Qi Gong & Meditation
Meditation is training purely for the mind. Students sit with their legs crossed, their back and neck straight and eyes closed. Bring your palms together, holding them on your lap, just below the navel. Students should focus on their breathing, inhaling and exhaling slowly through the nose. The breaths themselves should be regular and quiet. When you catch your mind wandering to other thoughts, you should it back to concentrate on counting these breaths.
Though it may look straight forward, meditation requires discipline and dedication. It can be very hard forcing yourself to sit still and to concentrate. But it is part of learning to focus the mind, to be calm and to think clearly. It is worth meditating even if only for a few minutes but it should be done for fifteen minutes, with a view to building up to longer periods of, say, twenty minutes or half an hour. After meditating the face and head should be massaged and the legs and hips stretched out, to loosen up the body once again.
Qi Gong is practised throughout the world by people of all ages. The Ba Duan Jin, or Eight Treasures, Qi Gong taught at the Shaolin Temple UK is a set of exercises that dates back to the ancient origins of the Shaolin Temple in China. The set comprises gentle movements which provide energy as well as strength and flexibility for the body. Qi Gong is often described as ‘moving meditation’ or indeed Chinese yoga. The practitioner must concentrate his mind on slowly moving through a routine of different stances. These movements are graceful and controlled. Each stance is held for series of breaths, while the mind concentrates its energy through the posture taken with the body. Inhaling and exhaling through the nose, the body’s muscles should relax completely while the mind focuses this energy.
Qi Gong is an important part of gong fu, providing the internal aspects to training at the Shaolin Temple UK. At first any student will find it relaxing and a useful way to reduce the stresses of day to day life. It should also begin to ease strains on the body, especially when combined with proper stretching. Internal training like this leads to improved health, higher energy levels and long lasting vitality. With the right application to Qi Gong, a martial artist should find his body’s movements combining with his mental focus in a way that has become the hallmark of Shaolin gong fu. The Shaolin Temple UK recommends its students practise Qi Gong regularly and makes Qi Gong a component of the exams needed to enter higher level gong fu classes.
Baduan Jing Qi Gong
Literally meaning Eight Pieces of Brocade, Ba Duan Jing contains eight movements, which can be practised together or separately. The movements stimulate the circulation, help the muscles to relax, mobilise the joints, stimulate Qi, improve flexibility, promote a healthy metabolism and strengthen the immune system.
Originally taught to the Shaolin Army by the Indian Sage Ta Mo or Bodidarmo the form emphasis controlled movements combined with regulated breathing and focus on the movement of Qi throughout the body.
In the Shaolin Temple this is the first form of Qi Gong that students learn and study, this tradition of learning Ba Duan Jing first goes back over 800 years. After years of practice the benefits become obvious and one feels energetic, healthy and rarely succumbs to illness.