Qi Gong (Chi Gong) is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness. It has roots in Chinese medicine, martial arts, and philosophy. It is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance qi (chi) or “life energy”. There is a visualization and breath awareness connected with each movement. Watch the video to learn the movements but be sure to read the written instructions below so you can combine movement with your breath and with visual imagery.
Note: If you are feeling chronic or overwhelming stress, it may be helpful to have guidance from a teacher. Join us for our next Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course starting in March to practice Qi Gong and learn a lot more about how to work with stress. More information.
Pay close attention to any physical limitations you may have and only do those movements that are easily within your physical ability.
It is helpful to start by learning only a few movements initially and gradually adding on more over time.
Taiji Qigong (18 Movements)
1. Raising Mist by the Lake’ (Raising and Lowering Arms)
Inhale: Raise arms until shoulder level, wrists loose
Exhale: Relax elbows, sink down and lower arms to your sides
2. Opening the Chest on Top of the Mountain (Opening The Heart to What Is)
Inhale: Raise arms until shoulder level and out to the sides; palms facing forward
Exhale: Bring arms together until width apart, palms facing each other, tum them down and lower them to the sides while sinking slightly.
3. Swinging the Rainbow
Inhale: Raise arms above heads, palms facing each other
Exhale: Transfer weight to the right leg and bend from the waist to the left; right hand above head, left hand out to the left at shoulder level.
Inhale: Transfer weight to center and as you exhale shift weight to left leg and bend to right.
4. Parting the Clouds
Exhale: Squat down, hands cross at the knee level
Inhale: Raise the body as you lift arms above head and rotate palms until they face the sky; following the arm movement with your eyes.
Exhale: Separate arms(parting the clouds), lower them sideways while squatting down as far as it is comfortable.
5. Floating Silk in the Air (Rolling Arms)
Inhale: Arms stretched out in front at shoulder height, palms up;
Exhale: Turn waist to the right, right arm circles down and up until both arms stretched out, palms up.
Inhale: Continue circular movement with right arm and push forward as you turn waist to face front again.
Exhale: Continue pushing forward with right arm while left arm moving back past hips.
Inhale: Turn waist to left as left arm circles up to shoulder height, palms up and continue.
6. Rowing Across the Big Lake
Inhale: Raise arms in a circular motion back and upwards above shoulder.
Exhale: Sink or squat down and lower arms to the front as if “rowing a boat”.
7. Raising the Sun
Inhale: Raise left arm diagonally in front of right shoulder, palm up while shifting weight onto right leg; left heel comes up and turns slightly in. Meanwhile, the back of the right hand touches lower back.
Exhale: Tum palm down, lower left arm, shift weight back and repeat with right arm.
8. Gazing at the Moon
Inhale: Shift weight on left leg, tum waist to left and raise arms up and back over your shoulder and look through hands(gazing at the moon).
Exhale: Return to the front by lowering arms, weight evenly distributed and sinking slightly;
Inhale: Continue to the other side.
9. The Wind Rustles Lotus Leaves (Tum Waist and Push with Palms)
Inhale: Arms at waist, palms up
Exhale: Tum waist to the left, right palm pushes out
Inhale: Make a fist, bring right palm back to the waist and continue with left palm pushing out.
10. Wave Hands Like Clouds
Inhale: Tum slightly right at waist, raising left hand in front of your face, palm facing you.
Exhale: Tum waist to left while left hand is following the turning of the waist at eye level until left arm floats out to the side.
Inhale: Right arm, palm up-is rising towards the left shoulder, while left arm is dropping.
Exhale: Tum waist, arm following to the right and continue
II. Scooping the Ocean and Look at the Sky
Inhale: Step forward with left leg
Exhale: Shift weight onto left leg while bending down, hands crossing at left knee.
Inhale: Shift weight onto rear leg, lift left toes and bring up arms(scooping the ocean) above your head-follow the arm movement with the eyes- and open the arms to the sides (look at the sky)
Exhale: Turn palms down, bring arms down to the side and bring back your left leg; continue with the other leg.
12. Pushing the Waves
Inhale: Step out with left leg, raise arms to shoulder level, elbows down, wrists loose.
Exhale: Shift weight on left leg and push out arms in a wave-like motion.
Inhale: Shift weight back on right leg and bring arms back to body.
(D0 this six times, then switch legs)
13. Flying Dove Spreads its Wing
Inhale: Raise arms to the side, palms forward and step out with left foot.
Exhale: Shift weight on left leg and bring arms together until shoulder width apart.
Inhale: Shift weight back on right foot and bring in arms towards the chest and continue.
14. Dragon Emerging from the Sea (Punching with Fists)
Inhale: Bring fists up to hips, fists facing upwards
Exhale: Punch forward with right fist while turning it down.
Inhale: Draw fist in towards the hip facing upward again.
Exhale: Punch forward with left fist.
15. Fly Like an Eagle
Inhale: Raise arms sideways above head, palms outside, lift heels if you don’t wobble.
Exhale: Lower arms and heels and squat down as far as you feel comfortable, palms down.
16. Windmill Turning in the Breeze
Inhale: Raise arms towards the left and above your head in a circular motion.
Exhale: Continue circling the arms towards the right and downwards while bending the waist forward and sink in the knees.
Inhale: Continue circling 3-5 times then switch direction.
17. Stepping and Bouncing the Ball
Inhale: Raise left knee and right arm simultaneously.
Exhale: Lower them gently.
Inhale: Raise right knee and left arm simultaneously; lower them and continue.
(Do it at least twelve times or as much as you feel comfortable)
18. Gathering the Fragrance of the Earth (Balancing the Chi to Close)
Inhale: Squat down and come up while raising arms with palms up until shoulder level
Exhale: Turn palms down, lower arms to belly and sink slightly.
(After finishing the movements, place your palms on your belly (Dantien);
Men first left hand, then right; women vice-versa. Stand still for a minute or as long as you feel comfortable and sense the energy in your Dantien. lf you want, you can visualize a pearl in your belly, the breath as a silk cloth and the light of awareness shining on it.