Shibashi Qigong – Frequently asked questions

Sorry, this page, and the video, is restricted and can only be accessed by members and students.


Skip to comment form

  1. If you have any questions regarding the Shibashi please post them here.

  2. I received a couple of questions from Gillian and thought that they should be included here.

    Q. In looking at the moon (for blood pressure?)) does I matter which variation you use. Also on other blood pressure exercise does it matter if you go to heart, throat or head or do all three variations?

    A. When using the “Turning to Gaze at the Moon” exercise for regulating blood pressure, the palms should be facing each other and there should be a focus on the ‘connection’ between the two palms. Each of the variations (alternating weight distribution) works although I tend to prescribe the wuji stance with no weight change as people usually find this an easier exercise to do.

    With “Pressing Down in Calmness”, the body tends to find its own level for the hand positions. High blood pressure is often a symptom of stress and that stress can have many sources. With this exercise you can alleviate emotional, communication and spiritual (consciousness) issues. So, in summary, all the positions work and any combination is OK.

    Received by email:

    Hi Des

    I hope you enjoyed your visit on Saturday, I certainly did; it was a good opportunity to connect and I’ve been mentally processing a few things since then. I have a question to ask, so feel free to post it on your website – I wasn’t sure where to put it. I’m pondering on the movement of energy and how it behaves when it’s blocked and trying to think of it in various ways; electrical circuits, rivers, air currents etc. I may very well answer my own question as I write, but here goes.

    I had a lightbulb moment when we were discussing energy flow and some practitioners mistakenly talking of ‘stretching’ the meridians. You said ‘the meridians are not physical’ and that was immediately blindingly obvious. One thing that I’ve read and used as an underlying principle to Tai Chi (and presumably Qigong) is that ‘tension blocks the flow of energy’. If that is true, are warming up routines and Dao Yin aimed at trying to loosen tension in the body to facilitate the smooth flow of energy ready for your Taiji Form or Qigong routine?

    Thanks again for your input 🙂



    Hi Lesley,

    One thing that I have learned on this journey is that there are many, many, light-bulb moments. They have tended to carry me forward by making me look back………. to recognise and appreciate some of the Qi landscape that I have passed through without fully acknowledging, or understanding. In most cases (for me anyway) these are repeated and my understanding has been drip-fed…………… understanding a bit more with each look back.

    Yes, the Dao Yin that I have taught you is to loosen off tension and less restriction in the movement of Qi. It is also to stimulate the physical aspect of our body and awaken our listening to the energetic pathways. The meridians and points are an efficient way of accessing our energetic bodies.

    The most commonly used model is one where the Qi flows along, and is contained within, these meridians. It is a simplified model where Qi flows one way along them, travelling outwards (to the peripheries) along the Yang meridians and inwards along the Yin meridians. What you have to understand is that Qi flows, circulates, swirls, takes shape, etc. throughout our energy body (and throughout the universe) and is not contained/restricted within meridians. This Qi can be accessed from outside the physical body, using external Qigong for healing but there is a tangible connection to it via the points and meridians. This makes it easier to work with. For example, by using an individual point you are able to influence the entire energetic body, causing changes in “pockets” that require assistance.

    In much the same way, the most commonly used model for the aura starts with the body and moves out in layers from the densest to the finest. Again, this is a flawed model that separates the densest from the finest, in discrete layers, and puts the physical body in prime position.
    For example, using this model when doing energy work on the Ketheric “layer” you can only access it well off of the physical body. When working on the Etheric “layer” you would work much closer to the physical body.

    Our energetic body starts with the finest essence/quality and ends with the densest. All of these essences/ qualities extend inwards to our core. This means that you can access all of them from the core (Chakras) rather like accessing individual qualities of Qi from the various meridians and points.

  4. Hi Des, I have a question for you. I have noticed in some movements, particularly in Playing with Waves, some students tend to ‘grasp’ on the return movement – ie curling the fingers in to the palms rather than flexing gently at the wrist. Is this something that should be corrected, or is it a ‘natural’ reflex that serves a purpose on some level?

    1. Hi Lesley,
      The movement should be a gentle flexing of the wrist. It should mimic a wave crashing onto the shore (palms facing forward) then pulling back as though dragging at the sand. This, gentle, extension and flexion activates the Yuan Source Points in the wrist. There are six of these…….. three Yin and three Yang.
      It is definitely something that I would correct if I found my students “grasping” on the drawing back.

    2. Thankyou Des – it’s a very common ‘fault’ and persists despite correction. Can I ask if there are any specific health benefits to the flexing of the wrists that I could use as a ‘carrot’?

      1. Hi Lesley,

        The Yuan Source points have a direct relationship with the Yuan Qi (Original Qi).

        In the wrist, the Yin Source points:
        Lu 9 – Tonifies Lung Qi and Yin.
        H 7 – Tonifies Heart Qi and nourishes Blood.
        HG7 – Cooling heat that affects the Heart of a deficient or excess nature. Clears Yang and Blood heat, fever deep in the body that is drying up fluids. Used to alleviate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (combined with HG 5, HG 6 & SP 9).

        In the wrist, the Yang Source points:
        LI 4 – Dispels Exterior Wind and Clears Heat
        SI 4 – Eliminates Damp-Heat and Moves the Channel
        TH 4 – Regulates water metabolism, alleviates dry mouth and thirst. Tonifies the Yang of the body.

  5. Received by email

    Hi Des

    ……. if you can think of any Shibashi movements that are particularly suitable it would be appreciated. I have a gentleman who has just joined a class – he’d done some rehabilitation sessions at the hospital in Penrith, and Shibashi was mentioned, which is a great sign………..



    Hi Lesley,

    I would recommend “Broadening the Chest” but I would start with teaching abdominal breathing…………..

    • Seated, or standing, with hands on the lower belly
    • Encourage him to feel the rise and fall of his hands as he breathes in and out.
    • Continue the abdominal breathing practice alongside the Shibashi practice until he is comfortable with it.
    • Later, when he is comfortable with “Broadening the Chest” you can get him to use the Metal hand posture to strengthen the Qi flow even more.
    • Remember that the name ” Broadening the Chest” is a wee bit of a misnomer as the diaphragm muscle and the abdominal muscles are doing all the work.
    I hope this helps.


  6. Received by email:

    ………… I am going through these notes, I am finding discrepancies which I would welcome your clarification on.

    The ones I have come across so far are:

    2 Broadening the Chest, you say in the notes: “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.”

    However in the video online at the hands appear to face down to the ground or towards the body rather than towards each other when you are taking them up.

    I was wondering which is correct?

    The second issue, relates to sequence “4 Circle the arms to part the clouds”, in this, the words state: “Exhalation – Turn the palms out slightly and swing the arms down laterally, whilst simultaneously lowering the stance” this is matched in the video.

    However I would have thought that the hands would be turned more towards the sides, in order to part the clouds, otherwise they are cutting through the clouds.

    Maybe I am taking the title too literally, however clarification would be appreciated.

    The third issue relates to 5 Pushing to the diagonals – in the words you say: “Inhale as you lower the stance to
    adopt a Horse Riding Stance” however in the video you are in Wuji stance and I don’t remember us taking up the Horse Riding stance at this point.

    Again if you could clarify this for me I would be grateful.

    Your help would be appreciated.

    Kind regards


    Hello Dave,

    Broadening the Chest
    • Thanks for pointing out the description failings. Feedback, like this, is invaluable and it helps me to clarify the notes. As I pointed out during the course, it is VERY difficult to get the exact wording into print that describes the finer details …………
    • “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.” This is made clearer as “Gradually, turn the palms to face each other as though holding a balloon while raising them to chest height, simultaneously raising the stance. Then move them laterally/horizontally as though the balloon was expanding.”
    • Remember that the down-stroke of the movement has the hands facing, obliquely, downwards. The hands rise on, and with, the “balloon”………… This helps you to have “heavy elbows”.
    • It is the camera angle that is giving the impression of the palms turning inwards.

    Circle the Arms to Part the Clouds
    • Again, the camera angle does not show the hand positions very well but the hands are turned out. The term “slightly” is used so that there is not too much Li (muscular strength) used in the turning out. The title should be taken literally as there is always a lot of information there. Turn the hands out to tear through the clouds………

    Pushing to the Diagonals
    • This is a definite typo! I have no idea how it got there as it isn’t on the original pack. It used to read “Following the last exhalation, inhale (you can lower the stance to adopt a Horse Riding Stance) and move the hands to the hips, palms upward.”

    Thank you for taking the time to raise these points. The good news is that we have already scheduled the recording of new video that will be shot from the front and in profile. I will stick this on the FAQ page so that others can benefit too.


  7. Received by email

    Hi Des
    Trying to clear up something in my brain.
    Various things I have come across are about dislodging blockages of energy trapped in the system and keeping energy moving. I can see the Taiji also does this.
    I am curious how this fits with putting energy in the Dantian. How does it not stagnate or become a blockage?
    I can understand one might want to have an energy accumulation in a ‘defense’ martial art type situation but not sure what it is for otherwise.
    I read something which I think suggested that it was about holding the energy and letting it feed the organs. Not quite got that going on in my head but don’t want to try and absorb that concept unless there is some accuracy in it.
    Is there a way to ‘monitor’ or ‘sustain’ the quality of the energy if it is being used in this healing type way?
    I realise this is a really big and complex subject and anything my head can do is probably not going to be able to conceptualise the full dimensions of what is going on. However some sort of simple analogy is helpful to me.
    Many thanks


    Hi Susan,
    • There is a huge difference between trapped/stuck/stagnant Qi and stored Qi. The Dan Tien, like the Extraordinary Meridians, acts like a reservoir for Qi with the Meridians having a river-like function.
    • The use of Qigong for a martial defence is possible but it is not what you are doing within the Shibashi. These exercises are proactive and protective in that they help build up the body’s defences against illness and disease.
    • The accumulated Qi is stored in the Dan Tien and the Extraordinary Meridians from where it flows to the “organs”. This refers to the Meridians (that are organ pairs such as Lung and Large Intestine, Kidney and Bladder, etc.) but this does not only refer to the physical organs (eg. the Triple Warmer does not exist as a physical organ, it is made up of the three Dan Tiens…………… Confused?).
    • Yes, there is a way to monitor, and therefore sustain, the Qi. It is through proper practice of Qigong, with a quite body and mind, and using Listening Jing.
    • Yes, it can be extremely complex yet extremely simple. Less rationalization and more experience, through practice, lets the body/mind appreciate what is happening.
    I hope that this helps a little bit but we can discuss it in more depth during the course.


  8. Received by email:

    A quick question I meant to ask whilst I was with you but forgot: in Painting Rainbows in the handout you gave at the end of our training it says the transition from Broadening the chest is as follows: ‘Exhalation – Simultaneously raise the stance as you raise the arms above the head as though holding a large beach ball between the hands’ and yet in the videos you raise the arms to the sides to start into Painting Rainbows. Which would you prefer I follow.


    The transition into Painting Rainbows starts at the end of the inhalation for Broadening the Chest…………. so the arms are held wide at that point. On exhalation, instead of the arms moving to the front of the chest and then lowering, the arms are raised above the head. Then, on exhalation, you Paint Rainbows to the side/ horizon.


  9. Received by email

    I learned the Shibashi with another teacher and there are some differences in the movements between your set and theirs. Is there a reason for this?

    Firstly, please see the earlier answer to this question…………

    Secondly, and importantly, there was something that I failed to cover in that answer……… The physical movements that we call Qigong are not Qigong, not in its entirety at least. The movements are one of the tools that we use to direct the Qi in a particular way. The other tools include the breath, the vision, the intention and the attention (using listening jing), etc.

    The primary difference in my teaching is that I teach the Internal aspect. There is great focus on the ExternaI too as each posture has to be correct in order to guide the Qi as intended (ie. which meridian, or Element that the exercise is being uses for).

    Now, as far as External differences are concerned, those differences in the physical aspects, as long as you continue to work Internally you are practicing Qigong. But, having studied with me, you will now realise that you are not stimulating the same quality of Qi, not guiding the Qi in the same meridian. It is either a case of the posture being “off target” (which is more often the case as many teachers have little, or no, understanding of the Internal work) or that the teacher has a different target and their intention is to work on a different meridian (Ask them.).

    Having experienced two, or sometimes more than two, versions of any of the exercises I would ask you to practice both, then sit down and ask yourself “Which version is creating the most pronounced Internal change? What is the difference in the Internal change with each version? Where am I experiencing this change?

    While sitting and enquiring of yourself, listen to how your Qi is altering as you ask each question. You are no longer using the physical movements but the chances are that you will experience the same flow……………. sometimes weaker, but sometimes stronger. You are practicing Qigong but this time you are only using two of the tools…………. The Yi to guide the Qi, and listening jing.

Leave a Reply