Qigong exercises include movements that are simple to do but will take time and repetition to master the correct breathing and focus that makes them so effective.
The eight basic movements are collectively known as ‘Pieces of Brocade’ that you ‘weave’ using your body. The Qigong movements have meaning behind them, but let’s focus on the actual movements.
Before You Begin
Stand with both feet securely planted on the ground, bend your knees slightly. Remember to breathe deeply and slowly throughout – inhaling on contractions and exhaling on movements that expand.
Getting your breathing right will take some practice, but before you know it, you’ll be doing it without thinking. As you move, imagine yourself ‘floating’ through the air with minimum effort. Release distractions and focus on each movement your body makes.
Repeat each movement eight times.
Movement # 1: Pushing Up the Heavens
Stand with your feet comfortably apart, about the width of your shoulders.
Your arms are relaxed next to your body with your palms towards your legs – this is your basic neutral stance.
As you breathe in, lift your flat palms, pushing your hands up. As your hands reach your heart, turn your palms outward and breathe out as you stretch your hands up. Breathe in as you lower your hands, as you pass your heart swap to exhaling.
Return your hands to your side.
- This movement meant to regulate and stimulate the function of the heart and lungs, stomach and spleen as well as the liver and kidneys
- Lowers heart rate
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves circulation
- Relaxes muscles
Movement # 2: Pulling the Bow to Shoot the Arrow
Widen your stance and bend deeply into the knees.
Cross your arms across your chest as you breathe in, exhale as you pull one elbow back as if drawing a bow to shoot an arrow, keeping the backhand lightly closed. Three fingers of your bottom hand are closed to the palm, while the index finger and thumb extended.
Turn to the opposite side as you inhale, cross your arms before drawing your other elbow back, paying careful attention to the finger positions. End the movement by breathing in as your arms cross your chest. Raise your body up and breathe out as your arms return to your sides.
- This movement flow is meant to open the lungs and airways.
- Regulates and improves kidney function.
- Practically, this strengthens legs, knees, and abdominal muscles. It also increases mobility in the shoulders and neck, tones the arms and relaxes muscles.
- Has a mild benefit to the heart.
Movement # 3: Separating Heaven and Earth
Stand in your basic neutral stance (see Movement #1) and cross your arms over your chest.
Breathe out as you reach up with one arm while lowering the other. Keep a soft curve in both arms. Breathe in as you bring your arms back to the chest level and breathe out as you swap high and low.
Finish the movement by inhaling as you cross your arms and breathe out as you lower them to your sides.
- The combination of movement and breathing is said to help the functioning of the stomach and spleen.
- Physically, it conditions and lengthens muscles of the arm, shoulder, back, and abdominal muscles.
- Improves circulation.
- Mild heart benefit.
Movement # 4: The Wise Owl Gaze Backward
Begin in your neutral basic stance.
Breathe in as you raise your arms, palms up while bending your knees. Breathe out as you push your palms down and straighten the knees. Think of ‘growing tall’ in your spine.
As your spine reaches its full stretch, ‘fan’ your hands at your sides, with fingers reaching away from your legs. Look over one shoulder for a few seconds. Breathe in as you start the sequence again, but this time end by looking over the other shoulder.
To finish, inhale as you face forward, bring your palms together in front of your abdomen, exhale as your arms float back to your sides.
- This sequence regulates and improves the functioning of the front of the body (conception vessel) and the back of the body (governing vessel).
- Physically it increases neck mobility, lengthens the spine and helps muscles to relax.
Movement # 5: Swaying the Head and Swinging the Tail
Widen your stance and bend your knees to a squat, let your hands rest on your thighs.
Inhale to prepare then exhale as you sway your body to one side. Think of lining up your nose with your big toe. Inhale as you return to center, breathe out as you cross your midline and stretch to the other side. Your nose should line up with your other big toe.
To finish, inhale as come back to the center, grow tall in your body and breathe out as your arms drop next to your sides.
- This movement benefits the heart by exercising the lungs and awakening the energy in the kidneys. This relieves worry, anxiety, distress, heartburn – these ailments are collectively referred to as ‘heart fire.’
- Physical benefits can be felt in the legs, knees and lower back. It enhances the flexibility of the spine as well as strengthening and lengthening muscles in the hips, abdominal muscles and lumbar region of the spine.
Movement # 6: Two Hands Hold The Feet To Strengthen The Kidneys
Widen your stance and place your hands on your stomach.
Let your thumbs meet above your navel and your index fingers below. Breathe in and trace your hands around your waist to your lower back area where your kidneys are. If your back will allow it, do a slight backbend as you inhale. As you breathe out, bend forward. Slide your hands from your lower back down the backs of your legs.
Continue sliding until your hands are resting on your feet. Hold for 3 seconds. Breathe in as you roll up to a stand, tracing your hands along the insides of your legs all the way back to your starting position, framing your navel. Repeat.
To complete, lower your hands to your sides as you breathe out.
- This move is traditionally good for kidney function.
- Physical benefits are felt in the lower-back muscles as they are lengthened and strengthened. Abdominal muscles are strengthened, hamstrings are lengthened.
Movement # 7: Punching With Angry Eyes
Widen your stance and bend your knees.
Lightly clench your hands into fists at your sides. Glare in a fiery, angry way, think ‘fierce tiger.’ Breathe in and as you breathe out, slowly punch left with your palm down. Breathe in as your left-hand drops and breathe out as you punch right.
Finish by returning to a neutral stance.
- You might find a boost to your vitality doing this.
- The power in your lower abdominal area will be enhanced as well as the functioning of your liver as you work off anger and hostility.
- You will feel the workout in your legs.
Movement # 8: Bouncing on Heels to Shake Off Stress and Illness
Stand flat-footed with your heels together and toes apart, ‘V’ formation. Breathe in, raise your palms upward as you bend your knees.
Breathe out as you push your hands toward the floor, straighten your legs and rise up onto your tip-toes. Hold for 3 seconds. Bounce on your heels in a relaxed, natural way seven times. On the eighth, stand flat-footed and shake your body eight times. Bend your knees up and down while throwing your arms down.
- This is said to stimulate the immune system which will clear stress and illness from the body while promoting clarity and increasing energy.
- Your calf muscles, feet, ankles and Achilles tendon will be strengthened and conditioned.
Learn Qigong Exercises And Movements With Supreme Science Qigong Center
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