1.3.1 Being Both Dynamic and Static
"Dynamic" and "static" are two general terms used in Qigong to differentiate Qigong practices. Methods that require limb and body movements are referred to as dynamic Qigong. Qigong methods that require little or no physical movement are referred to as static Qigong. Qigong exercises are selected to suit the health status of the individual practitioner. The practice of static Qigong is aimed at accumulating Qi in the Diantian, and with further practice, to circulate Qi throughout all of the meridians in the body. Daoyin and dynamic Qigong aims to promote the free flow of Qi in the meridians, muscles and skeleton as well as to alleviate specific areas of physical energetic congestion that manifest as disease. Regardless of which of the two Qigong forms is practiced, the principle "cherish stillness in motion and motion in stillness" should be adhered to. When Daoyin or dynamic Qigong is practiced, keep a serene, concentrated mind throughout the movements. When static Qigong is practiced, keep the body relaxed throughout the mental stimulation of the meridians and collaterals.
When practicing Qigong, relaxation must be both physical and mental. However, relaxation does not mean slackness or inattentiveness. Instead, it refers to a balance between tension and suppleness dominated by the conscious mind. A major goal of Qigong is to re-establish a natural harmony between being and moving which often gets lost through daily activity. In this state of harmony there will be no tension, but the energy within the body will be activated and the mind will be fully engaged.
In Qigong exercise, the will and Qi should move together. The practitioner should not put undue emphasis on breathing mechanics (i.e., gentle, fine, even and long) other than what is acquired naturally through correct practice. Abdominal respiration, which requires bulging of the belly and protruding the chest, should be avoided at the beginning. Attention to natural motion must be given and the flow of
Qi should not be forced in a particular direction. Yue Yanggui of the Qing dynasty (a.d. 1644—1911) wrote in his book Questions and Answers of Meihua (Meibua Wen Da Plan), that "the tranquility of the mind regulates the breathing naturally and, in turn, regulated breathing brings on concentration of the mind naturally." This is what is meant by, "the mind and breathing are interdependent and regular respiration produces a serene mind." It is also not advisable to put undue emphasis the flow of Qi. The cold, hot, tingling, distending, itching, light, heavy, floating, deep, or warm sensations that one can experience during Qigong exercise will often go along a specific route. It is improper to pursue a specific sensation intentionally, to exaggerate it, or to force oneself to gain it. When practicing Daoyin Qigong self-massage, it is stipulated that the will should follow the hand manipulations so as to realize the feeling of Qi under the hands. If the feeling is not quite tangible, one should not pursue it recklessly. It is enough just to concentrate the attention on the site under the hands.
1.3.4 Combining Active Exercise with Inner Health
Active exercise refers to a series of procedures used to expel distracting thoughts, regulate respiration, attain proper posture, and relax both mind and body. Active exercise requires control of consciousness by means of breathing and will. It may even involve hand manipulations.
Inner health cultivation refers to the quiet state one falls into after active exercise. In this state, one feels relaxed and comfortable; the will and breathing is quiet.
Qigong active exercise and inner health cultivation are done alternately and promote each other. For instance, one may perform static inner health cultivation immediately after practicing Daoyin, or vice versa, to achieve the effectiveness of active exercise in static cultivation or static cultivation in active exercise. By using both together, one can rapidly achieve a high level of Qigong.
Qigong should be practiced in an orderly way. When Qigong or Daoyin is practiced, priority should be given to the selection of practice methods. Be aware of the old saying, "Haste makes waste." Through arduous training, the practitioner will be able to direct Qi to follow changes in body posture, hand manipulations, respiration and will. It is essential to learn basic theories before beginning Qigong practice. Common errors are: eagerness to achieve quick results, trying to cure an illness overnight, and too much practice leading to fatigue, pain, soreness or exacerbation of an illness. Slackness, carelessness, and sloppiness in practice are also common impediments to successful Qigong practice. Those who let things drift, chop and change, go fishing for three days and dry the nets for two will be unable to develop true Qigong ability. Therefore, to succeed in Qigong exercise, one needs to adhere to the requirements and practice earnestly. Efforts should be made to overcome all objective difficulties. If one is conversant with Qigong knowledge and practices the exercises with perseverance, results are guaranteed.
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