(6 pages total)
Page 2 - Qigong FAQ
Posture (regulating the body)
The first step in the practice of qigong is to assure correct posture. It is vital that the posture is natural and relaxed so as to allow smooth breathing and help lead the mind into a relaxed and quiet state. Each posture naturally has different physiological characteristics and hence will have a different healing effect on the body according to the needs of the practitioner.
The most common postures are:
Normal sitting Posture: Sit upright on a chair, feet on the ground, legs apart and torso at right angles to the thighs. Let the eyes and mouth rest gently closed, tongue resting on upper palate, assuming a slight, unforced smile.
Cross-legged Posture: Sit upright on a hard bed or platform, legs naturally crossed, hands resting in front of lower abdomen.
Half-Lotus Posture: Sit upright on a firm bed or platform, left foot resting on right thigh, right foot under left knee, or vice versa. Rest hands on knees.
Supine Posture: Lie on one's back on a firm bed, pillow not to high, legs straight and arms resting by one's sides.
Sideways lying Posture: Lie on one's side on a firm bed, with a low pillow; upper body straight, legs slightly bent; rest upper hand on hip and lower hand palm up on pillow.
Standing Posture: Stand erect, feet parallel and apart at about shoulder width with toes pointing slightly inward. Bend knees slightly, hold in chest and raise arms so that hands are no higher than shoulders, elbows drooping slightly, with the hands about one foot apart, palms down. Keep fingers separated and curved as if around surface of the ball. Eyes and mouth are lightly closed, with a slight smile.
Walking Posture: Stand quietly for about two or three minutes, then take a pace forward with the left foot, heel touching first, body and hands swaying to the right as one moves forward. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. When weight is fully on left foot, take a pace forward with the right foot, heel first, body and hands swaying to the left. Practice in this way moving forward and back for about half an hour or for as long as one can without tiring, the length of time varying, of course, according to the practitioner and their state of health.
Entering a Quiet State (regulating the mind)
Another basic skill to be gradually mastered in qigong is how to concentrate and regulate one's mental activity so as to enter a quiet, meditative state. Much of the success of Qigong practice depends on the level of peace and quietness one can attain. This "entering a quiet state" refers to a settled and peaceful state of mind not disturbed by extraneous thoughts, the mind concentrated on one point such as the "Dantian" (about one inch below the navel) or on the very act of breathing. All awareness to external stimuli (such as sound and light) is thereby reduced, even to the point that the practitioner's sense of position and weight are lost, until one reaches a state in which they are conscious yet not conscious, aware yet not aware. In this way, the cerebral cortex enters a quiescent state. Most people find it difficult to enter such a quietened state, being frequently disturbed by extraneous thoughts. However, with patience and perseverance it can be gradually attained.
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