Qi Gong? Nei Gong?
Benefits of Qi Gong
Qi Gong exercises emphasis balance towards both the physical and mental. These exercises provide a better sense of body movement and balance. It provides a process of relaxing muscular tensions, improving posture, and a deepening of the breathing process to reduce stress.
Benefits for Nei Gong
Nei Gong is considered more of an internal exercise. It allows the body to move in a continuously stretching, expanding, contracting, opening and closing motion. It provides a holistic connection between the mind and body through breath work and body movement.
Qi Gong has become extremely popular as an exercise for reduction of stress. Qi Gong is much older and easier to learn than T’ai Chi. Its movements are graceful, slow and deliberate. Several studies have reported health improvements such as lowering blood pressure, and reduced hypertension.
At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore studies were conducted on T’ai Chi exercises were compared to aerobic exercises. "We were expecting to see significant changes in the aerobic exercise group and minimal changes in the T’ai Chi group." The T’ai Chi group after 12 weeks average systolic blood pressure had fallen by 7 millimeters of mercury, compared with an average of 8.4 millimeters in the aerobic exercise group. Mind-body exercises such as T’ai Chi and Qi Gong may provide an added boost to both physical and mental health, which is why the Eastern healing art is increasingly being studied by Western medical practitioners.
"T’ai Chi is a low-intensity aerobic exercise equivalent to walking at a three-mile-per-hour pace". Harvey Kurland, an exercise physiologist from San Bernadino, California and has studied T’ai chi for over 30 years. Qi Gong is equivalent to T’ai Chi movements; it is easier to learn and remember and can be done by just about anyone no matter what physical restriction may exist.
"Stress is the number one health problem in America, with an estimated 60 to 70 percent of all visits to physicians due to stress-related illness. A daily practice of T’ai Chi can relieve stress and will improve health."
H. Kurland. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 1999 Mar.
Doing T'ai Chi Chuan is very similar to doing meditation while in motion. (ref. Polynesian Magazine, Hawaii, 1974) At first the beginning steps are very mechanical. Gradually you begin to feel more comfortable as you become proficient. Continued memorizing of the steps as your Master has taught is a must. The next transformation occurs when you begin to do the movements with more feeling. This will lead you into the "no thought" process as well as the "just doing" aspects. Swimming on land, this is the Ch'i feeling that surrounds you. You can feel the tingling sensations through your hands and/or your entire body. Do all of the movements as if you were doing it for the first time; again, again and again. When doing as if you were doing for the first time, your movements will become an expression of your inner self; swimming in the sea of Ch'i with feeling.
Gaining Control of your breath:
Lower your Ch’i down to your navel by letting your breath go deeper and deeper; breath is thin and long as well as slow. Once you Ch’i s lowered below the navel, then let it flow to limbs and finally throughout ever part of the body. Qi Gong exercises teaches you how to breath with your whole body. With practice, you can feel this flow of Ch’i as well as directing it with your thoughts throughout your body. To do this, you must quite your thoughts and empty your mind.
By releasing breath to another person, does have some cause and effect. The breath activates and direct influence on the organ's energy field. It causes a shift to the energy then it affects the nervous system and in return it affects the muscles and the physical body. The proper attitude is important and the specific purpose is critical in order to work with breath as a healing art. There are probably many different methods using the breath to heal. But I've found that what is really important is the attitude rather than the specific methods. If we think that a breath is just a breath, the value is not the same to a person who values each breath as his last on his death bed; similarly, to an infant taking its first breath of life.
Coloration of breath:
By adding color to breath has a different affect to the energy field. The frequency of the various colors further changes the shift of the organ's energy. The specific coloration is not so important because everyone has a different interpretation of the intensity of colors. The red I see and my interpretation is not the same as for someone else. Thus the cause and effect may be different. What is more important is the feeling of the representation of the colors. Feel first, then identify what color was it? We sometimes have the color in mind and then we walk around trying to find the meaning. Feel first; color interpretation is second.
Pattern of Breathing:
There are many breathing patterns. I believe they all have their purposes. I clearly remember that I was never told how to breathe. I asked master: "how must I breathe?" He would look at me with a smile. "Just breathe! It would be a very bad if you don't!" I found that as you been to practice not trying so hard to properly breath, breathing becomes quite natural just as natural as an infant breathes. One of the most common and natural ways of breathing pattern the Tibetan's advocates is what I call: the breathing pattern of an infant or inverse breathing or reverse breathing pattern. Let's take a closer look at this: Start at the lower portion of you abdomen; expel all the air out of your system. Now follow the following:
Begin to take in the air and at the same time expand your lower abdomen to it's fullest. Then continue taking in the air at the mid region as well as expanding your mid diaphragm. Continue this expansion at the upper region of the chest and take in the air. Now, this is where Tibetan differs with other reverse breathing patterns. Continue taking in air begin to expand the air over and into the inner chest region. I describe this similar to the earth's tilted axis that is going up and over.
Begin to exhale your air as well as beginning to collapse the chest region. Continue to expel your air until all the air is just about expelled except a little residual of air remains. Now, at the bottom of the cycle just at the pit of the stomach begin to push that residual of air out. This is the other axis of the earth.
Feel your breathe as alive. Experience the experience rather than counting the number of breaths. Breathe being expelled as well as being inhaled must be very refined. Slowly taking the air in. All breathe work are to be done as if it was the very first time breathing. Focus on the quality rather than trying to focus body gasping for air. Enjoy the expression of the various movements of the breathe: how it fills and leaves our body; the physical feelings and the emotional feelings. The essence of "breath".