Learn Qigong at The Wee Retreat

Learn Qigong at the wee retreat - ba duan jin
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

Join us to learn Qigong at The Wee Retreat. Our class commences at 20:15 on Wednesday evenings. We teach a number of different Qigong, working from a basic level and introducing more profound methods and tools as we go. This class issuitable for all levels of experience.

Qigong and Health

We would all like to make improvements to our health and well being (and therefore to our lives). In the western world this usually involves going to the gym and expelling lots of energy while thinking about the other things that we “should” be doing.

There is another way, one that has been practiced in China for thousands of years. It can be practiced anywhere and anytime and is a pleasure to do. It is a method that does not need specialised equipment or lots of space. So, if your goal for improvement includes any of the following, Qigong pronounced chee gong) may well be your best way forward.

Would you like to: –

  • lower your stress levels
  • increase your vitality
  • have better quality sleep
  • have better posture
  • reduce the number of tension headaches you get
  • have a better, more efficient, immune system
  • lower, or regulate, your blood pressure
  • reduce chronic pain

One of the sets of Qigong that we teach is the Five Taoist Yin. They are easy to learn and, once learned, they are an enjoyment rather than a chore.  An hour out of your day to attend this class could have a lasting, beneficial, effect on your life.  So, what are you waiting for?

Where: Learn Qigong at the Wee Retreat, 2 Myrtle Park, Glasgow, G42 8UQ

Day & time: Wednesday evening from 20:15 till 21:15
Booking: This class currently has availability. To book a place, please use our Contact Us form. Please note that this is not a drop in class.
Cost: £32.00 per month.

Instructor: Des Lawton

Terms & Conditions

Working with the Yang Meridians

Working with the Yang Meridians in Qigong

Working with the Yang Meridians, through the medium of Qigong has a beneficial effect on health and well-being. Each Element has its own qualities and governs certain aspects of our being. Therefore they have an impact on ailments that are associated with the things that they govern.

This article is a follow up to the one on the Yin Meridians but this time I am concentrating on the Yang. Again, the benefits listed are only an example of what a Yang Qigong can be used for.  Please note that as even though a Qigong exercise is described as working on a particular Meridian it may not have the same effect as another. Some are more efficacious than others for particular ailments. Due to their intrinsic connection, when focusing on the Yang Meridian of any pairing you are also influencing its Yin partner.

In these examples of working with the Yang Meridians the exercises shown are from the Eighteen Posture Taiji Qigong (the Shibashi) and the Embroidered Brocade Qigong.

Fire (SI & TW)

Traditional Chinese Medicine functions: –

Small Intestine

  • Separates the pure from the impure. I.e. sorting and absorbing.

Triple Warmer

Upper Heater
Is described as being “like a mist”. It comprises of the Heart and Lungs and transports the Qi, in the form of vapour, to all parts of the body. It controls the outward movement of Defensive Qi to the skin.

Middle Heater
Is described as being “Like a foam”. It is like soaking things in water to cause decomposition. It comprises of the Stomach and Spleen and is in charge of digesting food, transforming it and transporting it, in the form of Food Qi, to the Lungs and Heart. It controls the movement of Nutritive Qi, moving ST Qi downwards and SP Qi upwards.

Lower Heater
Is described as being “like a swamp”, acting like a channel for water. It comprises of the Liver, Kidney, Bladder, Large Intestine, and Small Intestine. It transforms the “clean” food for use by the body, excreting the waste substances and fluids. It has a downward function/movement to facilitate urination.

Zen functions: –

Small Intestine

  • Digesting and assimilating food, governing the total body energy.
  • Absorbs mental anxiety, emotional excitement, and shock.

Triple Warmer

  • Controls the Spirit and Organs, circulating the Ki to the whole body via the Three Heaters.
  • Protects the body through the functioning of the lymphatic system (conserving the balance of the fluids in the body, removing bacteria and toxins, and conserving protein in the cells. It is a major factor in our immune system).
  • It is the body’s thermostat, regulating and producing heat.

The Circle of Light, from the Embroidered Brocade (an Arm Yang Qigong). According to Traditional Chinese Medicine the benefits of working with Small Intestine and Triple Warmer Qi include:-

Circle of Light - From the Embroidered Brocade Qigong
#SBqigong #trueqigong qigongscotland
  • Muscular and tendon stiffness in the upper back especially for GV, BL & SI meridians.
  • Stiff neck, occipital headache, earache and giddiness.
  • Clears the mind (Shen), gives clarity to make difficult decisions.
  • Shoulder pain, frozen shoulder, intercostal neuralgia.
  • Allays depression and mood swings caused by Liver stagnation.

Earth (ST)

Traditional Chinese Medicine functions: –

  • Controls the rotting & ripening of food.
  • Controls the transportation of food essences.
  • Controls the descending of Ki.
  • Is the origin of fluids.

Zen functions: –

  • Governs the functioning of the digestive passages, especially the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.
  • Governs the reproductive, lactation, ovary, and appetite mechanisms.
  • It also governs the menstrual cycle.

Twisting the Waist and Pushing Palms, from the Shibashi. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the uses and benefits of working with the Stomach Meridian exercise include:-

Working with the Yang Meridians - Twisting the Waist and Pushing Palms
#SBqigong #shibashi
  • Sinus & nasal congestion, trigeminal neuralgia, nosebleeds, and upper toothache.
  • Lactation problems, stimulates the ovarian hormones.
  • Pain in the abdomen, heartburn, thirst, menstrual pain, mental irritation, and anxiety.
  • Tonifies deficient Qi & blood, strengthens the body & mind.
  • Regulates defensive Qi.
  • Low libido, loss of appetite, indigestion, nausea, and any stomach disorder.
  • Tiredness in the legs, knees, or wrists.
  • Used to treat phlegm and damp conditions, mucus, etc.
  • Calms the mind (Yi).

Metal (LI)

Traditional Chinese Medicine functions: –

  • Governing Qi and respiration.
  • Controlling the circulation of Qi in the blood vessels and meridians.
  • Controlling the dispersion and descending of Qi.
  • Regulating the water passages (through the dispersing and descending functions).

Zen functions: –

  • Intake of Qi and elimination of gasses by exhalation.

Broaden the Chest, from the Shibashi. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the uses and benefits of this Metal exercise include:- 

Working with the Yang Meridians - Broaden the Chest, from the Shibashi

#SBqigong #shibashi Working with the Yang Meridians
  • Pain relief in the head, face and upper teeth.
  • Stimulates the intestines, constipation, takes energy down the body.
  • General well-being, strengthening and eliminating tiredness in the upper body, pain in the upper body and abdomen.
  • Reduces heat, diarrhoea, abdominal distension, cystitis, eczema, psoriasis, hives.
  • Frozen shoulder, neuralgia of the arm and shoulder, hemiplegia.

Water (Bl)

Traditional Chinese Medicine functions: –

  • Transformation of fluids by Qi (i.e. storage and excretion of the urine).

Zen functions: –

  • Governs the autonomic nervous system, especially in relation to reproductive and urinary functions,
  • Related to the mid brain and assists the Kidney in relation to the hormonal system.
  • Purification and elimination of urine.

Rowing a Boat, from the Shibashi.According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the uses and benefits of this Water exercise include:- 

Working with the Yang Meridians - Rowing a Boat, from the Shibashi.

#SBqigong #shibashi Working with the Yang Meridians
  • Eye problems, red eyes, blurred vision, headaches behind the eyes, facial paralysis.
  • Occipital headache, stiff neck, stimulates the memory, eye & nose problems, and nasal congestion.
  • Acute, or chronic, lower backache.
  • Calf spasms, sciatica, pain on the sole of the foot.
  • Painful periods with dark clotted blood, dysmenorrhoea, and menhoragia.
  • Dizziness, insomnia,and aching lower extremities.
  • Used for clearing heat, good for cystitis.

Wood (GB)

Traditional Chinese Medicine functions: –

  • Stores bile and secretes it into the duodenum to break down fats.
  • Assists Liver with the distribution of Qi.

Zen Functions: –

  • Distributes nutrients and balances total energy through the action of the digestive fluids (hormones, saliva, gastric acids, etc).

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the uses and benefits of this Wood exercise include:- 

Painting Rainbows, from the Shibashi. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the uses and benefits of this Wood exercise include:- 

Working with the Yang Meridians - Painting Rainbows, from the Shibashi.

#SBqigong #shibashi Working with the Yang Meridians
  • Dry & painful eyes and conjunctivitis.
  • Temporal, or frontal, headache.
  • Sinus congestion.
  • Dizziness, vertigo, and tinnitus.
  • Clears heat in the Lower Heater, Tonifies Qi & blood, and also tonifies KD Yang (Bladder).
  • Hip & leg pain, sciatica, lumbar pain, and lumbago.
  • Pain & spasms in the legs & knees, ankle pain, and weakness in the legs.
  • Promotes the flow of Liver Qi.

Remember that when working with the Yang Meridians the more you put in the more you get out, but this does not mean that you overdo things. Take your time as Qigong must be practiced on a regular basis, it must be practiced properly and practiced before any benefits can be gained. Remember that Qigong is the art of working with Qi, it is Internal and the important thing is that you work with Qi, focusing on it.

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

The Art of Healing with Qigong

The Art of Healing with Qigong
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

Healing with Qigong (pronounced chee gung) has been used in China for centuries. It is still being used in the 21st century alongside “modern” medicine and that says a lot about its efficacy. It is the art or science of using, working with and cultivating Qi (Chi) “life energy” to enrich one’s life by controlling and strengthening the flow of Qi throughout the body.

This information is written from the point of view of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Please do not be put off by the terminology of Water/Metal imbalances, as these are only ways of describing the illness from a TCM perspective.

Healing with Qigong

Qigong is an art, which is steeped in history, legend and myth, has its roots in ancient China, growing as a healing art over thousands of years. It is the forerunner of, and is therefore based on the same principles as, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Tuina, and Shiatsu.  At present it is still being developed and researched as a cure, and preventative of illness by Qigong masters and by medical establishments and universities in China, America, Russia and Japan. In China, Qigong is often used in conjunction with Traditional Chinese and Allopathic Medicine to increase the healing power/rate – This wonderful system can also be utilised to enhance any of the Complimentary Healing systems as well as being used as a self-development and self-healing system.

Often after giving a treatment we ask ourselves if we could have done more.  We often see people who need frequent/regular treatment but who cannot afford the cost.  One way we can deal with this dilemma is to recommend some form of self-help such as diet, exercise etc.  However one of the most powerful self-help systems is often overlooked, primarily because of lack of experience – Qigong.

Healing with Qigong exercises – Two examples

It is my intention to outline two Qigong exercises which were be used to treat a client. The first deals with an imbalances in Metal, but which also treat other chronic ailments.  The second has a calming effect on the body, the brain and the consciousness. My intention is to show the basic exercise listing pathogenic factors it may be used to treat, then show a modification to the exercise that will enhance it, making it more potent in treating Metal disorders/imbalances.  The beauty of these exercises lies in their simplicity and power.

Qigong promotes the smooth flow of Qi within the meridian system, bringing harmony and balance to the Whole (Body/Mind/Spirit).  Each exercise has both a tonifying and sedating quality (i.e. It can either increase or decrease the amount of Qi within the meridian) and can be prescribed using Five Element Theory or Kyo/Jitsu, as would be done in Shiatsu, etc.

The stances for both exercises are the same; feet are shoulder width apart with the weight evenly distributed, the knees are slightly bent, the coccyx is tucked in slightly, and the head is held upright as though suspended from above.

The breathing should be natural and it is important that the movement follows the breathing and not vice versa.  Breathing should be through the nose and concentrated on the Tan Tien (a point 2 – 3 inches below the navel).  Throughout the exercise, the tongue should touch the palate just behind the front teeth.

BROADENING THE CHEST:

Healing with Qigong - Metal exercise

a) Inhalation – Turn the palms to face each other as though holding a balloon, raise them to chest height while simultaneously raising the stance, then move them laterally/horizontally as though the balloon was expanding.

b) Exhalation – Move the arms medially/horizontally to the original distance apart, lower the stance/arms while turning the palms obliquely downward.

N.B.  Make sure that the shoulders are relaxed and that the elbows are pointed down so that the arms are not “locked”. There should be a harmonious co-ordination between the raising and lowering of the arms/stance and the breathing.  Repeat about six to eight times.

PRESSING PALMS IN CALMNESS:

Following on from the last exhalation:

Healing with Qigong - working with Metal imbalances in TCM

a) Inhalation – Turn the palms upward with the fingers pointing at each other, and lift the hands to eye level.

b) Exhalation – Turn the palms down, again with the fingers pointing at each other, and press down until the hands are level with the hips.

Repeat about six to eight times.

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.

As stated, each exercise should be repeated about six to eight times (but do not get too focused on counting) and should be carried out twice a day – morning and early evening.

Using Healing Qigong

Excellent results are achievable but are entirely dependent on the client practising diligently.  One example of how potent Qigong is, is that of a 13-year-old boy with severe asthma.  When he first came for treatment (Shiatsu) he was dependent on daily medication involving three different inhalers.  His treatment consisted of three Shiatsu sessions, which started to stabilise his condition, and he was then prescribed two Qigong exercises.  Eight months later, his mother telephoned me with the news that he had been off medication completely for the previous five months and that he had only had one asthmatic attack in this time.  He had remained calm during this incident and used Qigong to overcome it in a controlled manner.

His mother had viewed this as almost miraculous, but the real miracle was that her son had the discipline to practice his Qigong each and every day – he had been empowered with the ability to heal himself.

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Course Feedback – The Eight Exceptional Vessels

From Lynn

” Excellent instructor! Beautiful material! “

From Walter

“This was a fantastic course that went into great detail in the subject. I would highly recommend this course for those that want to work specifically on the Eight Exceptional Vessels. Very good course!”

From Ben

“Excellent explanation of the subtleties of wu ji. I felt an immediate shift while practicing under the guidance in this video. Alot of these subtleties are overlooked, but here they are explained with great clarity. Thank you for creating this course!”

From Xabier

“I have been doing qigong and taichi for years, and I find the course simple and at the same time meticulous. Structured in a simple way to learn and at the time for thanks to the different sections. The teacher seems a bit concerned about his accent: I have not had any problems and I am not a native English speaker. In addition, subtitles can be used if necessary.”

From Dean

“Clear instruction and demonstrations. Feel the chi when do the movements. Each movement has multiple parts. Plenty of follow along repetitions and tips to get the patterns. Thanks.”

From Maxine

“I thought the course was well presented and interesting”

From Tracy

“A great Teacher of Qigong, it was a privilege to take this course! I could feel the Qi moving while performing each exercise. Quick response to questions asked, much appreciated! I look forward to taking more courses in the future. Humble thanks!”

the eight exceptional vessels qigong
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton


From Kevin

“Very clear, detailed and authentic.”

From Jake

“Another good course from Des Lawton. From the course introduction and explanation of terms which are nice and clear, to the well structured lessons with lots of detail of what to focus on which enhances the exercises the course is well authored. Des is certainly well versed in Qi gong and has a good presentation manner which makes learning enjoyable. For me this course has enhanced my understanding of the workings of Qi gong and will improve my practice of other forms. I would recommend this course to both beginners and experienced practitioners as it is written and presented in such a way as to be easily followed by either.”

From Gunhild

“informative – easy to understand – deep – applicable – wonderful”

From Frank

“Thanks Des-I’ve been ‘practising’ Tai chi and qigong for many years and not been taught properly and was confused by the flowery language that often seemed more like poetry than guidelines.Your two current online courses turn theory into application and precise practice in very effective ways for me.I look forward to absorbing this knowledge at a gentle pace;so it’s great to have it available whenever I need it.”

From Mary

“I found this course to be well organized and well presented, by an instructor who clearly embodies the Qigong he has learned. The content is excellent. Thank you.”

This is some of the feedback from our online Eight Exceptional Vessels Qigong course. Pro Holistic also runs this course in Scotland as well as providing Qigong workshops for other organisations and schools. Please contact us if you require further details or would like us to teach a workshop, or course, for you.

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Faux qigong

Faux qigong – are you practicing it?


What is the difference between true Qigong and faux qigong (fake). True Qigong works with the Internal and circulates and enhances the Qi. The other, the bogus one, doesn’t. It is purely External and works with the physical body and, at best, there is some “wooly” mention of Qi. How can you tell whether it is fake or real? Simply ask your teacher what Meridians, Vessels, Points, or Elements an exercise is working with. Ask about the process, about how each physical action is affecting the Qi flow. If they cannot answer, or the answer is vague waffle, I’m afraid you are probably not doing Qigong……………..
Why do qigong when you could be practicing Qigong and benefit the Internal as well as the External?

The gulf between the two is succinctly described in the following video.

What is the difference between Dao Yin and Qigong?

None! The same thing with a different name.You may have noticed that I used lower case in the second “qigong”. This how I differentiate between true Qigong and faux qigong. In this short video Master Yu Boyang differentiates between the real and the faux by using the more ancient term of “Dao Yin” for the Internal art, saying there is a difference and that qigong tends to be practiced as an external, physical, exercise.

The Master was being polite! I’d rather call a spade a spade.

Understand the difference and save yourself from wasting time and energy rather than gaining it. Don’t settle for the fake…………. search for the real deal!

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Tanzan and Ekido

Tanzan and Ekido
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

Tanzan and Ekido were once travelling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

“Come on girl”, said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms he carried her over the mud.
Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he could restrain himself no longer.

“We monks do not go near females”, he told Tanzan, “especially not young and beautiful ones, it is dangerous. Why did you do that?”

“I left the girl there”, said Tanzan, “are you still carrying her?”

We all carry too much baggage around………………. Learn to let go.

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Attaining Mastery

The Master looked at his new apprentice…….. “Here, have these” he said as he handed over a lump of rough-hewn wood and a saw. He showed the apprentice how to use the saw and said “Go saw”.
He was then taught how to keep his saw sharp and clean.

When the apprentice got the hang of sawing, the Master gave him some finer grained wood and a sharper, finer, saw. He said “Go saw”.

Then it was the same with a chisel………….. “Go chisel”.
He was then taught how to keep his chisel sharp and clean.

When the apprentice’s sawing and chiselling  skills were good enough he was introduced to measuring and marking……… Then given plans to mark out, saw and chisel the finest wood into shape.

The years went by and each shape that the apprentice made was put into one of two piles. One pile increased rapidly, the other barely grew. Then, one day, the apprentice handed over his most recent piece and the Master smiled. He walked over to the tiny pile and picked up the pieces. Handing them over to the apprentice he said “Go assemble”. This is Qigong…………..

Mastery of Qigong - assembling the puzzel
Attaining Mastery of Qigong – assembling the puzzle

The Master can only lead the student so far. It is the student that completes the journey to Mastery.

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Course Feedback – Connecting Heaven and Earth

Course Feedback - Connecting Heaven and Earth

#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

Students’ Comments

From Cecilia

“A thoroughly enjoyable, well presented and comprehensive course during which very thorough explanations and demonstrations were given. I particularly found being able to see the positions performed both from a front and side view very helpful and also the information given on the points on the meridians affected in each of the positions. This course really is as close to one to one tuiton as you can possibly get on line. Thank you, I loved it!”

From Livia

“This Qigong course is so applicable and well done–a real treasure to add to your toolbox for promoting wellness. Instructor Des Lawton of “Connecting Heaven and Earth Qigong” is an adept teacher of ancient and complex material, whose method transmits the essentials to students, allowing them to achieve a meaningful practice immediately, creating the foundation for continued study. There was emphasis on developing self-awareness and attunement to the mind-body connection which is helpful in all aspects of improved quality of life. An example of this was the lesson on posture that through practical exercises brings to light awareness of one’s body’s habitual balance developed over a lifetime so that the student can develop correct stance and connection to maximize energy flow and centering. Another amazing asset is that unlike many other online course instructors in this discipline, Mr. Lawton is personally accessible and answers questions, truly caring about providing each one of his students an engaging, rewarding experience. I look forward to learning more from this gifted and professional teacher!”

From Mark

“Excellent course. Great explanation of theory and good, clear instructions. Well paced. Highly recommended.”

From Rubina

“Mr Lawton was recommended by my teacher Laura. I am a student of the Glasgow School of Shiatsu. MY teacher mentioned to take a few Qi gong classes which will help enhance my learning and knowledge….. I liked how to listen to my Ki as I had been wondering how it was done.”

From Sherida

“The course is very well explained and taken right from the beginning so that it’s not necessary to know anything about it first. It’s important to get an understanding of the background to Qi Gong too. Very helpful.”

From Mari

“This is the best Wuji stance explanation I’ve found. Very very good teacher. I am happy and grateful that I found him. He explains all in detail and slowly. It is exactly what you need when you are new to this.”

From Charles

“A very simple series of movements to learn from and memorize. Good job!”

From Angela

“An absolute gem of a course which I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone looking to begin, or to improve, the practice of Qigong. A very knowledgable, experienced instructor communicates what you need to know, in a natural, friendly, understandable way. Detailed images show important focal points on the body, and video footage gives a superbly clear demonstration of how to do the physical movements – the excercises shown both frontally, and in profile. The most common beginner’s errors are explained, as well as how to correct them, and the deeper experience that comes through repeated practice is intimated, but left to the individual to discover freely for themselves. Navigation back and forth to refer to various points is so easy, the content so well organised, that the result is a truly flexible, effective learning tool – and a resource you can keep and refer back to anytime! The instructor responds promptly and fully to any questions about the course matter too, so it’s as near as you could wish to having one-to-one tuition from a teacher in the privacy of your own home! This course offers an authentic, user-friendly means to enable practice at your own pace, and the reassurance that your instructor is there if you have any doubts or questions. Thank you Des Lawton!”

From Dean

“Clear instruction and demonstrations. I could feel the chi after doing the movements.”

From Alex

“Excellent information and, rarely shared insight about the subject!”

From Samantha

“Very clear explanations setting the outline and expectations clearly and encouraging participants to continue. the illustrations during the movement sequences were particularly helpful.”

From Celeste

“These are wonderful forms. The teaching is very clear. Anyone who practices qigung seriously should experience this form.”

From Kevin

“Exceptionally clear, detailed and helpful.”

From Mary

“I found this course to reinforce the best of what I have learned over the last four years of serious (or should I say light-hearted) Qigong practice and study. The teaching is thorough and well-spoken. I appreciate the time the instructor takes to have the student experience each component of the teaching without any sense of rush – just as it should be! Thank you.”

From Linda

“Excellent course. The instructor is very knowledgeable, and explains all aspects of qigong very thoroughly. I would definitely recommend this course.”

From Marion

“enjoyed course learned several things I did not know even though I have been practising Tai Chi for a number of years.”

From Nick

“As a complete beginner to Qigong the pace, explanation and content is well presented and easy to understand.”

From Patricia

“This course is excellent! the pace is perfect with detailed instructions, the camera angles of the instructor, along with the meridian lines and points are also very helpful. The instructor is 100% knowledgeable and sincere.”

From Craig

“course is well structured and very detailed, using the methods taught in the syllabus i feel more confident of my practice of this qigong sequence and have a better understanding of the internal aspects of the practice to focus the mind to develop my practice. The individual break down of each movement is very helpful and gives you the internal meridian points to focus your mind on as you perform each movement, the completed sequence is very calming and i can already feel improved reduction in tension throughout the body the longer i perform the movements. The listening exercises are interesting and the changes in sensations vary with time and focus during practice . i would highly recommend this course for beginners and experienced qigong practitioners.”

From Frank

“Very comprehensive and multi-layered:a real masterclass!”

From Karen

“Excellent course. Clear and detailed video instruction building up the set/sequence slowly and carefully. Great student support. A real sense of one-to-one teaching with a personal touch from an expert.”

From Jake

“Introduction to self and Qigong very clear and understandable. The explanation of key words by text where the learner can review them later is very helpful, (also a good reminder for experienced learners). Breakdown of the moves were very well explained and gave ample time to practise. Explanations were very clear and understandable and directions easy to follow. Demonstration of the full movement was again very clear to follow and gave ample time to practice. Overall I feel this course was well put together, well presented and met the expectations. Course is ideal for both beginning and experienced learners, I myself was reminded of many aspects in relation to my Qigong practice which is always helpful. Having attended courses delivered in person by Des Lawton I can see that he has applied the same open indepth instruction here as he does in person. I would recommend this course to those new to Qigong and experienced practitioners.”

This is just some of the feedback from our online Connecting Heaven and Earth Qigong course. Pro Holistic also runs this course in Scotland as well as providing Qigong workshops for other organisations and schools. Please contact us if you require further details or would like us to teach a workshop, or course, for you.

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Using Imagery

Using imagery within Qigong
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

When using imagery the pictures we form in our mind are one of our greatest inner resources.  In the past two decades there has been a growing appreciation of the integration of body, mind and spirit and that if we use any therapeutic practice that addresses each of these aspects, we have access to the body’s healing resources. In this way we treat the whole person in a manner that is holistic in its truest sense.  People who use imagery will have discovered just how useful and versatile it is and how it can integrate body, mind and spirit.  The conscious and creative use of images gives us a method, through visualisation, guided imagery, or interactive image work, to influence our lives. Imagery can affect our lives positively or negatively so our thoughts and visualisations need to be positive in order to support healing.

Simple examples of using imagery

Our thought, memories, beliefs, moods, feelings and sensations are, subconsciously, translated into images, and together they form the basis of how we experience ourselves.  Mostly we believe them to be unchangeable.  However through any simple relaxation and visualisation exercise (for example imagining ourselves lying on a beach, hearing the gentle lapping water, feeling warm, relaxed, happy in the company of those we love) we can experience changes in thought or mood.  We can experience psychological and physiological changes by simply imagining ourselves exposed to the thing that frightens us most and feeling that knot in our stomach and possibly a cold sweat too. Or by visualising a plate of our favourite food and notice how we salivate and that our stomach rumbles.  These very simple examples show how the imagination influences us and is so integrated into our experience of life. It demonstrates the great untapped potential of the mind if we decided to utilise it.

Studies done on using imagery

The study of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) has done much to validate the therapeutic use of imagery.  Research shows how the use of imagery can increase immunity, change unhealthy psychological patterns and positively influence healing.  (Pert 1997)

Imagery has a tremendous range, from simple visualisations described above, to very specific use – to stimulate bone or wound healing for example – right through to interactive imagery, where a dialogue between body and mind, or the conscious and the unconscious self, or the personal and the transpersonal, is possible.  Imagework, the most developed form of interactive imagery, is a self-help tool which enables us to feel and be more fully ourselves and gain insight into the source or meaning of illness, or in another context they can underpin the emotional and psychological care of patients, and even more importantly, it can be a means for personal development for us all, restoring the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual balance – health promotion in its truest sense.

Using imagery within Qigong

You can use imagery within the art of Qigong in a couple of ways: –

  • To assist the movement of Qi throughout the body and mind. However just using imagery is not as effective as using Listening Jing but by using both the input of imagery and feedback of listening you can enhance, or create, particular Qi flow efficiently.
  • When practicing Qigong and with the the body/mind quiet your Shen (consciousness) can be accessed and let roam free……………. When doing Shen Qigong the imagery that manifests is no longer the input it is the feedback. The brain (Yi) is not manufacturing these images, it is interpreting the experiences of the Shen.

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Medical Research on Taiji

Link to Taiji classes availability in Scotland
#SBqigong #qigong #taiji #DesLawton

During their medical research on Taiji, researchers in the United States, medical researchers analysed 47 studies looking at Taiji and the impact that it had on people with chronic health problems, like heart disease or MS.

Their findings, published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, were that
Taiji could improve balance control, flexibility and even the health of the heart and it was also stated  that Taiji also reduced stress, falls, pain and anxiety.

This art originated in China, centuries ago, as a martial art but its health giving properties were such that it is now widely practiced purely as a health and wellbeing exercise.

Taiji utilises abdominal (Dan Tien, or Hara) breathing, relaxation and fluid, graceful, movement throughout the set of movements, known as the “form”.  In doing so it can produce changes the brain wave pattern (lowering to Alpha waves), also producing a bio-feedback loop that gradually deepens this relaxation, slowing respiration and producing a profound feeling of wellbeing.

Taiji players know through experience that it can have a profound, positive, effect on their health, improving memory, concentration, digestion, balance and flexibility. It is also beneficial for people with psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety or stress through the inner calmness that it produces.

The study (by doctors at Tufts-New England Medical Centre, Boston) suggests there is medical evidence to back up those claims.

Medical Research on Taiji – The results

Their findings, based on a review of studies published in both English and Chinese state.

“Overall, these studies reported that long-term Taiji practice had favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of falls in elders”.

Taiji helped to reduce “pain, stress and anxiety in healthy subjects”.

Importantly, they also recognise that Taiji also has benefits for people with serious, chronic, conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.

Link to Taiji classes availability in Scotland
Medical Research on Taiji found great benefits

“Benefits were reported by the authors of these studies in cardiovascular and respiratory function in healthy subjects and in patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery as well as in patients with heart failure, hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.”

Taiji has been used in Chinese hospitals for years in the treatment of chronic illness and also prescribed to people who have had heart attacks and heart surgery.  It used to be the case that this type of treatment regime was written off as “quackery” by western doctors.  Not so now!  Now we see Taiji being recommended as a post heart bypass, etc. exercise.  Not only that but many doctors are also practicing this art to benefit their own health.

Taiji is a wonderful art to learn……………………. It’s never too early and it’s never too late!  There is bound to be a Taiji class in your area……………….. go find it now!

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Qigong for CFS – manage your recovery

Qigong for CFS
#CFS #SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

As part of my Shiatsu practice I usually teach/prescribe appropriate Qigong for CFS to patients who are suffering from this ailment. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also referred to as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis [ME] or Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease [SEID]) is extremely debilitating and care has to be taken during treatment so that energy is not drained any further. Qigong, when practiced properly, increases energy, vitality and stamina.

Accuracy brings results

It is vital that the Qigong are carried out correctly for their full benefits to be appreciated and to do this the practitioner needs to be aware of, and to make use of, all the subtleties that lie within the movements.  This is why this video can only go part way to convey the Internal workings of Qigong and it was never designed to be used for instructional purposes. Trying to understand what is happening by merely following a video is not enough but even by copying the movement and breathing, some benefits may still be felt.

We provide online tuition, via Skype where all of the subtleties within each Qigong are explained and taught. For details and availability please use our Contact page and leave your details.

Please note that these two Qigong have been chosen as examples as they are beneficial for increasing vitality and stamina. However, for effective treatment, the Qigong for CFS regime should be tailored to suit the needs of the individual and that these needs will change as treatment progresses.

The two Qigong for CFS that we are concentrating on are all dealing with deficient Qi in the Yin meridians.

  • Broaden the Chest: to increase the gaseous exchange, and to combat low vitality, depression and lethargy.
  • Turning to Gaze at the Moon: to combat lethargy and tiredness, mental fatigue, lack of willpower and lack of memory.

I recommend that, where possible, you keep your bedroom window slightly open at night as stale air (A build up of carbon dioxide) will make a fit and healthy person lethargic so it is the last thing that you need when your energy levels are already low.

Guidelines for practice

  • Practice in the morning with the window open or, if possible, outside.
  • Do not overdo things. Small steps lead to bigger gains.
  • Take your time.
  • Do the exercises seated if you are too tired to stand.
  • Build up over time but you only need to repeat each exercise eight times. They do not work in the same way as physical exercises so it is most definitely not a case of “No pain, no gain”!

Our Qigong for CFS Videos

I hope that you find these Qigong useful in aiding your recovery.
Des

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

The therapies provided by Pro Holistic are of a Complementary nature. You are advised, in the first instance, to consult a medical practitioner in order that you receive a medical diagnosis. Self-diagnosis is not recommended and internet-based advice is no substitute for a face-to-face visit with a medical practitioner.

Nothing hurts

Yamaoka Tesshu
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen visited one master after another. He called upon Dukuon of Shokuku.

Desiring to show his level of attainment, he said “The Mind, Buddha and sentient beings do not exist, the true nature of phenomena is emptiness, there is no realisation, no delusion, no sage and no mediocrity, there is no giving and nothing to be received”.

Dukuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry.

“If nothing exists”, enquired Dukuon, “where did this anger come from?”

Wisdom and experience cannot be found in books………….. only in life!
Yamaoka Tesshu was young when he learned this lesson and I doubt it if he needed to be taught twice.

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Taoist Wisdom

“He, who stands on tiptoe, does not stand firm.” (Lao Tzu)
Wuji is the foundation that allows your body and mind (Yi) to be still. On tiptoe you are unstable and your body is so “noisy” that it drowns out the whisper of your Qi. Live your life with the qualities of Wuji and stay connected to yourself and to the universe.


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“Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretches her fingers to touch the heaven.” (Lao Tzu)
Make sure you have the ability sink the Qi and the ability to keep the body/mind grounded before practicing Spiritual Qigong. It is your tether, safety net, and route back.


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Lao Tzu - Taoist Wisdom
#trueqigong #SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

“Failure is an opportunity.” (Lao Tzu)
Do not expect your Qigong journey to be linear. You will often experience “setbacks” and need to go back over old ground. This is the opportunity to experience the things you missed. The things that may not have seemed relevant at the time and that you did not require on that part of your journey. But these are the things that you need now to progress.


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“Watch your actions; they become habits.” (Lao Tzu)
If you are aware of good actions, proper posture, proper focus, etc you should maintain them and make them habitual. All bad actions, poor posture, poor focus, etc should be recognised and eliminated. Habits are hard to break once they become ingrained so it is best to stop bad ones before they gain strength.


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“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.” (Lao Tzu)
Keep your Shen light and your Qi will be lively………….. Let it dance!


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“When in stillness you should be as the mountain. When in motion you should move like the water of a river.” (Master Wu Yu-hsiang).

Although this is aimed at the art of Taiji it is equally relevant to Qigong. Stillness within the body and mind, through Wuji, produces the composure of a mountain It is in this state that you are truly aware of the flow of the Qi. Its current, like that of water, having many qualities………. From smooth and quiet to cascading like a waterfall.


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“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” (Lao Tzu)

When you don’t let go you stay as you are because there is no room for growth, no room for the expansion of experience.
Within Qigong, if you hang on rigidly to one tangible experience of Qi your Yi will always mould the Qi in that pattern. It is only when to let go, when you use passive awareness and “listen”, that all the other patterns/essences/flavours can be experienced.


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“Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found.” (Lao Tzu)

Be here and now, find stillness. Be passively aware of self and Qi. You will never find yourself out there, only in here.

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“Intellectual knowledge exists in and of the brain.
Because the brain is part of the body, which must one day expire, this collection of facts, however large and impressive, will expire as well.
Insight, however, is a function of the spirit.
Because your spirit follows you through cycle after cycle of life, death, and rebirth, you have the opportunity of cultivating insight in an ongoing fashion.
Refined over time, insight becomes pure, constant, and unwavering.
This is the beginning of immortality.” (Lao Tzu)

We begin our Qigong and or Taiji journey using intelectual knowledge. We rely on our brain to remember the sequence and try to understand the postures. We are learning, not being.

Through practice our journey takes us to the stage where the sequence, the breathing and the postures are second nature. This is when the brain steps aside for these aspects yet it can still be engaged in the attempt to look for, reach out for, the Qi. It is here that we can become stuck, bogged down, in our exploration of Qi. At best we are doing, we are still not being.

It is only when we stop reaching out and start to “listen” to the Qi. When we “listen” our reasoning finally steps aside and we experience without the encumbrance of questions or the need for reasons. Our Yi (brain) is redundant and our Shen (spirit) is now in the driving seat. We are now being!

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“The wise man looks into space and knows that there are no limited dimensions.”  (Lao Tzu)

The wise man accepts and does not reach out for boundaries. To truly experience Qi do not reach out, accept it for what it is at that time. Passively aware

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“A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth.” (Lao Tzu)

Liken your body with a terrace of nine levels. Stability, Wuji stance, must be constructed from the base.

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“A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” (Lao Tzu)
Your Qigong journey should have preconceptions. Focus on the few and miss the many of the myriad of qualities of Qi.

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From Wang Zongyue

“Quiet like a mountain. Movement like a river”. From “Kung Hsin Chieh” (Wang Zongyue)

Only when the body/mind is quiet will you really appreciate the flow of the Qi.

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“The body must be upright and comfortable and able to cope with impact from any direction.”  From “Kung Hsin Chieh” (Wang Zongyue)

More wisdom about he need for proper structure that is pertinent to both Taiji and Qigong. It is through proper physical structure that we can create the stillness that allows us to listen to our Qi and our Shen.

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Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.


Living in the Present

Living in the present - Lao Tzu
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

How many times do we need to be reminded that we should be living in the present, to be 100% here and now? I have picked three of my favourite pieces of wisdom on this matter, each from a different background but each with the same message.

From Taoism

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. if you are at peace, you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu

From Islam

“Man has less than he suspects of: time, friends, hope, or qualities.” (proverb). Leave the past in the past, don’t try to live in the future, be now and gain more of each.

From Christianity

“I was regretting the past
and fearing the future.
Suddenly, my Lord was speaking:
“My name is I AM”
He paused.
I waited.
He continued:

“When you live in the past,
with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard.
I am not there.
My name is not – I WAS.
When you live in the future,
with its problems and fears,
it is hard.
I am not there.
My name is not – I WILL BE.
When you live in this moment,
It is not hard.
I am here.
My name is I AM.”

Helen Mallicoat

When you try to live in the past YOU are no longer there. When you try to live in the future YOU have yet to arrive. Only when YOU live in the present can YOU say “I am”.

We fret about the past and we worry about the future. Our society is geared up to keep it that way, designed to keep us discontented. We cannot change the past but we can change our attachment to it howvever we can only do that in the here and now. We can feel powerless about the future and if indeed we are powerless then we should accept that and get on with what we have, but we can only do that in the here and now. If we feel that there is something that we can do about our future, no matter how small, we can only do it in the here and now. It is in the here and now that we can find enlightenment, find peace, find contentment, find ourselves.

There are many, many, examples of this message from all over the world and from all belief systems. Do you have one that resonates with you? If you do, can you share it with us?

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Qigong Questions & Answers

 #SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

I have had very many Qigong questions asked of me over the years and I wish that I had kept a note of all of them. That way I could follow my own progress as my answers must have changed over the years in line with my own understanding. These are the Qigong questions and answers that I do have on record and I will add to them as more questions are asked.

If you have a question, or can add to an answer, please use the comments box.

General Qigong Questions & Answers


From David

What’s the different doing Tai Chi or Qigong ?

The Taiji forms can, in one respect, be likened to Qigong as they use posture, movement, breath and focus to align and direct Qi. They are like long, complex, Qigong.
However, there are a number of differences too:- Taiji is a martial art, Qigong isn’t. Taiji forms can take years to learn but many Qigong exercises may only take a few hours to learn the movements. The benefits from practicing Qigong are quicker to attain.
This isn’t a comprehensive list but these are the main differences.

Regards,
Des


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From Ruth

I’ve got a question regarding the horse stance. I was told that the knees need to be over the feet to prevent knee injury as they are not weight bearing but weight transferring joints. It doesn’t look like that from your demonstration. Could you please explain a bit more? Thanks a lot.

Kind regards,
Ruth

Working with the Yin Meridians - Wood
Qigong Questions & Answers
Horse riding stance.

Hello Ruth,
When doing/learning most Kung Fu it is correct that if you are in a low horse stance the knees should be above the feet. But the emphasis there is on building physical strength in the legs as well as stretching the Adductor muscles. In most cases, people tend to push too far and there is a fair bit of discomfort……….. The term “No pain, no gain” seems to be the anthem.

In Qigong, in the Taoist Qigong that I was taught, the emphasis is on quiet stability that allows you to be aware of the Qi flow rather than on the pain of a stretch. Even so, if you stand with your feet double shoulder width apart and let your body sink through relaxation and have an outward intention for the knees (thinking outwards continually realigns the knees) you will find that when you finally achive a low horse stance (if this is your goal) your knees will be over your feet.

As a teacher I am fully aware that students will try to follow my breathing pattern, my stances, etc. so I am careful to start at the most comfortable for them and then watch them progress.

Regards,
Des

Hi Des,
Thank you so much for your quick answer. It all makes sense now. I like the outward intention when practicing horse stance so that the knees don’t knock together.
I guess it will be like the 70/30 rule (or rule of thirds). Don’t push it! A deep horse stance will develop with time and practice.

Kind regards,
Ruth


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From Jeni

How do you “Listen” to the Qi?
Not getting stuck just not sure how you listen to Qi. I can feel the Qi but I certainly can’t hear it or I am not sure how to listen to it?

Hi Jeni,

Listening Jing (Listening to Qi) involves passive awareness. By that, I mean that you are, tangibly, aware of the Qi and paying attention to what it is doing……………. what you are experiencing.

One method that I use to help students understand what this means is that I get them to imagine that they are standing in the middle of a forest, Standing silently and still…………… That is when the forest becomes alive with sounds, with smells, with observation of the flora and fauna. If you go tramping about, making lots of noise, you trample the flora and scare off the fauna.

During Qigong there are two processes being used with Qi.

  • One is to direct the Qi (using the movements, focus, etc.).
  • The other is being quiet, having no input, not tramping about and reaching out to “feel” it. Initially this is done after performing an exercise but with experience you can “listen” to the effect as you do any Qigong.

The Active (moving) Qigong exercise is the cause……………. Take time, in stillness, to be aware of but not disturbing the effect. The quieter your body/mind the more you will experience.

If you always feel Qi in the same way it is probably because your mind is moulding it in that fashion. In that case you are not “listening” you are reaching out, having input,and shaping the result.

I hope that this goes some way to explain what “listening” means.

Des


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From Lesley

Is it helpful to use your dominant hand as the ‘receiving’ hand, or vice versa?

Hi Lesley,
Most people usually use their dominant hand for transmitting Qi. However this is not really necessary and you can use both hands for both tasks. It is, actually, only the Yi that gets in the way……….. the brain, and old thought patterns, making things difficult.

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to work with a lady who was a healer who worked with Qi on a daily basis, and who had real control over its transmission. She never called it Qi, but Qi is only a word. Anyway, her lineage taught that women transmitted with the left hand and received with the right. Men were the opposite. My martial arts background had taught me to transmit and receive with both…………… so we just kept working that way.

It’s a case of whatever floats your boat 🙂 ………….. Dogmatically following rules closes the mind and restricts your growth.

Regards,
Des



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Are you looking for Qigong Questions & Answers?

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Taiji Classics – What do you get from them?

Taiji Classics - Chen Man Ching
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

What do you get from the Taiji Classics? Do they give you any deeper insight into your Taiji? Chen Man Chin said “The Classics are our best link to our Taiji past. They are the basis of the art. By their nature they are discursive and redundant, but at the same time, profound. In the present era, when Taiji has proliferated into so many schools, the Classics can be used as a model. If any system violates the Classics, then the systems are wrong.”

Unfamiliar language and concepts

The Masters were using language and examples that would have been familiar to their students and peers but we, in the 21st century, are far removed from them and that has led to much debate regarding their true meaning. The problem that I see with much of that debate is that people are looking for a discrete definitive meaning where there may actually be more than one. I have found that my grasp of any of the Classics is tenuous as they appear fluid making my understanding dependant on my place in the universe at the time (where my head is). I’m not trying to be flowery here………… It is like Yin and Yang. It depends on where you are on that cycle that determines what is Yin, or Yang, in relation to you.

The Classics remind me of the I-Ching in that the I-Ching does not hand you answers on a plate. It stimulates a process in the consciousness (the Shen) that leads you to your answer. Your Shen already knew the answer, it just needed a prompt and a connection between it and your brain (the Yi). Many of the Classics are as pertinent to Qigong as they are to Taiji and the examples I have chosen are testimony to that.

So here are two examples that appear to have come from the same root but the wording has changed slightly. Are they saying the same thing and making the same point, or are these Masters focusing on a different facet of the same thing?


“Move the Qi like a curved thread with nine pearls without the slightest interruption.” From Kung Hsin Chieh …………
“To circulate the intrinsic energy through the body one must act as if one were passing a thread through a pearl having nine zig zag paths, a slow and even course that leaves no corner untouched.” From An Explanation Of The Thirteen Postures By Wang Chung-Yueh

Both of these may refer to the alignment of the nine joints/gates: ankles, knees, hips, spine, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers. But they may also refer to the nine angles of attack. They may refer to something altogether different. Let’s have a closer look at these pearls and their threads with the help of some simple graphics.

Taiji classics – the nine pearls threaded

Taiji Classics - The 9 pearls threaded, or the one pearl threaded 9 times.
Taiji Classics – The nine pearls threaded.
  • Even though the pearls (and the holes through them) are smooth and the silk thread is smooth, if there are gaps between the pearls then the thread can bend at sharp angles and increase friction and tension.
  • If the holes through the pearls are aligned they are more easily threaded but they do not have an influence on each other.
  • If the pearls are aligned and kept connected each has an influence on the rest.
  • If they are connected then there can only be shallow angles………. A close-set sting of pearls bends in an arc, keeping the friction to a minimum.
  • This connection of and lining up of the joints/gates allows for optimum Qi flow and it is synergistic in nature. So is this the lesson?

Taiji classics – the one pearl threaded nine times

Taiji Classics - The one pearl threaded nine times.
Taiji Classics – The one pearl threaded nine times.
  • With Taiji there is an element of physical defence so the Qi, and therefore the Po (body) must have the ability to flow unhindered to deal with attacks from the nine directions (Only eight arrows but the central red dot indicates a linear,straight on, attack).
  • With Taiji and Qigong it is emphasising the ability to create flow and focus of the Qi in any direction through both the physical and the energetic body.
  • In this example too there should be no sharp angles. Sharp angles necessitate stopping and starting. Soft angles, curves, allow you to maintain and increase the flow.
  • Once again, I am making an observation of one possible meaning of this touchstone. Is it the only meaning? What does it imply to you?

This is only one example but I feel that it is enough to whet the appetite for discussion. What do these two touchstones say to you? How do they affect the way that you practice your Taiji or Qigong? Answers on a postcard please, or just use the comments board………………..

Questions about The Five Taoist Yin

Working with the Yin Meridians - Metal
#SBqigong #trueqigong #DesLawton

Over the decades I have had the opportunity to answer many questions about the Five Taoist Yin (AKA the Five Yin) Qigong that have been asked by my students. I’m sure that there are plenty of other questions out there and that some practitioners may already be asking some of the same questions so I thought that it would be a good idea to add them to the Pro Holistic blog. That should, in theory at least, give practitioners who are not my direct students the chance to find the answers that they seek. If you have a question, or can add to an answer, please use the comments box.

Question from Winston

Hi Des, thanks for the message. I have two questions with regard to the Fire movement. Where is the belly button facing on completion of the turn? I did Karate for many years and am tempted to swing on my hips automatically. Secondly, is the lower hand extended past the elbow of the upper hand on completion of the turn?

Answer from Des

Hello Winston,
The direction of the belly button is totally determined by the “folding” of the kua (hip crease) on the wighted leg. There is no additional twisting of the waist or turning of the shoulders.The important part here is that the Qi is sunk and the weight is rooted through KD1 in the supporting leg.

There is no need to extend the lower hand past the elbow of the upper hand.

With the Heart Governor version the focus is on opening the palms (opening HG8) and directing the Qi to and through it in both hands. It is good practice to finish the physical movement at about 90% of your exhalation and use the remainder to guide the Qi by solely using the Yi (brain).

With the Heart version the focus is on pulling the pinky finger, of the upper hand, back towards your centre line. Initially you are doing nothing with the lower hand. Once you have had time to become familiar with this version, on the first exhalation as you guide the Qi to the upper hand, “listen” to the effect that has on the pinky (Ht meridian) of the lower hand…………….

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Question from Simon

What to ‘look’ for?
Hi Des. I’ve been practising the first three movements daily now (am slowly adding more each week). I have two questions that are related that I wonder whether you can help with. Firstly, I know you elude to this in an earlier part so the course, but what is it that I should be ‘looking’ for in feeling Qi? Secondly, should you do the exercises with eyes open or closed? The reason I ask, and the next bit might sound daft, but with my eyes closed, after a few minutes of the first movement, I get a pretty consistent ‘tingling’ for want of a better word (a bit like goosebumps but without the bumps?) from around my right knee that appears to travel upwards. With eyes open this doesn’t happen. Sorry, having written and now re-read it, it sounds rather mad, but I’m curious.
By the way, I love the clear and simple directions, along with the theory to back up the movements – great stuff.

Answer from Des

Hi Simon,
Not mad at all………….. They are questions that I get over and over.

“………………..what is it that I should be ‘looking’ for in feeling Qi?” You are “looking” for two things………. nothing and change. This might appear to be an ambiguous answer. It is anything but! Qi is experienced in many, many, ways and a common error that is made by practitioners is that they look for, or feel for, the same sensation/manifestation every time they practice. By using “Listening Jing” and being passively aware you open up your opportunities to experience the vast array of Qi. You experience these by noticing change……… The experiences of the subtle changes that occur in the Qi are almost always impossible to describe to your satisfaction and (when it is the Qi that you are describing) you find yourself saying things like “It is a bit like…..” “……… It kind of reminds me of………” Do you recognise that difficulty in description?  It can get very frustrating if you are trying to describe what you are experiencing because you are fettered by language that describes the physical as you try to describe the energetic.

“should you do the exercises with eyes open or closed?” Open or closed eyes are dealt with in stages. Initially the eyes should be open as this assists you to guide the Qi during the movements. Once you start to become aware of the Qi (and you are) you can close your eyes and “Listen” to how it moves and changes. For beginners, having the eyes closed can be a disadvantage and slow progress. However, as I have said, once you start to be aware of the Qi there is an advantage in closing the eyes as this removes visual distraction and you are then using the Yi (cognitive mind) to guide the Qi while getting the feedback (experiencing the changes and movement) using “Listening Jing”.

“The reason I ask, and the next bit might sound daft, but with my eyes closed, after a few minutes of the first movement, I get a pretty consistent ‘tingling’ for want of a better word (a bit like goosebumps but without the bumps?) from around my right knee that appears to travel upwards. With eyes open this doesn’t happen.” When you are closing your eyes your body/mind is becoming quiet. With your eyes open your surroundings, what you are seeing, is creating “noise”.

It is great to hear of your progress! I hope that this helps.

Response from Simon

Hi Des, thanks, your reply is much appreciated. In fact this morning I experienced that same feeling running along the neck and side of face whilst performing ‘Sliding down the mirror” – more or less along the same path as noted in the introductory notes there.
Best wishes

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Question from Hugh

Where to next?
Hi Des,
I’ve recently joined your Qigong course, Connecting Heaven and Earth and now practice daily. I’ve really enjoyed learning this form and would like to learn more. I note you have some other courses and I was wondering if you might suggest another to try or perhaps a sequence in which to take the courses on? I would also like to develop some knowledge of the theory behind the forms. Could you recommend a book perhaps that would give some theory regarding the points that are mentioned and perhaps how different movements relate to the body and health.

I also practice Wing Tsun which is focused externally. At a recent seminar I came across Qigong and the tangible reality of internal arts fascinated me and started me on this path. I am now very keen to learn more. Connecting Heaven and Earth has been wonderful, so I would be delighted if you could offer some further advice.

Answer from Des

Hi Hugh,
Given your Wing Tsun background, I recommend the Embroidered Brocade as your next course. As well as being excellent Qigong these exercises really make you work on posture, rooting the body and sinking the Qi………… All of which are necessary in Qigong. But they will also have an effect on your Kung Fu as they were developed, in part, to increase Peng. They were the first Qigong that I learned and I still practice them regularly over thirty years on. Testiment to their quality.
Regarding books. I do not know of any that are Qigong specific (a project that I have been wrestling with for many years) but there is a book on general TCM called “A Tooth from the Tiger’s Mouth” by Tom Bisio that is well worth having in your reading list.
I’m really pleased that you enjoyed CH&E and that your Qigong journey is well and truly started.


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Question from Linda

For ‘eagle spreads its wings’, should the fingers be spread  as wide for both the upward and downward movement?


Answer from Des

Yes, you need to keep the fingers spread for both movements.


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Question from Leigh

When crossing your hands either at the heart, or at the third eye does it matter which hand is closest to the body for each move?

Answer from Des

No, it does not really matter. You could focus on alternating left and right but this is an additional distraction. What you will probably find is that your arms will start to cross in an apparently random manner as the Yi guides them, subconsciously, to maintain balance in the Qi.


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Question from Karen

Why do we splay the fingers slightly for eagle spreads its wings and then keep them closed for saying a prayer?

Answer from Des

In the Eagle Spreads its Wings, the hands are opened like this so that the acupuncture point, Heart Governor 8 is opened/activated.  The point is in the centre of the palm.
In Saying a Prayer, with the fingers gently closed, Small Intestine 3 is opened/activated as the hands are lowered.


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Question from Karen

Saying a prayer – When guiding the Qi down towards the Dantian is it 3 dimensionally through all meridians in the body or should I be guiding the Qi through a linear channel like chong mai, ren mai or just between the hands or a different specific pathway?  

Answer from Des

Saying a Prayer - Draw the Qi to the Dantien from all directions.
  • The focus is between the hands.  The intention is the Dan Tien.
  • With the intention on the Dan Tien, the Qi starts to accumulate there even before the hands start to lower.
  • The lowering of the hands enhances this attraction to the Dan Tien and the accumulation of the Qi.
  • Even though the hands, the physical part of the exercise, are downward the Qi is drawn from all directions to your “centre”.
  • This, effectively and efficiently, guides the Qi through all the meridians and extra vessels

NB. For beginners. You are not drawing ALL your Qi to the Dan Tien (not possible).  You are, for want of a better description, putting newly earned cash in the bank.


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Question from Lesley

If you are constantly ‘sinking the chi’ in Wuji, what distinguishes this from guiding the chi along the various channels? Is there a different quality to the Chi that sinks and the Chi that is being guided, or is it being divided in some way?

Answer from Des

Short question……………. Longer answer!  This is going to take me a while to get the wording right (or as correct as my vocabulary will allow).

I’ll answer the last bit first…………. No, you are not dividing it. You are connecting it……… sort of.  That is to say that, through the action of sinking the Qi and raising the Shen, YOU are consciously connecting to your energy body.  Although we are looking at this, thinking about this, in a two dimensional manner…………. Up and down……… the expansion of our awareness of the energy body is in ALL directions (even though we might not be aware of this initially).

This action is only possible when our body/minds are quiet (I know that I keep on repeating this but it is crucial) and it is through this expansion of awareness that you become, truly, aware of your Qi. This awareness goes beyond the physical body.

All of these essences, these qualities are always connected (ie. They are always interacting and communicating) with these connections explained in the Five Element Theory.
The distinction that you ask about is that the sinking of the Qi and the raising of the Shen expands your awareness of self, of the energy body as well as the physical body.  You are then using this awareness to guide the Qi to various points and in various directions, depending on the accuracy of your Qigong. During this guiding you will experience the quality of the Qi that you are working on.
Additionally, how you experience the sinking Qi and raising Shen, and how you experience the Qi of the meridians (How your brain interprets what it is “feeling”) will not always be the same. This is because of what is known as your “condition”, the effect that your environment and life in general is having on you, affects the flow and the qualities of the Qi.


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Question from Craig

i was wondering if you could clarify the method used to keep shoulders dropped and connected during raise hands and sliding down a mirror movements, are there any visualizations that can be used to train the correct movement in the shoulder joint?

Answer from Des

The method of visualization that I prefer is to have “heavy” elbows.  By that, I mean that the elbows are always hanging down, that the shoulders are not strong enough to lift them.  Even when the hands are above shoulder level, or above the head, the weight of these “heavy” elbows keeps the shoulders down………….. and connected.


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Question from Robert

Is there a particular sequence for this set?

Answer from Des

Hello Robert,
Each of these Qigong can be done as an individual exercise if the practitioner wants to focus on that particular quality. However when you want to perform the entire set it is most beneficial if done in either of these two sequences: –

  • Using the Sheng Cycle, the feeding cycle, of Fire – Earth – Metal – Water – Wood.  Depending on what Element you wish to finish on (to focus on most) you start with the next Element in the sequence.
  • Using the Ke Cycle, the controlling cycle, of Fire – Metal – Wood – Earth – Water. Again, if you start on the next Element in the sequence to the one want to finish/focus on.

Regards,
Des

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Question from Shaz

For the Metal / Lung exercise is there are correct way to rotate the hands? Do that rotate around the thumb, around the centre longest finger, around the baby finger). These all feel different to me so was wondering if there are any guidelines or suggestions.

Answer from Des

For the Lung exercise:-

  • Just turn the palm upwards without the need to focus on any particular axis (this is the same when you turn the palm downward). Your focus should already be on the thumb as you do this.
  • Then “extend” through the thumbs as you open the arms. By this I mean that you slightly stretch the thumbs physically (as though you were giving directions and pointing with the thumb) and, more importantly, guiding the Qi to LU11 and through it.
  • By having awareness of LU1 opening as you are conscious of the Qi extending through LU11 you will appreciate the connection between the two and gradually your experience of the entire energy field (meridian) will become more substantial.

Regards,
Des

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Questions about Connecting Heaven & Earth Qigong

connecting heaven and earth qigong
#SBqigong #trueqigong #DesLawton

Over the decades I have had very many questions about Connecting Heaven and Earth Qigong asked of me. Many are repeated so I thought that it would be a good idea to add them to the Pro Holistic blog. That should, in theory at least, give practitioners who are not my direct students the chance to find the answers that they seek. If you have a question, or can add to an answer, please use the comments box.

Question from Gerardo

Hi, Des. I really like your courses and your teaching method. My question right now is, in this series, Connecting Heaven and Earth, the excercises are done according to the control cycle, rather than the creation cycle. Why is that? Also, I’ve noticed that for the wood and earth elements we work with the yang meridians, whereas we use the yin channels in the rest. Is there a particular reason for this?

Answer from Des

Five Elements exercises use both of the Cycles and there are also some that do not follow either. I have given an example of each: –
– The Five Elements Dance follows the Creation Cycle, starting with Fire, and also has two movements that utilise Chong Mai.
– Connecting Heaven & Earth follows the Control Cycle, starting with Metal, and also has a specific closure that centres the Qi (using Chong Mai).
– Change the Sinews, from the Ten Fundamental Treasures follows a mixture – Water, Fire, Metal, Earth & Wood.

Five Elements Qigong is more beneficial (more efficient) for keeping balance in the Qi rather than attaining that balance. So, if there was a chronic/long lasting imbalance I would deal with that by using an exercise, or exercises, that would feed or control to bring about that balance. Then use a Five Elements exercise because it is better at maintaining that balance. My personal choice would be to practice a Qigong that followed the Creation, or the Controlling, Cycle.

Regarding whether the Yin or the Yang meridian is worked on………… As they are intrinsically linked, working on one will affect the other. I believe that the development of any Qigong will have gone through many changes (sometimes by more than one Master) in order to create an effective, flowing, exercise. This would mean that, dependent on the final choice of movements, it was the movement that dictated which meridian would be focused on. At some point during its development it must have been decided that Connecting Heaven and Earth would be performed in Wuji stance. This effectively stops the practitioner from being able to apply focus to Liver meridian, or Gall Bladder meridian, in the legs. This left those parts of the meridians in the upper body to place the focus.  Likewise for access to Stomach and Spleen meridians.

I hope that this goes some way to explain.

Response from Gerardo

Thanks! As usual, good answers bring new questions, but I’ll save them for later.


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Question from Celeste

The embrace. You say in the set-up to cross the wrists as you link with CV-17. Are you using the inner and outer gate points (PC-6 and TW-5) at the same time you are moving the qi along the CV or is there some other reason you crossing at the wrists instead of say aligning the lao gung? Thank you.

Answer from Des

Hi Celeste,
There are two functions happening during this part of the exercise, both working with Chong Mai (the Thrusting Vessel).
Firstly, by crossing the wrists at HG6 (Nei Guan), you are activating Chong Mai.
Secondly, you are strengthening the connection between the Heart Chakra (Ren 17) and the Solar Plexus Chakra (Ren 12). Ren 12 is the gate, or connection, between the heavens (spiritual) and the earth (physical). This connection must be strong so that the heavens can meet the earth at the Dan Tien.

I know that different traditions have their own point from which they connect to the universe and I am not contradicting any of them. However, I was taught that we root through the feet because of gravity……….. rooting being a physical act. We also tend to use this direction when sinking the Qi. But at a more advanced level Ren 12 is used to connect with the universe (the Tao) with that connection radiating out in all directions.

Comment from Steven

This is a vital answer and information like this is needed to appreciate what the simple postures of this form are really doing for us. I would like to see a section added to the end of this course where Des describes what each posture is doing for us in terms of stimulating energy points and how that effects us. Without this information the student upon learning the form is still left wondering why he would want to continue doing the form. In other words, what am I supposed to be getting out of this? Knowing the benefits could be a great tool for motivation.

Reply to comment

Hello Steven,
It is understood that the Universe links us all (I don’t want to get too flowery here) and your message appears to be additional proof of that.

Less than 48 hours ago I was covering CH&E during the Qigong section of a class. I was explaining just how versatile, beneficial and powerful it is (No need to explain its beauty or the peace it brings as everyone who practices it experience that quickly). I went on to explain some of the movements and what they are producing in relation to opening points and stimulating Qi flow.

Some of the students had already experienced and acknowledged a few of these “triggers” but I could see their faces light up as other points of focus (“triggers”) were brought to their attention and they became aware of the changes in the Qi that were occurring.

So, as we finished, I thought it would be a good idea to add a short video to the online course………………… However, it would need be added to the end of a long list that I am working on…………… Your message has promoted it and I will try to get it filmed next week.

Thanks for the prompt!
Des

Reply from Steven

Thanks Des for the reply and the great news that eventually you will be adding an informative video to the course. Having a sense how thorough you endeavor to be, I thought my request might make sense to you. Almost every qigong dvd that I have seen neglects to provide enough information about what exactly is going on during the form. The result is that you might have found a diamond necklace but not knowing the value of it, you might consider it as a string of rocks and thus discard it too soon.
Steve


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Question from Joshua

Questions about Connecting Heaven & Earth - guiding the Qi.
Questions about Connecting Heaven & Earth – guiding the Qi.

Hi Des, just a question regarding where i should keep my awareness during the exercise. Should my mind be focusing on guiding the qi throughout the meridians mentioned on each exercise or should I just keep my mind empty and focus on listening/feeling where the qi goes during the exercise.
Thanks

Answer from Des

Hello Joshua,
Initially, as in the vast majority of Qigong exercises, you should focus on guiding the Qi through the meridians. In CH&E this is done by making sure that the postures are correct for you to open/activate the acupoints/meridians. Also by using the focus to actively guide the Qi along the meridians. Once you have practiced this way for a while you can move on to keeping the mind empty and “listening” to the Qi flow. Most students find that the transition from guiding to listening is done incrementally as they guide, then listen to make sure that they are accurate in the guidance.
Regards,
Des


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Question from Steven

Hi Des,
Next course? I have just learned Connecting Heaven and Earth and I would like to know how long should I wait until I then add the next course that I selected, The Embroidered Qigong? I plan to do both of them as part of my daily qigong practice.

Answer from Des

Hello Steven,
You can practice both in tandem as they are complementary. By doing this you should start to be aware of the differences in the Qi flow and the quality of the Qi from each. The Embroidered Brocade, practiced properly, will develop good posture and a quiet body/mind as well as providing the benefits from healthy Qi flow.

I know that there are a lot of “qigong” exercises being taught and it can be frustrating when there is a lack of progress. You might become more physically flexible and strong but there is no advancement with regards to your Qi. Take your time with the Qigong that I am teaching. Be diligent in your daily practice. Take time to listen to the Qi.

Through inexperience, I thought that I knew the Embroidered Brocade once I had learned the physical movements………. I hadn’t! I was doing slow aerobics. It took me a long time to understand the need for quiet. It took me a long time to truly experience Qi. In these courses I am guiding students so that they do not experience all the dead ends that I did before I found the right master, one who provided me with the compass I needed.

I “learned” the Embroidered Brocade over thirty years ago and I learned Connecting Heaven and Earth Qigong twenty odd years ago………… and I am still learning from them and from the other Qigong that I practice. Treat your Qigong as an adventure, keep an open mind, keep a quiet body, and enjoy.

Regards,
Des


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Question from Robert


I have more questions about Connecting Heaven & Earth Qigong than any other set.

I notice that in the embrace then washing the face you have first the left then the right hand inside is there a reason for this please by the way the best description of listening jin I have heard.

Answer from Des

Hello Robert,
I am often asked this question, or similar questions, relating to the hands crossing in Qigong. There are two schools of thought……………… two answers……………….. but one of them can impede on your Qigong.

The first method is to alternate with each repetition. So it would be left, right, left, right, etc. This, like counting off exactly how many repetitions you are doing, takes your focus away from the Qigong. It weakens the Qigong. This is why I never use, or teach, this method.

The second is to let the hands/arms cross naturally. They will alternate to suit the needs of your Qi (not in a left, right, left, right pattern but they will alternate to maintain balance) as your consciousness guides the movement. This is when the Shen works in tandem with the Yi.

With no need to keep count, or to keep note of what way we are crossing the arms, we can focus the Yi on guiding the Qi. This is best practice for Qigong.
I hope that this is of help.

Regards,
Des


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Question from Steven

Hi Des,
Next course? I have just learned Connecting Heaven and Earth and I would like to know how long should I wait until I then add the next course that I selected, The Embroidered Qigong? I plan to do both of them as part of my daily qigong practice.

Answer from Des

Questions about Connecting Heaven & Earth - guiding the Qi.
Questions about Connecting Heaven & Earth – Practicing other Qigong in tandem.

Hello Steven,
You can practice both in tandem as they are complementary. By doing this you should start to be aware of the differences in the Qi flow and the quality of the Qi from each. The Embroidered Brocade, practiced properly, will develop good posture and a quiet body/mind as well as providing the benefits from healthy Qi flow.

I know that there are a lot of “qigong” exercises being taught and it can be frustrating when there is a lack of progress. You might become more physically flexible and strong but there is no advancement with regards to your Qi. Take your time with the Qigong that I am teaching. Be diligent in your daily practice. Take time to listen to the Qi.

Through inexperience, I thought that I knew the Embroidered Brocade once I had learned the physical movements………. I hadn’t! I was doing slow aerobics. It took me a long time to understand the need for quiet. It took me a long time to truly experience Qi. In these courses I am guiding students so that they do not experience all the dead ends that I did before I found the right master, one who provided me with the compass I needed.

I “learned” the Embroidered Brocade over thirty years ago and I learned Connecting Heaven and Earth Qigong twenty odd years ago………… and I am still learning from them and from the other Qigong that I practice. Treat your Qigong as an adventure, keep an open mind, keep a quiet body, and enjoy.

Regards,
Des


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Do you have questions about Connecting Heaven & Earth?

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Questions about the Embroidered Brocade Qigong

questions about the embroidered brocade
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

These are some of the very many questions about the Embroidered Brocade Qigong that have been asked of me over the years and I wish that I had kept a note of all of them. Unfortunately I didn’t but these are some of the Qigong questions and answers that I do have on record. If you have a question, or can add to an answer, please use the comments box and I will add to them

From Robert

i already do billowing sail slightly different as turning the wheel of heaven but here the breathing is opposite i am used to breathing out as i sink forward and in as i sink back what is the reason for this please des?
ps great course

Hi Robert, before I can give you an answer can you tell me if you practice “Turning the Wheel of Heaven”, with the front foot peeled and lifted off of the floor in the same way? Or do you practice with the feet kept on the floor but with the front toes and rear heel lifting alternately?
Des

From Robert:
the version i do is from robert pengs 8 cycle chi qong sit back toes from floor not lifting foot completely and sit forward back heel lifted the breathing is from traditional tai chi out moving forward in sitting back yours is great teaching back your post awarness and listening are priceless incidentally udemy seems to have a virus any lesson i click on is already completed and i have too reset everything also the last 2 questions i have had to post twice as they are not coming up hope you get this one?

Hello Robert,
externally, these exercises are similar but internally they working differently. However both are, primarily, working with Water (the Kidney and Bladder meridians).

The Billowing Sail

BThe Qi is drawn up through KD1 in the rear foot on the inhalation. On exhalation it is guided down to KD1 in the front foot. The lifting/flexing action of the front foot stimulates the Bladder and Kidney points in the ankle.
Why draw up and then expel? Even without using visualization (you can augment this if you wish by using visualization) you are circulating your Kidney Qi, drawing in fresh Qi and getting rid of stale Qi.


Turning the Wheel of Heaven

When practiced properly this exercise sinks the Qi through KD1 in the front foot before sinking it through KD1 in the rear foot. Again, the flexing of the feet stimulates the Bladder and Kidney points in the ankles.

Where this exercise often goes wrong:-

  • Overextension of the forward and rearward movement means that the physical root is not through KD1 and that impedes the practitioner’s ability to sink the Qi through this point.
  • Pushing down on the rear toes to lift the ankle (usually caused by too long a stance). The ankle should peel off of the floor as a result of the sinking into the front foot.
  • Both feet flexing at the same time.

To summarise:-

Billowing Sail circulates and replenishes KD Qi as well as enhancing the practitioner’s ability to sink the Qi.
Turning the Wheel of Heaven enhances the practitioer’s ability to sink the Qi and also stimulates KD Qi.

Regards,
Des

—————————————–

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Working with the Yin Meridians

Qigong and the Yin Meridians

Heart Governror meridian
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

When working with the Yin Meridians, Qigong can have a profound effect on specific ailments and help provide a route back to well-being. Each Element has its own qualities and governs certain aspects of our being. Therefore they have an impact on ailments that are associated with the things that they govern.

In this article I am concentrating on the Yin Meridians and using the Five Taoist Yin Qigong as examples. I will do a follow up for the Yang. The benefits listed are only an example of what a Yin Qigong can be used for and, as the exercises do not all have the same effects, some are more efficacious than others for particular ailments. It must also be understood that when focusing on the Yin Meridian of any pair your are also affecting its Yang partner.

Fire (HT & HG)

TCM functions: –

Heart

  • It controls the blood and the blood vessels.
  • It houses the Shen (consciousness).

Heart Governor

  • It protects the heart.
  • It governs the blood.
  • It houses the Shen.

Zen Functions: –

Heart

  • Controls the blood and the blood vessels.
  • Houses the Shen (consciousness).

Heart Governor

  • Represents compassion and governs the emotions and Spirit.
  • Controls blood circulation.
  • Adapts external stimuli to the body’s internal environment

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the uses and benefits of the Fire exercise from the Five Taoist Yin Qigong include:-        

Working with the Yin Meridians - Fire
Working with the Yin Meridians – Fire
  • It can be used to Calm of the Shen (consciousness).
  • It can be used to treat insomnia, night sweats, tiredness, anxiety, irritability, and pre menstrual stress.
  • It can alleviate the symptoms of Angina pectoris, or any feeling of fullness or pain in the chest.
  • It can help alleviate heart palpitations, and reduce high blood pressure.

Earth (Sp)

TCM functions: –

  • It governs Transformation and Transportation.
  • It controls the blood, i.e. Keeping it within the blood vessels and making blood from food.
  • It controls the muscles and the limbs.
  • It controls the rising Qi (maintaining a balance with Stomach’s role in the controlling of descending Qi).
  • It houses the thought (Yi): thinking, studying, and concentration.

Zen Functions: –

  • Governs the digestive secretions.
  • Governs the reproductive hormones relating to the breasts and ovaries.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the uses and benefits of the Earth exercise include:

Working with the Yin Meridians - Earth
Working with the Yin Meridians – Earth
  • It has a calming effect on the Yi (cognitive mind, the brain) and relieving insomnia.
  • It can be used to reduce menstrual problems (especially pain).
  • It might be used in treating reproductive disorders.
  • It can be used to alleviate abdominal distension, constipation, and diarrhoea.
  • Spleen exercises are also used in the treatment of oedema in the legs, and painful/swollen knees.

Metal (Lu)

Classical functions:-

  • It governs Qi and respiration.
  • It controls the circulation of Qi in the blood vessels and meridians.
  • It controls the dispersion and descending of Qi.
  • It regulates the water passages (through the dispersing and descending functions).

Zen functions: –

  • Intake of Qi and elimination of gasses by exhalation.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the uses and benefits of the Metal exercise include:-

Working with the Yin Meridians - Metal
Working with the Yin Meridians – Metal
  • Used to regulate Lung Qi.
  • It can benefit respiratory ailments such as Heat in Lungs, fever, coughs, asthma, breathing difficulties, chest pains, and shoulder pain.
  • It has a beneficial effect on tonsillitis, thirst, and excessive mucus.
  • It can also be used to alleviate grief and sadness.

Water (Kd)

Classical functions: –

  • It stores the Jing, governing birth, growth, development and reproduction.
  • It produces bone marrow, thus governing the bones, brain and blood production.
  • It governs Water, and the flow of body fluids.

Zen functions: –

  • To govern the endocrine system, controlling spirit and energy to the whole body and governing resistance to mental stress by the control of the hormonal secretions.
  • To detoxify and purify the blood.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the uses and benefits of the Water exercise include:-

Working with the Yin Meridians - Water
Working with the Yin Meridians – Water
  • Using it to tonify KD Qi
  • It is used for tonifying the Yin and Yang of the whole body.
  • Used for calming the Shen (consciousness), it calms the fire of Heart energy, alleviates insomnia, and regulates sweating.
  • It is also used to alleviate dizziness, deafness, tinnitus, and epilepsy.
  • It has a beneficial effect on the hormone system with regards to menstrual pain, irregular menstruation, amenorrhoea & dysmenorrhoea, and impotence.
  • Kidney Qigong is used to treat chronic pain lower back pain, acute cystitis, and urethritis.

Wood (Lv)

Classical functions: –

  • It stores blood.
  • It maintains harmonious and unobstructed flow of Qi, allowing good body function, especially in relation to; (a) emotional activities, such as anger and mental depression; (b) In promoting the flow of energy to the other organs (c) In producing bile and affecting the secretion of bile.

Zen functions:-

  • Stores nutrients and energy, plans the distribution of energy.
  • Cultivates resistance against disease.
  • Supplies, analyses and detoxifies blood to maintain physical energy.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the uses and benefits of the Wood exercise include:-

Working with the Yin Meridians - Wood
Working with the Yin Meridians – Wood
  • It promotes the smooth flow of Liver Qi.
  • It can be used to treat migraine headaches, tension headaches, muscular cramps, and tight tendons.
  • It has a calming effect on bad temper.
  • It relieves Damp, urine retention, and burning urination.
  • It can be used to help strengthen the Spleen Qi and eliminate stagnation of the Spleen Qi ( some symptoms of which are distension & belching)

As with anything in life, the more you put in the more you get out. Your Qigong must be regular, and must be properly and diligently practiced for the benefits to be gained. Remember that Qigong is the art of working with Qi and not the art of swinging your arms about while bobbing up and down………….. 😉

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Five Taoist Yin Qigong – Course Feedback

Comments from students

From Dale

“Enhance health and expand consciousness. The instructor is easy to understand and he presents clear explanations for the movements and their benefits.”

From Junior

” Yes often times Qi Gong Courses are too pricey and give you little explanation. As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, it is nice to have something in line with what I know is true. “

From Vee

” I really like the emphasis on the subtlety of movement. This is something I’ve felt lacking in other Qiqong courses I’ve done. I also appreciate all that Des has said prior to doing any of the movements and how important it is to get the stance right. “

From Guy

” I really love this course, I just started to learn those exercises a few weeks ago, and I am enjoying practicing this qigong in the morning before work. The instructions for each exercises are clear, and the teacher, Mr Lawton is very good at demonstrating and explaining the movements. It is a beautiful set of qigong, I especially like that there are not to many movements to learn for a beginner, and that I can focus on just a few movements done well with feelings. Thank you Mr Lawton.”

Working with the Yin Meridians - Fire

#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

From Shaz

“Professional course with fair bit of detail – by FAR the best information I have been able to find on the Daoist Yin Qigong moves. I’m reasonably experienced in taiji and qigong, and found this helpful, including the repetition of the basics (you really can’t get enough of that). I personally would have liked more focus areas for some of the moves, but as a presumably introductory course this is very comprehensive and the best out there for this set of exercises. Thanks.”

From Marina

“The best, most detailed, course in everything-important tai chi. The teacher is sincere in striving to relate all the nuances. LOVE this course and very much appreciate!”

From Morris

“Yes, taught in a relaxed and thorough manner.”

From Arvind

“A very Good Course! and Useful.”

From Stephen

“Yes. It delivered fast effective results in a short amount of time.”

From Jenny

“Very clear and expert instruction”

From Livia

“The Five Taoist Yin Qigong” course offers detailed instruction and explanations regarding both internal and external aspects of the practice in addition to the instructor modelling poses, often shown from two angles and with arrows and lines added to highlight key areas of attention in posture and activation of qi: Des Lawton demonstrates teaching-integrity and respect for his students, and knows how to facilitate student understanding, awareness and true progress, encouraging the students’ desire to learn. I’ve taken other courses from people who may know how to go through the outer movements with good form themselves and have impressive “temple” credentials and an exotic nationality, but they lack the ability to impart knowledge which is the essential attribute of a teacher and also calls into question their own depth of understanding. Other aspects of this course that lead to more rapid personal growth are paradoxically the emphasis on 1) form and awareness versus speed and 2) cultivation of listening jing, which both initially require an exercise of patience. The course supplemental materials are helpful, including the subtitles, and it is also a tremendous resource that Mr. Lawton makes himself available to answer questions.”

From Lesley

“A great wealth of detail presented in a very clear way. Following the instructor as he carries out the exercise gives me a chance to experience the ‘Chi’ flow. Setting and quality of the recording (picture and sound) is excellent.”

From Mike

“I like the instructor’s openness with regard to his own experiences and his aims for the course. The lessons which he intends to impart will lead to a truer understanding of Chi.”

From Kevin

“Very detailed and useful. I feel that this is authentic qigong with all the benefits that go with it.”

From Tanner

“clearest Wuji stance definition I’ve ever received :)”

From Ruth

“Excellent course and detailed instructions as to how to do the movements – in particular the Wuji stance is explained in detail and very thoroughly. This stance has such a lot of different and confusing explanations online and in Qigong/Tai Chi books.”

From Mlnaa

“Very good explanations and contextualisation; the subtitles reinforce the very valuable content.”

This is just some of the feedback from our online Five Taoist Yin Qigong course. Pro Holistic also runs this course in Scotland as well as providing Qigong workshops for other organisations and schools. Please contact us if you require further details or would like us to teach a workshop, or course, for you.

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Listening Jing – enhance your Qigong

Without Listening Jing (listening to the Qi) you cannot do Qigong.  Without listening you are merely doing aerobic exercises.

Disconnected piano keys

Listening Jing - Piano hammers and strings
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Imagine a piano where the keys are not connected to the hammers.  Every key sounds the same, the same dull clunk.  It is only when the key is re-attached that the strings can be hit and the note can be heard.  Qigong is like this.  The focus, the movement (in the case of active Qigong), and the breathing act like the hammers in the piano.  They connect the physical to the energetic.  It is only when you have this connection that hear the vibration and listen to the changes that are occurring, in the body/mind/spirit.  The more you listen, the more you connect the keys and hammers, the greater the range of qualities of Qi you will experience.

Using Listening Jing takes your Qigong to new levels……………..

San Bao School has a Facebook group where Qigong enthusiasts, students and teachers exchange ideas and ask Qigong related questions. You can find it here – San Bao Qigong

Course Update – The Exceptional Vessels

the eight exceptional vessels qigong
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The 2019 courses are all filling (The Five Taoist Yin is already fully booked) earlier than usual. If you are interested in coming to the Eight Exceptional Vessels Qigong you had better not wait too long as there are only three spaces left.

The Eight Exceptional Vessels Qigong exercises work with the Qi that is stored in the Extraordinary Meridians (AKA the Exceptional Vessels).  The Exceptional Vessels can be likened to reservoirs while the Meridians can be likened to rivers.  Most Qigong exercises concentrate on the Qi flow in the meridian system but these focus on the deeper, almost tidal, energy that make up those reservoires.

As well as using the Yi, eyes and breath to guide the Qi, these exercises also make use of the Master Points and the Coupled Points

Feedback from previous courses: –

  • “…………. It helped me to appreciate it more as an energetic practice with intention and focus on energy flow, as opposed to simply awareness on physical movement.”
  • “……….thank you so much for Saturday. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and I loved your way of teaching. I feel confident and keen to continue practicing what I’ve learned – which was exactly what I was hoping to gain, so much appreciation to you!”
  • “A great Teacher of Qigong, it was a privilege to take this course! I could feel the Qi moving while performing each exercise. Quick response to questions asked, much appreciated! I look forward to taking more courses in the future. Humble thanks!”

Course date: Saturday 23/03/2019

Details here – The Exceptional Vessels

Stress and Respiration – Breathe your stress away

Stress and Respiration

stress management - stressed out
#stress #SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

The relationship between stress and respiration is a chicken and egg one.  Which came first? 

  • Psychological stress impacts on respiration.  It often induces shallower, more rapid, breathing.
  • Shallow, rapid, breathing can induce physiological stress that causes physical anxiety.  Those feelings of anxiety that are often described as “butterflies”, the ones that can make you feel sick.
  • Those symptoms of physical stress lead to a deepening of psychological stress.
  • Combined, they set a detrimental cycle in motion.  A cycle that grows in strength unless it is broken.

So it appears that the question of which came first is not really relevant.  What is relevant is that we are empowered to break the cycle by learning how to regulate our breathing.

Stress and Respiration – Where are you placed?

What is your respiration rate?  Breathing at your normal rate, how many times do you respire (breath in and out) per minute?  Go on, test yourself but do not force yourself to breathe slowly………. Breathe at your normal rate. It is not a competition! 12 to 16 respirations per minute is good………. Upwards of 16 is not so good…………….. 20+ and you are heading for the realms of hyperventilation.

Stress and Respiration – Using the cycle beneficially

Qigong exercises utilise relaxed, deep, abdominal breathing to calm the body and the mind.  They are simple and effective, and only take a few minutes to do.  They lower both psychological and physiological stress through the use of biofeedback.

  • The practitioner does the exercise at their own respiration rate (this can be high to begin with).
  • The focus on the breathing and the repetitive movement starts to affect the brainwave pattern, lowering it to Alpha wave.
  • Alpha relaxes the body and the breathing becomes more relaxed and deeper.
  • This, in turn, lowers the brainwave pattern further and induces further relaxation and a feeling of wellbeing.

Practiced on a regular basis, the practitioner’s respiration becomes slower, deeper, and more relaxed.  This can stop the stress cycle from being formed and induces calmness even in stressful situations.

Abdominal Breathing

Before moving on to the Qigong video I would like to give some instructions on how to practice abdominal breathing, using the diaphragm muscle and the abdominal muscles to increase your intake of air. This can be practiced either standing or when lying in the supine (on your back) position.

Stress and respiration - abdominal breathing
  • Place your hands over your lower abdomen and feel for it expanding and contracting. Don’t worry if you do not feel this as you are in the majority. Most adults shallow breathe to the chest.
  • Keeping your hands in the same position, on inhalation gently force that expansion. Gently does it because later on there will be no need for this forcing.
  • On exhalation, let the abdominal muscles relax before applying a small amount of tension to pull up to and slightly under the ribs.
  • On inhalation, relax and let the abdomen expand.
  • Follow this pattern and visualize this expansion getting larger and larger and, before long, you will no longer need to force it as the relaxation becomes enough.
  • Daily, regular, practice will eventually educate your body to adopt this natural, more efficient, way of breathing.

Stress and Respiration – Pressing Palms in Calmness

In this short video I will show you a very simple Qigong exercise called “Pressing Palms in Calmness”. This Qigong has been practiced for thousands of years and it does what it says on the tin as it lowers stress and anxiety. I can vouch for it and it has been tried, tested and given the thumbs up by students and clients.

Then, once you have had a chance to become familiar with the Qigong you can then compare how you feel, and also compare your respiration rate before and after practice.

This video is for demonstration purposes only and is not meant as a teaching tool. It is vital that the Qigong are carried out correctly for their full benefits to be appreciated and to do this the practitioner needs to be aware of, and to make use of, all the subtleties that lie within the movements. This is why this video can only go part way to convey the Internal workings of Qigong and trying to understand what is happening by merely following a video is not enough. However, even by copying the movement and breathing, some benefits may still be felt.

I hope that you find this Qigong useful.
Des

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

The therapies provided by Pro Holistic are of a Complementary nature. You are advised, in the first instance, to consult a medical practitioner in order that you receive a medical diagnosis. Self-diagnosis is not recommended and internet-based advice is no substitute for a face-to-face visit with a medical practitioner.

Course Feedback – The Embroidered Brocade Qigong

embroidered brocade - white crane
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

From Kevin

” Very well explained and demonstrated.”

From Lesley

” Very clear instructions, easy to follow. Sound and picture quality excellent.”

From James

” It is useful in expanding knowledge of Qigong, It is also a useful reminder if you are a visual learner as its handy to see the moves being done.”

This is just some of the feedback from our online Embroidered Brocade Qigong course. Pro Holistic also runs this course in Scotland as well as providing Qigong workshops for other organisations and schools. Please contact us if you require further details or would like us to teach a workshop, or course, for you.

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Thinking About Insomnia Keeps Me Awake!


#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton
#SBqigong #qigong #DesLawton

Everyone has one of those nights when they cannot drop off to sleep. Insomnia on one of those nights is not a problem but when it runs to two, three,four and more there is most definitely a problem. Our sleeping hours turn into hours of restlessness and the hours when we should be awake and alert we find ourselves half asleep and unable to function properly.

This article is most definitely not anti Western Medicine. I am not saying that one system is better than the other. They both have their place and can, should, be used to complement each other.

From an Allopathic (Western) Medicine viewpoint there are many reasons for insomnia such as: stress, anxiety, depression, worry, grief, anger,chronic pain, neurological conditions, trauma, etc. Each of these causes are treated differently and usually treated with the use of drugs.

I want to focus on the causes of insomnia that are of a mental nature and how Eastern Medicine, in particular Shiatsu and Qigong, can have a beneficial impact. Rather than seeing stress, anxiety, depression,worry, grief and anger as six different causes I want to break the cause of insomnia into two sources. The two causes of overactive thoughts are the brain(the Yi) and the consciousness (the Shen). Each has its own patterns, or symptoms.

  • If your inability to sleep is because you are thinking about particular things (eg. Planning for an event) then it is the Yi,the brain, that is overactive.
  • Is your head filled with random thoughts that jump about, continually vying to attract your attention…………. like a hundred chattering monkeys? Then it is the Shen, your consciousness that is disturbed.

If the incidence of insomnia is recent I would recommend that you use self Shiatsu as a method. Or if it is chronic I recommend that you learn and practice the Qigong on a daily basis as well as using self Shiatsu immediately before going to bed. The need for the self Shiatsu should diminish as the effects of the Qigong become stronger.

Overactive brain – calming the Yi


Self Shiatsu for insomnia

foot Yi points - shiatsu for insomnia

There are a couple of acupuncture points that you can stimulate, using finger pressure, to calm the brain down. The points are Stomach 42 and Spleen 1, both of which are on the feet. You should apply finger pressure for between 10 and 15 seconds, making sure that your entire focus is on applying this.

Qigong for insomnia

There is one exercise that I recommend and teach to my clients, it is called “Pressing Palms in Calmness” and there are two versions. As the written instructions can only go so far in communicating the necessary information to practice Qigong properly and efficiently, it is preferable to learn from a qualified teacher.

With the feet shoulder width apart (in Wuji stance), stand with the arms held in front of the waist. Rest the tip of your tongue on the palate, just behind the front teeth. Breathe through the nose and concentrate your breath on the lower abdomen.

  1. Inhalation – Turn the palms upward so that the fingers are pointing towards each other, and lift the hands level with the forehead.
  2. Exhalation – Turn the palms downward, form a triangle by connecting the two index fingers and the two thumbs, and press down until the hands are level with the lower abdomen (the Dan Tien).
  3. Separate the hands and return to the starting posture.
  4. Repeat.

As a general rule, repeat about eight times although you might want to do more.

Overactive mind – calming the Shen


Self Shiatsu

Heart Governor 8 - shiatsu for insomnia

There is one acupuncture point that you can stimulate this time, again using finger pressure. This point is heart Governor 8 and it is located on the palm of the hand. You should apply finger pressure for between 10 and 15 seconds, making sure that your entire focus is on applying this.

Qigong

With the feet shoulder width apart (in Wuji stance), stand with the arms held in front of the waist. Rest the tip of your tongue on the palate, just behind the front teeth. Breathe through the nose and concentrate your breath on the lower abdomen.

  1. Inhalation – Turn the palms upward so that the fingers are pointing towards each other, and lift the hands level with the forehead.
  2. Exhalation – Turn the palms downward and press down, with the middle fingers pointing towards each other until they are level with the lower abdomen (the Dan Tien).
  3. Separate the hands and return to the starting posture.
  4. Repeat.

As a general rule, repeat about eight times although you might want to do more.

Sleep tight!
Des

Interested in Qigong?Why not join the San Bao Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – sanbaoschool.co.uk/community

Qigong for Back Pain – Which is Best

I’m often asked which is the best Qigong for back pain. There are a number of exercises that I teach any of my Shiatsu clients who have chronic back pain, each tailored to the individual, and always with the advice that they are practiced to the easy motion barrier (To the point BEFORE it becomes painful). I have listed three of them at the end of this article but first let’s look at the lower back and one of the common problems associated with it.

Your back is more, much more, than just your spine. It is an evolutionary marvel that works 24 hours a day, all year round, even when you sleep, to support your upper body.

Flaws and Problems

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However it is a marvel that is prone to flaws………… One of those “flaws” being hyperlordosis, commonly referred to simply as lordosis.  The S shape of the lower back, known as the lordotic curve, is natural in humans and it is this curve that aligns the upper body so that its weight is carried evenly by the pelvis. It allows humans to be truly bipedal and upright.

If the lordosis becomes exaggerated it can cause excessive strain on the muscles and ligaments as well as tilting the pelvis forward and placing more pressure on the discs. This leads to weakness and the possibility of chronic lower back pain.

Using Qigong to Treat Lower Back Pain

Using almost any Qigong exercise that utilises Wuji stance can help alleviate lower back pain. However for them to work the stance MUST be correct so that hyperlordosis is reduced through relaxation and not through additional tension to allow the coccyx to tuck/roll under. It is fundamental that Wuji is learned and used before the real benefits can be found.

Very often, when the lower back becomes weak, there is a knock on effect and the upper back, the shoulders and the neck tense up as they try to lend support.

Recommended Qigong for Back Pain

This list of Qigong exercises is far from comprehensive but each of them is extremely beneficial in relieving lower back pain, including chronic pain. They work with the meridians and acupuncture points that are associated with lower back pain as well as releasing tension in the muscles while simultaneously increasing their tone.

Qigong for back pain. Embroidered Brocade Qigong - Folding Over
Folding Over – Leg Yang movement

Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Udemy Codes

the eight exceptional vessels qigong
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This is the list of our current discount Udemy codes for our amazing online courses at Udemy:

The Eight Exceptional Vessels Qigong

Working with the Qi of the Extraordinary Meridians.

We are currently offering a 66% Udemy codes discount on this course……….. So you get it for £20.00!
Get your discount here – Coupon

Connecting Heaven and Earth Qigong

A Five Elements, stand-alone Qigong exercise.

We are currently offering a 66% Udemy codes discount on this course……….. So you get it for £20.00!
Get your discount here – Coupon

The Five Taoist Yin Qigong

We are currently offering a 66% Udemy codes discount on this course……….. So you get it for £20.00!
Get your discount here – Coupon

The Embroidered Brocade Qigong

We are currently offering a 66% Udemy codes discount on this course……….. So you get it for £20.00!
Get your discount here – Coupon