In Qigong, there are also many more paths left to explore, perhaps more so than T'ai Chi. Because Qigong has hundreds, if not thousands, of separate forms, you could spend several lifetimes learning them all. The trick is to find one that is simple enough to learn and remember, but not so hard that it puts your body in jeopardy. There are many that fit the bill—Wild Goose Qigong, Fragrance Qigong, Falun Gong—there are dozens of simple Qigongs to choose from.
I often use an exercise with my Intermediate students where we take the T'ai Chi form (any one will do, really, but we usually choose the 24-Movement Form) and make a Qigong form out of it. This basically involves removing the stepping portion of the form and adding in several repetitions of the arm and waist movements. It's an interesting exercise in that, firstly, you are learning additional movement techniques, and secondly, that you give your brain a new workout! Translating the T'ai Chi moves into Qigong mode requires a good understanding of basic principles as well as the ability to create new moves through that understanding.
Also, with my more advanced students I will often run the Qigong forms backwards. This can take the form of starting with the last movement and proceeding through the form to the very first move (In the 18-Movement Qigong, for example, we start with Press Palms and Calm Down and go backwards all the way to Opening). We also play with mirror-image forms, taking the movements and performing them as if they have been flip-flopped right to left.
What does all this accomplish? Well, most importantly, it amuses me! Just kidding
Again, the benefits of these alterations seem to be that they require a certain mode of thinking to emerge from the students, an ability to create something out of nothing, to look at a problem and see new ways of solving it. It's like aerobics for the brain and the body. They also provide a new twist, literally, to the flexibility aspects of the movements.
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