An Introduction to Spring Forest Qigong (Because of the animated GIF files I've created for you, this page can take up to eight minutes to load. I've formatted it so as to open as quickly as possible and allow you to read while the graphics load. So take your time reading the instruction and the graphics at the bottom should be ready when you get there.)
If you have made it this far in our discussion of Qigong, and youactually wish to try a Qigong exercise, then I have exciting news for you. 90% of those of you who try this exercise will actually feel the qi.
Spring Forest Qigong was developed by Master Chunyi Lin, now residing in Chanhassen, MN. Master Lin's expressed idea in the development of Spring Forest Qigong was to devise a form that was easy to learn, yet powerful enough to be felt immediately. (To contact Chunyi Lin, call the SFQ Healing Center in St. Louis Park, MN 952-593-5555.)
If you are interested in getting a video or audio tape from Master Chuniy Lin, just click on the link/graphic below. Or you might be interested in the Deluxe Course, in which will learn advanced techniques and how to heal other; you'll find a link at the bottom of this article.
I wish I could tell you all that you will feel it the first time, however, you will have to do the exercises again and again. Don't worry, there is nothing wrong with you; it's just that you don't know what it is you are supposed to feel.
There are over 2000 Qigong forms. Spring Forest Qigong is probably the simplest form to learn, and yet it is among the most powerful I've yet to experience. Because of its simplicity and its results, beginning Qigong students get to feel its effects almost immediately.
Qigong and its offspring Tai Chi are considered "meditation in movement." You will try to think of nothing other than your healing. When meditating, one tries to empty one's mind. If something comes into your mind during meditation, acknowledge it, push it aside, and continue to focus on your breathing, on your breath.
Though you can practice Qigong anytime, the best time to do it is between 5 and 7 in the morning, or between 11 at night and 1 in the morning.Posture
Stand with your back to the sun, feet apart the width of your shoulders. The feet should be pointed straight forward and parallel to each other. This will feel as though you are standing pigeon toed. Relax. Your knees should be slightly bent. Your arms relax at your side. The chin is held slightly back and up so that you are looking straight forward. Your tongue is touching the roof of your mouth; its tip is just behind the teeth at the point where you would form the letter "L." You stand straight, but not stiff, as though your body is a dangling chain of pearls.Breathing
Most qigong breathing is different from the breathing related here. Tan Tien (located [approximately] one and a half inches below your navel, and one and a half inches inside for most people) breathing in qigong is focused to your center of gravity (not exactly, but that's about as close as it gets for us Westerners). As you breathe in, you breathe down and tighten the stomach.
My breathing technique is different.
Qigong has many teachings. I've taken issue with some, and some have taken issue with me. However, in qigong (and in practically anything we do, if you think about it) intent is everything. Therefore, the breathing issue becomes a matter of choice. I choose to do "baby breaths" because it is the same breathing technique I use in meditation and in martial arts.
Breathe through your nose taking what is referred to as "baby breaths." If you watch a baby when breathing, its tummy will rise with each breath, not the top of its chest or shoulders. It seems that as we get older, we begin breathing up in our chests and lower diaphragm breathing ceases unless we consciously choose to breath that way. You will breathe in focusing that breath, aiming that breath, at your "lower tan tien." The lower tan tien is your center; your body's main energy center, according to Chinese medicine. It is located (approximately) one and a half inches below your navel, and one and a half inches inside for most people; the number of inches inside dependant on how much cushioning you have acquired. It is there you will focus your breathing.
When you inhale, picture the air coming in through each pore in your body. When you exhale, send that breath to the ends of the universe. It is best to practice this breathing a bit before getting started. If while doing the exercises you find yourself breathing out of the top of your chest, just take time to focus on breathing into your diaphragm. Watch your tummy expand as you breathe in, and watch your tummy contract as you breathe out.Preparation
Breath deeply and silently through your nose. Relax. Now it is time for an affirmation. You may or may not know what an affirmation is, but a French man once initiated a change in millions of people simply by having them state each morning: "Every day in every way, I am getting better and better." That is an affirmation.
The affirmation you will say (either out loud or silently to yourself) is an affirmation of your oneness with the universe.
Where is the center of the universe? According to Albert Einstein, if you were to measure the distances all around you to the edges of the universe, and then hop in a space ship and travel at 300 times the speed of light for one year, get out and measure again, you would find that the measurements are still the same. You are always at the center of the universe.
The affirmation I was taught by my Master, Master Chunyi Lin, is: "I am in the universe. The universe is in me. I and the universe are a single entity." You may say this, or anything that says for you that you and your universe are one, such as: "I and my Creator are one," or "I and my universe are one." The point is, we confirm our oneness and open ourselves to the infinite possibilities of our fabulously perfect universe, created out of unconditional love for all things.
When you are ready, your right hand will move to your upper chest and your left will cover your lower tan tien. Neither touches your body. Your hand movements come from the elbow. You are relaxed. You are about to mix the energy from above with the energy from below.
When two rivers run together, have you ever noticed the little whirlpools created by their junction? That is what we are about to do. We are going to help create the whirlpools from the mixing of these two energies.
Your right hand will move out and down as your left hand moves in and up. You will coordinate this with your breathing. As your breathe out, your right hand moves down. As you breathe in your right hand moves up. There is no pause in the movements. The movements are one continuous flowing action. Let your right had control your breathing. Let your breathing control your right hand. Breathe deeply and slowly.
Picture the energy coming out of your chest, down your front, into your tan tien, out your lower back, up your back, and into your upper back.
If something itches while performing this exercise, do not scratch it. Focus on your healing. While maintaining the proper stance, maintaining tan tien breathing, you may talk to yourself: I am healing. I am perfect. My kidneys are healing. My liver is healing. I am completely healed.
Now, remember that question just a few pages back: How does the energy know to attack only the cancer? Here is the reason: mind intent. It is a difficult concept for us, as Westerners, to grasp, but perhaps if we compare it to prayer, we can learn to understand mind intent.
Perhaps at this site some day I will publish some information on the studies concerning prayer that our scientists have performed. Yes, prayer has made its way into the laboratory. Apart from the feeling that the laboratory doesn't seem like a proper place for prayer, have you ever wondered how a prayer makes its way from the pray-er to the pray-ee? Studies have shown that prayer passes through the thickest objects. Studies have shown that the distance between the pray-er and the pray-ee does not lesson the effect of the prayer. Studies have shown that prayers reach their destination. Why? Perhaps it is because of this thing called mind intent. For now, just be open to it. Acceptance will come with practice of this simple exercise.
How long should you do this exercise? My daily Qigong routine lasts fifteen minutes to half an hour. The minimum time you should spend doing the exercise (below) is five minutes, with fifteen to twenty minutes being a pretty good optimal length. However, to experience the healing reported in the study mentioned on previous pages, keep in mind that the cancer patients in the experiment did Qigong exercises two hours each day. Is two hours of your time worth the results they experienced? That is a question only you can answer.
Ending The Exercise
If you are female, your right hand, as it comes down to the tan tien, will slow and stop, hovering over the lower tan tien. The left had will continue its course and arrive to cover the right hand. Neither hand touches the other, nor do they touch your body.
Men will drop first their left hand, followed by the right hand that will cover and hover over the left hand and the tan tien.
To the Chinese, left is yin (female) and right is yang (male).
Take three deep but silent breaths and focus the energy of your hands into your tan tien. Now comes the exciting part. You are about to feel your qi.
Some of you may have already felt a tingling sensation in your hands while doing the exercise. Some may have felt warmth, or fullness. It really depends on the person. When you do this exercise again, pay attention to those feelings. There are, I'm sure, Western explanations for these feelings, but the Chinese call it simply energy.
So now, let's feel our qi: as you take in a breath extend your hands outward (keeping everything relaxed). Allow your hands and arms to flow like seaweed under water. Now, as you exhale, slowly bring your hands back together (in front of your lower tan tien) and feeeeeeel.
Note: there has been a bit of misunderstanding concerning the ending of this exercise. When you bring your hands together on your exhalation, you will keep your hands facing each other. Do not bring them closer than 6 to 8 inches apart. The idea here is to reach out and gather the qi into the space between your hands. Touching your hands together or even pointing your fingers at each other will act like letting the air out of a balloon and you'll feel nothing. Do this three times, each time reaching out to gather more qi. You will feel it, eventually.
If you feel nothing, do it again: breathe in as you expand your arms, and bring your hands together as you slowly breathe out. Try to feel. Make sure that your hands are facing each other as you bring them together and that they are relaxed.
Some say they feel warmth, others an electrical charge, however, most will feel, as one student put it referring to the tension she felt as "an invisible spring" between her hands.
If you feel it, then play with it. Continue your breathing and playing with the energy. I've witnessed so many astonished smiles on students faces, that I would love to see everyone's first experience feeling qi.
Again, if you feel nothing, it is probably because you don't know what your are supposed to feel, or you might have your hands a bit too high. Keep them level with your lower tan tien. Also, for you who do feel the energy, perhaps you would like to experiment with "mind intent." Do this: raise your hands as you bring them toward each other, to about chest level. You should notice that whatever you felt with them lower, in front of your lower tan tien, is lessened, or even non existent. Now, tell the universe to send energy there, and continue to spread your arms on with an in breath, and then together to feel the qi on your out breath. Keep focusing the universal life force into this area, and surely enough, you will soon begin to feel it. When you've accomplished this, you will Know (with a capital K) that you can send loving energy to any part of your body when doing your daily Qigong exercises.
Now before you run and get dressed for work, we must complete the session with a self massage.
Here I shall teach you the minimal massage. You will use this after your Qigong exercises, after your meditations, and after any healing session with a Qigong practitioner.
First rub your hands together (to build a little friction and warmth) and wash your face (three times minimum).
Then rub (wash) your hands and pat the top and sides of your head from front to back (three times minimum).
Finally wash your hands and work on your ears. Squeeze and press every inch of them. If you find a tender spot on an ear (that is not a pimple or injury to the ear), squeeze it three times hard, then three times soft (yin/yang) over and over until you think you've done it enough. End your ear massage with three tugs. Grasp the entire ear and pull your hands down, sliding over the skin, all the way to your earlobe.
Now, give thanks and go get dressed.
We have finished the pages of the complete self massage with which to end your sessions. See the links below for pages one and two of the Self Massage. We are presently working on Qigong meditations. Yes, you must meditate, for it has been said, if you do not go within, you go without.
Qigong, An Introduction to Chinese Medicine
Self Massage Page 1
Self Massage Page 2
International Wellness Directory Home Page
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