(11 pages total)
Page 8 - Bagua Qigong (Pa Kau Chang Ch'i Kung)
Park's "basic Qi exercise" is described below:
1) The practitioner stands in a relaxed posture with the feet parallel and slightly farther than shoulder width apart. The hands hang comfortably down by the sides as shown in photo 1. The eyes are closed, the tongue is on the soft palate behind the upper teeth and the shoulders are relaxed.
2) From the starting position, the practitioner will slowly raise the hands, with the palms facing up, until they reach shoulder height. The shoulders remain relaxed and the elbows are slightly bent (see photos 2 and 3).
3)From this position the palms turn in towards each other as the arms move out to the sides. The hands continue to move out to the sides until they are almost extended out directly to the sides (see photos 4 and 5). The shoulders remain relaxed and the elbows are slightly bent.
4) Now the arms come back in towards each other traveling the same path as when they were out to the sides (see photo 6).
5) From here the arms bend and the hands come in towards the shoulders with the palms facing out away from the body (see photo 7 and 8).
6) Now push the hands back out as if pushing something away from the body (see photo 9).
7) Finally, the arms come down and with the palms facing down as if pushing on a table (see photos 10 and 11).
8) When the hands get down to waist height, you totally relax the body and allow the arms to hang loosely by the sides (see photo 12).
9) Repeat steps 1 through 8 for at least 15 repetitions.
While performing the exercise the body, shoulders, and arms should be completely relaxed. The movements should be executed using only about ten percent muscle strength (children should use 20 percent). Concentration is focused on the hands and the awareness is tuned into trying to perceive the Qi feeling. The movements are slow, steady, and continuous. One repetition, from start to finish, should take about one minute to perform.
At this stage of training, the body movement is not chained to the breathing and you do not try to use mental visualization to achieve movement of energy in the body or illicit a particular sensation. Remember that Park likes the student to train each component in isolation before the components are combined. The purpose of this exercise is to become aware of the Qi feeling in the body.
While the main purpose of this exercise will be to give the student a feeling of Qi, this is also a Qi balancing exercise. Any Qigong exercise which contains non-specific symmetrical body movement and is practiced with a calm mind and relaxed muscles will help to balance the Qi in the body. Areas in the body that are weak will naturally receive attention in terms of increased Qi and blood flow. When the mind is calm and the circulation in the body is increased, the body, in its innate wisdom, will balance itself. The breathing exercises, which are practiced before the basic Qi exercise, will "prime the pump" by collecting Qi in the body. The movements of the basic Qi exercise will help distribute that Qi where it is most needed.
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