QIGONG

BUILDING A PRACTICE

The most important part of a Qigong practice is actually doing it, and doing it consistently.

Over the next four weeks, we’ll gradually build a daily foundation practice that will hopefully be sustainable for the long term. Once you’ve built the habit of daily practice, you can then add whichever exercises you’re working on in class or to suit your current needs and goals.

The routine suggested here is based on habit-building research so if you choose to modify it, here are some important parts to consider:

  • Use habit-stacking. Attach the new habit to an existing habit – we’re going to use boiling the kettle for a cup of tea (or coffee).
  • Make it easy. This starts as a two-minute practice so is very easy to fit into even the busiest day.
  • Build a cue-routine-reward loop. The cue is boiling the kettle, the routine is your new qigong practice, the reward is the cup of tea.

WEEK 1 – WUJI

DAILY PRACTICE

When you go to make a cup of tea, turn on the kettle and stand in the wuji posture. Focus on alignments and creating a relaxed stretch through your palms. Once you have the structure correct, begin to sung — let go of any tension, but without breaking the structure. Gently close your eyes, breathe quietly through your nose and into your abdomen. Once the kettle boils, finish your standing practice and enjoy your cup of tea.

THE WUJI POSTURE

  • Feet are parallel, shoulder-width apart.
  • Knees are bent, so that the centre of gravity drops to the lower abdomen. Keep the knees directly above the feet and ensure they don’t drop inwards.
  • The Kua (hip fold/inguinal crease) is folded, so that the upper body is upright and the centre of gravity is above the Yongquan (Kidney 1) point on the foot.
  • The head is raised from just behind the ears.
  • The pelvis is dropped straight down. Combined with the raising of the head, this opens the spine.
  • The hands are positioned from the hips: forward, outward and down.
  • The palms are stretched open with fingers spread apart.

DOWNLOAD

Download and print this sheet to place by your kettle as an extra cue, reminder of the exercise, extra reward (ticking off the exercise for the day) and method of tracking your new habit.

Qigong week 1

WEEK 2 – CLOSING DOWN

DAILY PRACTICE

We’re going to extend last week’s practice slightly. Stand in wuji while boiling the kettle as before. Once the kettle boils, perform the closing down exercise 5-8 times (or more if you like), then you can enjoy your cup of tea.

CLOSING DOWN

closing down
  • From Wuji, bring your arms up out to your sides as you straighten your legs.
  • When the hands reach shoulder-height, fold them in at the elbow.
  • Bring your hands in toward the top of your head.
  • Bring your mind to the top of the head, level with your hands.
  • As you bend your knees, bring your hands down in front of the body, following through the centre of your body with your mind.
  • When your hands reach the bottom of the movement, continue with your mind down through the legs and feet into the floor.
  • Breathe in as you move the arms upwards and out as you bring the hands down.
  • Repeat (at least) 5-8 times.
  • For the final repetition, bring your feet together and stretch all the way up before bringing your hands down.
  • Shake off and walk around briefly.

DOWNLOAD

Download and print this sheet to place by your kettle as an extra cue, reminder of the exercise, extra reward (ticking off the exercise for the day) and method of tracking your new habit.

Qigong week 2

WEEK 3 – OPENING THE BODY

DAILY PRACTICE

Now it’s time to extend our practice slightly further. Before turning on the kettle to boil, run through the stretches and mobility exercises that we use at the start of each class. Remember to gradually work the body open, breathing into any areas that feel stuck. When you’ve done the exercises, turn on the kettle and stand in wuji as before. Once the kettle boils, perform the closing down exercise at least 8 times and then enjoy your cup of tea.

OPENING THE BODY

exercises for opening the body

DOWNLOAD

Download and print this sheet to place by your kettle as an extra cue, reminder of the exercise, extra reward (ticking off the exercise for the day) and method of tracking your new habit.

Qigong week 3

WEEK 4 – COMPRESSING THE PEARL

DAILY PRACTICE

Now we’re adding an exercise to complete a qigong practice routine. Start with the stretches and mobility exercises from last week. Next, perform whichever qigong exercise you’d like to practice. For now, Compressing the Pearl is a good choice. Perform the exercise a minimum of 8 times, then stand in wuji for about the same amount of time as you did the exercise. Switch on the kettle and perform the closing down exercise at least 8 times, shake off and walk around for a moment and then enjoy your cup of tea.

COMPRESSING THE PEARL

compressing the pearl
  • Start from the wuji posture.
  • Turn your hands so the palms face each other
  • Listen to the space between your hands
  • Move the arms apart until your hands are shoulder-height as you breathe in and straighten your legs
  • Bring the arms back down as you breathe out and bend your legs
  • Try to move from the core of the body

DOWNLOAD

Download and print this sheet to place by your kettle as an extra cue, reminder of the exercise, extra reward (ticking off the exercise for the day) and method of tracking your new habit.

CONTENTS