ligaments and tendons and breathing techniques. Bruce Frantzis is one of the few westerners to write about it and teach it openly. 

Bone marrow washing (Xi sui jing) Supposedly developed at the Shaolin temple by Da Mo, this exercise washes the bone marrow with qi. As we age the bone marrow produces fewer red blood cells. This exercise aims to reverse the effects of aging and increase longevity. Unfortunately it’s not taught publically.

Muscle tendon change classic (Yijin Jing)
Also attributed to Da Mo at the Shaolin temple. This set is thought have similar origins to the ba duan jin. Some versions have 10, 12 or 24 movements. It is relatively intense set that aims to strengthen muscles and tendons and therefore promote balance, co-ordination, flexibility and speed.

Dragon and Tiger medical qigong
A 7 movement set that traces the body’s acupuncture meridians and clears out blocked/stagnant qi. Taught to Bruce Frantzis by Zhang Jia Hua and can be used as a treatment for cancer.

Please note there are many other qigong sets that I haven’t been able to include on this list. Some of these exercises can be viewed on youtube, but really require an experienced teacher to explain the internal content and give feedback on whether the exercises are being performed correctly. 

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