SUCCESSFUL QIGONG PRACTICE
by Steve Spano
All qigong and other internal energy practice is based on three principles, regardless of style or teacher. The principles are deep relaxation, deep breathing and guided movement. Following these ensures that your practice will yield the best results.
Deep relaxation is first and foremost. It puts the cerebral cortex into a quiescent state so that the central nervous system is regulated, enhancing innate healing function. It also normalizes blood pressure and metabolic rate. The internal warm up and stretch exercise, which should be part of every session, brings on a relaxed state.
Deep relaxation may also be practiced by itself. Lay down and, beginning with either the head or the feet, tense then release each muscle group one by one. This will induce a progressive relaxation in the body. Once mastered, a relaxed state can be brought on at will.
Deep breathing cleanses and feeds the blood. All breathing during a session should be timed to the movement being executed. Some movements require an exhalation, some an inhalation. The breath should last from the beginning to the end of the movement. There should be no holding of breath. The breath should always be moving, either in or out.
To develop deep breathing by itself, pull the breath downward by expanding the abdomen while inhaling slowly and contract the abdomen while exhaling slowly. Aim to increase the amount of air taken in, though gently, never forcing. The exhalation should be twice as long as the inhalation.
Guided movement promotes circulation of blood and internal energy through all parts of the body equally. It also provides a focal point for attention.
Avoid unnecessary talk while practicing, as this would stimulate the cerebral cortex and bring it out of its quiescent state. If thoughts wander, gently bring them back. Thoughts should be focused on the movement of breath in and out and on the execution of body movements.