639 muscles, 405 acupuncture points, 206 bones, 14 meridians, and countless ways to stimulate them all. So the question is, could there be one movement that covers all the bases? The Qigong equivalent to the one ring to rule them all! With all that in mind, let's dive into an interesting question. If you had to choose one, what is the best Qigong exercise?
I’ve been studying Qigong for many, many years, with some of the most incredible masters from around the world. All have had a massive impact on both my personal Qigong practice, but also the way I teach Qigong to others.
So in trying to examine exactly what would dictate the best qigong exercise, you have to ask yourself what is the purpose of Qigong practice? Now, one of the many things I’ve enjoyed about launching this site is having a platform to examine so many different uses for Qigong exercise.
What are the different uses for Qigong Practice?
I've talked about the healing benefits of Qigong practice. As well as how beginners can start on a qigong program. I’ve looked at Qigong programs for different aches and pains in the body, such as neck pain, knee pain, elbow and wrist pain.
I’ve looked at qigong programs for internal health conditions such as high blood pressure, sleep issues, digestion, menstrual pain, and adrenal burnout. I’ve also covered qigong programs for strength building for the upper body, core, and legs.
I’ve even delved into qigong programs for specific mental health concerns such as qigong for stress, anxiety, fear, and depression. The reality is, Qigong practice can be used for anything that ails you whether it’s in mind or body.
What is the Purpose or Qigong practice?
So with all that being said, it brings us back to the question, "What is the purpose of Qigong practice?" Simply put, Qigong is moving meditation, and as with all seated meditations, moving meditation's main focus is to foster connection to the moment.
This is where connection to the breath comes in. Because breathing is one of the only physiological processes that can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously, it gives us a physical "crutch" of sorts to connect our focus to.
Although we can stop breathing indefinitely, we do possess the power to radically alter our breathing pattern, speed, and depth. We can speed up or slow down our breathing at will. We can lengthen our inhale or shorten our exhale or do the reverse.
Each alteration in the breath produces a different effect on the body. When it comes to the breathing pattern of Qigong practice, the goto tends to be long, slow, deep, and even. This mode of breathing quickly shifts the body into a healing state by turning on the parasympathetic nervous system.
Qigong connects the mind to the breath and the breath to the movement. This now provides a second crutch helping to keep us connected to the moment. But then there is also the hidden power in the movements themselves.
What is the hidden power of Qigong practice?
The slow gentle movements of Qigong practice stimulate the physical body in many of the same ways that other modern forms of calisthenic exercise do. They stretch and strengthen the muscles. They activate and move the joint through complex ranges of motion. They stimulate the cardiovascular system.
But hidden within the ancient exercises is a powerful healing benefit. This power comes from acupuncture meridian stimulation. This is where Qigong exercise is unique to all other forms of physical conditioning. As each exercise is conceived, there is thought given to the specific energetic meridian that would be stimulated by the physical motion.
As the movements are strung together into specific choreography, the sum can take on an even greater power than the individual exercises. For example, combining an exercise that stimulates the stomach meridian, with one that stimulates the spleen meridian, with one that stimulates the large intestine meridian, now will have the effect at stimulating the digestive system as a whole.
This will result not only in a wonderful physical exercise program but also help to heal the absorption and digestion of food. This combination can turn a seemingly gentle workout into a powerful weight loss tool.
What is the best Qigong exercise?
So that begs the question, if you were to choose only one Qigong exercise to practice on a given day, what would it be? Well, the simple answer is, one that stimulates everything! All muscles, all bones, and all acupuncture meridians.
Now, there are many exercises that accomplish this goal, but one of my all-time favorites is definitely Teacups from the Wuji Qigong set. My Master often referred to this exercise as a full body fixer-upper! The set is composed of 18 different exercises, each with its own focus, but together are designed to represent the chaotic nature of the day.
The set begins with an exercise representing sunrise and ends with one representing sunset. The other 16 movements can be called upon in any order as needed. As long as your day begins with sunrise and ends with sunset, the rest is up to you. But of all 18, Teacups stands out as a truly powerful healing tool.
The strong lower body stance anchored to the ground stimulates the six meridians that run through the legs, while the dynamic upper body movements simulate the six meridians that run through the arms. The exercise balances yin stillness in the lower body with yang movement of the upper body.
As it was taught to me countless times, eventually you will begin to feel like the calm at the center of the storm. Finding stillness in motion is an amazingly powerful feeling to experience. While training this exercise, there is so much going on around you, so there is no time to worry about external problems or issues of the day. There is only the calmness and peace of the movement.
A calmness is stimulated by full body unified movement and total energetic meridian stimulation. It is why in my humble opinion, Wuji Qigong Teacups is one of the best Qigong exercises you could practice... Give it a try.
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