In our system of White Tiger Qigong we have three main types of Qigong, sitting, standing and motion. All are important and fit together like a puzzle. Motion Qigong has many purposes. Within Motion Qigong, we have water and fire methods of practice. In Fire Qigong, we learn to project Qi outside of the body. Motion Water Qigong builds and cultivates energy. Sometimes you need to cultivate energy and sometimes you need to release it. This is one of the secrets of learning to balance you water and fire within your body. Learning to balance water and fire is one of the keys to mastering Qigong. Water Qigong is a necessary development exercise in prelude to Fire Qigong in which we “throw the Qi”. Sometimes you need to throw Qi and sometimes you need to build it.
The main purposes of Motion Water Qigong are:
- Cultivation and building of energy in the body
- Moving energy from the Dan Tian to the extremities
- Deep stretching of the whole body and lungs
- Massage the internal organs
- Strengthen and loosen the muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments
Principles of Motion Water Qigong:
- Smooth and continuous motion and breathing. There should be no breaks in the breathing, no stopping and there should be no break in the movement. If there is a break in the movement, the Qi will stop flowing, become awkward and stagnant. The movements must be connected, fluid and continuous. In Chinese they refer to this as “silk pulling energy”. To aid in this create an image of pulling silk out of a cocoon.
- “Ringing Out” Maximum twist is essential as you twist around your spine you stretch to your maximum and when you reach that maximum you push it a little further, and also letting out that last little bit of air. Think of a towel that is wet and when you ring it out the water flows to the ends. Qi in the spine is the same way that when you ring it out, the Qi flows to the extremities.
- Rhythm. Without rhythm, the movement is lifeless. Rhythm is what keeps Qi flow connected and moving throughout the body. Just as in dance you need rhythm, in Motion Water Qigong you need that to carry you through. This is a natural principle of the world.
- Intention. We often times imagine pushing through water or pushing a heavy object. This automatically brings the Qi to your extremities and creates a mental connection to your movement and mind. Without intention it is just a movement, just an exercise or stretch. This is what separates Qigong from Yoga. If the mind does not lead the motion, the energy will not follow the motion.
During your practice, use each one of these principles one at a time, until you can integrate all four at once. If you try to integrate all of these principles at once for the first time you will lose your focus and concentration. This is like multi-tasking and it does not work very well.
Tevia J. Feng 林峰
Martial Arts and Qigong in Bali, Indonesia