Qigong's workshop January 29, 2014

7:30pm. The room is almost full…of new faces! The Shaolin Kung Fu Training Center opens its doors for its first and free QiQong Seminar! Young adults, parents, men, women of all ages and even a young pregnant woman are among the attendees!

Qigong is often known as the art of breathing and circulating Qi – Vital energy. But rarely known as the internal martial art from which Kung Fu originated.

Most of us in the room have heard about it before, seen people practice it in the parks but seldom practiced it ourselves, spelled it nor pronounced it right the first time! “CHI” “GONG” concept is simple. Its focus is on harmonizing breathing with each movement to reach well-being and good health.

And this is how the seminar starts. After Shifu invites us to form three lines facing him a brief warm up ensues to prevent injuries. The room and body temperature quickly rise up! We are ready to shadow Shifu’s movements on his command and focus on breathing.

The first movements we learn are basic stances: 1. horse stance and 2. bow stance. Those 2 leg positions are basic postures the Qigong practitioner must learn to practice the series of movements that are part of the “8 sessions” also known as Ba Dua Jin in Chinese. This is the first series of movements we practice:

We learn how to breath in as we lift one knee up and arms up in equilibrium on one leg. And breath out as we slowly shift gravity and balance to a Horse position. Like sitting on a horse. Step by step we focus on breathing deep and calm while moving up and down: Inhale arms and legs go up. Exhale arms and legs go down.

While we stay in the same spot, we learn how to change directions from left to right simply rotating on our heels to form a bow stance. Bow stance because the legs form a bow with the floor. Front leg makes a 90 degree angle and back leg stretches straight. Back foot 45 degrees.

As we switch direction: Inhale > the right arm goes up in a half circle above the head while dropping the left arm in a half circle from lower to shoulder level . Exhale > arms come down to the shoulder level while feet turn to face the right side of the room. Same movements apply in opposite direction.

Shifu now invites us to form smaller groups of six or seven. He directs us to execute the 2 stances we just learnt in a continuous exercize from one side of the room to the other. It requires agility to keep balance as we move. Through repetition we slowly feel how breathing can help lead and control each movement.

Continuous practice of those combinations of movements slowly releases tensions. Body muscles and joints slowly nourish themselves on a “fresh, oxygenated blood” now circulating smoothly through. Like a tree with leaves, we bring fresh air to each extremity of our head, arms, legs, fingers and feet. Qiqong links our mind and body.

The full benefits of Qiqong can be expressed in the first and most popular Qigong Series composed of only 8 movements. Shifu decomposes the series movement by movement to ease our learning. As we progress we see the same horse stances and bow stances! To our surprise it took Shifu only 60 minutes to teach us the series!

And to conclude the seminar, shifu asks 3 students including Jennifer - the one pregnant lady - to practice the 5-minute-long series of Rou Quan. The series starts with inhale, the three practitioners move along in one same rhythm. Breathing unifies them. It ends on exhale. This is artful. This is beautiful.

And the large statue of the Buddha in the back only adds serenity to our memorable experience. This is Life! This is Peace! This is Qiqong!
Written by Julien L.  BACK TO EVENTS PAGE

  Photo by Joe Pickard
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