Qigong's Five Basic Elements
these five basic elements of Qigong to live a more purposeful
should never be seen as a fix-all answer to all that western
medicine cannot fix. Qigong is neither magical nor a cure-all
remedy. Although it is a 'little new' especially to the
western world, Qigong, as an ancient thousand-year-old Chinese
practice is based on very basic understanding and practicality.
would imagine that Qigong would 'magically' handle their particular
problems when they perform just a few movements. For Qigong
to work, one must understand that they must use all their faculties
- body, mind, and even spirit. Intensive studies and experimentation
on the positive and healing effects of Qigong in China have
shown that five basic elements must be consistently present
if one's Qigong is going to work well. If any of these elements
is missing, one's Qigong practice will not have its full effect
on one's health as preventive medicine or for healing. These
five elements are movement, breathing, concentration, and relaxation,
One must move the body. Large movements or small movements,
wide or shallow, it doesn't matter. Just move. Movement and
activity is essential for health. Of course if the movements
are small one must do many more repetitions than if the movements
are large. Like lifting weights one can do very heavy weights
with less repetitions or light weights with many repetitions.
The same concept applies. And it depends on one's purpose and
intent in doing the Qigong. Small movements will circulate
a little energy, so one must do many repetitions to generate
enough energy circulation. If the movements are large and vigorously
opening the joints, ligaments, and muscles, then fewer repetitions
may be sufficient.
moving, in Qigong, one can use several fundamental approaches.
Slow and steady, extremely slow with feeling, or more rapid
yet smooth. What should not be done is jerky and violent movement. Use smoothness and sensitivity as a guide.
One must breathe. Everyone knows this. Without breathing one
wouldn't be able to stay alive very long. But deep breathing
is more beneficial and preferable than surface or shallow breathing.
It oxygenates the body and massages the internal organs. Breathing
also sets up a rhythm which helps one to relax more deeply.
When one uses deep breathing in a very focused and slow way
making the breath long, fine, and deep, one can let the whole
countenance take a small vacation. Ones inner being can become
calm and centered, and one can let go of all the outer stress
producing agendas which inhibit one's inner spirit.
Another of the basic four qualities which is necessary for good
health is concentration. One must concentrate the mind - regularly. Concentrating the mind helps to keep the pathways of mental
activity open and viable. When one stops using the mind
it kind of forgets how to work at its peak level. It becomes
lethargic and lazy the more the internal synapses and junctures
go unused. The mind works exactly the same way as with the body
- in fact it is the body. When one stops exercising the body
it doesn't work as well...and is always difficult to get going
again. The same is true with the mind. They are both connected.
So, naturally, they function in the same way. Doing exercise
without a concentrated mind may produce some results, but it
cannot be as beneficial in a total way as doing exercise while
using a concentrated mind.
attention to what is being done - implementing one's intent
is important. Without precise, definite, and focused intent
one's exercise - one's Qigong will be nothing more than generic,
non-specific movement; and it will produce exactly those kinds
of results. If one is not paying attention, one will generally
become bored. If the exercise one does seems uninteresting,
this is only a signal that one is not really inside the exercise
deeply - not using one's curiosity and vitality to apply of
Relaxation is the fourth quality which is necessary in order
to produce the most positive effects of preventive health maintenance
and healing. Relaxation is of course important in the reduction
of stress and the letting go of negative agendas which produce
life-strangling, "non-healthy" mind-sets. Naturally,
a mind and spirit which is constantly urging, constantly doing,
constantly pushing, impede your practice of Qigong. Relaxation
cannot be attained under a driving, pressure filled attitude.
The mind and body doesn't function well under such unrelenting
conditions. It needs time to settle down and back to the center
of stillness within. It needs to get back in touch with what
is really the inner source - calmness and ease. The human
being's condition needs a calm inner source to work from or
many diseases and calamities will ensue. The body needs time
to repair itself. Sometimes sleep is not enough, especially
in today's world, with its fast pace and insistent lifestyle.
One must relax. And just as important as relaxing the body is
relaxing the mind and spirit, in fact, most people get more
than enough relaxation in the body. People sit when they drive
to and from work, they sit at their jobs, and when they get
home they sit around reading the paper or watching television,
What they need in their body is movement and invigoration. Relaxation
is what they need in their mind and in their spirit.
one develops stored body tension from trying too hard or worrying
too much, etc., but generally speaking this stored local body
tension can be dealt with through active and vigorous exercise,
which helps one to let go of such body anxiety and its inherent
blockage. Relaxation is, for most people, more a matter of relaxing
It should also be understood that the attitude of the person
plays a role in the effectiveness of one's health practice.
Attitude is similar to mental concentration, but not quite the
same. It is comparable to relaxing the spirit, but is its own
distinctly different thing. Even if the practitioner does everything
else well - the movement, the breathing, the concentration,
and the relaxation - if one's attitude is not well attuned for
the purposes of good health and preventive medicine, the benefits
a practitioner gain will still be somewhat less than they would
be if their attitude was more positive.
attitude one has contributes to either empowerment or dis-empowerment,
truth or illusion, health and recovery, or its opposite discomfort
and disease. Usually nothing except one's own attitude can
inhibit progress. Yet, the ability to affect one's own attitude
is part of one's personal power. Anyone who believes they
cannot do something denies their own inner strength and capability.
Each practitioner is responsible for our own attitude and the
path to change.
one's attitude is open and free, one will have the chance to
see clearly. If one's attitude is closed or run by inappropriate
agendas, one will cling to such inappropriate modes and pretexts
and see only from those vantage points. One's inner source is
the filter that colors whatever one sees and does. Through it,
one creates one's own heaven or hell. If one adopts an attitude
which is unsuitable, one sees through that particular point
is up to each person, themselves, to overcome any negative conditioning
- what one learned from, what one bought into from others cannot
be an excuse. Inaccessibility cannot be an excuse either, for
the truth is all around us. If one can wake up to that constantly
available truth, one can change one's own attitude. Knowing
reality deeply one can keep things in their proper perspective
and, in turn, act from that reality to be more capable in one's