Shibashi Qigong. What does that really mean?
Over time it has come to mean in modern day, a practice of 18 movements that encourages Qi development and harmony within the body. This routine is uncomplicated and most people can master the easy movements within a week.
This routine enriches the “three treasures” (San Bao):
- Qi ( “Life Force” ) – Enables function / Energy body
- Jing (” Vital Essence” ) – Determines substance / Physical body
- Shen ( “Mind” ) – Creates intention / Consciousness
What is the Gate of Vitality?
- Your source of internal warmth and bodily functions emanate from deep in your abdomen ( more or less between the kidneys). This area is known as the Gate of Vitality(mingmen)
- The heating factor( “Minister of fire” or ” Life Gate Fire”) transforms your essence into Original Qi.
- As you focus on Dantian during your practice you automatically help keep the “Life Gate Fire ” burning.
- This is a good thing. If your fire declines so your bodily functions decline (causing tiredness, mental depression and feeling cold).
- Healthy sexual function and fertility is also dependent on warmth of the Gate of Vitality
- Warmth is also required by your digestive organs to properly break down and assimilate food.
Benefits when you practice this sequence each day:
- strengthening of the earth element within you – being fully grounded is the centre of your existance in every way
- you will feel well supported and be able to support others
- your digestive system will be robust
- your thinking will be clearer
- you will have better viseral and muscular tone
- stronger polarity between your heaven and your earth Qi will cause greater take up energy for you
- well lubricated joints helps inhibit osteoarthritis and degeneration in your joints
- greater emotional equanimity
- help protect and maintain your quality of your Jing, thus extending length and quality of your life
- strengthens your kidneys because that is where the Jing is rooted and stored
- keeps your Shen strong so that you can sustain concentration without being distracted
- naturally encourages more efficient circulation of Qi
- increases lymphatic flow boosting the immune system
Note what you might notice:
- If you are healthy before you start you will become healthier
- If you are ill before you start you will begin to feel better
How long should I practice each day?
Begin with 15 minutes a day working up to 30 minutes twice a day
You can do the full set of 18 movements(this is preferable ) or choose the ones you prefer.
Sometimes you should persevere and do the ones that are more uncomfortable as it may indicate a blockage of Qi on the body
Time of day to practice
You can do Qigong any time of day (or night!)
What direction do you face?
- In the morning facing the sun to absorb Heaven Qi as the sun rises.
- However when doing Qigong in winter I like to have my back to the sun to warm my kidneys
- If you are indoors face the light
- If you are the beach or overlooking an open view face straight out to the horizon
If you are considering a specific organ:
- facing East may strengthen a weak liver
- facing West may help sedate an overactive liver
- facing west helps strengthen weak lungs
- facing East may help sedate tight and congested lungs
- facing North may help strengthen weak kidneys
- facing South may help strengthen n a weak heart
Where to practice?
Anywhere but some places are better than others. The best places are where the heaven and Earth Qi are most abundant and free of atmospheric pollution:
- mountain tops where frenetic hussle and bussle of civilization are absent
- next to a water fall
- under trees
- next to a lake
- at the seashore
- alongside an unpolluted river
Tip : stay well away from traffic fumes, excessive noise, and electromagnetic radiation from TV sets, computers etc . Find a quiet, peaceful space with fresh air but not in a draught.
It is not about going through the motions to get it finished . It is about focusing on your practice.
The 18 movement Shibashi routine:
- Preparation posture – raising the arms
- Opening the chest
- Painting the Rainbow
- Parting the clouds
- Rolling the arms in horse riding stance
- Rowing the boat across the lake
- Holding a Ball in front of the shoulders
- Gazing at the moon
- Turning at the waist and pushing with the palms
- Cloud hands
- Scooping up the sea and looking at the horizon
- Pushing the Waves
- Flying Dove spreads its wings
- Punching in horse riding stance
- The Flying wild Goose
- Rotating the Spinning wheel
- Bouncing a Ball whilst stepping
- Calming Qi
Closing Position (Holding your the Qi Ball in Dan Tien)
“Qigong movement should follow the relaxed breath. The breath should never chase the movements”
The Theory and Practice of Taiji Qigong