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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Natural Qigong: The Art of Nourishing Life

Natural Qigong: “The Art of Nourishing Life”
By Jim Roselando, Jr.  

There are many ways to cultivate health (exercise). In the Chinese arts they are grouped into two categories of development – Natural (soft) & Un-Natural (hard). Yiquan (mind boxing) is a natural form of Yang Sheng (life nourishment) Qigong that cultivates, integrates and activates your whole body in stillness.  All Yiquan Qigong methods of cultivation are trained with softness, making the art suitable for practitioners of any age.
Natural & Un-Natural
       It is important to know the difference between Natural methods, and Un-Natural methods of exercise.  Master Wang Xiang Zhai, founder of Yiquan Qigong, clearly describes the core difference between natural (life nourishing) cultivation and other forms of exercise.      
"Appropriate exercises can positively affect every cell and every organ in the human body, improving the functioning of respiratory and vascular systems, as well as metabolism. In typical forms of exercise, before the body is tired, there are already problems with breathing and the heart is overburdened. So the exercise must be halted prematurely in order to let one's heart rest, to catch one's breath and return to a normal state. 
Chinese health science uses the opposite method. The principle is to exercise the muscular and vascular systems, stimulating every organ at the same time. Even if during exercise your muscles become tired, your pulse stays in the normal range, and breathing is natural. After the exercise, you feel that your breath is freer and more comfortable than before. Because there are no complex sets of movements, the nervous system is not greatly stressed; you eliminate internal tension, achieving mental calm. This is one of the elements that makes health science different from typical forms of exercise."  

Mind, Body & Breath
       The heart of Yiquan Qigong is known as Zhan Zhaung or “Pile Standing.”  Pile Standing is the most direct way to exercise the mind, body and breath in stillness.  The process is designed to return the body to the natural state. The classics state: Internally train the Breath and Qi; Externally train the Muscles, Tendons and Bones. In Yiquan Qigong, nothing is forced and all aspects of training are designed to open and unite the body.  A body that is open and elastic will have good circulation and be less prone to injury.  In Zhan Zhuang the spine naturally decompresses and realigns!  This process is best understood by this simple example:  If you wanted to untangle a telephone cord, would you stretch it out or would you hang it upside down and let “gravity” unlock it? This is the difference between Hard Qigong/Yoga and Life Nourishing Natural Qigong.

Final Thoughts
      Yiquan Qigong is a modern system that has no set patterns or techniques! The root training gradually and smoothly transforms you from the inside out. Development of Gok (awareness) is key, as it is awareness of posture, relaxation and breathing that will bring out the Zheng Qi (true chi) energy realm. Yiquan Qigong is a principle based training platform, which nourishes the three treasures Jing (essence), Qi (energy) and Shen (spirit), while simultaneously integrating and activating your whole body! Conditioning, Energy and Meditation are all results of the simple practice of Pile Standing!  In training, you will experience the rewards of three forms of exercise in one simple posture and this is why Pile Standing is regarded as the King of Exercise in China!