Qigong (pronounced Chi Kung) is a generic term used to describe a variety of methods to enhance the flow of Qi (life force or energy) to harmonize mind, body and spirit. We offer Qigong training as part of our Tai Chi program.
Qigong is an ancient Chinese method of self-care and self-cultivation. It includes physical postures and movements, breathing techniques and mental focus. Qi means life force or vital energy that flows through your body. Gong means effort or work used to cultivate qi. Qigong is the cultivation of vital energy to harmonize your body, mind, and spirit.
Qigong is an essential pillar of Chinese martial arts and Chinese medicine. Qigong reduces stress, builds stamina, increases vitality, optimizes the body’s immune system, and helps prevent disease. Regular practice improves cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions.
Anyone can learn and practice Qigong. No experience or equipment is needed. There are thousands of Qigong styles that can be categorized as: medical, martial, and meditative.
In China, doctors use qigong to treat and prevent illness. Warriors practice Qigong to strengthen their bodies. Daoist priests and Buddhist monks used it as a form of spiritual practice to attain longevity or spiritual enlightenment. Confucian scholars say it builds moral character.
Although styles differ in focus, all are used to achieve unity of mind, body and spirit. Sharing common principles and theories, each has influenced the other. Most involve some form of physical movement, body postures, mental focus, visualization, sounds and breathing techniques.
Qigong techniques can be classified as: (1) dynamic or active and (2) tranquil or quiescent. Dynamic qigong involves movement; the body moves, but the mind is still. In quiescent qigong the body is still, but energy moves internally and the mind is attentive. Essentially, the former is exercise and the latter is meditation.
In modern China, Tai Chi Chuan is classified as a martial art, a sport, and a subcategory of Qigong. It is also known as an ancient form of martial art practiced for hundreds of years in China as a way to maintain health, promote fitness, and rejuvenate the body and spirit. Some people refer to it as a form of moving meditation.
Regular practice of Tai Chi Quan strengthens muscles, tendons and ligaments; improves balance and flexibility; relieves stress; and improves digestion and weight control. Health care professionals recognize it as an outstanding low-impact form of exercise suitable for people of all ages.
There are many theories about the origins of Tai Chi Chuan, which literally means Grand Ultimate. There are also several well known styles of Tai Chi Chuan, most notably amongst them Chen, Yang, and Wu styles.
The Jow Ga Shaolin Institute offers instruction in Yang Style Tai Chi at the beginner, intermediate, advanced, and instructor level. Yang Style Tai Chi is the most popular style of Tai Chi in the world. It is characterized by smoothly flowing and graceful movements. Although its empty hand forms are performed slowly, Yang style weapon routines are done with a quicker tempo.
Students practice movements that simulate offensive and defensive techniques against an imaginary opponent. They coordinate the use of hands, arms, shoulders, feet, and legs in a series of patterns while trying to maintain physical and mental balance between the forces of Yin and Yang. For example, instead of using force to meet force, you yield when your opponent attacks and advance when your opponent retreats. Moreover, while the body is active, the mind is quiet.
One story involves Chen Wangting, a Chinese military officer during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.). He combined techniques from the martial arts classics, his own martial expertise, Chinese medical concepts, and Yin and Yang theory to create Tai Chi Chuan. According to the Yin and Yang theory, all forces of nature are complimentary: light and dark, positive and negative, soft and firm, activity and inactivity. Too much or too little of either Yin or Yang leads to imbalance and illness.
Later on, Yang style Tai Chi was developed by Yang Luchan (1795-1872), from Hebei Province in China. His grandson, Yang Chengfu (1883-1936), modified the original form into 108 movements and made it into the most widely practiced style in China today.
In 1956, China’s National Sports Committee introduced a simplified version of the original form referred to as “24 Steps” form to make learning Tai Chi more accessible to the public. This enabled more people to enjoy its many benefits.
The Institute’s Tai Chi program offers comprehensive instruction at the introductory through instructor levels. Training is available in Tai Chi Basic Movements, Tai Chi Theory & Principles, Qigong, empty hand forms (24 Step, 40 Step, and 108 Step routines) and weapons forms (sword, saber, and staff), partner training, push hands, and self-defense applications.
Certificates of Achievement are available to those who wish to receive formal evaluation and documentation of their progress. Examinations are used to assess skills and knowledge upon completion of each level. To receive certification, students must demonstrate their proficiency to the satisfaction of the Chief Instructor and Institute Director.
We teach Qigong as part of our Tai Chi program. Students learn how to harness Qi using physical movement, body postures, breathing techniques, and mental focus. Our Qigong style, called “Tai Chi – the Art of Internal Power,” leads to unity of body, mind and spirit.
Tai Chi and Qigong help you reach your infinite potential and includes the following exercises and more:
- Eight Pieces of Brocade: unique exercises that activate Qi, strengthen internal organs, enhance flexibility, and improve physiological functioning.
- Taiji Essential Movements: basic movements from Tai Chi designed to improve structural integrity, core strength, and body alignment.
- Zhan Zhuang: standing meditation to help you relax so Qi can flow smoothly throughout your body and increase your internal power.
- Microcosmic Orbit (Small Universe): seated meditation to quiet the mind and circulate Qi through the body’s major energy centers.