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Principles of Qi-gong Practice

Principles of Qi-gong Practice

There are certain basic features which are essential to qi-gong regardless of the form or school.

Being natural and relaxed
During practice, it is most important to keep the body and mind relaxed and peaceful. However, relaxation does not mean slackness or inattentiveness. Instead, it refers to a balance between tension and suppleness dominated by the conscious mind. The mind and body are comfortable and aligned.
Integrating the dynamic and the static
"Dynamic" and "static" are two general terms used to differentiate qi-gong practices. Methods that require limb and body movements are categorized as dynamic qi-gong. Qi-gong methods that require little or no physical movement are categorized as static qi-gong. When qi-gong practice attains a certain degree, a static qi-gong practitioner can induce the qi moving vigorously, yet the physical body keeps in stillness. In contrast, a dynamic qi-gong practitioner has vigorous movements, but he keeps a steady calm qi moving.
Dan Tian is a region that is able to store and generate qi according to TCM theory.
Upper void and lower repletion
This means keeping the upper part of body fully relaxed and empty, but the lower part of body is in a relatively tense and concrete state. For example, when the mind concentrates on the dan-tian, more qi flows to the region and it becomes the center of the body. It leads to a more steady posture and facilitates the practice to be sustained.
The mind directing the qi flow
The mind (mental activity) is trained to influence the qi activity (both breathing and internal qi movement), but one should not put undue emphasis on either side. In other words, the breath is an involuntary activity under normal circumstances, when entering a quiet state, the breath will follow the tranquilized mind to be slower and softer; and the internal qi movement will follow as well. Changes develop by a natural and gradual process. Excessive emphasis on the mind is less effective. The final goal is to reach a state of outer stillness and inner motion, which promotes self control and body potential.
Concurrent active exercising and cultivation of energy
Qi-gong practice and cultivating vigor or energy are done alternately to promote each other. To achieve quality training, a practitioner not only focuses on modifying and enhancing the skills but also on replenishing the depleted energy to reserve the attained state. That means qi-gong is not practiced through to the end with one form of exercise, sometimes appropriate alternate forms of technique are employed.
Proceeding step by step
Qi-gong should be practiced in an orderly way. It is not advisable to practice beyond one's ability or to overdo it. The practice should be allowed to develop and progress naturally and at its own pace. Never force it or strive for quick results, proper duration and degree of the qi-gong state are the turning points for higher levels of achievement.