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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wing Chun Illustrated Issue 5: Yik Kam Wing Chun


"Some of the most important aspects of Sifu Yik Kam are dynamics, force, ranges, and angles. Full integration of the Snake Body engine is essential during all practice, as it is the uniqueness of our art, and when combined with our boxing skills, restuls in what is known as Wing Chun's famed Shock Force."

-Sifu Jim Roselando Jr., from the upcoming Issue 5 of Wing Chun Illustrated. 

Like this? Then please spread the word by clicking the "Like" or "Share" buttons on the WCI facebook page! 

For More information on Yik Kam Wing Chun you can take a look at Hendrik Santo Sifu's Youtube Channel!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Video Tutorials

We often receive emails asking for video instruction or tutorials. As soon as it gets warmer, we plan to make a Year One DVD. In the meantime, we thought it might be useful to re-post the links to Lam Kam's Ten Day Tutorial, which walks you through many of the same exercises in the MIT Qigong Curriculum:



Another great resource are the videos of Coach Jim Roselando:


Enjoy!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Qigong with Jim Roselando


Date: 2/27/12
Subject: The Progression
Hello,
     One of the most common comments made after attending a MIT Qigong Club work out session would be; I thought there would be more moving exercises.  This brings us to a core principle of training in our art.  Master Wang Xiang Zhai clearly stated that the foundation of Yiquan is standing meditation or zhan zhuang.  Why?  Simple answer! If you cannot totally relax while standing still then how do you expect to stay relaxed while moving or during a more dynamic situation?  
     Zhan Zhuang provides us with the simplest possible platform for directly tuning the mind, body and breath which is essential for cultivation strength of the whole body as well as extreme vitality for optimum health.  Once the practitioner can stand and relax then they can begin to test their strength thru small movements and later with stepping.  So the progression is Standing, Moving & Stepping and each must adhere the principle of tranquility at all times.  One should keep in mind that there is movement in stillness and stillness in movement.  Moving or stepping maintain the same mechanics as non-moving practice.  The only different would be the amount of momentum utilized!
Time: 7:00-8:00
Location: Student Center/Room 491
Cost: FREE FREE FREE


Warmup
 10min Gathering Qi
5min Posts #1-8
5min Gathering Qi
10min Leg Meridians
5min Seal/Wash
See you soon!
Peace,
Jim Roselando
Quote Of The Day:
Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god!  
- PLATO

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quiescence

“Not permitting one thing to interfere with another is called "concentration". When the mind is asleep, it dreams. When it is relaxed, it moves of its own accord. When it is employed, it schemes. Therefore, the mind is never without movement. Nonetheless, there is still the capacity for quiescence. Not permitting dreams and petty annoyances to disrupt this capacity to know is called "quiescence".”

-- Xun Zi, ancient Chinese philosopher

Wellness Therapies by Dr. Weil


What is qigong?
Originating in China, qigong dates back nearly 5,000 years. The name derives from the Mandarin words qi, meaning energy or life force, and gong, meaning work or skill. It is a mind-body practice as well as an energetic form of movement done to enhance the flow of qi in the body. By integrating posture, body movements, breathing and focused intention, this practice is designed to improve mental and physical health. Though its roots date back before Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it has been incorporated into the system of practices that TCM practitioners use today.

The existence of qi - an energy force that can move through, yet exist independently of the body - is controversial in the West, as it does not lend itself to independent verification and analysis via scientific instruments. The skeptical view of qigong holds that any health benefits it conveys are due to the acknowledged benefits of gentle exercise, the placebo effect, or both.

What conditions is qigong used for?
Qigong can be used by nearly everyone. Bill Douglas, founder of the International Health Education World T'ai Chi and Qigong Day, who is also Dr. Weil's expert advisor on the therapy, recommends qigong as a highly effective stress management tool. Along with decreasing daily stress, he contends that qigong may boost immune system function, improve balance, tone the cardiovascular system, lower blood pressure and modulate disorders of mood.

Different forms of qigong have a unique focus, each with varied indications. For instance, medical qigong concentrates particularly on improving qi to strengthen the body's organs, tissues and systems (respiratory and immune, for example) for the purpose of achieving optimal health and lessening the effects of aging. Spiritual qigong is done to lead the individual closer to his or her spiritual source,  whatever they presume that to be, and to enhance those cultural and religious practices with which they align themselves. Martial qigong, better known as tai chi, is used to increase strength, flexibility and balance by bringing qi into the muscles, bones and tendons through specifically designed routines.

What should one expect on a visit to a practitioner of qigong?
Qigong is done as either a movement practice or hands-on therapy. The movement practice is typically taught in individualized or group settings by a qualified teacher. Qualifications can be ascertained by looking into the teacher's training and medical background. Those with TCM training are often well-suited to teach medical qigong. Videos can often be effective teaching tools and useful alternatives when one can't find the right instructor.

Hands-on medical qigong is similar to other forms of touch therapy. The patient dresses in comfortable clothing and sits or lies on a massage table. The practitioner will apply hands on or in front of various places along the body where "energy blockages" are discerned. Slow, deep breathing is encouraged, and sometimes a practitioner may recommend certain guided imagery exercises or visualization during therapy. Heat may be felt at the site of treatment, usually coming from the hands of the practitioner. Afterwards, feedback may be requested about the therapy and home exercises may be recommended. Due to the deep states of relaxation that energy work can often cause, one should always be cautious and get up slowly after a treatment and drink plenty of water afterward.

Are there any side effects or situations where qigong should be avoided?
Bill Douglas has taught qigong to professional athletes, corporate executives, maximum security prisoners, drug rehabilitation patients, the wheelchair-bound, elderly individuals with advanced Parkinson's disease, children with ADD, students with learning and developmental disabilities, and people with AIDS. Anyone with an existing condition is well advised to consult their physician before beginning any exercise program, but qigong is an extremely gentle practice; it does not even necessarily require the individual to stand, as many movements can be done while sitting. Consequently, it can often be used for even the most delicate conditions with minimal, if any, side effects.

Is there a governing body that oversees or credentials practitioners in qigong?
At present, there is no international standard for certifying qigong practitioners. An ongoing effort to set standards has involved several countries, orchestrated by the World Academic Medical Qigong Society in Beijing. However, a standardized program of training in qigong has yet to be agreed upon.

Two organizations provide direction in finding practitioners and training programs. The International Institute of Medical Qigong (IIMQ) offers training programs and certification based on a curriculum from the Medical Qigong College at Haidian University in Beijing, China. The National Qigong Association (NQA) also offers professional certification for their members as an opportunity to enhance and highlight the experience of affiliated practitioners. Both organizations offer databases to help in locating practitioners.

Are there other therapies that might work well in conjunction with qigong?
Qigong is often used within the system of TCM, which includes treatment modalities including acupuncture, Chinese medicinal herbs, and aspects of a Chinese system of bodywork called Tuina. Craniosacral therapy and other forms of osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation along with other types of bodywork can  work well with qigong. Other mind-body therapies and stress management strategies like breath work, guided imagery and visualization can also meld well with qigong practices.

What is Dr. Weil's view of qigong?
Dr. Weil recommends both qigong and tai chi as part of a program of health maintenance that is suitable for nearly anyone. In any city in China you can see thousands of people of all ages practicing these movements throughout their day. He believes that qigong promotes flexibility, balance, and good body awareness. It is beautiful to watch and to do, and may be particularly good for the elderly because it can reduce risk of injury from falls.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Meditation: Stretching of the Mind

Excerpt from Qi Magazine | Issue 69 | December 2003
By Michael Tse

Today many people are interested in Yoga because it is good for the body and mind, but Chinese also have stretching and meditation for the mind and body. Both India and China have a long history of health and culture, so we both understand how to develop the body and mind

Meditation is very important in health. Today we cannot shut our thinking off. To be peaceful, to be calm and not bother other people, then close the eyes, close the mouth and sitting still is the way. However, many people cannot do this. Our lives are so busy now. Ask yourself when you have time to do completely nothing at home. So we must force ourselves to do meditation in the beginning as we are not used to being still. In the beginning, sitting meditation is very good and most people will be comfortable for this. It is much easier than starting with full lotus.

Meditation is mind training. We know that when we close our eyes, we will still keep thinking a lot, but we have to force ourselves to stay there with the eyes closed. It is just like running. It is hard but we have to finish the journey. In the beginning, you might find you will move the body a lot: changing position, scratching at an itch, sometimes even wanting to go to the bathroom, but that is alright for beginners. We all go through this. Later, you will get used to it and it will be easy to go from five minutes to half an hour, from uncomfortable to be comfortable, from many thoughts to no thoughts. This is the training of meditation. Because your mind is empty, this is why you become open to receive any messages. The longer you keep this emptiness, the higher level you will reach. You will find your memory is clearer and your judgment more accurate. You will be able to listen and speak better and your vision will also be clear. In the end, you will become more wise and some people can even develop some psychic potential. I find that people who do not do meditation or find it difficult to meditate will get older quicker. Therefore, meditation is very important for longevity. Daily stretching of the mind will lead us all to live longer and more healthy lives.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tai chi benefits Parkinson’s disease patients

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A newly published study has found that tai chai, an ancient Chinese martial art, may help Parkinson’s disease patients not only regain strength and balance, but also reduce potentially life-threatening falls.

The study, conducted by researchers in Corvallis, Salem, Eugene and Portland, Oregon, is in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

In the study, Parkinson’s patients were divided into three groups. One group participated in a resistance training program with weighted vests and weights, designed by Oregon State University researcher Gianni Maddalozzo. Another, which acted as the control group, did stretching classes. The third group took a modified tai chi class designed by Fuzhong Li, the lead author of the study. Li is with the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene and earned his doctorate in the exercise and sport science program at OSU.

Each group did a 60-minute class twice a week for 24 weeks. The patients in the tai chi group had significantly better balance, had better overall physical functioning and had a much lower incidence of falls. In fact, participants in the tai chi group had 67 percent fewer falls than those in the stretching group. Maddalozzo, a coauthor on the study, said the reduced rate of falling is a significant finding.

“Falls can be detrimental, not only to those with Parkinson’s, but for many people including aging populations, diabetics, people with osteoporosis,” he said. “More than 30 percent of serious falls occur in the home, so what we tend to see is that people develop a serious fear of falling that leads to a more sedentary lifestyle, which is the opposite of what they should be doing.”

Parkinson’s is a disorder of the nervous system that affects motor control and movement. Patients affected by the disease have substantially impaired balance that can lead to serious if not deadly falls. Lead author Li practices tai chi, a martial art marked by slow, focused movements focused on meditation and relaxation. “Clinically, as an effective and safe exercise regimen, tai chi may be used as an add-on to existing physical therapy or rehabilitation programs as part of a balance training protocol or to address some of the key movement disorders in Parkinson’s,” Li said.

Maddalozzo said because tai chi has been shown to help Parkinson’s patients restore balance and regain strength, he believes it could be useful to a wide variety of people. Li agrees, saying that researchers have found positive results with older adults, including reducing falls by 47 to 55 percent.

“Tai chi has also shown to be beneficial in reducing pain in people with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, ameliorating sleep disturbances, and helping to decrease blood pressure,” he said. “Overall, accumulating evidence suggests that tai chi may be efficacious as a behavioral medicine approach for the prevention and rehabilitation of chronic diseases and dysfunctional mental and physical conditions commonly associated with advancing age.”

Researchers from the Oregon Medical Group, the PeaceHealth Medical Group–Oregon, Willamette University, BPM Physical Therapy Center, Oregon Health and Science University and Oregon Neurology Associates contributed to this study, which was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

About the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences: The College creates connections in teaching, research and community outreach while advancing knowledge, policies and practices that improve population health in communities across Oregon and beyond.
 

MIT Presidents Day Qigong

Date: 2/20/12
 
 
Subect: Monday Night Training
 
Hello,
 
 
     I am looking forward to a great session of natural qigong at MIT tonight!  Simple training and exceptional results are what we are known for so come train with us every Monday night and we will give you the keys to heal, strengthen and unite your mind, body and breath with tranquility.  All classes are FREE so bring a friend and we will see you tonight!
 
 
Time: 7:00-8:00
Location: Student Center/Room 491
Cost: FREE
 
 5min Gathering Qi
10min Heaven/Earth poses
10min Hun Yun posts
5min Gathering Qi
15min Natural Post
5min Cow Post
5min Turning Cow
3min Gathering Qi
2min Seal/Wash
 
Peace,
 
Jim Roselando
 
 
 
***
 
 
     Although medicinal preparations are the basis for longevity, their benefits will be greatly enhanced if one is able to combine them with respiration techniques.  If one cannot obtain herbs, one can still live to several hundred years of age if one practices respiration and full grasps its principles.  Indeed, Man exists within the qi and qi exists within Man.  From Heaven and Earth down to the Myraid Things, there is nothing that does not rely on qi for life.  Those adept at respiration can nurture the body within and dispel illness and malignancy without.  Those who fully grasp the principle of cultivation health (Yang Sheng) unremittingly practice respiration, perform qigong exercises in the morning and evening to promote and stimulate the blood and "defensive energy"....can indeed be free from illness. (Ge Hong-Bao Pu Zi)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Alignment with the Elements

 

What are your thoughts on global alignment? Comment below!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Principles of Qigong Practice

by Adam Wallace
Qi Magazine | Issue 64 | Dec 2002

Success with Qigong depends on following certain principles. Failure to do so not only diminishes the positive long-term effects but can even cause unwanted side-effects.

Qigong trains the mind, breathing, and body (posture) so these are the three essentials. The mind must remain calm and clear with a positive attitude. This is dependent on sinking the Qi to the Dantian, where it is stored and developed. If Qi remains in the upper body you may feel pressure in the chest, causing difficulty with breathing, which leads to anxiety. If it remains in the head you will feel pressure, and suffer headaches or insomnia, and find total relaxation impossible to attain. Only when Qi is stable within the Dantian do you feel comfortable and balanced.

Without proper breathing Qigong is merely stretching exercises, and the benefits are limited. Generally, breathing is through the nose, which connects with the Dantian, facilitating deep respiration and sinking of Qi. The mouth should remain closed to help reconnect the Ren and Du channels (broken at birth) and reform one unbroken channel, Xiao Zhou Tian (Small Heavenly Circuit). A maxim of Chinese medicine also states, “All disease enters through the mouth." The nose filters the air and warms it before it reaches the lungs.

When the back is straight the internal body can relax. The Baihui point (at the crown of the head) and the Wuyin point (between the legs) should form a straight line. This smoothes the Chong channel (running through the very centre of the body), which connects with the Dantian. Chinese medicine states, "If the posture is not correct, the Qi cannot flow freely. If the Qi does not flow freely the mind cannot become tranquil. If the mind is not tranquil the Qi will disperse.”

The body’s fluids belong inside the body, especially the vital substances such as the blood and semen. These essences are the foundation of health; there is no spirit without vitality, and no vitality without essence. Physical exercise which causes dehydration, through profuse sweating, is contradictory to Qigong theory, and even excessive bouts of crying leave a person feeling exhausted.

For the best results, Qigong should be practised at regular times (so your body becomes accustomed to the routine) and at the same place (as you create a Qi field which benefits your practice). Ideal times are early morning (when yin energy changes to yang) or in the evening. These hours are more conducive to Qigong as the air is cleaner, the energy is calmer, and the environment is quieter. 

Persistence is the key to success. This requires self-discipline. It is said that Qigong masters practice 24 hours a day, which is not to be taken literally but means that even when they are not exercising or meditating they are following the principles (i.e. maintaining a calm mind, deep breathing, and good posture) whether at work or at home relaxing, while walking and eating, etc.

Qigong training means to test your Qi and occasionally experience adversity. This makes the body stronger internally and enables the body to adapt to changing situations. Too much comfort makes the body weak and dependent on certain conditions. Begin in small amounts and increase as your body becomes stronger. Between 3 and 4 a.m., when most people are sleeping, the body is at its weakest. If you can practice at this time you will find it beneficial and your level will improve. Also it is vital to cultivate good moral character. You must train with a good heart and a pure mind. Benevolence, humility, honesty, and other virtues must be maintained. Over time Qigong does improve the student’s character and nature, but a bad student (one who cannot give respect or is selfishly motivated etc.) without strict guidance will never develop a high standard.

You should never be impatient for quick results as this causes restlessness and anxiety, which is contrary to the principles and therefore impedes your progress. There are no short-cuts. Qigong is an evolving process, not a quick fix like a weight-loss or body-building programme. The hardest lesson is to just to relax, and let everything come naturally in its own time. Also, even if your time is limited you should never rush your own practice. Save your energy, using it only when necessary, and balance rest with activity. If you always follow the natural way, maintain a balanced and positive mental attitude, and adhere to the principles then you are assured success with Qigong which is a long life spent in good health and happiness. Qigong is more than exercise: It is a philosophy, a way of life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Qigong Benefits Immune Function in Cancer Patients


By , About.com Guide   February 9, 2012
Original Article: http://lungcancer.about.com/b/2012/02/09/qigong-benefits-immune-function-in-cancer-patients.htm

Qigong, a Chinese practice that involves meditation, breathing, and gentle movements, is increasingly being used for people living with cancer.

ALT TEXT
As an "alternative" practice, it is used to help people cope with the symptoms of cancer rather than treat cancer. But a new study shows that it may do more than help with pain and fatigue.

Researchers took a look at all studies published on qigong to date. In total, this included 23 studies that, depending on the study, looked at the physical, psychosocial, and biomedical outcomes of people with cancer who practiced qigong.

They found that people treated with qigong, along with traditional therapies to treat cancer, had a significant improvement in their immune function.

It's another step to say whether or not having improved immune function can make a difference in survival rates with cancer. But we do know that the immune system plays a huge role in eliminating cancer cells that are present in the body. Hopefully further research will take a good look at this.

Check out the additional benefits qigong may have for people living with cancer. The research I did in writing this article got me started with doing qigong myself!
And More About Qigong and Health:

Chan, C. et al. A systematic review of the effectiveness of qigong exercise in supportive cancer care. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2012. DOI: 10.1007/s00520-011-1378-3. Published Online 19 January 2012.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

MIT Monday Night Qigong

MIT Qigong Club
Location: 1/16: Student Center (Rm 491)
Time: 7:00-8:00
Cost: FREE
***

warmup
10min Gathering Qi
20min Natural Post
10min Twisting Step
10min Leg Qi
seal/wash

***
Notes from the Tao Te Ching:
*When one gives uundivided attention to the VITAL BREATH, and brings it to the utmost degree of pliancy, he can become tender like a baby.  When he has cleansed away the most mysterious sights of his imaginaton, he can become without a flaw.
*He who would gain a knowledge of the nature and attributes of the nameless, undefinable (Tao) must first set himself free from all earthly desires. 
*Man takes his law from the earth, the earth takes its law from heaven, heaven takes its law from the Tao.
*He who knows others is discerning, he who knows himself is intelligent.  He who overcomes others is strong, he who overcomes himself is mighty.7735DAVZRN45

Monday, February 13, 2012

Moving Zhang Zhuang for Cultivating the Dantian

In the MIT Qigong Year Two Curriculum, Coach Jim Roselando introduces his students to moving zhang zhuang. Choose your favorite posture or keep your arms relaxed in wuji... spend a few minutes finding your center and connecting with your breath. Then gently and slowly transfer all of your weight to one leg... pause... feel your center, feel your balance, breathe deep and soft.... then transfer to the other leg. Move gently, softly, deliberately... 

Below, Michael Tse, editor of Qi Magazine, offers additional valuable information on this powerful exercise.

Collecting Qi to your Dantian - Walking 
Qi Magazine | Issue 62 | August 2002
by Michael Tse

Breathing
Throughout the whole movement, breathe naturally.

Concentration
As you move, make sure you keep your knees bent and the body at the same level. Do not move up and down as you step. Keep the eyes forward, gazing down.
Benefits
A lot of time when we walk, we will walk too fast. For general walking, if we walk too fast, we will use energy. In this exercise, you should walk slowly, so you will go through the detail of the body. How do you use your weight? How do you put your weight forward? How to change one's weight to the other side of the body? That will help your mind and body to connect together because you do it slowly. As you bend your knees to walk, all your weight is on your legs and your upper body will be light. It will create a warm feeling in your body. However, your leg will be a little bit tired. At the same time, you collect the energy, you pass the Ren Mai and down to the the Lower Dantian. So every time you move, the energy will go down to the Dantian and open the channel. So this part is of benefit for the circulation and liver because the liver connects with the blood. And the coordination should be with your torso and legs together. 

History and Background
When we do this exercise, we keep collecting the Qi to the Dantian with the simple walking. It will be easy for beginners. So, in the Healthy Living Gong, we have both stationary movement and walking movements which are like Yin and Yang to balance our Qi together. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

MIT Qigong Global Standing Gallery

Our Global Standing Gallery contains pictures from six continents... from the Heartland of America to the Islands of the Caribbean, the slopes of Tahoe and the Alps, the beaches of South Africa, Australia, and Thailand... we've captured the Universal Post in India and beneath the skyscrapers of Hong Kong. Please send a picture of your qigong practice from around the world: qi@mit.edu.

David || Koh Mook, Trang, Thailand

Friday, February 10, 2012

Zhan Zhuang - Wuji Posture

Richard Watson
©copyright Longfei Taijiquan Association of Great Britain

Wuji Posture


The Lower Limbs

Taiji and Wuji are terms that have roots in Chinese Cosmogony. Taiji is itself rooted in Taoist concepts that signify the origin of the duality of existence as manifested from the void (Wuji). Taiji is the mother of Yin and Yang.
This whole concept is a clue to the posture to be adopted; to be formless with absolutely nothing happening, physically, mentally, emotionally with a quiet spirit.

The foundation is in the lower limbs, the feet should be parallel, shoulder width and support the ankle. In turn the ankles will rest directly under the tibia and fibula which in turn support the knee and femur. The knees should be gently pushed out as if a large balloon was being supported and at the same time being inflated. The feet however should be equally weighed from heels to toes and from inside to outside edges. At the same time do not lose sight of the concept of nothing happening.


The Torso

The trunk should be upright. When dealing with the body one should also address the head. The head should be lifted from the crown (acupoint Baihui), the feeling should be as if a balloon filled with air was lightly drawing the crown up. At the same time one can visualise a weight is lightly drawing down the base of the spine. So the feeling visualised is an opening of the vertebrae of the backbone.

In the Wuji posture because the arms are by the sides it can help to relax the shoulders which is important for eradicating discomfort in the shoulder and upper back. The defining line of the trunk would be plumb from Baihui (DU20) and Huiyin (REN1).

It is important to give attention to the relaxation of the abdomen, the inguinal joints, hip joints and the sacro illiac area. This will help to sink the Qi to Dantian. Visualisation can be applied to the relaxation of the internal organs. The overall aim should be calm and loose without collapsing.


Upper Limbs

The arm and hand directives in this posture can be simple. They should hang loosely by the sides with a feeling that a pair of rolled socks were being held in the armpits. The hands and fingers should be relaxed and loose, the hand is slightly dish shaped with the fingers pointed to the ground and at the root of each finger a gap the size of a garden pea.


Head

The head position is important and we have already commented on the raising of Baihui. The tongue rests on the roof of the mouth connecting the two governing vessels, Du and Ren. The eyes must remain relaxed and look directly ahead; alternatively they can be averted down. When the eyes are averted take care that the head remains lifted. This care with the head should also apply when we lift the crown point. It's a common fault with beginners, that when instructed to lift the crown they also lift the chin. This will be counter productive to the relaxation of the neck, when lifting the crown one must also tuck the chin.

As in all meditation techniques all students are confronted with their endless discursive mind. Whatever problems this may present are best discussed with an experienced instructor. With more practice the chattering mind can lose some impetus and the student will adapt his or her approach over a suitable period of time. Remember the instruction to do nothing can be applied on all levels of being.


Breathing

Breathing should be performed quietly through the nose keeping it simple, warm and friendly. The accent is on being natural and treating yourself gently. The respiration should be deep and slow but this should arrive naturally and never forcefully. Remember that any mental effort to govern the breath will be counter productive to some overall relaxation. It is permissable and practical to be attentive to the flow of breath even to count them as an aid to meditation.