We now know what benefits qigong can bring, (Read: Is Qigong Only For The Elderly?) but how do we start? Our qigong specialist is back again to teach you 3 beginner-friendly exercises you can do to achieve better health and rest.
Exercise 1: Pushing The Sky
Stand tall with feet shoulder width apart, body relaxed and both hands interlocked at just below navel level.
Inhale, straighten legs and raise hands up without shrugging the shoulders.
When the hands reach collarbone level, look up and press hands towards the ceiling.
Lower the head, exhale and release the hands back to the starting position.
Repeat 5-10 times and gradually increase the length of the breath with each repetition. Beginners can start with a 4 secs inhale & 4 secs exhale and progress towards a 7 secs inhale & 7 secs exhale.
This movement helps to open the tissues on the front, works on the triple burner meridian (responsible for the production and circulation of energy), and improves lung capacity. Thus, making it a staple in most qigong sets.
Exercise 2: Circling Down and Up
Stand tall with feet together and interlock fingers below navel level. Inhale and press hands towards the sky. Turn to the left.
Exhale, fold the body downwards and reach towards the floor. Draw a semicircle to the right with hands and press towards the floor.
Inhale, come back up and press towards the sky. Turn to the left.
This movement is split into 2 parts, inhaling and drawing a semicircle upwards, exhaling and drawing a semicircle downwards.
Repeat 5-10 times for each side, completing one side first before switching. Beginners can start with a 4 secs inhale & 4 secs exhale and progress towards a 7 secs inhale & 7 secs exhale.
This movement helps to open the tissues on the back and works on the bladder meridian. While also helping improve lung function due to the deep breathing, it also helps to strengthen the kidneys and legs as the legs are pressing into the ground when coming up.
Exercise 3: Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This is a technique I learnt many years ago. It teaches one how to control the body and relax the body at the same time. This technique can be done before bed as a sleep aid, or as a technique to build mind-body connection. Play the audio file recorded below and follow the instructions for a more effective way to experience progressive muscle relaxation.
Lie down facing up in a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths and allow the body and mind to relax and settle.
Bring your attention to various muscles on your body and lightly tense them for 3 secs, relax, and then repeat once. Take note of how it feels when tensing and how it feels when relaxed.
Toes and calves
Front of thighs
Back of thighs
Front of upper arms
Back of upper arms
Fingers and forearms
Take a deep breath in and out, enjoy the warm pleasant sensation that you may be feeling in your body right now.
The whole process should take about 5 to 10 minutes. Through tension and relaxation, the body gradually relaxes deeper leading to a nice warm comfortable feeling at the end, which is conducive sleeping. When done for a long period of time, it also leads to better muscle and body control.
This article is written by our Personal Trainer and Qigong Specialist, Edwin Tan. If you would like to know more about private qigong training or would like to improve your health or lifestyle, contact us for a free consultation.