What are the Taiji Shibashi Qigong?

Taiji ShibashiDes Lawton, teaching at a shibashi instructor course.

The Shibashi are a group of 18 individual Qigong exercises that are designed to balance the Qi throughout the body. Each Shibashi exercise is focused on a primary meridian pair, or element, although some can be modified to change, or enhance, this. These exercises are medicinal and can be used to treat (in a complementary fashion) a number of common ailments.

 

The Shibashi Postures

  1. COMMENCEMENT: This is good for regulating respiration, allowing the lowering of the breathing rate. It is also good for maintaining the balance of the blood pressure, it strengthens the function of the Kidney meridian, calming the nerves ( Shen). It also has a therapeutic action in the alleviation of arthritic pain, in the knees.
  2. BROADENING THE CHEST: This is good for dealing with insomnia, hypertension, relieving mental fatigue, and when used in conjunction with “Commencement” it can be used to treat asthma.
  3. PAINTING RAINBOWS: This is effective for regulating the blood pressure, aiding digestion, alleviating gastric ulcers, alleviating shoulder and lumbar pain. Physically, it can assist in reducing fat deposit in the waist.
  4. CIRCLING THE ARMS TO PART THE CLOUDS: This builds up strength in the waist and legs, and enhances the respiration. It strengthens the function of Kidney qi, increasing the vital energy of the body, being particularly good for those who suffer from dizziness, palpitations, anxiety, or shortness of breath.
  5. PUSHING TO THE DIAGONALS: This is effective for alleviating arthritis of the shoulder or knee, muscular fatigue of the groin (psoas, etc.).
  6. ROWING THE BOAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAKE : This strengthens the function of the digestive system and is effective in alleviating intestinal and gastric disorders. It is also good for relieving pain in the waist and legs.
  7. HOLDING A BALL IN FRONT OF THE SHOULDERS: This is particularly good for treating stress and insomnia as it calms the Shen.
  8. TURNING TO GAZE AT THE MOON: Improves digestion, alleviates intestinal dysfunction, and also helps reduce fat deposits in the waist area.
  9. TWISTING WAIST AND PUSHING PALMS: This increases the circulation to the extremities. It is effective in treating ailments associated with Spleen and Stomach as it strengthens their functions. It is also good for calming the mind (Yi), and treating pains in the waist and legs.
  10. WAVE HANDS LIKE CLOUDS: This exercise will increase/accelerate the circulation of blood and qi throughout the whole body. It is good for the treatment of lethargy, gastric ulcer, indigestion, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  11. SCOOPING FROM THE SEA AND VIEWING THE SKY: This increases strength and flexibility of the waist and thighs. It helps to regulate the blood pressure, improves the circulation, and calms the Shen.
  12. PLAYING WITH WAVES: This is a very good exercise for building the strength in the waist and thighs. Alleviates high/low blood pressure, lethargy, and anxiety (Shen).
  13. FLYING DOVE SPREADS ITS WINGS: Good for opening up the chest, relieving strain/tightness in the chest. It is also very good for the treatment of indigestion, Liver, and gastric disorders.
  14. PUNCHING WITH OUTSTRETCHED ARMS: This is good for relieving mental stress and tension (particularly with work related stress). It also strengthens Liver qi.
  15. THE FLYING GOOSE: Strengthens the function of the Kidney and Spleen, helping to regulate the blood pressure. It is recommended for sufferers of kidney problems, low blood pressure, dizziness, and tinnitus.
  16. SPINNING WHEELS: This exercise increases flexibility within the waist and abdomen whilst also building up strength. It can be used for treating low blood pressure, increasing the flow of both blood and qi thereby increasing vitality and restoring energy.
  17. BOUNCING A BALL WITH STEPS: This is good for relieving mental tension (Shen), anxiety, and insomnia.
  18. PRESSING PALMS IN CALMNESS: This is good for regulating the breathing and balancing the blood pressure. It strengthens the function of the Kidney, calms the nerves, can alleviate tinnitus and dizziness, and also has an effect on arthritis of the knee

 

Five Element within the ShibashiA Shibashi class in progress

When the Shibashi Qigong exercises are practised they have an effect on the whole of the body/mind.  However there is usually one quality (meridian pair) that is affected primarily, starting off the reaction that then flows through the entire energetic system.  Shibashi Qigong exercises have both a sedating and tonifying effect on the meridians, allowing the Qi to flow freely.  When used in a Five Elements context, this effect of both tonification and sedation, when properly applied through the prescription of the appropriate exercises creates a powerful healing process.