The name "tai chi" has become fairly well known in the United States and the ar t is being used by the western medical community for the treatment of a number of different conditions. The fact is however that the art of tai chi was developed from an older art called qigong. While there are a number of different styles of qigong the focus of all of them is to focus the body's natural energies. Unfortunately many people confuse the tai chi term "chi" with the qigong term "qi", thinking that they both mean energy. The fact is however that it is qi that means energy: Chi means "ultimate" not energy. Qigong is the parent of tai chi and it is from qigong that we learn to regulate and control our body's natural energies for healing and strength.
The body heals itself by allowing its natural energies to flow freely. Once blockages are removed we can use out intent to channel this energy to problem areas. These pathways are first unblocked by doing specific exercise, beginning with qigong standing mediation.
- Qigong standing mediation lays the foundation for beginning the healing process. It prepares us by helping to quiet the mind and bring the breathing into harmony with the bodies movements.
- Next, using movement to open the energy gates you will begin inproving the breathing, activate the spine, understand weight shifts and alignments and dissolve tensions.
- There are 23 main points, sort of like relay stations, located throughout the body, from the crown of the head to a point below the floor.
- Break the exercises down into three sections: Sinking, scanning and dissolving. Begin with Cloud hands and then move through three different swinging exercises and wrap up with a Taoist Spine Stretch.
The above routine will begin the process allowing us to use our body's energy to its fullest extent. But it must be done with clear intent. This means maintaining the harmony created at the beginning of the session. We cannot heal that which we cannot see, at least in our mind's eye. As you move thorugh the exercises make sure to keep the breath in harmony with each movement and your attention fo cused on your body.