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QI GONG

Qi Gong is fundamentally divided into two distinct categories: EXTERNAL Qi Gong and INTERNAL Qi Gong. The words Qi Gong mean Energy (Qi) Working (Gong).

EXTERNAL QI GONG

External Qi Gong is the therapeutic application of Healing Qi, channeled by the experienced practitioner. Equipped with a deep understanding of the Five Elements and Yin-Yang premises, this Healing art allows me to remove obstructions, dispel blockages and harmonise the internal organs system, which is our core and foundation, as well as promoting or re-establishing a profound experience of mind-body connection. Known as Qi Nei Zang (sometimes spelled Chi Nei Tsang) and Jing Therapy, this modalities are only practiced by a handful of people and it is of the utmost importance that the practitioner has mastered a specific Traditional Qi Gong style, is extremely versed in all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is totally invested in living a very clean and sustainable life dedicated to Healing and self development. Go to this page for more information on external Qi Gong.

INTERNAL QI GONG

I primarily practice and teach traditional Five Elements Qi Gong (Wu Xing Qi Gong), the most fundamental and alchemical form of 'Internal Qi Gong'. Formulated by ancient Taoist Masters and only passed down to select students, its origins are lost in time, its only concerns the health, quality of life and longevity of the practitioner. Traditional Qi Gong has evolved over the eons to give birth to most subsequent styles, including its much more commonly known martial aspect: Tai Chi Quan. In a nutshell, Five Elements Qi Gong can be defined as a complete system of self healing.

The exercises are not only aimed at freeing the natural flow of Qi through the meridians (Vital Energy pathways in the body), but even more so at its cultivation and, consequentially, the increase of both one's health and longevity. The attainment of our full potential, particularly in relation to our health and quality of life, is of paramount importance...a consistent and continued Qi Gong practice is a daily investment towards this goal! The practice should be based on the traditional 'Three Regulations' (San Tiao). These are:

* Tiao Shen - the regulation of the body by way of observing relaxed, comfortable and correct posture, through all parts and aspects of the practice.

* Tiao Xi - the regulation of the breath by way of observing simultaneously deep and spontaneous, meaning not forced, breathing, consciously directed at the core of the organism (Dan Tien).

* Tiao Xin - the regulation of the portion of the human Spirit residing in the heart (Shen) by way of observing 'internal peace' at all times, especially during the practice. 

Concentrating on some specific 'points' in the body, located along the meridians, during the practice, guarantees a more positive influence. Qi Gong is practiced, ideally, just before or during sunrise. The more advanced exercises involve the use of the Six Restoring Sounds (Liu Zhi Je) and of Spontaneous Movement (Zhe Fa Gong). Being very 'powerful', Qi Gong should be learned and practiced, until familiarity and adequate prowess with the exercises is reached, under the guidance and supervision of an experienced teacher. Qi Gong practice eventually allows direct experimentation with the flow of Vital Energy within one's own body, which results in empirical knowledge through personal experience. Until it is entirely integrated and natural, it absolutely needs to be practiced under the supervision of an experienced teacher. This will prevent undesirable issues arising from any incorrect aspect of one's practice.

The term Qi Gong is used for all exercises (about 3300) and different styles that aim at the improvement of Energy circulation in the body. Some such exercises have a purely therapeutic and/or meditative purpose, whilst others, like Tai Chi Chuan, often referred to simply as Tai Chi, are employed as an actual martial art practice. The therapeutic benefits of Qi Gong are widely recognised in China, where it is also an integral part of the treatment protocol for most pathologies, both in hospitals and with privately practicing physicians. There are also a small number of well known and recognised Qi Gong Masters who practice healing techniques (External Qi Gong), on individuals or even groups, through their hands. The traditional classification of Qi Gong exercises is based on the individual's position during the practice. The exercises are thus divided into four 'styles':

* Wo Gong - lying down position

* Zu Gong - sitting position

* Zhang Gong - standing position

* Xing Gong - while in motion (i.e. walking) 

THE THREE SPHERES

Fundamentally, human beings are a sphere existing between the two other 'spheres' of Sky (or Heaven) and Earth. The harmony required to survive, in the middle of the two, is rather precarious and it is maintained by the organism's ability to constantly negotiate its space, at all levels, in relation to the external forces that surround it. Physically, this happens through our posture and we call it balance or equilibrium. Even if it is often taken for granted, given the ease with which most of us manage to stay upright, this is a practice that requires, in order to be perfected, years of continuous exercise and the refined activity of a vast multitude of muscles. This constant exercise, subconsciously involves, above all, the centre/core of the individual, named 'Dan Tien' by the ancient Chinese Taoist Masters. It is the centre of our sphere and, consequentially, the actual meeting point of the two spheres of Sky and Earth, within the individual's field. For the correct practice of Qi Gong, this point is of the utmost importance. The Dan Tien is to be found and elevated into the person's conscience, in order to establish one's harmonious relationship with both the external and the internal universe. It is here that we are to consciously direct our attention, in the continuous research for equilibrium and correct posture. It is here that we are to direct our breath and here that the accumulation and cultivation of Vital Energy occurs, especially in the course of the exercises. Posture is a very intimate concern of which we need to be constantly aware in order to consistently ensure its comfort, relaxation and sustainable reliability during exercise and life in general. 

THE TWO SCHOOLS

Traditional Qi Gong was developed, fundamentally, in two main schools: the Buddhist school and the Taoist school. Both invest a great deal of the initial practice into the development and toning of the abdominal muscles to, eventually, obtain ample movements of the diaphragm, thus allowing a more expansive respiration. The Buddhist school adopts a less complex, more relaxing and generally easier method, which is obviously more appropriate for beginners. Generally, in this instance, the thorax volume increase during the in-breath is achieved by expanding the lower abdomen (where the Dan Tien is found), greatly easing the lowering of the diaphragm. It is only necessary, then, to allow the abdominal muscles to naturally contract in order to empty the lungs. The Taoist school has developed a method that is more complex, but also more complete: the so-called 'pre-natal' or 'inverted' respiration. When inhaling, the muscles of the lower abdomen are contracted, and it is instead the expansion (stretching) of the muscles of the solar plexus that guarantees the lowering of the diaphragm. This method is practiced, especially in certain meditative exercises, in conjunction with the contraction of the perineum and the directing of one's intent to the 'circulation' of Qi through the Ren Mai and Du Mai, two 'extraordinary' meridians, meaning not part of the main twelve meridians that relate to the internal organs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This method, known as 'Celestial Circulation' (Shao Chou Tien), allows the descending flow of Qi, derived from respiration, to reach the Dan Tien and, after potentiating the 'Essence' (Jing) with it, it ascends from Hui Yin (meridian point also known as Ren 1) through the vertebral column all the way to the brain. This is also known as the 'Circulation from the Anterior Heaven of Potential to the Posterior Heaven of Reality/Actuality', and can even be practiced the opposite way around.

 

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