Blog#42: A Nine Part Qi Gong from Which You Can Benefit
Of all the Qi Gong Exercises I have learned over the years, my favorite is my modified version of a set of nine simple forms Master Stephen Co said he learned from one of his patients/students, and then chose to share in his well-received book, Your Hands Can Heal You. This set of qi gong forms will help keep your mind calm and your body energized. Like any other skill, qi gong can take several years to learn at a deep level, though you are likely to find it enjoyable after just several weeks of daily practice. Eventually, when you learn something well enough, you are totally present and can sense thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations in minute detail. In this state, the concerto may play through the pianist, the poem may write through the author, and the qi gong form may manifest through the practitioner. Just to be clear: I am not particularly a fan of Pranic Healing and other similar techniques. However, I do know a good qi gong form when I see and practice one, and this form is excellent, safe, accessible, and short (you can finish it in less than fifteen minutes).
I will present the first three forms in this blog. The first form is in my version, but not in Stephen Co’s. It can be found in blog #38. It is done standing relaxed, with knees slightly bent, heels touching, and toes pointing out at approximately 45 to 60 degrees. The shoulders are relaxed and the fingers dangle downwards, palms facing the sides of the body.
The second form involves alternate nostril breathing. In my modified version, standing with the lower body in the same position as above, the left nostril is closed with the left index finger or thumb for half of this exercise. First one inhales through the right nostril for a count of six, holds it in for a count of three, exhales through only the mouth for a count of six, and holds the breath out for a count of three. This is done a total of three times. Next comes the second part of the exercise, where the left nostril is released and the right is closed while inhaling into the left nostril for a count of six. The breath is held in for a count of three. After this, the left nostril is closed and the right is released, while one exhales for a count of six through the right nostril. The breath is held out for a count of three, and the process of inhaling through the left and exhaling through the right is repeated two more times, for a total of three times.
The third form I will describe is also done standing in the same way; it is very similar to Stephen Co’s description. Shoulders are relaxed; hands dangle down by the sides. The following is done fourteen times: the head is extended in a relaxed manner while inhaling through both nostrils, then the head is flexed forward while exhaling forcefully through the mouth. This is done relatively quickly – the whole process should not take more than a half a minute.
A fourth, transitional exercise, which I do not count as a form but Stephen Co does, involves standing relaxed, with the eyes closed and the mind resting on an area just below the navel. Inhale and exhale slowly, at least three times. This helps gather qi (energy) circulating from the previous form and also helps focus energy for use in the next form. This transitional exercise is done between each form, and also after the last form.
With practice, after doing just these three forms plus the transitional one, the sinuses may become cool and much clearer. The whole body may feel more relaxed and energized, and the mind may become calmer.
This Blog’s offer: feel free to call or email me with questions about these three forms, and also if you want to learn my version of all nine forms. If there is interest, I will free up an hour between 7 and 8 pm on Tuesday night, and/or an hour between 10 and 11 am on Thursday morning to help people learn and practice this form.