The 18-Movement Qigong Form contains a good selection of light, gentle movements characteristic of Qigong, done in a slow, graceful manner so that breathing, body position, and mental activity are naturally coordinated. In spite of its simple structure and easy movements, the exercise has proven effective in curing various kinds of chronic ailments, and is particularly suitable for seniors and those with weak constitutions.
It is not only widely practiced in China, but is also increasing in popularity in some Southeast Asian countries, as well as in Japan, Europe, Australia, and the United States.
For those regularly engaged in T'ai Chi practice, the 18-Movement Qigong Form may help them achieve better results from their practice through better coordination of breathing, body posture, and mental activity.
This form, created in the 1950s in China, is a wonderful series of movements designed to work your joints, muscles, internal organs, and energy system. It is a useful form for relaxation and stretching, can be adapted to seated or even prone positions (see Chapter 8), and can be used as a learning vehicle for subsequent Qigong forms. This has always been the first Qigong form taught to students in my schools.
Specific areas worked in this form include wrists, shoulders, neck, torso/spine, waist, knees, and ankles. The benefits of each movement in the form is explained in the instructions for that movement.
Each of these forms can be performed from one to 100 times, depending on your agility, breathing rate, and available time. However many repetitions you perform, and however many of the forms you do, you should practice at least once per day, for 15 minutes minimum. The more you practice, the greater the benefits will be.
Remember to breathe diaphragmatically, through the nose on both inhale and exhale. This is the key to generating Qi.
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