Although there are thousands of Qigong exercises available, they all can be classified into one of five main schools, or styles, of Qigong. This is not to say that a certain exercise cannot be used for both medical and spiritual purposes, for example, but as a general tool of convenience and as a learning aid, the following five styles will be explored in this section:
2. The Buddhist school is aimed at liberating the mind through the Qigong exercises. Many Buddhist exercises are inwardly oriented to focus your attention on the spiritual aspects of your life. As a result, these are often described as static, or non-moving, Qigong exercises.
3. The Confucian school dwells on attaining higher moral character. Confucian Qigong has not, to this point, been utilized extensively in the United States, but is still practiced in China.
4. The Medical school teaches patients how to take control of their own illnesses, and also how to prevent them. The emphasis is hygienic in nature. It also teaches medical people how to use the inner Qi in a dynamic way for healing the aches and pains of others. This is the style of Qigong that we will focus on in this book.
5. The Martial school of Qigong focuses on protecting the body from sword cuts, blunt trauma from other-than-edged weapons, and safety from attack by fist or foot. Such methods include Iron Shirt and Golden Bell-type methods. It also trains the body to deliver fatal blows that are enhanced with Qi, such as those found in Burning Palm or Iron Palm methods.
Within the various schools of Qigong, you will find very simple and easy-to-do sets, such as the 18-Movement Qigong and Eight Pieces of Brocade, to more complicated methods such as Wild Goose Qigong and Falun Gong. All have their relative merits and drawbacks, so once you progress to the stage where you are looking for a new Qigong form, choose carefully.
Now let's examine Medical Qigong a bit more closely, as the exercises in this book are taken from that school.
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