Shu Points

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Find the Qi and lose the physical

Find the Qi and lose the physical

I have just read a short article about Qigong for beginners that is supposed to help them find the Qi. It gives the almost the same instructions that I received when studying Shiatsu. Both are wrong. Let me explain………

Both started with being in a comfortable stance……….. Fine so far but Wuji is far more than “a comfortable stance” with the knees slightly bent.

The second instruction was to rub the hands together, vigorously, for about two minutes. This “lets you feel the Qi”. Nope, this lets you experience the tingling from that physical stimulation. It is a physical effect created by a physical cause. It is nerve stimulation, not Qi.

Hold the hands together, in front of the chest, in the prayer posture for a few minutes. Then turn the palms to face the chest and feel the Qi. Nope, the stimulation of the nerves from that vigorous rubbing of the palms has reduced but it is still there and it is that what you will feel.

Hold the hands about 150mm apart and start moving them, slowly, towards and then away from each other. This lets you feel the waxing and waning of the Qi. Ah, once again, that physical stimulation is still there and it is it that you are experiencing.

Repeat this X amount of times. Sometimes it is over a hundred repetitions.

Using this method, the sensations felt can mimic those that are experienced when listening(using passive awareness) to the Qi. To really experience the Qi in all of its manifestations you need to work Internally and true Qigong does this by using various tools. Among these are the posture, the movement, the breath, the eyes, and the Yi (the brain). The Yi is the most important tool and, through practice, the rest are needed less and less.

Find the key to a new direction

Let’s have a look at what methods and tools we can use to find the Qi and truly experience it rather than physical sensations.

Find the Qi to true Qigong
#trueqigong
  • Practice Wuji, refine it, find the stillness that it can bring. Stillness of the body and of the Yi and Shen.
  • Practice any one of the Qigong exercises that you know. Practice them as #trueqigong and not merely as physical movements. Use the movements, the eyes and the breath to assist the Yi in guiding the Qi in the meridians (if you are doing a meridian based Qigong) that the exercise is used for.
  • Don’t count the number of repetitions. Focus on the Qigong. You cannot truly focus on the Qigong if you are keeping count.
  • When you feel that you have done enough, or when you start to lose focus, stop the exercise and stay in Wuji.
  • Turn your palms up, keeping the arms relaxed. Listen to the Qi in your hands, just your hands to begin with. What are you sensing? Is it the same in both hands? Is it equally intense across the hands? Where is it most intense? Describe to yourself what you are experiencing in each finger.
  • Turn the palms towards each other and note what changes, if any you are experiencing.
  • Keep on hand still and, gently, move the other towards and away from it by about 30mm. What are you experiencing on the still hand?
  • Change from a to and fro movement to a rolling movement by drawing circles with the hand (palms still facing each other). Change the direction. What are you sensing?

I have met many people who had been practicing “qigong” for years (over a decade in some cases) who had never actually experienced Qi. They had been working physically with no Internal activity at all. Experiencing Qi for the first time was a revelation that took them in a completely different direction, it took them on their own Qigong journey, their own adventure.

Qi manifests in a multitude of ways. Our Shen understands it but our Yi, being tied to the physical world, does not. Our Shen “speaks a different language” to the Yi and the Yi tries its best to translate non-physical experiences into the language of or physical life. I used to get frustrated at not being able to accurately describe my experiences with too many descriptions starting with “It feels a bit like……….” or “It is a mix of……………” When you truly experience Qi you will understand my frustration in not having the language. However, I learned to accept this and also to stop trying to make sense of everything that Qigong gifted me with. That is just the Yi trying to stay in control……………

Qigong Q&A

I am collating all the Qigong Q&A from our online classes and putting them on this post. As most have come in via email it may well take a bit of time to bring them all together. They will be listed in order of newest to oldest.

Q. Shen Qigong
Can I ask you a question about this lesson?
At about 29 minutes, you describe the exercise where you raise one hand and then the other.
You talk about raising the Qi as the hand raises. What path does the Qi take? Does it go up and down the inside of the body or up the back and down the front?
I’ve been practicing yoga for many years now and so have done a lot of alternate-nostril breathing, trying to feel the energy going down the left of the spine on inhalation and up the right channel on exhalation, and vice versa. I wondered if this exercise is similar.
Many thanks. M.S.

A. In this Qigong you are effectively splitting the aura into two planes (left and right). This has a number of effects but the one that we are working on at the moment is increasing the awareness of the Qi (aura) to discern the difference between both.
Another experience that can be felt with this is the double spiral of Qi that flows up Chong Mai can be “felt” as two separate spirals. Awareness alternating between the two.
Yes, the Yoga work that you have been doing will produce a lot of the same experiences as this Qigong.

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Q. Would you say the 3 Dan Tien’s are most like the San Jiao
In Acupuncture the extra Fire element meridian pair is Pericardium and San Jiao or Triple burner or heater. It seems like the descriptions of the 3 Dan Tiens are similar to this organ system in TCM. Any knowledge or comments you can add? Thanks. N.W.

A. No, they are completely different.
The San Jiao (the Three Burning Spaces) relate to three functions/areas of the body. These are respiration/thorax, digestion/stomach, and urogenital/torso below the abdomen.
The three Dantiens are: The Upper, the Third Eye. The Middle, the Heart Chakra (The Crimson Palace). The Lower, “The Golden Cauldron” is located behind Ren Mai 6 and above Ren Mai 1.

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Q: Do the meridians rest when we do?
Here’s a question for you. We are working on clearing blockages and getting energy circulation going. It’s a sort of Shroedinger’s Cat/how long is a piece of string sort of question, but what’s happening when we’re not paying attention to our energy/meridian system? Does it all just quieten down to a sort of maintenance level? Is there always some movement, or does it sometimes become entirely still? What happens when we sleep? L.

A: This is where Qigong is so important. Weak flow, sluggishness and blockages can occur and these are the energetic root causes of illness and ailments. Without the intervention of Qigong, Shiatsu, Acupuncture, etc. these often become chronic. Through Qigong we actively practice this intervention and, with the experience that comes through practice, we are aware of these (weak flow, sluggishness and blockages) before they have time to grow. Those tiny niggles that we notice once our Qi is flowing smoothly.

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Qs from K: Scooping from the Sea to View the Sky
Hi Des,
I wondered if the energy of Kidney and bladder could be moved the same way as in the commencement? I find the qi movements harder to describe when it’s points by the spine, as I’m not sure if we’re taking it along the meridian?

Sorry for the deluge (ha ha) – I wondered if bladder meridian can be travelled down with the awareness as you go down for Scooping from the sea? It seems mainly on kidney at the KD1, or drawing up to the collar bones, but I’m not sure what happens on the exhale?

A:
Q1: Remember that the most important tool when doing Qigong is the Yi. It is the focus of the Yi that determines how you are moving, working with, the Qi in any pair of meridians. These questions go well beyond what you need to know for this course but I am really glad that you asked them.

In Rowing a Boat you can work in a number of ways.

  • You can focus on any of the Shu Points that are on the Bladder Meridian, just lateral to the spine.
  • You can focus on opening the Spinal Kua, or the Cervical Kua.
  • You can guide (open your awareness of) the Qi up along Bladder Meridian on the inhalation, then down Kidney Meridian on the exhalation.
  • You can guide Kidney Qi, from KD1, to Ming Men on the inhalation and then back down on the exhalation.

This is the beauty of understanding what Qigong actually is rather than being boxed in to any rigid “There is only one way”.

Q2: With Scooping from the Sea you also have flexibility.

  • Drawing up, from KD1, to KD27 and guiding it from BL1 to BL67 on the exhalation.
  • Drawing up, from KD1 in the front foot, to Ming Men on the inhalation. Guiding it down, from Ming Men, to KD1 in the rear foot on exhalation. Even within this you have options……… Think about the heel/toe action in Playing with Waves where KD1 can “disconnect”. The same can be done here, or you can keep KD1 of both feet constantly connected but listen to the change in substantiality.

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Q from L: Hi Des,
For a change you didn’t ask if we had questions during the session and I didn’t want to interrupt the flow…

In Connecting Heaven and Earth, your original instruction on ‘wash the face’ was to cup the palms. When we do it as an 8 Extraordinary Meridians, you’re asking us to focus on HG8 when the hands get up to the Third Eye so we can work on the Shen. So, do we open the palms out, and if so, when?

A: Questions are always welcomed.
You start to focus on/open HG8 as the hands rise, opening the fingers if you need to, so that the point is fully active as it reaches the Third Eye (as the hands separate and swing out you should listen to the effect at the Third Eye). Keep HG8 open on the up-swing of “the Eagle Spreads its Wings”  before turning the palms down and focusing on Ht1.

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Q from H-A: After we finished I felt my feet really “stamped into the ground”, that was quite a remarkable change as I did not feel a lot of “grounding” before. The difference in the effects of the exercises were quite noticeable, fascinating.

Q1: The question I have is again regarding to the speed: When I listen closely and close my eyes I almost stop moving outside so I wonder whether you recommend practicing with open eyes in that case…? It is not that I am falling asleep but because theres is so much going on “inside” which I get aware of. 

Q 2: You mentioned the Inner Work with very slow movements in one of your Emails which I  was not familiar with until you mentioned it. I might have a notion what you mean but I cannot transfer it somehow. I struggle to set up a Qigong practice here at my place which gives a proper framework to my everyday-life. It feels a bit like “getting lost in time and space” when I practice these slow movements and time passes so quickly outside then. Of course it has a wonderful quality but also my mind interferes with this giving me the hint this as I have to consider “worldly time” to get things done of course so it makes me anxious to continue in that “no-speed”. The asking of the Shen to “slow down” has not enough power when I ask it seems and I have a bit of a “mind battle” then which I am annoyed about. I know it does not help as it is a waste of energy so I try to find a balanced solution. 

A1: The eyes are only one of the tools used in Qigong and they help you to focus and guide the Qi through the observation of the movement and looking at the areas where you are not experiencing the Qi flow. Once you are able to listen to the Qi and have that immediate, tangible, feedback the eyes can be closed. There are a few examples of Wood exercises where the eyes are always kept open.
The breath is also just one of the tools used and when practicing in a Neigong manner you no longer use it to assist in the guidance of the Qi. Instead, you are listening to the Internal movements and the external movements can slow down (even stop) as you do this.

A2: Yes, you can get “lost” in these exercises and find that the planned 15 minutes has turned into an hour. If you try to practice and are also clock-watching, or clock-aware, you are not truly doing Qigong. If you are time limited, set and alarm (low volume) for the amount of time available less 5 minutes. Then you can get some quality Qigong done and still be back to “worldly time” to tackle the day to day needful.
Initially, there is always going to be a battle between the Yi and the Shen. The Yi has been dominant all through your life and now you are asking it to cede control whenever asked. The “mind battle” you are having is between your Yi and your Willpower and is, effectively, the Yi debating with itself about letting go.

Your “battle” reminds me of a friend who had a recurring dream. He knew that it was important but was well and truly stuck. In the dream he was in a field and needed to get into the next one. There was a high, stone, wall that he could not climb and a gate. No matter how much he pushed, the gate refused to open………………….. I advised that he step back and pull gently as the gate opened towards him. He then managed to progress.

If you try too hard, push too hard, the Yi will become even more stubborn. Be gentle and persuade it, it needs to feel safe.

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Q from J.B: Regarding the Eight Exceptional Vessels Qigong:
what was that last exercise called ? And there is no water in change the sinews ?

A: The last one we did was called Change the Sinews. The same name is used for both the Eight Exceptional Vessels version and the Five Elements version.
Water is the first part of the Five Elements version and, primarily, focuses on the flow of Qi from KD1 (The Bubbling Spring) to Ming Men.
The Eight Exceptional Vessels are made up of four pairs of Vessels. They are linked as pairs vis the Master Points and the Coupled Points and are not governed by the Five Elements in the way that the meridians are.

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Q from J: Can I ask a question about where you look in the practice. Apart from the wood daoist yin form where you are looking straight ahead with eyes open, how should the eyes be? I think your eyes are shut often, which makes sense, turning inwards to observe the Ki.

Interested to know thoughts.

A: The eyes are used that beginners can use as a tool to help guide the Qi exercises. In others a “soft” gaze is used to help Internalize the experiences as it helps to lower the brain pattern to Alpha wave. However, once the practitioner has the ability to listen to the Qi there is far more feedback and the eyes are no longer needed as a tool (Indeed, they can be a hindrance).
At this level, shutting the eyes reduces distractions further and allows access to subtler variations in the Qi. That Internalization means an expansion of awareness that travels outward as well as inward.
I hope this helps.

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Q: I was asked about a Facebook post that explained the placement of the tip of the tongue, during Qigong, as solely being used to connect Du Mai (the Governing Vessel) to Ren Mai (the Conception Vessel). Was this its only purpose? Another of those short, seemingly simple, questions that requires an in depth answer. Here goes, we will start with the Qi aspect.

Du Mai and Ren Mai are Qi pathways and are not governed by the physical body. They are there and they are connected whether the tongue touches the palate, or not. The position of the tongue does not connect them but it does increase your awareness of that connection.

In most of the Qigong that I teach we use the “natural” flow of Qi in these Exceptional Vessels. The Flow is up Du Mai and down Ren Mai. By practicing with the tongue in this position we are actively acknowledging this flow. But it is not the only flow so we use other tongue positions too.

The three positions are: –
Fire – the Natural cycle – tongue touching the palate behind the front teeth.
Wind – the Reverse cycle – tongue touching the palate and the rear of the front teeth.
Water – the Inner cycle working with Chong Mai) – tongue touching slightly further back from the Fire position. You will often see this described as the tongue touching the border between the hard and the soft palate but this can be uncomfortable for may and it causes distraction rather than assisting you with your Qigong.

As already stated, these Vessels are not physical and they are not bounded by your physical body. The positions we use act as switches so that, with lots of practice, you can switch from one cycle to another by simply moving the tongue. The physical contact is just that……….. So, merely moving the tongue position does nothing to influence the Qi flow. You must use the Yi to change the cycle and this takes a lot of focus, time and diligent practice.

For most Qigong we are using the Fire position as we are utilising the Natural cycle. To begin with it takes much more focus (and the ability to listen) to get this flow but, by using the tongue position as a  “switch” for this cycle we need less focus on it and we can use that focus elsewhere.

Likewise, when we train our Qi for the reverse cycle, we need to put in the time and the effort first to get that cycle going while, simultaneously, programming the new “switch”. It’s the same for the Inner cycle. It is like using a mudra. Simply forming a hand posture does absolutely nothing. You reach the state of mind and THEN connect the mudra to it.

Now I will cover the physical benefits. With the tongue resting (relaxed) in this position the chances of over, or under, salivating are reduced and this reduces distractions. The less distractions, physical or otherwise, the easier it is to guide the Qi and we can listen more so that the subtler, quieter, manifestations of Qi become tangible.

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Q from D: Hello Des, I have a basic question about my knees and sinking Qi. I can feel fizzing and heat in K1 both in wuji and when I am listening in sitting meditation but I can’t feel anything beneath my feet. I have become aware of a lot of tension being held in my knees- generally. I also notice I lift my toes a little off the floor a lot!

I find I lose balance sometimes in scooping from the sea in particular. Anything I can do about this?!

A: Sink the Qi and root the Po (the physical body) in that order and keep the Kua (hip kua) open. If you do this properly then there will be no instability.

Lifting your toes is usually a sign that you have your weight too far back and not through the Bubbling Spring. Even a few millimetres makes a huge difference.

You didn’t mention exactly where the knee tension is but having the weight to the rear of the Bubbling Spring will cause tension in the muscles along the shin bone (Peroneus brevis & longus, etc.) and this will lift the toes as well as causing discomfort where these muscles attach to the bones immediately below the knees.

I recommend that you spend more time refining your Wuji stance and your ability to keep the Kua open. If you bring this question up at the next class we can go over it.

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Q: I was asked about a Facebook post that explained the placement of the tip of the tongue, during Qigong, as solely being used to connect Du Mai (the Governing Vessel) to Ren Mai (the Conception Vessel). Was this its only purpose? Another of those short, seemingly simple, questions that requires an in depth answer. Here goes, we will start with the Qi aspect.

Du Mai and Ren Mai are Qi pathways and are not governed by the physical body. They are there and they are connected whether the tongue touches the palate, or not. The position of the tongue does not connect them but it does increase your awareness of that connection.

In most of the Qigong that I teach we use the “natural” flow of Qi in these Exceptional Vessels. The Flow is up Du Mai and down Ren Mai. By practicing with the tongue in this position we are actively acknowledging this flow. But it is not the only flow so we use other tongue positions too.

The three positions are: –
Fire – the Natural cycle – tongue touching the palate behind the front teeth.
Wind – the Reverse cycle – tongue touching the palate and the rear of the front teeth.
Water – the Inner cycle working with Chong Mai) – tongue touching slightly further back from the Fire position. You will often see this described as the tongue touching the border between the hard and the soft palate but this can be uncomfortable for may and it causes distraction rather than assisting you with your Qigong.

As already stated, these Vessels are not physical and they are not bounded by your physical body. The positions we use act as switches so that, with lots of practice, you can switch from one cycle to another by simply moving the tongue. The physical contact is just that……….. So, merely moving the tongue position does nothing to influence the Qi flow. You must use the Yi to change the cycle and this takes a lot of focus, time and diligent practice.

For most Qigong we are using the Fire position as we are utilising the Natural cycle. To begin with it takes much more focus (and the ability to listen) to get this flow but, by using the tongue position as a  “switch” for this cycle we need less focus on it and we can use that focus elsewhere.

Likewise, when we train our Qi for the reverse cycle, we need to put in the time and the effort first to get that cycle going while, simultaneously, programming the new “switch”. It’s the same for the Inner cycle. It is like using a mudra. Simply forming a hand posture does absolutely nothing. You reach the state of mind and THEN connect the mudra to it.

Now I will cover the physical benefits. With the tongue resting (relaxed) in this position the chances of over, or under, salivating are reduced and this reduces distractions. The less distractions, physical or otherwise, the easier it is to guide the Qi and we can listen more so that the subtler, quieter, manifestations of Qi become tangible.

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Q from H-A: I notice that I tend to hold my breath when I try listening to the Qi, that causes a tensing up especially in the upper areas so I am trying to balance it out with the different sensations I get presented and the movement slows down a lot meanwhile. Sometimes my mind starts to comment on that and I get confused what to do “first” or “more important”. It feels a bit like getting into a ping-pong-game of happenings throughout the body and mind, a roller coaster I do notice then through all these Meridian areas which do interact. So my movements feel somehow getting stuck together with my breathing. Additionally the trained ballet moves come in as well which keeps me “busy” to let go. I memorize the moves but get confused by all the sensations when the awareness gets involved… Do you have an idea how to tackle this?

A: Yes, the mind starts to chatter when you try to slow your respiration down too much. Your whole body is kicking up a fuss because it is being starved of oxygen! We use the breath to help guide the Qi AND THE MOVEMENT when practicing Qigong. We don’t us it when practicing Neigong. What is the difference? I’ll try to explain.

In Qigong we are using External movements to create Internal movements. As we relax, our respiration rate lowers, our brain-wave pattern moves towards Alpha, we relax more and the cycle continues. When in Alpha we can access the Qi, listen to it and have more control over it.

In Neigong we have already achieved Alpha and our respiration is already lowered BUT IT IS NO LONGER USED AS A TOOL TO GUIDE THE QI. The movements you are working with are Internal and the tiniest of external movement can create huge Internal ones. You are using the Yi more to listen rather than to guide when practicing in this way.

So, if your respiration rate was 15 per minute, a (one respiration) movement done in a Qigong manner will take 4 seconds to complete. Done in a Neigong manner it can take up to 15 minutes or more, depending on the extent of the movement/changes you are listening to, but the relaxed breathing remains the same.

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Q from H-A: I notice that I tend to hold my breath when I try listening to the Qi, that causes a tensing up especially in the upper areas so I am trying to balance it out with the different sensations I get presented and the movement slows down a lot meanwhile. Sometimes my mind starts to comment on that and I get confused what to do “first” or “more important”. It feels a bit like getting into a ping-pong-game of happenings throughout the body and mind, a roller coaster I do notice then through all these Meridian areas which do interact. So my movements feel somehow getting stuck together with my breathing. Additionally the trained ballet moves come in as well which keeps me “busy” to let go. I memorize the moves but get confused by all the sensations when the awareness gets involved… Do you have an idea how to tackle this?

A: Yes, the mind starts to chatter when you try to slow your respiration down too much. Your whole body is kicking up a fuss because it is being starved of oxygen! We use the breath to help guide the Qi AND THE MOVEMENT when practicing Qigong. We don’t us it when practicing Neigong. What is the difference? I’ll try to explain.

In Qigong we are using External movements to create Internal movements. As we relax, our respiration rate lowers, our brain-wave pattern moves towards Alpha, we relax more and the cycle continues. When in Alpha we can access the Qi, listen to it and have more control over it.

In Neigong we have already achieved Alpha and our respiration is already lowered BUT IT IS NO LONGER USED AS A TOOL TO GUIDE THE QI. The movements you are working with are Internal and the tiniest of external movement can create huge Internal ones. You are using the Yi more to listen rather than to guide when practicing in this way.

So, if your respiration rate was 15 per minute, a (one respiration) movement done in a Qigong manner will take 4 seconds to complete. Done in a Neigong manner it can take up to 15 minutes or more, depending on the extent of the movement/changes you are listening to, but the relaxed breathing remains the same.

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Q from H-A: In the practice yesterday I noticed my legs “wobbly getting moving about strongly” and my knees bended after a while due to that sensation I was drawn to focus more and more. I automatically slowed down the movement and was therefore out of the breathing pattern most of the time. Not sure whether that is meant to be. Just witnessing and stop as you mentioned until the sensation changes again in the position the body has then? Or would you rather recommend correcting into the regular wuji stand while doing the movement then to interfere?

A: The wobbling and movement in the legs can be a sign that you are getting closer to Wuji. It is usually caused by the muscles “letting go” and you will find that this process is seldom even in both legs. As long as the legs are bending through this process of relaxation (and you are keeping the head raised from the crown) your posture will be upright. If you feel that you are leaning forward (sticking your rear end out), lift the posture and start the process again.
Remember that the use of the breath in guiding the Qi is only one of the tools used in Qigong. It is not the most important one either. In class situations, where everyone’s respiration pattern is different, you can either compromise and go with the group speed by dropping using the breath, or go at the speed of your own respiration. Also, it is often advantageous to occasionally let the speed of physical movement slow down (ignoring whether you are inhaling or exhaling on any particular movement) so that you have more time to listen to the Qi. This can highlight any blockages, weaknesses, or areas where you have less awareness of very quickly.

Personal Qigong tuition – The Eight Exceptional Vessels

These Eight Exceptional Vessels (aka the Extraordinary Meridians) Qigong/Neigong exercises work with the Qi that is stored in the Extraordinary Meridians.  The Extraordinary Meridians can be likened to reservoirs while the Meridians can be likened to rivers.

As well as using the Yi, eyes and breath to guide the Qi, these exercises also make use of the Master Points and the Coupled Points to activate the Qi in the vessels.

The Eight Exceptional Vessels – exercise 1

extraordinary meridians qigong 04
#SBqigong #qigongscotland #trueqigong #daoyin

Sequence:

  1. Du Mai – Governing Vessel
  2. Ren Mai – Conception Vessel
  3. Yin Qiao Mai – Bridge Yin Vessel
  4. Yang Qiao Mai – Bridge Yang Vessel
  5. Chong Mai – Thrusting Vessel
  6. Dai Mai – Belt Vessel
  7. Yang Wei Mai – Yang Linking Vessel
  8. Yin Wei Mai – Yin Linking Vessel

The Eight Exceptional Vessels – exercise 2

extraordinary meridians qigong 05

Sequence:

  1. Du Mai – Governing Vessel
  2. Ren Mai – Conception Vessel
  3. Yin Qiao Mai – Bridge Yin Vessel
  4. Yang Qiao Mai – Bridge Yang Vessel
  5. Chong Mai – Thrusting Vessel
  6. Dai Mai – Belt Vessel
  7. Yang Wei Mai – Yang Linking Vessel
  8. Yin Wei Mai – Yin Linking Vessel

Change the Sinews

extraordinary meridians qigong 01

Sequence:

  1. Chong Mai & Yin Wei Mai
  2. Yin Qiao Mai & Ren Mai
  3. Dai Mai & Yang Wei Mai
  4. Yang Qiao Mai & Du Mai

Workshop details:

  • Location – Pro Holistic, East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire  – location map
  • Dates – Spring 2021 (dates to be confirmed)
  • Time – 10:00 – 16:00
  • Cost – £70.00
  • Details – Focusing on correct posture, and experiencing the different qualities of Qi flow in the Exceptional Vessels.
  • Instructor – Des Lawton
  • Guidelines – Can be viewed here
  • Further information – ‘Phone Des on 01355266011 or use the form on the Contact Us

The Eight Exceptional Vessels – booking

Tuition can take place here,  at Pro Holistic, or via Zoom.

Pro-Holistic private tuition is tailored to your requirements and costs £100.00 per session, or £800.00 for a block of ten sessions.
For further information, or to book, please use our Contact us page or ‘phone us on +44 1355 266011

Opening the Mind, Connecting with Universal Energy

There are a number of different ways for opening the mind, some using safe and natural methods like Qigong, some involving drugs, and it sometimes opens due to trauma.

I received a message from one of my students (Ivan)…….. “Hi Des, have you seen this? This is how you sometimes sound to me 🙂 quite interesting.” My interest was piqued.

Very often I find myself using different words, different descriptions and analogies in order to teach the same thing to different people. The words used are not that important. The analogies can be serious, or light hearted. The crucial thing is that the message is understood.

opening the mind using Shen Qigong
#trueqigong #shen_qigong opening the mind

When teaching Qigong there are words used that are not in common parlance. Words like Qi, Shen, Yi, etc. So I always explain what each is and where it is placed within the skill of Qigong. In this short article and video we can see all three through the eyes of a scientist……….. The eyes and experience of Jill Bolte Tailor, an American Neuroanatomist (Alma mater: Terre Haute South Vigo High School, B.A. Indiana University, Ph.D. Indiana State University, Postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School (Depts of Psychiatry and Neuroscience).

Dr Tailor had a stroke that opened up a new world to her. It is the world of Shen, of Qi and of awareness that goes beyond the physical. In the video (below) she talks about energy (Qi), she talks about the experiencing the universe, for the first time, solely through the right side of her brain (Shen) and how the left side (Yi) kept tugging her back to “reality”. She is using anatomical names and I use Qigong names for the facets of our being that access the same phenomenon. The expansiveness of the Shen (right side) and the linear, reasoning, thoughts of the Yi (left side).

As Ivan had pointed out, she was describing everything that I had described but we had reached this ability through completely different routes.

What Dr. Tailor found through the trauma of a stroke you can find through Qigong. I have never heard a scientist, an intellectual, discuss never mind describe, this state of mind. What really pleases me is that she has held onto the ability to step into that state when she wants to. I had no idea that a stroke could open this gateway……….. and keep it available. I sometimes think that what I am saying may seem far-fetched to many but, occasionally, people have their own experiences and share them with me but then find it extremely difficult to revisit them. Proper training, using the right tools, makes it easier to revisit and explore further.

Enough said. Watch the video, watch all the video and you will get an idea of where the Shen Qigong path leads.

Des Lawton

Questions about the Taiji Shibashi

Over the decades I have had the opportunity to answer many questions about the Qigong that I teach, including questions about the Taiji Shibashi Qigong that have been asked by my students. I’m sure that there are plenty of other questions out there and that some practitioners may already be asking some of the same questions so I thought that it would be a good idea to add them to the Pro Holistic blog. If you have a question, or can add to an answer, please use the comments box.

Questions about the Taiji Shibashi
#trueqigong

Questions about the Taiji Shibashi Qigong

Question from Steven

Pushing to the Diagonals
Hello Des.
I hope you are well.
In the Shibashi set, is there any scope for ‘bouncing’, as you’ve taught us in your excellent 5 elements course?
I have seen a few Asian practitioners bouncing rather nicely in both Wuji and Horse Riding stances, and I’m wondering if it’s a cultural difference or, I guess more importantly, if I do it myself, will it disrupt my listening. I rather enjoy it.
Thank you.

Answer from Des
There are many Qigong that use the “bouncing” as a physical means of opening the hip Kua but that “bouncing” needs to be through the relaxed opening and not physically pushing.
Like you, I have seen this practice being used within the Shibashi but it is not the way that I was taught. The emphasis (Kua) is of folding, during the sinking, and opening to start the movement to the other side. By practicing this way there is a deeper appreciation/understanding of the link between the Kua and the Qi sinking through KD1.

I hope that this helps

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Question from Vivi

I saw the video of LIn Hou Sheng doing the shibashi, and on the painting the rainbow, he said that bend left is inhalation, bend right exhalation. Your is different, and I assume that as the creator of shibashi, Lin Hou sheng cannot go wrong. what is your comment?

Answer from Des
Please watch the entire lesson and you will see that your question has already been answered. Also, these Qigong were all adapted from, or taken almost directly from Taiji. They were around for hundreds of years before Lin Hou Sheng brought them together as a set.

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Question from Robert

Painting Rainbows
hi des another question from thailand  isee that in painting rainbows and pushing to the diagonalrs you do 3 too each side then in the second series you do 6 to each side is there a reason for this please,

rob

Answer from Des

Hello Robert,

The simple answer is fatigue. As this is a beginners’ course I knew that newcomers to Qigong may not have the physical stamina to hold their hands in the air (Painting Rainbows) for four, or eight, repetitions to each side. Likewise with Pushing to the Diagonals as beginners tend to find holding that stance is physically stressful. By, initially, reducing the number of repetitions it promotes “listening” at an early stage. If your muscles are screaming you will never hear the whisper of Qi. By the time we get to the lecture “Twisting the Waist….” I expect that the stamina levels have increased enough to hold the posture for six reps.

The Follow Me lectures are there for students who no longer need to listen to my verbal instructions and, again, I expect that their stamina will have increased enough for six reps.

Regarding the number of repetitions (I’m sure that I cover this in the Summary)………… During your personal practice, if you are counting the number of repetitions you are not fully focused on the Qigong. You are more focused on counting. In my live classes I usually (depending on the length of the class) do six, or eight reps and I’m keeping count and pace so that the students can focus on the Qi.

Kind regards,
Des

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Question from Steven

Waving Hands Like Clouds
Hello from Thailand Des.

Throughout Waving Hands Like Clouds, I feel a slight weight transfer across the ‘bubbling springs’ (with no lifting of heel or toe at all). Is this okay, or should both sides remain rooted throughout?

Thank you.🙏🏽

Answer from Des
Hello Steven,

It is a common misconception that rooting the weight through KD1 and sinking the Qi through KD 1 are the same thing. By moving the body/weight from side to side there will be a resultant change in physical pressure at KD1.

If you are “sinking” from side to side these subtle changes in pressure are more noticeable and so is the Qi connection. If you push from side to side you will find that the weight is directed away from KD1 and the Qi connection is interrupted.

Rooting = physical
Sinking = Internal

It appears that you are getting things correct and that your body/mind has quietened enough for you to pick up the start of these subtleties.

Des 

Reply from Steven
Thanks for your timely response. It’s encouraging to hear that I might be heading in the right direction. I do seem to be settling into ‘listening mode’ (a wonderfully homeostatic state) quite quickly too lately. Long may it continue! Again, thanks!🙏🏽

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Question from Robert

Punching With Outstretched Arms
Hi Des, about punching with fist, why is it on the inbreath please as most other hands moving forward is done on the outbreath?

Answer from Des
When learning Qigong we use the breath to help us guide the Qi (at an advanced level this is no longer necessary). Some Qigong exercises have very similar, or exactly the same, physical movement but are completely different Internally.
“Punching With Outstretched Arms” (from the Shibashi) and the forward punch in “Holding the Fists Tightly and Staring with Glaring Eyes” (from the Ten Fundamental Treasures) is almost identical physically but the breathing is different. The former uses inhalation while punching, the latter uses exhalation. This helps create a different movement/focus in the Qi.
With “Punching With Outstretched Arms” there are a lot of different facets but I will focus on the one aspect here that answers your question. We start by positioning the hands at the Mu points. As we punch we use the inhalation to draw Qi to the Mu points. The exhalation and replacing the hand at the Mu point consolidates that.
There are many other Qigong where variation to breathing pattern exist. I have witnessed a few debates (sometimes heated) where one practitioner tells another that they are “doing the Qigong incorrectly” because their breathing is back to front. None of these debates would occur if one simple question was asked……….. “What Qigong are you doing?”

I hope this is of help.

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Question from Steven

Doe-Eyed Cows
Hi Des,
Thank you for this course. I can’t think of a nicer project to lead us into 2021. I really love the ancient alternative name that you point out for ‘Turning to Gaze at the Moon’. I was wondering if you can recall any other historical names for any of the movements? I can’t seem to get enough of these names and, rightly or wrongly, they often bring about visualisations when I practice.  The more metaphorical names I discover, the more I can enjoy this aspect of practice, often inviting and enhancing a very nice state of homeostasis.
Once again, thank you for sharing so much knowledge with this wonderful set. S.H.

Answer from Des
There are numerous variations in the names given to some of the exercises that I teach. It is not always easy to know which of the names, given to a particular exercise, is the older/oldest but the original names almost always give guidance on how the exercise should look. That is to say how the physical movements look.

Here are a couple of examples: –
From the Embroidered Brocade we have the exercise called “The Billowing Sail” that is also known as “Catching a Ball” and both describe the physical part well.

I believe that “The Billowing Sail is probably the newer name as, when you look at the size of China, not everyone will have seen a ship in sail. However, using the name “Catching a Ball” can be problematic because people make the mistake of linking the name with the Internal movement and imagine/create a ball of Qi. This detracts from the exercises as it fails to produce the intended Internal action.

From the Shibashi we have “Holding a Ball in Front of the Shoulders” that has been renamed (in some schools) “Offering up a Peach”. The original name sets out the instructions of the arm position with the emphasis on holding a ball. This also helps with the shape of the palm, etc.

“Offering up a Peach” goes some way towards this but, in practice, what I have observed is that there is also a stretching out of the arm to make this “offer”.

It is not always easy to get an accurate translation of the early texts on these exercises (where the texts exist) and a large amount of what is being churned out in Qigong books is a regurgitation of previous, poorly translated, information.

Reply from Steven
Thanks very much Des. This course is adding a phenomenal amount of depth, understanding & enjoyment to my existing practice.

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Question from Steven

Stances
Am I losing any benefits by remaining in Wuji, or even sitting?
Here & elsewhere in the set, is it an acceptable modification to remain in Wuji Des?
Does horse-riding stance provide additional benefits?

Answer from Des
Using Horse Riding stance can help with the opening of the Kua and will also help you to gain a better understanding of rooting and sinking. That said, you can do these exercises in Wuji………… and they can also be practiced in a seated position.
The instruction for Horse Riding stance is clear in that it is not about bending your legs to get as low as you can. It is about relaxing into the stance and that means that it will be higher when that relaxation is not as pronounced.

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

The Giving Tree Meets the Demanding We

The Giving Tree is a childrens’ book written by Shel Silverstein and first published in 1964. It received a mixed reception with religious organizations lauding it as “it was hailed as a parable on the joys of giving.” while others described it as “one of the most divisive books in children’s literature” (Elizabeth Bird).

It is the story of a young boy and a tree in its prime. The “boy” grows old and the tree is slowly reduced to a stump long before its time. The interaction is always the same….. The boy arrives and enjoys the tree. This “enjoyment” is often damaging to the tree but the tree appears to be accepting of this. The tree is “happy” with the boy’s company.

Read, digest and read this small section again before you move on.

“…And after a long time the boy came back again.
“I am sorry, Boy,” said the tree, “but I have nothing left to give you-
My apples are gone.”
“My teeth are too weak for apples,” said the boy.
“My branches are gone,” said the tree.
“You cannot swing on them-“
“I am too old to swing on branches,” said the boy.
“My trunk is gone,” said the tree.
“You cannot climb-“
“I am too tired to climb,” said the boy.
“I am sorry,” sighed the tree.
“I wish that I could give you something… but I have nothing left. I am an old stump. I am sorry…”
“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy, “just a quiet pleace to sit and rest. I am very tired.”
“Well,” said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could,
“well, an old stump is a good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.”
Shel Silverstein – The Giving Tree

What do you see here?

  • Some see a religious message with the joy of giving (usually giving to the various churches where you play the role of the tree)
  • Some see a friendship between tree and boy and how that friendship wanes (from boy to tree) as the boy ages and joy is replaced by avarice.
  • Some see satire in the work that cannot then be aimed at children (or the many adults that do not recognise satire)and point to “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift as a pre-existing example of the underlying message.
  • Some see it as an environmental message with humanity stripping away nature, killing off species and, eventually, the planet.
  • Some see it as sexual exploitation…….
  • Some see the parent – child relationship with the tree as an emblem of a mother’s love.


“Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree , which has constantly been reprinted since 1964 and sells so well that its publisher has never even bothered to bring it out in paperback. People assume it glorifies love and generosity, but just think for a moment about the messages it gives children. A tree called “she” is its title character. Under “her” branches a little boy is playing. His only communication with the tree throughout the book is to ask her to give up something for him. He asks her to sacrifice, in turn, her apples, her branches, and her trunk, until finally she has become a lifeless stump. As the tree acquiesces uncomplainingly to each of the child’s demands, she is described as “happy.” Moreover, while she is being depleted, with each turn of the page, the boy grows older. Always referred to as “boy,” he turns eventually into a wizened old man. Despite their parallel outward changes, the relationship between the two remains perfectly static. Totally self-effacing, the “mother” treats her “son” as if he were a perpetual infant, while he behaves toward her as if he were frozen in time as an importunate baby. This overrated picture book thus presents as a paradigm for young children a callously exploitative human relationship—both across genders and across generations. It perpetuates the myth of the selfless, all-giving mother who exists only to be used and the image of a male child who can offer no reciprocity, express no gratitude, feel no empathy-an insatiable creature who encounters no limits for his demands.”
Ellen Handler Spitz

The Giving Tree Versus Greed

For me, it is the story of the greed of humankind. Of the exploitation in general. Exploitation of the planet, of the poor and needy, and of victims various. Some say that it has always been this way but that may have been true for a minority……. those on positions of power.

the giving tree - boabab
#trueqigong

Now we see this avarice, lack of empathy and lack of respect growing exponentially. “To hell with the rest of the planet………… Look at my selfies and congratulate me!” “If I cannot gain from you, you are of no use to me, no interest to me!” “Me, me, me!” This is now seen from the top down…….. or from the bottom up with the likes of Donald Trump becoming an idol for those who only care for themselves.

Nature keeps giving because that is what it does. It will continue to do so but, and this is a big but, like the tree, nature will outlive man. The resources that we need for survival will run out long before we can cause the extinction of life on earth. I, for one, do not have a problem with that.

Donations – thank you

Thank you for your donation. It will be used to buy much needed food, toiletries, ect. for the local food bank.

Des

Shared Experiences

It always amazes me how the universe works…………. Patterns emerge as people, people who are not directly connected, all have the same ideas, or shared experiences, at the same time. I shouldn’t be amazed because I have seen it happen too often.

Shared Experiences

Where I have seen this most is with Qigong practitioners who come along to my live, in person, pre Covid, classes. These classes are held at different locations and there was no contact between the people concerned. These shared experiences often occurred within a 24 hour period and the effect was profound enough for people to contact me about their individual event.

Qigong - Shared Experiences
#trueqigong

If I take one example, the similarity of what three people described prompted me to want to discuss it at each of the classes. But then, before I had the chance, a fourth person contacted me……….. and she had not been at any of these classes. It transpired that, outwith the classes, each of them had been practicing the same exercise. Yes, it could have been a coincidence but they had all decided, individually, to start this practice within a day of each other and they also had their moment of Internal awareness on the same day.

Something led each of them to start that practice and that something had prompted them to do that within 24 hours of each other. They were already, sub-consciously, working together before that practice began. This leads me to believe that they were working synergistically and that made their Qigong more potent, leading to their experience.

Covid made the decision to start teaching Qigong online for me (every cloud has a silver lining) and it proved, very quickly, to be a brilliant way to pass on this art. We all miss the social aspect of live classes but the online sessions are like one-to-one tuition with less distractions to interfere with our focus. This may partly explain why those “shared” experiences are now cropping up again and again.

Keep a note of your Qigong experiences…………….. they may well be shared.

Magic? – No but it feels like it!

Over the years I have encountered a lot of skepticism about Qi with remarks like “magic” and “mumbo-jumbo” fired in my direction. I too had been skeptical, extremely so, before I was exposed to Qi in its truest sense. The use of “magic” was meant to be derogatory but, in one respect at least, it is accurate.

In Scotland we use the word “magic” to describe something that is terrific, that is fantastic, something that we enjoy immensely. So Qi, Qigong and Taiji are absolutely magic!

One of the bonuses of teaching Qigong and Taiji is watching the students arrive at an evening class after a gruelling day at work……………… Some have shoulders raised, furrowed brows and downturned mouths, carrying their day with them. Ten minutes later and the shoulders have dropped, the furrows are gone and the downturned mouth has been replaced by an inane (no disrespect to my wonderful students) grin.  There is a warmth in the room that has emanated from the smile that was borne from deep within each of them.

As we immerse ourselves in these exercises and forms there is no room for anything else. We are 100% in the present……………… The past and the future meet here, in the present, but we are not drawn by either. They both exist but neither is calling us, they let us be.

Create your own magic space. There is calm at the centre of the hurricane of life. #trueqigong
#trueqigong #innerpeace

It is in this state of being 100% in the now that we can find respite from the chaos of modern life. It is here where we find ourselves in the eye of that hurricane of egos. It is here where we let our brains step back and allow our consciousness to take the reins for a brief while. It may be brief but it is long enough for the “reset” button to be pressed, long enough for our problems, tasks, worries, etc, to be set in an order that we can work with.

Have you ever found yourself overwhelmed by numerous “must do” issues and been at a loss as to how to tackle them……… not knowing how, or where, to start? Sleepless nights and days filled with stress and worry with no end of it in sight. Use your  Qigong, any Qigong, and focus on all of the tools. Focus on these five things:

  • The stance.
  • The breath.
  • The movement.
  • Moving the Qi.
  • Listen to the Qi.

Maintain that until you can gradually pare back on the amount of focus while increasing the listening. The stance will eventually take care of itself and “disappear”. The breathing will eventually take care of itself and “disappear”. The physical movement will become fluid and “disappear”. The body will also, eventually, “disappear”.

What is left is the awareness of the Qi……………. nothing else. Enjoy that quiet body and mind.

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Qigong Classes

Qigong Classes

This class has recommenced and we are currently accepting new students. This is not a drop-in class and must be pre-booked. Please use the Contact Us page and let me know if you plan to attend as numbers are limited to 12.

As there will still be Covid restrictions please note the following: –

  • Hall staff are required to sanitize the hall before and after each class and this may impact on the length of the class. Please do not enter until advised to do so.
  • Sanitizer will be available and you are required to use it (or your own) when entering the building.
  • Do not attend the class if you have Covid-19, or have symptoms of Covid-19.
  • It is mandatory that masks must worn while indoors as you will not be seated. If you are unable, for any reason, to wear a mask do not attend as you will be refused entry.
  • If you are classed as an extremely vulnerable person (high risk) I advise that you postpone your return until you feel it is safe to do so.
  • Social distancing is required and this impacts on the number of people who can attend the class. I believe that the maximum for this hall (with people stationary) is 20 so I will be limiting our classes to 12. This may need to be adjusted.
  • Good ventilation is needed so some windows will be opened. Please take note of the temperature (I know it is getting warmer but this is East Kilbride) and have adequate clothing to be comfortable.

I think that I have covered everything and I am looking forward to seeing you all again and getting back into the Taiji and Qigong.

Learn Qigong at the wee retreat - ba duan jin

SBqigong #taijiscotland #qigongscotland

In our Qigong classes we practice Qigong in its truest sense……………. we work with Qi. Qigong (pronounced chee gong) is an ancient Chinese Art that was developed for the following uses:-

  • Health and wellbeing  resulting in the practitioner being proactive with their health.
  • Medicinal, where Qigong is used within Traditional Chinese Medicine.
  • Spiritual Qigong accesses the consciousness and practitioners can attain higher states of awareness and perception.
  • Martial Qigong is used to toughen and strengthen the body.

In our classes we focus on health and wellbeing with more advanced students practicing Spiritual (Shen) Qigong.

East Kilbride Qigong Classes Details: –

  • Location – John Wright Sports Centre, Calderwood Road, East Kilbride, G74 3EU.
  • Day – Tuesday.
  • Time – 7:00 till 8:00 pm.
  • Cost – £36.00 per month
  • Instructor – Des Lawton
  • Further information – ‘Phone Des on 01355266011 or use the form on the Contact Us page.

Health and Wellbeing

We would all like to make improvements to our health and well being (and therefore to our lives). In the western world this usually involves going to the gym and expelling lots of energy while thinking about the other things that we “should” be doing.

There is another way, one that has been practiced in China for thousands of years. It can be practiced anywhere and anytime and is a pleasure to do. It is a method that does not need specialised equipment or lots of space. So, if your goal for improvement includes any of the following, Qigong may well be your best way forward.

Would you like to: –

  • lower your stress levels
  • increase your vitality
  • have better quality sleep
  • have better posture
  • reduce the number of tension headaches you get
  • have a better, more efficient, immune system
  • lower, or regulate, your blood pressure
  • reduce chronic pain

These exercises are easy to learn and, once learned, they are an enjoyment rather than a chore.  An hour out of your day to attend this class could have a lasting, beneficial, effect on your life.  So, what are you waiting for?

Here are some of the many benefits of Qigong practice: –

  • Skeletal System – Improves posture, lowers impact on the joints and lowers wear and tear.
  • Muscular System – Increases strength, stamina and flexibility. Reduces muscular tension and, therefore, the incidence of tension headaches.
  • Cardiovascular System – Lowers the heart rate (resting). Regulates the blood pressure and helps increase circulation.
  • Respiratory System – Promotes abdominal breathing, lowers the respiration rate and improves the gaseous exchange.
  • Lymphatic System – The slow, regular, movements have a peristaltic effect that clears out, and helps to keep clear, the lymph nodes. This assists the body’s immune system.
  • Immune System – By lowering stress levels, Qigong prevents the accumulation of cortisol, adrenalin and noradrenalin. Excessive cortisol can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  • Mental Health – Lowers stress levels. Reduces anxiety. Reduces depression. Reduces the tendency for mood swings. Leaves you feeling more content and happier. Can improve focus and memory. Has an effect on the sleep pattern and can reduce insomnia and provide more restorative sleep.
  • Pain – Has been show to provide pain reduction from injury, surgery, arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc.

If we delve deeper into just one of the benefits…………………

Qigong and Stress

The relationship between stress and respiration is a chicken and egg one.  Which came first?

  • Psychological stress impacts on respiration. It often induces shallower, more rapid, breathing.
  • Shallow, rapid, breathing can induce physiological stress that causes physical anxiety. Those feelings of anxiety that are often described as “butterflies”, the ones that can make you feel sick.
  • Those symptoms of physical stress lead to a deepening of psychological stress.
  • Combined, they set a detrimental cycle in motion. A cycle that grows in strength unless it is broken.

So it appears that the question of which came first is not really relevant.  What is relevant is that we are empowered to break the cycle by learning how to regulate our breathing.

What is your respiration rate?  Breathing at your normal rate, how many times do you respire (breath in and out) per minute?  12 respirations per minute is good………. Upwards of 16 is not so good……………..

Just looking at the physical aspect of Qigong, the exercises utilise relaxed, deep, abdominal breathing to help calm the body and the mind.  They are simple and effective, and only take a few minutes to do.  They lower both psychological and physiological stress through the use of biofeedback.

  • The practitioner does the exercise at their own respiration rate (this can be high to begin with).
  • When the practitioner focuses on the breathing, the repetitive movement starts to affect the brainwave pattern, lowering it to Alpha wave.
  • Alpha relaxes the body and the breathing becomes more relaxed and deeper.
  • This, in turn, lowers the brainwave pattern further and induces further relaxation and a feeling of wellbeing.

Practiced on a regular basis, the practitioner’s respiration becomes slower, deeper, and more relaxed.  This can stop the stress cycle from being formed and induces calmness even in stressful situations.

Our Qigong classes include: –

  • The Shibashi (The 18 Posture Taiji Qigong)
  • The Five Taoist Yin
  • The Eight Exceptional Vessels
  • The Ten Fundamental Treasures
  • Connecting Heaven and Earth
  • The Five Elements dance
  • The Four Shen
  • The Embroidered Brocade
  • The Ba Duan Jin
  • Dao Yin

Interested in Qigong? Why not join the San Bao Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – sanbaoschool.co.uk/community

Further information on the benefits of Qigong classes: –

Taiji Benefits

Taiji benefits

There are many, many, Taiji benefits for health.  In the United States, medical researchers analysed 47 studies looking at Taiji classes and the impact that Taiji had on people with chronic health problems, like heart disease or MS.

Their findings were that Taiji benefits include improved balance, flexibility and even the health of the heart.

Their findings, published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, state that Taiji benefits also resulted in reduced stress, falls, pain and anxiety.

This art originated in China, centuries ago, as a martial art but its health giving properties were such that it is now widely practiced purely as a health and wellbeing exercise.  Combining abdominal breathing, relaxation and fluid movement between postures, Taiji produces a bio-feedback loop that gradually deepens this relaxation, slows the respiration and produces a deep feeling of wellbeing.

Taiji Benefits – enhanced health

Taiji players know through experience that it can have a profound, positive, effect on their health, improving memory, concentration, digestion, balance and flexibility. It is also beneficial for people with psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety or stress through the inner calmness that it produces.
The study (by doctors at Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston) suggests there is medical evidence to back up those claims.

Their findings, based on a review of studies published in both English and Chinese state.
“Overall, these studies reported that long-term Taiji practice had favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of falls in elders”.

Taiji Benefits – reduced pain

Taiji helped to reduce “pain, stress and anxiety in healthy subjects”.
Importantly, they also recognise that Taiji also has benefits for people with serious, chronic, conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
“Benefits were reported by the authors of these studies in cardiovascular and respiratory function in healthy subjects and in patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery as well as in patients with heart failure, hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.”

Taiji benefits are well recognised and Taiji has been used in Chinese hospitals for years in the treatment of chronic illness and also prescribed to people who have had heart attacks and heart surgery. It used to be the case that this type of treatment regime was written off as “quackery” by western doctors. Not so now! Now we see Taiji being recommended as a post heart bypass, etc. exercise. Not only that but many doctors are also joining Taiji classes and practicing this art to benefit their own health.

How do I learn Taiji?

Taiji benefits can be gained from regular attendance at taiji and qigong classes

SBqigong #taijiscotland #qigongscotland

Taiji is a personal journey and each practitioner progresses at their own pace.  There should be no rush in this process, no competition with yourself or with others.

The form that we teach, initially, is the Yang Family Short Form.  There is precision in every movement and you will learn about posture, balance and rooting………….. without these there is no Taiji.  To begin with, the movements and posture will seem alien but this passes quickly and an appreciation begins to dawn about the grace and fluidity between each posture.

The process of learning starts with the Wuji stance and builds on this foundation as the repertoire of movements gradually increases.   It is best to take this slowly in order to experience and understand the structure of rooting, balance and posture because, once understood, this is carried on through the form.  If this is overlooked, it is much harder to unlearn habitual errors.

How long will it take to learn?

Attending one class per week, it will take up to two years to learn the basic form.  From then on it is a case of constant refinement and during this process you experience deeper levels of Taiji and learn more and more about yourself.

It may seem that two years is a long time but without further, personal, practice.  When looked at more closely, two years actually translates to around forty classes a year.  That is a total of eighty classes where you are practicing for 1.5 hours…………… a grand total of 120 hours!  The more you practice, the more you will understand.

Is all Taiji the same?

Absolutely not.  At present there appears to be a fashion of cobbling the names of two arts together and producing a dog’s dinner that has very little value (for example we have classes called Taiji Yoga, etc. where the instructor is taught over a weekend, pays for the diploma – licence to teach that particular brand – and is teaching the following day).  Unfortunately the people responsible for this seem to have no understanding of either art and the resulting exercises are no more than slow wind-milling of the arms.  These classes are run as a business. They are not Taiji classes. They are a poor attempt to copy something without any comprehension of the underlying principals.

Find a Taiji class that teaches a distinct form.  A class where the teacher understands the fundamentals of the art.  There are many styles of Taiji such as Yang, Chen, Wu, Wudan, Sun & Li and each of these are based on the same basic rules.  They might look different externally but internally the same principals are being adhered to.  It is those principals that make Taiji what it is.

Taiji Shibashi Qigong

At these Taiji classes we also practice the Taiji Shibashi. These are a set of 18 Qigong exercises that focus on health and well-being, directing and promoting the flow of Qi through the meridians. Although each of them can be practiced individually, or in any variation, the set flows beautifuly, from one posture to the next,producing a feeling of inner calmness and wellbeing.

The health benefits, from these Qigong exercises, becomes clear when they are practiced regularly and, in effect, you are being proactive with your health and wellbeing. The Shibashi are easy to learn and can easily be done in restricted space where practicing the Taiji forms would be impossible.

One example of the health benefits related to the practice of the Shibashi is: –

The Commencement: This is good for regulating the breathing allowing the resipration rate to lower. It is also good for maintaining the balance of the blood pressure, it strengthens the function of the Kidney meridian, calms the nerves (Shen), and it has a therapeutic action in the alleviation of arthritis in the knees.

The Shibashi are as follows:

Des Lawton, teaching at a shibashi instructor course.
#shibashi #shibashinstructor #trueqigong
  • The Commencement
  • Broadening the chest
  • Painting rainbows
  • Circling the arms to part the clouds
  • Pushing to the diagonals
  • Rowing the boat
  • Holding the ball in front of the shoulders
  • Turning to gaze at the moon
  • Twisting the waist and pushing the palms
  • Waving hands like clouds
  • Scooping from the sea to look at the sky
  • Playing with waves
  • The flying dove spreads its wings
  • Punching with outstretched arms
  • The flying goose
  • Spinning wheels
  • Bouncing a ball with steps
  • Pressing down in calmness

Further reading

Taiji and Qigong Classes

This class will recommence on Thursday 19th August and I will be accepting new students. This is not a drop-in class and must be pre-booked. Please let me know, via the Contact Us page, if you plan to attend as numbers are limited.

As there will still be Covid restrictions please note the following: –

  • Hall staff are required to sanitize the hall before and after each class and this may impact on the length of the class. Please do not enter until advised to do so.
  • Sanitizer will be available and you are required to use it (or your own) when entering the building.
  • Do not attend the class if you have Covid-19, or have symptoms of Covid-19.
  • It is mandatory that masks must worn while indoors as you will not be seated. If you are unable, for any reason, to wear a mask do not attend as you will be refused entry.
  • If you are classed as an extremely vulnerable person (high risk) I advise that you postpone your return until you feel it is safe to do so.
  • Social distancing is required and this impacts on the number of people who can attend the class. I believe that the maximum for this hall (with people stationary) is 20 so I will be limiting our classes to 12. This may need to be adjusted.
  • Good ventilation is needed so some windows will be opened. Please take note of the temperature (I know it is getting warmer but this is East Kilbride) and have adequate clothing to be comfortable.

I think that I have covered everything and I am looking forward to seeing you all again and getting back into the Taiji and Qigong.

In these Taiji and Qigong classes you have the opportunity to learn a number of Taiji forms as well as Qigong.  There is no pressure to learn, no competition, just relaxation.  You learn at your own pace, for your own benefit.

The benefits of Taiji

Taiji and qigong classes in East Kilbride - Taiji and qigong classes East Kilbride

SBqigong #taijiscotland #qigongscotland

In an analysis, done in the USA, researchers studied the effect that  regular attendance at Taiji classes had on people.  Their study was to measure the impact that the Taiji had on chronic illnesses and health issues such as hypertension, ME, etc.

What they discovered was that regular Taiji classes had a beneficial effect on things like flexibility, balance, co-ordination, stress levels, pain reduction, anxiety, depression and the health of the heart.

To see their findings, see the JAMA Network (originally The Archives of Internal Medicine)

Further details and information on the benefits of Taiji can be found here

Taiji and Qigong Classes Syllabus

In these Taiji and Qigong classes you will initially be taught the Yang Family Short Form and the Taiji Shibashi Qigong.  These are some of the other forms and exercises that we cover: –

Taiji

  • The Beijing 16 Posture Taiji
  • The Beijing 24 Posture Taiji
  • The Beijing 48 Posture Taiji
  • The Yang Family Long Form
  • Da Lu 1
  • Da Lu 2
  • Da Lu 3

Qigong

  • The Taiji Shibashi
  • The Embroidered Brocade
  • Connecting Heaven and Earth
  • The Five Elements Dance
  • The Ten Fundamental Treasures
  • The Five Yin

Taiji and Qigong Classes Details

This class is currently full. If you wish to be updated of any future availability please use the Contact Us page to leave your details and what class you are interested in.

  • Location – Stewartfield Community Centre, East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire.
  • Day – Thursday.
  • Time – 8.00 till 10.00 pm.
  • Type – Taiji and Qigong
  • Cost – £36.00 per month
  • Details – This class concentrates on learning the Taiji form in depth. Along with this, students are taught various Qigong sets and Qi awareness.
  • Instructor – Des Lawton
  • Further information – ‘Phone Des on 01355266011 or use the form on the Contact Us page.

Finding us

Interested in Qigong? Why not join the San Bao Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – sanbaoschool.co.uk/community

Please contact us if you have a group who would like to learn Qigong, Taiji, or self-defence.

Taiji Classes

Taiji Classes

This class will recommence on Wednesday 2nd June, 2021, at 12:00. It is not a drop-in class and must be pre-booked. Please let me know if you plan to attend as I need to know how many people are attending as numbers are limited to 10.

As there will still be Covid-19 restrictions please note the following: –

  • I am required to sanitize the hall before and after each class. Please do not enter until I open the rear door.
  • Sanitizer will be available and you are required to use it (or your own) when entering the building.
  • Do not attend the class if you have Covid-19, or have symptoms of Covid-19.
  • It is mandatory that masks must worn while indoors as you will not be seated. If you are unable, for any reason, to wear a mask do not attend as you will be refused entry.
  • If you are classed as an extremely vulnerable person (high risk) I advise that you postpone your return until you feel it is safe to do so.
  • Social distancing is required and this impacts on the number of people who can attend the class. The maximum for this hall (with people stationary) is 20 so I will be limiting our classes to 10. This may need to be adjusted.
  • Good ventilation is needed so some windows will be opened. Please take note of the temperature (I know it is getting warmer but this is East Kilbride) and have adequate clothing to be comfortable.
  • The kitchen will not be accessible.

I think that I have covered everything and I am looking forward to seeing you all again and getting back into the Taiji.

Taiji classes at the United Reformed Church, East Kilbride
#trueqigong #taijiscotland #qigongscotland

In these Taiji and Qigong classes you have the opportunity to learn Taiji forms and Qigong.  There is no pressure to learn, no competition, just relaxation.  You learn at your own pace, for your own benefit.

Please contact us if you have a group who would like to learn Qigong, Taiji, or self-defence.

The benefits of Taiji

In an analysis, done in the USA, researchers studied the effect that  regular attendance at Taiji classes had on people.  Their study was to measure the impact that the Taiji had on chronic illnesses and health issues such as hypertension, ME, etc.

What they discovered was that regular Taiji classes had a beneficial effect on things like flexibility, balance, co-ordination, stress levels, pain reduction, anxiety, depression and the health of the heart.

To see their findings, see the JAMA Network (originally The Archives of Internal Medicine)

Further details and information on the benefits of Taiji can be found here

Taiji Classes Details

The next intake will be on Monday 6th April. To book your place please use the Contact Us page and leave your details and which class you wish to join.

  • Location – United Reformed Church, Old Coach Road, The Village, East Kilbride, G74 4DS.
  • Day – Wednesday.
  • Time – 12.00 till 1.00 pm.
  • Type – Taiji and Qigong
  • Cost: £40.00 per ten-week block
  • Details -This class is geared towards retired people who wish to learn the Taiji form and Qigong in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Instructor – Des Lawton
  • Further information – ‘Phone Des on 01355266011 or use the form on the Contact Us page.

Find us on Google Maps

Stop Pushing!

Stop Pushing

Step back and stop pushing
#trueqigong #wisdom

A student came to his master with a problem.  He was having a recurring dream that was frustrating him.  In the dream he walks across a field to a wall, with a gate, between him and the next field.  He knows that he needs to be in the next field but that he is not allowed to climb over the gate or the wall.  But, no matter how hard he pushes, the gate refuses to open.  Night after night, week after week and month after month he had walked to that gate only to find it barred.  Oh, what a problem.  What was he to do?

The master had a quiet laugh, remembering himself as a tiro, before he told the student that the gate opens inwardly, towards him, and that he must stop pushing and needs to step back in order to open the gate.

All too often, when things are not going the way that we want or need, we persist with the same habitual patterns in the vain hope that they will carry us forward. If we cannot stop, review and adapt we get stuck. We look to others for the answers that we already hold but access to those answers is blocked by rigidity.

Step Back

The next time you have a problem try stepping back from it and stop pushing at it. If you keep looking at the problem you are feeding it and weakening yourself. Step back, you know what it looks like, see the outcome that you wish in your mind’s eye. Focus on that positive outcome and feed it, gaining strength as you do. The route to that outcome is there but it never seems to be in a straight line………… Keep seeing the positive outcome and that meandering route, with its junctions, will be easier to follow.

We are all familiar with the term “sleep on it”. That saying was born from wisdom and variations of it can be found in the words of sages world-wide. Let your brain get out of the way and let your consciousness (Higher Self, Shen, etc. Whatever you wish to call it.) whisper the answer in your ear.

Like so many other snippets of wisdom there is more than one lesson to be found here. Taken in relation to Qigong, Shiatsu, etc. you should always be prepared to sit back and allow the space necessary to let the Qi flow, let the work that has already been done take effect.

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Physical or Energetic?

In Qigong, questions regarding whether our actions are physical or energetic, whether they are External or Internal, crops up regularly. Here are two such cases, the first has been raised on numerous occasions, the second is a new one for me.

Is your Qigong mindset physical or energetic?

Case 1

While taking part in a course that involved energetic healing a student was instructed to take their shoes off so that they could “Connect with the earth”. The student complied with the instructor’s wishes but, quietly, questioned the reasoning. Later, I was asked for my opinion on the matter………. Firstly, I had some questions:

  • Were the shoes flat, stable and comfortable?
  • Did the student have socks on?
  • Was the session being held indoors?
  • Was there a carpet?
  • What level/floor of the building was the lesson being held?

A lot of questions that led to the student smiling. Their suspicions had just been confirmed. To comply with the teacher’s rationale to “Connect with the earth” they would need to remove all the barriers between their feet and the earth. If a shoe is a barrier then so are socks, carpets, floor boards and foundations.

The connection is twofold. There is the physical connection, the rooting, that provides a stable platform and allows the body and mind to quieten. This gives greater access to and greater awareness of the Qi. If the student had been wearing unstable, uncomfortable, footwear then removing it would have been recommended.

There is also the energetic connection, the sinking of the Qi. We guide our Qi through Kidney 1 (the Bubbling Spring) to “connect”. It is the same point that is used for the physical rooting and it is this that can lead to some confusion. What are we connecting to? Go on, ask yourself that question……… What are you connecting to?

Physical or energetic - Connecting to the universal Qi
#trueqigong #deslawton

We are human. We are physical. We live on a planet and are attracted to it by gravity. We are bipedal so that connection is through our feet……………… rooting.
We are energy. We exist in the universe (to be more accurate, we exist in the Tao). There is no gravity attracting our Qi. We are surrounded by it and are an integral part of it. The connection to it is always there but the awareness of the connection is not. Using Qigong, we increase that awareness and we “connect” through the feet is because it is easier to focus through the same point for both purposes. Our Qi connection IS NOT limited to connecting to the planet. Think about it…………

Using Kidney 1 is not the only method used in Qigong, and in other energetic systems to connect with the universe. It is used because it is convenient. As your Qigong journey continues this will become apparent and you will realise that the term “Raise the Shen and sink the Qi” refers to many things.

Case 2

“When you talk about the tip of the tongue touching the palate….   Well.. should I be removing my full upper denture in order to actually touch the physical palate?    Or is it more an energy connection that will work “through” the denture material? 
I know it seems a silly question, but it is nagging me to no ends.”

There are actually three different positions that are used in Qigong with this being the most used. The positions, through practice, determine the direction of flow and what Vessels are being used.

The position of the tongue is rather like the postures, stretches and tensions we use to help guide the Qi. By using this position we are “programming” our Yi to guide the Qi along the microcosmic orbit, flowing up Du Mai (Governing Vessel) and down Ren Mai (Conception Vessel).

As in Case 1, there is the physical aspect as well. This is the natural resting place of the tongue and, when breathing nasally, it keeps the mouth moist. Neither over or under salivating and removing the distraction that both of these can cause.

It is a misconception that the tongue needs to be in this position to create a bridge between Du Mai and Ren Mai. This misconception is the result of thinking physically rather than energetically. Both cases are examples of being tied to the physical. Physical or energetic………………… don’t mix them up.

Online Qigong: The Taiji Shibashi

We will soon be removing this course from the Udemy platform and streaming it through pro-holistic.co.uk.

I practice and teach the Taiji Shibashi as true Qigong – This is probably one of the most practiced qigong on the planet but the vast majority of people practicing it are not doing Qigong. They are moving their arms and legs about in the manner of slowed down aerobics………….. They are not moving their Qi.

Qigong is about moving Qi. It is the art, the skill, of moving the Qi the Yi (brain), using willpower. It is not a physical exercise. It is an Internal exercise that uses physical movement as one of its tools.

In this course you will learn:

  • How to move the Qi.
  • Where it is supposed to be moving.
  • How to “listen” to the Qi, have passive awareness of it.

It is through that passive awareness that you can go on and become more efficient at moving the Qi. That is how the practitioner builds up the skill of Qigong.

If you just want to learn how to move your arms and legs about in slow motion this is not the course for you. If you want to learn Qigong. If you want to learn to move the Qi, how to appreciate that movement and how to gain from that movement………….. This is where you want to be.

Online Qigong: The Taiji Shibashi

#shibashi #trueqigong

This course includes:
8 hours on-demand video
29 downloadable resources
Full lifetime access (covered by the Udemy lifetime access guarantee)
Access on mobile and TV
Certificate of Completion

Discount price: £29.99 (Normally £59.99)
Purchase, using the link below, before 27/11/2021 and get one month free access to one of our online classes (Terms and Conditions).
Book here – Online Qigong: the Taiji Shibashi

Reviews

  • “This is a great course but I would caution it is not for the total beginner. You need to do a bit of reading in Chinese Medical theory and have some knowledge of the most common types of movements used in qigong forms. This course has so much detail about movements and postures that you might find it overwhelming 🙂 If you do have some foundation you will find this course to be a true gem!” C.A-M
  • “Excellent, thorough course with many bonus materials. Des has a relaxed and friendly teaching style, very accessible and great to have such a thorough view on movement, breath and the qi itself.” K.D.
  • “Have really enjoyed this excellent course. Des teaches in a clear very informative way and his enthusiasm shines through. Will definitely be purchasing more of his courses in the future” P.C.
  • “have been doing taichi for 40 years and shibashi for 30 including some teaching this course is easily the best thought out and presented i have seen, well done les” [sic] R.S.
  • “This is by far the most beneficial online learning that I have ever done. The volume of content and credentials of the instructor outweigh hundreds of other options on this, and other platforms. It has the potential to cheer you up and change your life, let alone your day! I hope that either the Summary, or the final move (18) can be viewed as a preview here, so that laymen can appreciate what is inside this piece of work. A follow on course by the same teacher, on Acupressure points would be a real boon.” S.H.

What Will I Learn?

  • The stances used in the Taiji Shibashi: Wuji Stance, Horse Riding Stance, Bow Stance and Empty Stance.
  • The proper breathing technique.
  • Kua opening exercises.
  • The physical movements of the 18 exercises.
  • The Internal movements of the 18 exercises.
  • Listening exercises (passive awareness of Qi)

Requirements

  • No previous knowledge of Qigong required. This course is suitable for all levels.
#trueqigong #shibashi

Description

The tuition is structured:

  • Wuji Stance and breathing.
  • Kua opening exercises.
  • Each exercise taught in the order of: Stance, physical movement, breathing pattern, Qi movement, listening, common errors and transition from the previous exercise.
  • Each exercise lesson also has a follow me video.
  • Three videos, each of a six-exercise follow me.
  • A transitions video.
  • Listening exercises.

Students’ Questions

Question from Steven

Pushing to the Diagonals
Hello Des.
I hope you are well.
In the Shibashi set, is there any scope for ‘bouncing’, as you’ve taught us in your excellent 5 elements course?
I have seen a few Asian practitioners bouncing rather nicely in both Wuji and Horse Riding stances, and I’m wondering if it’s a cultural difference or, I guess more importantly, if I do it myself, will it disrupt my listening. I rather enjoy it.
Thank you.

Answer from Des
There are many Qigong that use the “bouncing” as a physical means of opening the hip kua but that “bouncing” needs to be through the relaxed opening and not physically pushing.
Like you, I have seen this practice being used within the Shibashi but it is not the way that I was taught. The emphasis (kua) is of folding, during the sinking, and opening to start the movement to the other side. By practicing this way there is a deeper appreciation/understanding of the link between the kua and the Qi sinking through KD1.

I hope that this helps

—————————————–

Question from Vivi

I saw the video of LIn Hou Sheng doing the shibashi, and on the painting the rainbow, he said that bend left is inhalation, bend right exhalation. Your is different, and I assume that as the creator of shibashi, Lin Hou sheng cannot go wrong. what is your comment?

Answer from Des
Please watch the entire lesson and you will see that your question has already been answered. Also, these Qigong were all adapted from, or taken almost directly from Taiji. They were around for hundreds of years before Lin Hou Sheng brought them together as a set.

—————————————–

See all the questions asked by students about these Qigong exercises

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Many paths to the same destination

Many paths to the same destination

In the any journey there can be many paths and the route chosen depends on a number of things including: The starting point, the end point, the terrain, the mode of transport, obstacles to be overcome, etc. Navigation too! Sometimes we find ourselves going in circles, covering the same ground over and over again until we find the next section that carries us forward. Here, I want to look at two modes of transport that, on the face of it, are different but are the same.

The Tibetan Buddhist sand mandalas are extremely intricate patterns that are produced, by the monks, from calcite sand that has had dyes added to it. The goal of the process is not the beautiful mandala, it is the transformation that occurs within the monks. It is the achievement through letting go of the physical, of connecting with the consciousness……… connecting with the Qi.

Many paths to the same destination - Sand mandala
#trueqigong #deslawton

The process begins with the collecting of the calcite rock that lies scattered across the mountainside, this is the start of the meditative process. It moves on to the crushing of the rock, firstly into gravel and then into sand………….. going deeper into meditation. The dyes are added and the monks, using different coloured sand, start to create the mandala grain by grain. The concentration is such that, eventually, they become the process, losing self and attaining oneness. The connection with the Qi and the universe.

Within Shen Qigong we do not have the rock, the rock to grind, the dyes to add, or the mandala to create but we use the same process. We have posture, movement, breath, focus and listening. We gradually collect the rock through learning the posture. We grind the rock by refining the posture. We add the dye by adding the breath. We go through the process of creating the mandala by adding the movement. As the process continues we continue to refine all of these until they are no longer noticed and all that is left is the listening. It is then that we are connected to the Qi and, therefore, the Tao. It is then that facets of the Tao are revealed. It is then when we can really start to explore.

Des

Shen Experiences

Shen Experiences – What students are saying

I have uploaded some of the Shen experiences that, in their own words and diagrams, students are having while practicing and as a result of practicing the Four Shen Qigong. It takes time and focus to gain access to the awareness and perception that these Qigong can develop. However, some benefits are quick to attain.

Always amazed

Hi Des
lots of qi tonight. when doing the second exercise before raising the heavens and working with small intestine and heart I felt a really intense pressure/pulsing in both lower hands in pinky, then when focus moved to face I felt a pressure in the centre of both cheeks, pushing out when turning right, pushing in when turning left. I was able to turn both sensations on and off with external rotations of hands. My pinkies still feel full even now.
Also when parting the clouds I felt a band of heat about 3 inches wide down the centre of my face downwards which intensified the longer we did it. This dispersed within 2 repetitions of the final one to calm things down.
This stuff never ceases to amaze me!
thanks
Liz

The Orbits

Impression of the Dan tien – today more like a ball of sorbet – not cold, but that sort of texture (a little rough and bumpy) and solid, and a very pale green. Static.

Microcosmic orbit with hands in front of body – direction up on the inside/palms and down on the outside of the hands, mirroring the orbit, but not sure if that was the yi making it happen, or shen sensing it…More of this for future classes please, and the shen exercises. L.

Microcosmic Orbit

Here are some experiences of the micro macro cosmic orbit.
There are less gaps in the orbit but it doesn’t come easily. Doing the microcosmic orbit I sometimes get an ache in the back below the shoulder blades on either side. In the microcosmic orbit, when reaching the dan tian, it rolls and turns and sometimes pops out. I get a flow around and through the body in all diffeerent directions. The energies of each flow are slightly different, and some are not as clear as others. Once, overlooking some vibrating bushes in the garden, they seemed to come inside, and the dan tian sort of mirrored the vibrating bushes, like both outside and inside had turned inside out. P.

Listening Jing

Feedback from Thursday training – I liked the image of ‘layers’ of the dan tien/energy field – rather like an onion? Albeit with the layers going in different directions.

I found it hard to feel movement of the dan tien, though I did get a soft pulsing eventually (not in time with the heart or breath). An image that came to me – if you’ve watched the Fifth Element, a sphere, black but with red veins, like lava waiting to burst out – or was it cooling? Also a cool blue/white light – larger/the aura? While feeling for the ‘size’ of the dan tien, it felt as if it extended out to the arms when ‘holding the belly’ out – hollow, deep, like a bottomless pit (in a positive way). Body continues to feel transparent at times, hard to let go of it, I’m ‘aware’ I have arms, or am I just used to them being there and ‘feel’ what is expected? L.

Fabulous class tonight.

During the last bit of the session my chi was noisy, clattering around my body, heart beating fast until I turned into a large white ball on legs. (Not sure quite what that means)
What fun! L.

Please explain to me the level of “five eyes and six Shen Tong”

As I said in my initial answer, I am unfamiliar with the term “Five eyes, six Shen Tong” and therefore cannot give a definitive answer regarding its meaning. However I do have experience of the “five eyes” and the “Shen tong” and will share these in the hope that you can find your answer.

The five eyes

  • The five eyes are reference to the Yi and the Shen (the cognitive, reasoning brain and the consciousness) and is a guide, an example, of how they differ.
  • The first four eyes are connected to the Yi. Two are looking forward, to the future, and two are looking backward, to the past. Yes, physically we only have two eyes but this is representative of how the Yi views existence……….. in a linear fashion.
  • The fifth eye is our inner eye and is connected to the Shen. The Shen is not touched by, governed by, time. It “sees” without constraint. This “seeing” is the same as the “listening” that we do in Qigong. The simplest (although crude) way that I can describe it is that the Shen is a single point in existence that “sees”, experiences everything that surrounds it. When practicing Qigong we use Wuji (the nothingness that helps us realise that single point in existence) and then “listen”. “Seeing” and “listening” are only words and they mean the same thing when working with Qi………….. Go beyond their physical uses.

The Shen tong are the levels, spaces, dimensions, that you can attain through the practice of Shen Qigong. The term that I am most familiar with is “the great halls” (of the Shen).

I have no idea why this term, “Five eyes, six Shen Tong”, has limited the number to six but, after meditating on it, I suspect that the Master used the term as a reminder to his students that they must learn to separate the Yi from the Shen, to be able to access the Shen without the interference of the Yi in order to access these higher levels of existence.

Shared experiences

I was very interested last Thursday evening when you mentioned an experience of seeing golden globes and realised you were one of them.
I have never heard anyone talk about such a thing before, but I experienced a similar thing one day while walking through the town.
It was a feeling of overwhelming love, and there were spheres of something which had personalities which I took to be other people. Not golden, and I didn’t think of myself as one of them, more as an observer.

I am learning so much from your teaching. I like the way you discuss your own experiences. It helps to see the things that matter, and not overlook them or consider them unimportant.

Thanks

Here are a few recent experiences I found interresting.

When doing the exercise like parting wild horses mane it felt as if both hands touched exactly the same spot.

When doing the condensing exercise (awareness of skin, then just inside, then bone, and then outside the body, I felt a lot going on just under the skin.

Best wishes
P.J.

Poor Sleep

I am a bit unsure how to continue the practice with the Shen. I am curious to explore but I notice that my night sleep is really suffering as body and mind are very active. I cannot settle the Qi properly after practicing in the evenings it seems. I did find my hands being moved by Qi (as in the last section yesterday) quite effortless which feels amazing but my mind starts intervening afterwards and I get sort of anxious for whatever reason. So I wonder what to do with it. I have an inquisitive mind pattern which I do value in other fields but it gets exhausting in this case. I had vivid “daydreamings” and inner journey times in my life but it was a rollercoaster and confusing in the “real world” being with it so I properly “switched buttons again”. 

Reply from Des: Yes, practicing these Qigong in the evening can lead to poor sleep because you are still “buzzing” with the Shen active. That is why I have taught you some of the exercises that can reduce and eliminate this activity so that you can get a restful night.

For some practitioners it only takes a few repetitions, for others it can take ten minutes of (focused) repetition. At the end of the class we are time limited as to how long we spend on this but there is nothing to stop you continuing with any of these once the class is over.

The “intervening” is the Yi trying to take back control. It does not like it when it is not fully in control. It tries to find reason in everything and is determined not to cede to the Shen where “reason” is meaningless. We all experience this process and, like all other things in life, some get through it quicker than others.

The “rollercoaster” is normal too. The Yi works with language and with linear time. The Shen is not bound by either so these experiences (They can seem like distorted memories but are more often than not a revisit to what actually occurred rather than the selective memory of the Yi) and they are often at extreme speed. Extreme for the Yi but natural for the Shen. When things are moving at this speed, when questions are being answered before you can finish formulating the sentence, just ask your Shen to slow down. It is as simple as that. Ask it to slow down because your Yi (left brain) cannot keep up.

Take time, after the Shen Qigong class, to gently close things down. Use Pressing Palms in Calmness, or the structured scanning from the Crown down through each of the Chakras and let each close as you do so.

Qualities of Qi – Arm Yin & Yang

“Thank you for that and enjoyed last night again.

Just a quick one to say I really noticed the different temperatures on my arms.

On the outside of my arms it was like someone had rubbed Vicks on them, it was that strange menthol super coolness that you get when the air hits your skin.

It’s like you say some of the things are so odd, your brain tries to tell you they are not happening – later on it felt like I was moving my hands through golden syrup.

Which reminds me, think I will have some on a pancake today ( golden syrup not the Vicks) Haha. Have a good holiday weekend and happy trails.”

The first Shen Qigong – The rooting and connecting experienced.

Shen experiences - the rooting and grounding that can be felt tangibly.
#trueqigong #deslawton

The first Shen Qigong – The expansion experienced.

Shen experiences - The, tangible, expansion of awareness felt.
#trueqigong #deslawton

“Think being screwed into the ground stops the lift off! Very fizzy feet for a while afterwards. I’ve been blaming the 10 fundamentals for opening up more smell and sound (extra access via right ear) but this one would probably blow those out the water….”

From the initial exposure to Shen exercise 1

  • “I found the Shen exercise we did today very interesting and felt quite mentally settled after it. I feel this might be a very good exercise to do before my morning meditation – I usually do some form of qiqong, but this one seems particularly appropriate. Will try it out and see.”
  • “I enjoyed learning the shen qigong today. It has left me feeling calm and centered, like I would after meditation.”

Comparing exercises 1 & 2

  • “Hi Des, Here’s my feedback on the exercise we did: On the first one (with hands facing inward), I felt a great expansion within my body, so I felt like my whole body was filled and energised on the inside and my 3rd eye had expanded outward. On the other one (with hands facing out) I felt a great expansion outside my body. So I felt incredibly expanded so that I almost didn’t know where my body began or ended. Very hard to explain!”

    Yes, very hard to put into words that have, up till now, only been used to describe the physical. The outward expansion can often lead to your awareness being a single point that is both infinitely small and infinitely big at the same time. A real paradox of an experience when the body “disappears” as the barriers between physical and energetic are removed.
    Des

The first Shen Qigong – The awareness and experience deepens.

#trueqigong #shenqigong

The second Shen Qigong – The initial awareness from this exercise.

#trueqigong #shenqigong

Three experiences from the one session

Couple of things I noticed last night

  1. When we were doing the looking down between our fingers in the gap, I could almost see an oily film like the surface of a bubble. Not as coloured as that but moving on the surface in the same way.
  2. In the exercise before that, when I was raising my hands to the back of my head it was as if my head was taking up much more room at the front. Kind of like a big balloon or watermelon. My head itself didn’t feel bigger if that makes sense it just felt like it occupied more space.
  3. Also hard again to fall asleep. So I tried to concentrate on looking at inside of my eyelids. Saw new colour I’ve not really seen before, a swirling dark brown and red. Almost like paint being stirred.
  1. That “oily bubble” can appear as “light reflecting off of a cellophane film”, “vague colours swirling”, “oil on water”, etc. It’s great that you picked it up.
  2. What you were experiencing there was the expanse of the Qi (your awareness of the Qi outwith the physical body). This is partly what I meant when I said that both of the exercises lead to the same place………….. That enlarged space can be interpreted as being inside or outside but it is both.
  3. Great that you saw colours but remind me of the sleeping difficulty next week so that I can give you all a grounding exercise. The Shen Qigong can be like drinking a lot of strong coffee (with the exception of the twitchiness) before going to bed.

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Garden musings

My garden musings

I often spend time gazing into my garden pond and, when I do, my garden musings occur as my brainwave pattern drops into Alpha. These garden musings provide me with insights into myself and my direction as my brain gets sidelined and my higher self (consciousness) takes centre stage.

Hedgehogs are amazing!

Gardening is like any other skill and there are many levels from the gardener who cuts the grass and does the occasional weeding to the topiary expert who can give you the Latin names for every plant in their garden. I’m somewhere in the middle. I enjoy working in the garden even though it is often reasonably hard work. I enjoy looking at the garden and knowing that I had a hand in how it has developed and matured.  There was no grand plan, just a general direction that often changed and changed again. I grew as the garden grew.

Plants get moved around, cuttings are taken, plants are given and accepted as gifts, and nothing tends to be thrown away. Today it was a cover that I had made to hide the water filter for one of my ponds. It never really worked well in that role and drew your attention for all the wrong reasons….. It was not pretty. With a better disguise on the filter, the old cover was destined to be dismantled and the wood used as fuel. It lay, upside down, for weeks and it was only as I turned it over that I realised I had built the perfect hedgehog refuge.

garden musings - hedgehogs are amazing
#trueqigong #deslawton garden musings

With a smile on my face and a newly positioned hedgehog hotel, I thought about the many cul de sacs that my Qigong (and Taiji) journey had visited. Like the filter cover, each of them seemed to have proved to be of no further use…………… at that time. Every time this happened I left these “wrong” concepts behind me and moved on to find the correct path. It was quite some time before I was led to the realisation that I had been on MY path, the correct path for me, all along. The cul de sacs were such only because of my lack of understanding and experience at the time.

It was an afternoon spent with Master Bell that brought about that realisation. He wanted to instil in me the understanding that attainment of Qigong was not a linear journey and he could always get the message over, no matter what that message was, by making me think for myself. That afternoon I was given this to ponder.

We are walking down a country lane with hedges either side of the lane. Use your imagination as we walk and we will see what you observe. How dense is the hedge? What plants are on the verges?

As we walked it became easier for me to describe what I was seeing and the strides became more confident. Then he stopped me.

What did you think about the wee hedgehog? (It’s easy to figure out what triggered this musing.)

What hedgehog?

The one we passed about 100 yards ago. You had better go back and have a look.

On the way back I noticed a gate that I had missed. Had it been there before? We walked past the gate to the hedgehog. After spending a bit of time watching it rummaging we turned to continue the walk…….. but the lane had changed. It was greener and full of birdsong. I stopped at the gate. Should I go through it? Master Bell invited me to go and have a look. From this vantage point I could see rolling hills and then mountains in the far distance.

Back in the lane, this process was repeated a few times.

What about the big tree? What about the bramble bushes? Etc.

Each time I turned and walked back I saw more, understood more. Then, on recommencing the journey this was enhanced.

Every cul de sac on your Qigong journey has something to offer………….. you just don’t understand it at the time. Later on, when you achieve the level when they are needed for progress, what was learned in these lessons will be understood.

It can feel frustrating (I know because I went through that frustration early in my journey) taking two steps forward and then on step back……… Then three steps forward and two back. Embrace the “backward” steps and they will enhance your Qigong.

Getting back to the gardening, it has parallels with me teaching Qigong. Sometimes it can be hard work but it is always a pleasure. There is also an immense pleasure in knowing that I had a hand in how someone’s Qigong has developed and matured.

My own Qigong journey continues and I’m still heading towards those mountains.

In Qigong, be yourself

garden musings
#trueqigong #deslawton

After teaching the class this morning my mind drifted in the direction of a coffee and a gaze into the giant nature television……. also known as my garden pond. I have had many insights while letting my mind wander, unfocused, as I watch the goings on of the frogs, newts, etc. Today, an ancient Chinese saying crept into my mind’s ear. It is attributed to Lao Tzu……..

“If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be truly fulfilled.”

I am pretty sure that I know what triggered this as I had been talking to students about Qigong not being a group activity. The exercises may be learned in a group but Qigong is Internal and very personal. It can only be practiced alone, with focus and with a body/mind that is quiet enough for you to listen to your Qi.

In groups there is a tendency for people to judge themselves against the, apparent, “expertise” of others. How elegant they look. How low they can “sink”, how peaceful they look, etc. That is what is going on with the observed but what is happening Internally with the observer? Not a lot! They are too engrossed with others to be Qigong.

In a class you need to listen to what your teacher is telling you. You need to follow the guidance given. You need to pay close attention to all the subtleties and nuances that are brought to your attention and explained……………….. Then practice and practice more. Move through the stages of learning the exercise, doing the exercise then having Qigong. When you achieve Qigong you can move the Qi with the body following rather than leading.

Can you learn Qigong exercises in a class? Of course you can. Can you do Qigong exercises in a class? Yes, if you ignore what everyone else is doing and do your own exercise. Can you have Qigong in a class? When you have Qigong you will be so immersed in the flow of Qi that you will be alone, a single point in time and space, totally here and now, in a state of Wuji.

Remember, “If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be truly fulfilled.” Lao Tzu knew it………………. Now so do you.

Can You Learn Qigong Online?

Is it possible to learn Qigong online?

Because of the enforced Covid-19 lockdown my students asked if they could learn Qigong online. I have plenty of experience in teaching Qigong in one-to-one sessions online but I was not sure how well a class would work. Since starting these classes I have discovered is that the participants are reacting as though it was a one-to-one session and, with the exception of the occasional Zoom glitch, they are listening more and delving deeper into the Qi exercise being practiced.

When I teach Qigong classes I always remind students that a class is not the place to do Qigong. It is the place to learn the exercises and to be guided deeper into the Internal work that is being done with these movements. In most classes everyone is compromising so that they stay in step with the teacher and the other students. The teacher is compromising in order that the students can do the Qigong without forcing their breathing too much.

In order to focus on where you want to move the Qi, and listen to the effect that the particular movement is having on you Internally you need a quiet body and mind. You spend a lot of time perfecting Wuij and the other stances to do this. So there you are with your quiet body and mind….. or are you? In a class situation there can often be too many distractions to count.

Qigong is not a group activity. It is a solo activity where the practitioner follows their respiration, whether it is fast or slow, and it is the speed of this that dictates the speed of movement. Some movements are large and this dictates faster movement while others are small with slower movement. The respiration remains the same but the speed of varies according to the size of the movement.

The benefits of learning online

learn Qigong online. The Five Elements Dance.
#trueqigong #fiveelementsdance

Less distraction, more focus, working at your own pace, in your own environment, only hearing the teacher……… These are some of the positive things that I have found. I also think that there is a higher probability of online students taking their Qigong seriously and practicing through the week rather than just doing the one, or two, sessions at the classes they attend.

As the feedback from the classes has been so positive and uplifting, I intend to continue to reach out to those who are serious about attaining Qigong because you can learn Qigong online………….. and I will enjoy every minute of it!

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

I’m on my soapbox

I’m on my soapbox……….. Why? Well it is something that affects me directly as I sell my Qigong courses online and I am being ripped off. I have just seen a sickening example of this from a course I have on Udemy. The course sells at £64.99 but by the time that Udemy and third party sellers have taken their slice I have been paid $2.14 and that is a whopping £1.71 before currency conversion charges.

Each time you buy through the Google Store, ITunes, etc. you are handing them the profit and often handing the seller a loss.

Say, for example that you were selling an item that cost you $100.00 dollars to produce and you had a mark up of 30%. The cost to the buyer would be $130.00. Each time you sell, from your website you have a gross profit of £30.00

Now if your item is sold via the Google Store, or through ITunes, the story is different and here is how it pans out. Google Store and ITunes take an immediate 30% off the top. 30% of $130.00 is $39.00 and that leaves you with a loss of $9.00 on every sale that goes through them. They get $39.00 for f**k all!

Ok, so I can hear you thinking “Why are you letting them sell your product if it causes you to make a loss?” The simple answer is that they do not ask for permission and they will just keep doing it no matter how many times you ask them to stop. They are a law unto themselves and that is why their owners are billionaires.

The same applies to Just Eat, etc. Do you think that they provide their “service” free of charge? How long do you think it will take before your favourite carry out is no longer available because the majority of their custom is coming via Just Eat and the business is no longer financially viable?  Get on the phone directly, or use the restaurant website, and stop giving money to these companies. Is it any harder to order over the phone?

PLEASE STOP BUYING MY COURSES VIA THIRD PARTIES. Please buy them from pro-holistic!

If you value the person, or the company, that is selling you something online, please don’t buy via either of these………… or any other third party. Go direct to the seller.

Makko Ho Exercises Online Course – enliven your Qi (Ki)

Makko Ho Exercises Online Course

#onlinemakkoho #makkoho #trueqigong

Our Makko Ho exercises online course teaches this self healing technique. Makko Ho means “the practice of facing things” and the exercises originally developed from temple prostration practice by the Japanese yoga teacher, Nagai Wataru, in the 1930s. They were then further developed by Shizuto Masunaga, the founder of the shiatsu massage system that I practice.

The Makko Ho work by allowing the practitioner to both sedate and tonify the meridians through specific stretches that were developed to improve the flow of Qi. There is a stretch for each pair of meridians and, as they are based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, they should be done in the sequence taught (i.e. Metal, Earth, Primary Fire, Water, Secondary Fire, and Wood). Begin the Makko Ho exercises by grounding yourself through relaxed, regulated, abdominal breathing, while you focus on centring the Qi within the Dan Tien. The Japanese name for this area is known as the Hara. Keep centred throughout the exercise. It is important that you settle into the stretches on exhalation and that nothing is forced. Hold each stretch as you inhale, being aware of tension (whether through excess or deficiency) that you feel along the meridian path. Do not force yourself into positions that you find uncomfortable – pain is not the goal, letting go of tension is. As with Qigong exercises, the emphasis with the Makko Ho is not so much on the physical stretch but on opening up and moving the Qi (Ki). It is therefore vital that you focus on the breathing and that you are aware of the changes going on within you during each stretch – this includes physical, emotional, and consciousness (Body, Mind, Spirit).

Makko Ho Exercises Online Course Details

The Makko Ho Exercises | Udemy This course includes

  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 13 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion

Further details can be found in the free previews

The Earth stretches from the Makko Ho exercises
#trueqigong

Discount price: £19.99 (Normally £39.99)
Purchase, using the link below, before 27/11/2021 and get one month free access to one of our online classes (Terms and Conditions).
The course is hosted on the Udemy learning website and is covered by the Udemy lifetime access guarantee.
Book here – The Makko Ho Exercises online course

This course includes:
2 hours on-demand video
1 article
4 downloadable resources
Full lifetime access (covered by the Udemy lifetime access guarantee)
Access on mobile and TV
Certificate of Completion

Recent reviews from our courses

  • “This is my second course with Master Des Lawton and I am still amazed at the amount of information and detailed explanations. At first , I was a bit lost at not having any cueing for the follow-me portions of the course and my neck was getting sore trying to follow.. But then I realized that if I followed the rhythm of my own breath .. it was a whole lot easier to internalize the instructions . A few times I just was not sure I was doing it right. .. So I went back to the instruction video and paid closer attention .. It is really helpful to have a short instruction video for each of the movements. So much better than trying to find the right spot on a 20 or 30 minutes lecture. Thank you for your knowledge and a well constructed course Cordially, 🙂 Lorraine”
  • “Very clear, detailed, and thorough. And good for my health.” K.L.
  • “Well explained. I would have liked more input concerning people with difficulties. – Perhaps in another course! ; )” S.P.
  • “It was a great discovery to me.” I.A.

More reviews below

What Will I Learn?

The course covers all six exercises as well as any alternatives. It also covers all the compensation exercises.

Students’ Questions

Question from Julia

Tonifying and sedating Qi in the Meridian channels
Hello,

Thank you for your lessons on the Makko Ho stretches.

As an acupuncture practitioner I will be recommending these exercises to my clients to maintain and balance the energy in their Channels between treatments.

Do these stretches both tonify and sedate the energy? It can be common to see clients with deficient spleen Qi but excessive stomach Qi, would the earth stretches balance both at the same time?

Are there instances where the compensation exercises would be particularly advised or not recommended?

For example would you use them with blocked / excess channels rather than deficient channels?

Answer from Des
Hello Julia, the Makko Ho exercises, like some Qigong, both tonify and sedate the acupuncture points and meridians. In the case of excess the Makko Ho will release and disperse the excess. In the case of deficiency they will attract, build and maintain the Qi. The beauty of them is in their simplicity and their efficiency in bringing harmony and balance throughout the meridian system.

With regard to having excess AND deficiency within the same Element (as in your example of Earth) practice of the Makko Ho will bring balance to that Element. Although I recommend that people practice all of the exercises to bring and maintain balance it is sometimes necessary to tackle any chronic imbalance first. In your example I would initially focus on Wood and Earth, using the Control cycle then advise that the full set is practiced.

The compensation exercises can actually be used in two ways.

  1. They can be used after the Makko Ho stretch to deal with any muscular reaction (discomfort) caused by the stretches. This is the way in which they are normally used.
  2. More importantly (as a therapeutic tool), in the case of known excess in a particular Element, they can be done prior to the stretch. This helps “loosen” stuck Qi, allowing the stretches to redress any imbalance more quickly.

I hope this helps.

Reply from Julia
Hi Des,

Thank you 🙏 You’ve explained everything thoroughly and clearly.

I am looking forward to using and recommending these stretches in my clinic as well as for my own well being.

—————————————–

Question from Gloria

Compensation Exercises
Thank you for sharing these Makko Ho stretches with us!  I do have a question about the Compensation Exercises.  Are these meant as an add-on to supplement the standard sequence, or an easier alternative for those who cannot yet perform the stretch? Can they be used instead of a Makko Ho if we are having difficulty with flexibility?

Answer from Des
The compensation exercises are an add-on to, basically, compensate for the stretching of the muscles. They cannot be used as an alternative to the primary exercises.

The Primary exercises are focused on working with the meridians through the stretching and there are alternatives included that can be used where flexibility is limited.

I hope this helps.

—————————————–

Reviews from our online Qigong

  • “I am so glad I chose this course. It is set at a pace I can work with and each movement clearly explained. The illustrations are helpful and the two views make errors less likely. I also appreciate being able to practise along with the instructor in the sections where the movements are repeated. Des Lawton is an impeccable instructor.”
  • “Very informative and deeper than anything I have yet come across. This is what I have been looking for: a more in depth approach. I thank you!”
  • “A great Teacher of Qigong, it was a privilege to take this course! I could feel the Qi moving while performing each exercise. Quick response to questions asked, much appreciated! I look forward to taking more courses in the future. Humble thanks!”
  • “Excellent instructor! Beautiful material!”
  • “I have been doing qigong and taichi for years, and I find the course simple and at the same time meticulous. Structured in a simple way to learn and at the time for thanks to the different sections.”
  • “Great class this my third video with Des,I always learn something.”
  • “Really enjoyed course. Have been meditating on the eight exceptional vessels for awhile and now having the movements to work with as well is ‘exceptional’ . Thank You.”
  • “Loved the flow of these exercises and the feeling of peace as I carried them out. Found the focus points after the exercises particularly helpful. Thank you for another great course!”
  • “The course is easy to follow, and the instructions are clear and detailed. I also like the instructor’s style of teaching.”
  • “Excellent explanation of the subtleties of wu ji. I felt an immediate shift while practicing under the guidance in this video. Alot of these subtleties are overlooked, but here they are explained with great clarity. Thank you for creating this course!”
  • “Clear instruction and demonstrations. Feel the chi when do the movements. Each movement has multiple parts. Plenty of follow along repetitions and tips to get the patterns. Thanks.”

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

The Five Spirits that make us human – Taoist belief

The Five Spirits

In Chinese tradition there are Five Spirits that, together, make us human. The Shen (consciousness), the Yi (reasoning mind, the brain), the Po (the body), the Zhi (willpower), and the Hun (ethereal soul). Each has its own role in making us human.

The Shen 神

  • Is the human spirit, the consciousness.
    • It is our higher self, beyond the brain, beyond ego, non-judgmental, the source of true wisdom.
    • The quality of our Shen governs our awareness.
    • It can be seen in the energy flowing through our eyes.
    • One indication of balanced Shen is clear, sparkling and receptive eyes.
    • When the Shen is healthy, the awareness and perception is high.
    • Resides in the Heart.

The Yi 意

the five spirits of Taoism
#trueqigong
  • Is the cognitive, reasoning, mind. It is the brain.
    • It is the intellect.
    • It is involved in planning, thought and reasoning.
    • It is the capacity for conceptual thought.
    • Unbalanced, it can manifest as internal chatter.
    • Balanced, it manifests as intelligence and understanding.
    • Resides in the spleen

The Po 魄

  • Is described as “body spirit”, or “animal spirit”. The corporeal soul.
    • It is the physical vitality.
    • It tends to be associated with our immediate or more fleeting desires.
    • The Po keeps the physical body alive.
    • The Po is still present when someone is brain dead, or in a coma.
    • When it departs, the body is dead.
    • Resides in the Lung.

The Zhi (Jing) 志

  • This is the willpower.
    • It is the function of the Zhi that allows us to carry out the actions that originate in the Yi. “When intent Yi 意 ) becomes permanent, we speak of will (Zhi 志 ). “
    • It provides the perseverance needed for successful spiritual practice.
    • In Taoism, the Zhi is needed in order for the practitioner to harmonize with the Tao.
    • Resides in the Kidney

The Hun 魂

  • Is often described as the human soul (not quite in the same way as seen by Judaic religions, etc.).
    • It is the spirit that detaches during dreams. This movement of the Hun is often experienced as the feeling of floating up, down, or to the side and is sometimes accompanied by the physical body jolting, or twitching.
    • It is the essence of humans that persists after physical death.
    • Resides in the Liver.

The Five Spirits and more

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Online Shibashi Qigong classes – Learn the Shibashi at home

Online Shibashi Qigong for experienced practitioners

Our online Shibashi Qigong classes (Zoom) include five days of on-demand viewing where you can use the recording of each class to further your practice.
You can join this class at any point in the block on a pro rata basis. Beginners are also welcome but I recommend that you do our Basic Shibashi course (Udemy) and learn the stances and the basic movements first.

Shibashi Plus

As we delve deeper into the Internal workings of these Qigong we will also be working with sets such as The Ten Fundamental Treasures and comparing the Internal effects. If you are serious about learning true Qigong this is where you need to be.

Feedback from the class

  • Great session tonight just wanted to let you know when doing pushing the diagonals in wuji focussing on Heart Governor, the practice just took over on its own like autopilot! Could have carried on, it seemed, for ages. Sensation was terrific the arms felt very very heavy and it was as if I was pushing through a heavy silk curtain. I could definitely feel the sensation in each arm by projection from the other hand, as you say. Each heart governor point was a colour of yellow/orange swirling cw in rhs and ccw in the left, or so it seemed to me. And I could sense the sinking of the Qi in the legs, too.
    Thanks so much Des.
    Kind regards, RH

Intermediate and Advanced class

  • This class is not suitable for beginners.
  • Next block: 10 session block commencing Wednesday 22nd September till Wednesday 24th November 2021.
  • You can join the current block at any time on a pro rata basis (paying for the remaining classes in the block). Please contact us if you wish to do this.

I was asked to set up an online Shibashi Qigong course. Asked…………. more like pressurised! The lock down from the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted me to take action and the class is a roaring success! Are you interested in joining us? Would any of your friends like to take part? Pass the word, share the link, just let people know about it.

Online Shibashi Qigong
#trueqigong #shibashi

In this class we do not go through the entire set each lesson. We explore and compare individual exercises, or work with a particular Element, or change the Element that an exercise uses (eg. Pushing to the Diagonals can be performed as a Metal Qigong or as a Secondary Fire Qigong), and a whole lot more. What you will be taught is the 18 Posture Taiji Qigong (the Shibashi) as true Qigong. You will be taught the proper focus and Listening that makes these exercises Qigong, without that focus they are no more than physical movements.

The basic movements are relatively easy to learn in an aerobic manner. But to get the most out of the Shibashi other things are needed………patience, practice and experience. With the help of an experienced teacher (with knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Meridian system) they can be taught over a 10 week course. This should include the listening skills that will allow you to experience the Qi flowing, turning aerobics into true Qigong.

Once this basic level has been reached, it is through constant, focused, practice that the real work begins. In these classes we look the ways that these exercises can be enhanced and altered Internally with changes in focus and, in some cases, a subtle change in the physical movement.

The classes will be taught on the Zoom conferencing platform. Please note that the video recording from Zoom is lower quality than the live stream.

Check out the reviews from the online courses that we have on Udemy. They will give you an insight into the calibre of tuition.

Next 10-session block

Next block starts on Wednesday 22/9/2021 and runs till 24/11/2021
Times – 19:00 till 20:00 London
Recordings – On-demand viewing for the five days following each class.
Cost – £70.00 You can join the block at any time on a pro rata basis (paying for the remaining classes in the block). Please contact us if you wish to do this.

Once payment has been received we will send you out a registration link for the class. On completion of registration, you will receive an email, from Zoom, containing the class URL, Meeting ID and the password for the block booked.

Shibashi Qigong online classes

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Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Online Qigong Classes – Learn Qigong at home

Online Qigong Classes - Working with the Yin Meridians - Fire
#trueqigong #onlineqigong #DesLawton

Online Qigong Classes

Our online classes now include five days of on-demand viewing where you can use the recording of each class to further your practice.

We took the decision to create online Qigong classes because of the onslaught of the Covid-19 virus and the lock down that has been, necessarily, imposed by governments. The idea was that they can help to keep you active, healthy, and maybe stop you getting cabin fever. However, as the positive feedback has been overwhelming, we will be keeping them as a regular feature…………. and will be adding more online classes.

Each of the classes commenced with a different set of Qigong but eventually each class will have covered all of the Qigong on the syllabus. On the next block we will be covering: –

  • Tuesday at 09:00 – Using Connecting Heaven and Earth and Change the Sinews as Eight Exceptional Vessels Qigong. Working with the Five Elements: The Five Taoist Yin, Connecting Heaven and Earth, Change the Sinews (from the Ten Fundamental Treasures), the Sun and the Moon (from the Embroidered Brocade).
  • Wednesday at 19:00 – The Taiji Shibashi for intermediate and advanced practitioners. Listening to the effects that each exercise has on the meridian system and working with variations that alter the Primary meridian pair that is being worked on. Comparing the Shibashi with other Qigong that work with the same meridians.
  • Thursday at 18:45 – Working with the Orbits (Microcosmic and Macrocosmic), listening to their flow as we increase our awareness of the Qi through the use of the Shen.

Our Qigong classes include: –

  • The Shibashi (The 18 Posture Taiji Qigong)
  • The Five Taoist Yin
  • The Eight Exceptional Vessels
  • The Ten Fundamental Treasures
  • Connecting Heaven and Earth
  • The Four Shen
  • The Embroidered Brocade
  • The Ba Duan Jin
  • Dao Yin – Opening the Energy Gates

Tuesday – Online Qigong Classes details: –

Next 4-week block

Next block starts on Tuesday 12/10/2021 and runs till 02/11/2021

In this block: The Eight Exceptional Vessels and The Five Elements.
Times – 09:00 till 10:00 London
Recordings – On-demand viewing for the five days following each class.
Cost – £20.00 (£5.00 per class on a four-week block basis). You can join the block at any time on a pro rata basis (paying for the remaining classes in the block). Please contact us if you wish to do this.

Book hereTuesday morning Qigong

Once payment has been received we will send you out a registration link for the class, or classes. On completion of registration, you will receive an email, from Zoom, containing the class URL, Meeting ID and the password for each block booked.

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Wednesday – Online Shibashi Classes details: –

Next block starts on Wednesday 22/09/2021 and runs till 24/11/2021
Times – 19:00 till 20:00 London
Recordings – On-demand viewing for the five days following each class.
Cost – £70.00 You can join the block at any time on a pro rata basis (paying for the remaining classes in the block). Please contact us if you wish to do this.

Full details of this class Online Shibashi Qigong

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Thursday – Online Qigong Classes details: –

Feedback from this class – Shen Experiences

Next 4-week block

Next block starts Thursday 14/10/2021 and runs till 04/11/2021

In this block: The Microcosmic Orbit and the Macrocosmic Orbit.
Times 
– 18:45 till 19:45 London
Recordings – On-demand viewing for the five days following each class.
Cost – £5.00 per class on a four-week block basis. You can join the block at any time on a pro rata basis (paying for the remaining classes in the block). Please contact us if you wish to do this.

Book hereThursday evening Qigong

Once payment has been received we will send you out a registration link for the class, or classes. On completion of registration, you will receive an email, from Zoom, containing the class URL, Meeting ID and the password for each block booked.

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Interested in Qigong? Why not join the San Bao Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – sanbaoschool.co.uk/community

Qigong for Hypertension – Lower your blood pressure

I work with true Qigong and the reason that I created this Qigong for Hypertension video course is that as part of my Shiatsu practice I prescribe appropriate Qigong for Hypertension sufferers. Each of them has told me that they have benefited from practicing these exercises. Not everyone has access to a Shiatsu practitioner, or can afford regular treatment sessions, but most now have access to the internet.

Qigong for Hypertension

#trueqigong #medicinalqigong #hypertension

In this course you will learn five of the Qigong exercises I prescribe and teach for the alleviation of Hypertension, although normally not all at the one time. In Traditional Chinese Medicine there are many recognized triggers for Hypertension and each Qigong exercise in this course deals with a different trigger. This means that, as a therapist, I determine the trigger (or triggers) and prescribe the appropriate Qigong. However, I cannot do this within a course but what I can do is teach you five Qigong in the knowledge that at least one of them is going to have a beneficial impact. In fact they will all be beneficial but at least one of them will be working on the Hypertension.

At the end of the course you will have all the Qigong tools necessary to lower your blood pressure and, through continued practice, keep it low. Each exercise has two videos. The first is the tuition video where all of the focus points are highlighted along with the movements. The second is a follow me video. There is also a follow me video of the entire sequence.

Qigong for Hypertension – Reviews

  • “I absolutely loved this course and it covered just what I was looking for in depth and clarity. The content and explanations were perfect for my level. I definitely look forward to taking more of Desmond Lawton’s classes.” A.H.
  • “The course is well divided into segments that are easy to digest. and to refer to. There is a lot of information and tips and guidance. I already went through it once. and started practicing on my own. After a week, I found that I had some questions about certain postures, It was easy to go back to the specific video and listen to it again .:) Thank you again. and again.” L.R.

Qigong for Hypertension – The Benefits

As well as the benefits for dealing with hypertension I have included some of the other benefits that can be gained from practicing these Qigong. The five exercises in this set each work on different pair of meridians. In Traditional Chinese Medicine these meridians are grouped into five qualities. These are known as the Five Elements. In additition to the five exercises, Wuji stance also has a beneficial effect.

  • Exercise 1 works with Kidney meridian, Heart meridian and Heart Governor meridian.
    Heart 7 reduces hypertension and helps to calm stress, anxiety and irritability.
    Heart Governor 6 is another important acupuncture point for the treatment high blood pressure. It aids the proper functioning of the heart and the circulatory system.  The benefits include relieving anxiety, nausea, and motion sickness.
  • Exercise 2 works with the Stomach meridian and the Spleen meridian.  It can be used to treat hypertension and circulatory disorders.  It rejuvenates the Qi and the blood as well as treating digestive disorders, general weakness, lower leg pain, PMS symptoms and insomnia.
  • Exercise 3 works with the Large Intestine meridian and can help reduce Hypertension. Further benefits include relieving toothache in the upper jaw, eye problems, tension headaches and sinus problems.
  • Exercise 4 disperses any Qi that is stuck in Gall Bladder. Gall Bladder 20 is one of the more potent acupuncture points for high blood pressure treatment. This Qigong also alleviates headaches, neck pain, shoulder and upper back pain and neck tension.
  • Exercise 5. Hypertension is closely connected to blockages, or sluggishness, in Liver meridian. This Qigong also helps alleviate eye problems, menstrual issues, nausea and vomiting, indigestion, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.

Booking onto the course

Further details can be found in the free previews

Discount price: £15.99 (Normally £34.99). Offer ends 27/11/2021
The course is hosted on the Udemy learning website and is covered by the Udemy lifetime access guarantee.
Book here
– Qigong for High Blood Pressure

Questions asked about these Qigong exercises

Q: Sequence of the exercises
Hello dear Mr Lawton,

I really enjoyed the course and I am trying to do the exercises every morning.

My first question would be does  the order of the exercises matter?   Or can I do them in the order I remember them ?

Second inquiry …  I find I have several little “waiting times” during my day.  Waiting for the kettle to boil, or for the dryer to finish its cycle,  waiting for this and that. I thought I could put these waiting period to good use and practice some Qi Gong.   Is it better to do all the exercises only once or twice.. or to do only one exercise for several repetitions ?

Thank you again for your help and your time.  I really , really enjoy your courses and your accent 🙂  

Wishing you a glorious day, L.R.

A: Hello L,

No, the order does not really matter so you can do them in the order you choose. This order may change as your Shen (consciousness) guides you rather than your brain…………… Use your intuition.

On your second question………… Anyone who has taken part in my Qigong classes will tell you that I often refer to my “Waiting for the kettle to boil” Qigong. It is often the case that these, short and spontaneous, Qigong are more beneficial than practicing at a particular time habitually.

When you use these “waiting times” save some of it to just stand and listen to your body and your energy. Your brain might not be able to make head or tail of what is happening but your Shen does. Then you will have more of the intuitive guidance about what exercise you should be doing next time.

I hope that this is of help. Enjoy your Qigong. Des

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Further reading about Qigong for Hypertension

The therapies provided by Pro Holistic are of a Complementary nature. You are advised, in the first instance, to consult a medical practitioner in order that you receive a medical diagnosis. Self-diagnosis is not recommended and internet-based advice is no substitute for a face-to-face visit with a medical practitioner.

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Opening the Kua – Some Simple Exercises

The word Kua means gate and within Qigong and Taiji it refers to the energy gates that are located throughout the body (in the joints, between the vertebrae, etc). The one that is mentioned most and referred to simply as the Kua are the hip crease gates. This is rather like the Lower Dantien being referred to as the Dantien when there are actually three of them.

Opening the Kua

#trueqigong #neigong #daoyin

If you practice Qigong it is always beneficial to practice these exercises for opening the Kua (along with the stimulation of some of the acupuncture points, prior to doing your Qigong (Neigong, Dao Yin, etc.) exercises.

The sequence for opening the Kua starts with Wuiji stance, working from the feet upwards. However, the gates do not always open in this order and some of those higher up in the body may open before those below them. Attaining this posture, by starting at the feet and working towards the crown, will eventually open all of the associated gates.

We then move on to opening some of the other gates in the torso, as well as those in the arms, by doing the loosening exercises. There are various loosening exercises used by Taiji & Qigong lineages but they are all there to perform the same function.

Wuji Stance: –

  • The Bubbling Spring – KD 1
  • The Ankle gates
  • The Knee gates
  • The Hip gates
  • The Chest Centre gate – Ren Mai 17
  • The Spirit Pathway gate – Du Mai 11
  • The Shoulder Nest gate
  • The Armpit gate
  • The Palace of Wind gate – Du Mai 16
  • Heavenly Prominence gate – Ren Mai 22
  • The Hundred Meetings gate – Du Mai 20

ADDING TO THOSE OPENED BY WUIJI STANCE

Sinking forward and backward with relaxed arms: –

  • The Shoulder Nest gates
  • The Centre of the shoulder blade gates
  • Elbow gates
  • The Wrist gates
  • The Finger gates

Wind-milling the arms:-

  • The Shoulder Nest gates
  • The Centre of the Shoulder Blade gates
  • The Armpit gates
  • Elbow gates
  • The Wrist gates
  • The Finger gates

Knocking at the Gates of Vitality: –

  • Ming Men – Du Mai 4
  • Spine Centre gate – Du Mai 6
  • The Shoulder Nest gates
  • The Centre of the Shoulder Blade gates
  • Elbow gates
  • The Wrist gates
  • The Finger gates

Opening the Gates (Hip Kua): –

  • The Pelvis gates
  • Ming Men – Du Mai 4
  • Spine Centre gate – Du Mai 6
  • The Shoulder Nest gates
  • The Centre of the Shoulder Blade gates
  • The Elbow gates
  • The Wrist gates
  • The Finger gates

Closing [Folding] the Gates (Hip Kua): –

  • The Pelvis gates
  • Ming Men – Du Mai 4
  • Spine Centre gate – Du Mai 6
  • The Shoulder Nest gates
  • The Centre of the Shoulder Blade gates
  • The Elbow gates
  • The Wrist gates
  • The Finger gates

Opening the Spine: –

  • Ming Men – Du Mai 4
  • Spine Centre gate – Du Mai 6
  • The Spirit Pathway gate – Du Mai 11
  • Wind Palace Gate – Du Mai 16
  • The Hundred Meetings gate – Du Mai 20
  • All of the minor gates along the length of the spine

The Sequence

Opening the Kua
#trueqigong #neigong #daoyin

Online course of the exercises for opening the Kua

I am currently working on this and it should be available by mid April. Information on all of our other, online, Qi (Ki) exercises courses can be found here – Online Qigong courses

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

Questions about the Eight Exceptional Vessels Qigong

Questions about the Eight Exceptional Vessels Qigong
#trueqigong #DesLawton #SBqigong #exceptionalvessels

Over the decades I have had the opportunity to answer many questions about the Qigong that I teach, including questions about the Eight Exceptional Vessels (AKA the Extraordinary Meridians) Qigong that have been asked by my students. I’m sure that there are plenty of other questions out there and that some practitioners may already be asking some of the same questions so I thought that it would be a good idea to add them to the Pro Holistic blog. That should, in theory at least, give practitioners who are not my direct students the chance to find the answers that they seek. If you have a question, or can add to an answer, please use the comments box.

Questions about the Eight Exceptional Vessels

Question from Steven

Repetitions & Pauses to Listen to the Qi?
Could you kindly remind me of the traditional way to practice the entire set of movements i.e. Is there a recommended number of repetitions as per Shibashi (6 times for the majority and 12 for 3 of the movements)?
Also, is it generally okay, (or even recommended) to stop at any chosen place and just listen to the Qi?
Thank you very much. I really am enjoying how the set is unfolding for me when I practice it.

Answer from Des
As with all Qigong, I do not recommend counting the number of repetitions. Just practice until you feel like stopping, or moving to another exercise. If you are counting you are not focused on the Qigong.

Once familiar with the exercises you should be listening to the Qi throughout. Think about it like driving a car………….. you are inside the car, in control of the car, but your awareness must also be outside in order to drive safely. With listening it is not about safety (but that is also a reason for listening). As a beginner it is easier to listen before and after so that any differences can be observed.

As an advanced practitioner, you can stop and listen without losing the thread of the exercise. Indeed, there should always be a pause that is just long enough to acknowledge the triggering/opening of the Master and Coupled points in the feet.

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Question from George

How to perform entire set ?
So, I have learned all 3 exercises. Do we practice thw entire set of exercises by doing 1,2,3 in succession and then repeating that 8 times in a row or do we perfom exercise 1 eight times followed by exercise 2 8x in a row and then 3 8x in a row?  Is it like heaven and earth where we do the entire sequence and then just repeat that ?

Answer from Des
Hello George,
As they were all developed to do the same job, you can do these Qigong individually and do not need to do them as a set.
I usually recommend, to my students, that they practice one exercise a day (with eight, focused, repetitions). By working in this manner it helps to maintain real focus during the Qigong. It also allows you to note the subtle differences.

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Question from Willem

Good day,
is there a comparison between this course and the 8 Brocades?
regards,
Willem

Answer from Des

Hello Willem,
The 8 Brocades works with the 12 Meridians (Heart, Small Intestine,Heart Governor, Triple Warmer, Spleen, Stomach, Lung, Large Intestine, Kidney, Bladder, Liver & Gall Bladder). These vessels can be likened to streams, or rivers.
The Eight Exceptional Vessels enhances the Qi in the Extraordinadry Meridians (Governing Vessel, Conception  Vessel, Bridge Yin Vessel, Bridge Yang Vessel, Thrusting Vessel, Belt Vessel, Yin Linking Vessel & Yang Linking Vessel). These vessels can be likened to storage reservoirs.

Regards
Des

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Question from Vinay

Hello Master,
Excellent course.Have a few questions (please dont mind it might be silly questions). From India and concept of Chi is unheard still.

1. Am currently doing exercise 1, how many minutes a day should i do it?
2. Do you recommend learning one  by one , or first learn all three of them.
3. I am currently focusing on the point when you refer to chi how is to feel (heat in the point etc).

Regards
VInay 

Answer from Des

Hello Vinay,
It is good to hear from you.  One thing that I have learned on this journey is that, if they exist, I have asked very many silly questions about Qigong.  Were my questions silly?  On reflection, I now realise that each was necessary for my growth. So, don’t be shy………… ask as many questions as you need to.
Remember that Qi is just a word. It is the Chinese word for the energy that is named “Prana” in India.

Q.  Am currently doing exercise 1, how many minutes a day should I do it?
A.  To begin with you will be concentrating on the sequence and in this type of practice you can take 15 minutes, or so. Once you have progressed beyond that point and you start to focus on activating the points and “listening” to the Qi. I would, normally, only repeat each exercise about eight times.

Q.  Do you recommend learning one by one, or first learn all three of them?
A.  In a live class I would teach exercises 1 & 2, letting the student become intimate with them before teaching exercise 3.  However, in a course (Where I only get to work with the students over one or two days) I would teach all three.  The main point is that there is no rush, no cutting corners, and that the student has to learn at their own pace.

Q.  I am currently focusing on the point when you refer to chi how is to feel (heat in the point etc).
A.  The experience of Qi (how it manifests) is different in each of us, different within each exercise (dependent on what Element is being worked), different within an environment. These qualities will only be truly appreciated if you “listen” (be passively aware……. not reaching out for, or expecting, a particular sensation). During any Qigong you should focus on the areas, or points, that the particular exercise requires…………….. Then (To begin with, this is easier after you have completed the exercise) be still, be quiet, and “listen” to what your body/mind is telling you. It is then that you will experience the vastness of Qi.  It is then that you will find the difficulty of expressing those experiences in words.

I hope that this helps.
Des

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Question from Jeni

Not getting stuck just not sure how you listen to Qi. I can feel the Qi but I certainly can’t hear it or I am not sure how to listen to it?

Answer from Des

Hello Jeni,
Listening Jing (Listening to Qi) involves passive awareness.  By that, I mean that you are, tangibly, aware of the Qi and paying attention to what it is doing……………. what you are experiencing.
One method that I use to help students understand what this means is that I get them to imagine that they are standing in the middle of a forest, Standing silently and still…………… That is when the forest becomes alive with sounds, with smells, with observation of the flora and fauna.  If you go tramping about, making lots of noise, you trample the flora and scare off the fauna.

During Qigong there are two processes being used with Qi.
1. One is to direct the Qi (using the movements, focus, etc.).
2. The other is being quiet, having no input, not tramping about and reaching out to “feel” it. Initially this is done after performing an exercise but with experience you can “listen” to the effect as you do any Qigong.

The Active (moving) Qigong exercise is the cause……………. Take time, in stillness, to be aware of but not disturbing the effect. The quieter your body/mind the more you will experience. 
If you always feel Qi in the same way it is probably because your mind is moulding it in that fashion.  In that case you are not “listening” you are reaching out, having input,and shaping the result.

I hope that this goes some way to explain what “listening” means.

Reply from Jeni

This was really helpful. Thanks


Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.

Qigong – a personal insight into what Qigong means to me.

Over the past three decades, plus, my personal insight of Qigong is has changed over the years. It has done so because my experience and understanding have both grown and have come to understand what my Master meant when he talked about being a “Qi man”.
(I am sticking with Qigong and deliberately not mentioning the many other names that are used to describe what is now referred to as Qigong. There are many spelling variants – Qigong, Qi Gong, Chi Gong, Chi Kung.)

Qigong – a personal insight.

Qigong – a personal insight

I will start by explaining what Qigong isn’t. This has long been a bugbear of mine and I am sure that my students are fed up of hearing this…………… Qigong is not the act of physical movement no matter how beneficial that physical movement is. Ask any prospective teacher what is happening Internally during these movements. Do not accept vague answers that talk about colours, smiles, or generalisations. If they cannot answer it means they either do not know, or they are withholding the information. Either way they are no use to you as a teacher.

It is only when Qi is involved that it becomes a Qigong exercise. To be a true Qigong exercise you use various tools to guide the Qi, to be tangibly aware of the movement of the Qi and to appreciate the changes that have occurred as a result.

  • In Active Qigong we use the stance, the movement, the breath, the eyes, the focus and Listening Jing.
  • In Passive Qigong we use posture, the focus and Listening Jing.

However, this is still not Qigong!

There are almost as many definitions on the Internet as there are styles. Here are a few that I gleaned within five minutes of searching: “life-energy cultivation”, “energy work”, “internal work”, “mastery of your energy”, “vital energy skill cultivated through steady practice”. The last of these comes closest, in my opinion, to the truth. Qigong exercises are just that…………. they are exercises that, given years of diligent practice, can lead to the practitioner attaining Qigong. Attaining “vital energy skill cultivated through steady practice”.

Qigong is an achievement that is earned through the practice of true Qigong exercises and the guidance, where available, of someone who has attained that level. It is not something you will achieve by merely attending a one-hour class every week

Some of our true Qigong courses

Interested in Qigong? Why not join the San Bao Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – sanbaoschool.co.uk/community