Author Topic: 3 Basic Qigong forms experiences and questions  (Read 5312 times)

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June 02, 2012, 12:34:00 PM
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Koujiryuu

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This thread is for discussion of the 3 basic Qigong forms from week 1's lecture.

Please post your experiences with them here after you've done them for a few days (optimally, dedicate an hour a day to practicing the study group material).

This section is also for questions on the forms physical movements, posting any problems you have with doing them, questions about breathing, and so on.

I will be doing all these exercises with you, so I will post my experience after I do them later.
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June 02, 2012, 03:20:02 PM
Reply #1

ezpero

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I got some question about the breathing technique.

On the forms you did in the video, it seems you are using Buddhist breathing (based on the description on the lecture), with the nose used for inhalation and the mouth used for exhalation. Is this a must, or can I inhale through the nose and exhale through the nose as well?

Also, if it's a must, is there any philosophy that lies behind the concept? Such as, to help train the subconscious mind to separate the duality of the breathing process through habitual repetition so that it'll be able to perform the breathing naturally for later progress that requires a little more focus on the movements or that sort of thing maybe.

BTW, cheers for the first article of the study!

June 02, 2012, 05:06:30 PM
Reply #2

Koujiryuu

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I got some question about the breathing technique.

On the forms you did in the video, it seems you are using Buddhist breathing (based on the description on the lecture), with the nose used for inhalation and the mouth used for exhalation. Is this a must, or can I inhale through the nose and exhale through the nose as well?

Also, if it's a must, is there any philosophy that lies behind the concept? Such as, to help train the subconscious mind to separate the duality of the breathing process through habitual repetition so that it'll be able to perform the breathing naturally for later progress that requires a little more focus on the movements or that sort of thing maybe.

BTW, cheers for the first article of the study!

You can inhale through the nose and exhale through the nose if you wish- I'm pretty sure I was doing that in the video. Traditionally the exhalation is done out of the mouth. I'll leave this up to the individual, because the point is to take in a large quantity of air comfortably. So, whatever works best for you, do it, just make sure you push your stomach and chest out as you inhale, and pull in/tighten the stomach on exhale, as this will expel any remaining air so you can take a large quantity in through inhalation.

Quote
Also, if it's a must, is there any philosophy that lies behind the concept? Such as, to help train the subconscious mind to separate the duality of the breathing process through habitual repetition so that it'll be able to perform the breathing naturally for later progress that requires a little more focus on the movements or that sort of thing maybe.

There is no philosophy and no mind. ;) Try to do the exercises and "blank out". You want to become the exercise and movement.

If you find it helps, focus the mind on the Dantien, a spot 3 inches below the naval and one inch in. If you need a mantra to keep the mind still, say "Ham" (hahm) on inhale and "Sah" on exhale. This is sanskrit and means "I am".
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June 02, 2012, 05:12:29 PM
Reply #3

ezpero

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You can inhale through the nose and exhale through the nose if you wish- I'm pretty sure I was doing that in the video. Traditionally the exhalation is done out of the mouth. I'll leave this up to the individual, because the point is to take in a large quantity of air comfortably. So, whatever works best for you, do it, just make sure you push your stomach and chest out as you inhale, and pull in/tighten the stomach on exhale, as this will expel any remaining air so you can take a large quantity in through inhalation.

There is no philosophy and no mind. ;) Try to do the exercises and "blank out". You want to become the exercise and movement.

If you find it helps, focus the mind on the Dantien, a spot 3 inches below the naval and one inch in. If you need a mantra to keep the mind still, say "Ham" (hahm) on inhale and "Sah" on exhale. This is sanskrit and means "I am".

Got it, just making sure of things  :P

June 03, 2012, 02:27:32 PM
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Koujiryuu

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My experiences:

I did the exercises after Zen meditation.

I can't really report anything extraordinary; I felt my Qi as I usually do.

I focused on proper breathing and slow movement...

For Lifting the Sky, I felt very relaxed. I felt upward movement.

For Pushing Water, my knees hurt :( I felt downward and outward movement.

For Shaolin Archer, I felt sideways movement, and also felt Qi in my fingertips of the index finger.

There was nothing very extraordinary, again, but I did feel very peaceful and refreshed afterward.
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June 03, 2012, 05:32:09 PM
Reply #5

ezpero

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Did the 3 forms,
Lifting the sky, feels like my "consciousness" kinda shifts upwards during the upward hand movement, feels some pressures following the movement of my hands, feeling light as a feather for a while during the peak, then slowly become balanced and relaxed following the downward hand movement.

Pushing water, feel very rooted (literally), my mind cleared, I could sense myself grounded and stable. On the physical side, I felt some tightening on the anus muscles during the progress (don't know a better word to describe it).

Shaolin Archer, felt very focused and firm (this focus comes real fast, faster than I would thought a physical movement could produce), also felt pressures on both hands.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 09:50:34 PM by ezpero »

June 03, 2012, 09:17:26 PM
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Koujiryuu

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Did the 3 forms,
Lifting the sky, feels like my "consciousness" kinda shifts upwards during the upward hand movement, feels some pressures following the movement of my hands, feeling light as a feather for a while during the peak, then slowly become balanced and relaxed following the downward hand movement.

Pushing water, feel very rooted (literally), my mind cleared, I could sense myself grounded and stable. On the physical side, I felt some tightening on the anus muscles during the progress (don't know a better word to describe it).

Shaolin Archer, felt very focused and firm (this focus comes real fast, faster than I would thought a physical movement could produce), also felt pressures on both hands.


However, I did found the naming of the forms felt a little strange though. Lifting the sky and the shaolin archer sounds somewhat inline with the experience, but the pushing water sounds a little awkward based on what it feels during my experience, the experience is too "earthy" and "rooty" for such a "watery" name.

I know this might sound a little silly, but maybe because I'm a native asian and its rather habitual here to see everything as a complete experience holistically, the naming just doesn't sound right. Because of that, I feel the need to check for some more details on the forms after the practice, wondering if there is a more suitable chinese or japanese name for each of the forms that "clicked" a little more.

Just to make sure, this is not meant to question the forms, movement variations between different schools are a usual occurrence after all. This is simply part of the experience that I felt and a little confused with during the exercise. Anyway, first time I searched, I had a hard time finding the forms based on the name, the closest I can find is the movement similarity with the Shaolin 18 Lohan Hands I found here http://www.shaolin.org/chikung/lohan.html.

Lifting the sky is similar to the link above, as well as the pictorial instruction in flowingzen and as most video I found. However there is some difference on the direction and philosophy of the movement it seems. The movement on the flowingzen are closer in name to lifting the sky, but Kouji's version felt more inclined to be named pulling/embracing the sky than lifting the sky. I tried flowingzen's "lifting the sky" movement, and the feeling is different from Kouji's, the flowingzen one feels like pushing my consciousness upwards and then releasing it into the world around and above, becoming peaceful and one with the harmony of the world, an outward expression. While Kouji's version felt more towards gathering one's consciousness upwards while also bringing the life force of the surroundings with you and then embracing it into oneself, an inward expression.

The Shaolin archer is similar to the shooting arrow move in the Shaolin link, though Shaolin link felt softer, less "powerful" and less focused, Kouji's version felt a lot more focused and firm, a more intense expression.

The pushing water is the one I find a little strange based on the name, its similar to the three levels to ground in the 18 Lohan above, which I personally feel somewhat suits the name of the movement more (due to its earthy name). However, there is no difference in form nor experience with Kouji's pushing water, it just have a different name that suits the earthy experience.

I don't know the school that you used Kouji, but it does feels a lot more masculine and agressive than the forms I found in comparison. I just wonder if there's possibly some literary mismatch during the translation of the names, especially for lifting the sky and pushing water.

This is for discussing experiences, not dissecting the names of the forms and semantics...no offense but the majority of what you posted isn't very relevant.

These exercises are named what they've been named for probably hundreds of years. They are all very common basic Qigong forms, taken from a variety of other larger sets of movement. Also, these forms are the ones I started with...Lifting the Sky and Pushing Water. They were the first ones I ever did, day 1. I've seen Lifting the Sky also be called Gathering Clouds. Pushing Water, I have never seen referred to as anything else.

What the forms are called in English is not important. What is important is the experience of the exercise.
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June 03, 2012, 09:50:11 PM
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ezpero

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This is for discussing experiences, not dissecting the names of the forms and semantics...no offense but the majority of what you posted isn't very relevant.

These exercises are named what they've been named for probably hundreds of years. They are all very common basic Qigong forms, taken from a variety of other larger sets of movement. Also, these forms are the ones I started with...Lifting the Sky and Pushing Water. They were the first ones I ever did, day 1. I've seen Lifting the Sky also be called Gathering Clouds. Pushing Water, I have never seen referred to as anything else.

What the forms are called in English is not important. What is important is the experience of the exercise.

I understand, I'll remove the unrelated part from my posts then.

June 03, 2012, 10:15:36 PM
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Koujiryuu

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Sorry, I just want to keep things limited to experiences and questions. =/

If everyone in the group posted a lot of other things like that too, it would make discussion of the mutual experiences much harder to keep track of (because there'd be a lot of less relevant information).

Hopefully you understand, and hopefully I at least cleared up some of it (Lifting the Sky is sometimes called Gathering Clouds).

Regards.

~Kouji
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June 04, 2012, 07:14:51 AM
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OnePsion

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In your video you are pushing the right hand with your left hand, can it be pushed down with both hands, I don't know to keep one hand up and one down every time.. makes me feel asymmetrical (I hate that feeling). Or maybe i should every time change the position of upper and lower hand? :confused:

June 04, 2012, 08:57:36 AM
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Can I follow up the qigong forms with dantien meditation? I was just starting to work that into my askesis before I joined this study group. I ask this because this is your curriculum and I'm the student here.

Also is there an upper limit of how long I should do these forms?

Should I do the Zen Meditation before or after the 3 forms?

Edit:

First day of practice:

I started with pushing the sky. I felt my energy calm down after just a few repetitions, and I kept going for somewhere between 9 and 15 minutes. There was tension in the area where my triceps connect to the shoulders, which pulled a bit but wasn't quite painful.

I had difficulty maintaining buddhist breathing during Pushing the Water, so I broke it up into sets so I could maintain breath control during the forms. The form and the breathing got easier as I progressed in the sets, and I finally managed uninterrupted repetitions towards the end of my time allotment. I started to feel some knotted energy I had around my solar plexus dislodge and untangle.

Shaolin Archer was a bit awkward for a few repetitions because I kept getting my hands switched and ended up doubling up on sides until I got into a rhythm. Once I had established a flow, I felt my shoulders and chest open up just a bit. This was the least eventful of the 3 forms for me, but it felt really good.

I did the forms before my daily askesis (magick practices) and I had an interesting experience during my void meditation and body meditation that I attribute to having done the qigong forms first. When I start to hit the very outer edge of samahdi (no mind), I get subtle non-physical tremors that a previous instructor told me is the energy pathways re-establishing uninterrupted flow. Today was the first time these tremors had been so strong, and they were actually enjoyable to some degree. When I finished up all my practices, I felt really good.

 I can tell when I've done a particularly fruitful practice session when my motions start to feel sprightly. It's not like hypo-mania where one feels invincible and energetic, I felt the same but it also felt like there was less resistance in my motions. The only way to describe it is like weights had been removed from my arms and legs. This sensation was more pronounced today than it had been in a while, so I call this a success.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 10:04:06 AM by Mindlessinvalid »
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June 04, 2012, 11:54:40 AM
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Koujiryuu

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Quote from: OnePsion
In your video you are pushing the right hand with your left hand, can it be pushed down with both hands, I don't know to keep one hand up and one down every time.. makes me feel asymmetrical (I hate that feeling). Or maybe i should every time change the position of upper and lower hand?

I'm assuming you're referring to Lifting the Sky. Next time state the form name, or I have to guess at it. ;)

If you mean I'm putting my right hand over the left hand while pushing down, then yes...that's probably a bad habit of mine. If you want you can keep the hands next to each other, fingertips pointing at each other, as you lower them down the centerline :)

Quote
Can I follow up the qigong forms with dantien meditation? I was just starting to work that into my askesis before I joined this study group. I ask this because this is your curriculum and I'm the student here.

Also is there an upper limit of how long I should do these forms?

Should I do the Zen Meditation before or after the 3 forms?

Dantien meditation is next week. Also, the method I'm teaching is different from what is detailed in one of my articles. It doesn't use visualization. So, I'd prefer if you just follow the coursework for now.

If you need something extra to challenge you, then try meditating with a cup of good green tea and contemplate the nature of tea. :)

There *is* a general upper limit to how long to do these forms. I'd say it's about an hour for these three. Optimally, a half hour a day would work best (half hour of the forms, half hour of the Zen meditation). You don't want to do *too much* Qigong, this could lead to what is called Qigong sickness or psychosis. This is pretty well known in China, wherein people do too much Qigong and develop overactive Yang Qi that rises to the head and causes delusions. In a sense, you could say radki was probably brought around by Qigong psychosis- too many kids doing too much basic Qigong, becoming hyper and delusional, and thinking they're doing things they aren't, then inventing their own techniques.

Quote
I started with pushing the sky. I felt my energy calm down after just a few repetitions, and I kept going for somewhere between 9 and 15 minutes. There was tension in the area where my triceps connect to the shoulders, which pulled a bit but wasn't quite painful.

I had difficulty maintaining buddhist breathing during Pushing the Water, so I broke it up into sets so I could maintain breath control during the forms. The form and the breathing got easier as I progressed in the sets, and I finally managed uninterrupted repetitions towards the end of my time allotment. I started to feel some knotted energy I had around my solar plexus dislodge and untangle.

Shaolin Archer was a bit awkward for a few repetitions because I kept getting my hands switched and ended up doubling up on sides until I got into a rhythm. Once I had established a flow, I felt my shoulders and chest open up just a bit. This was the least eventful of the 3 forms for me, but it felt really good.

I did the forms before my daily askesis (magick practices) and I had an interesting experience during my void meditation and body meditation that I attribute to having done the qigong forms first. When I start to hit the very outer edge of samahdi (no mind), I get subtle non-physical tremors that a previous instructor told me is the energy pathways re-establishing uninterrupted flow. Today was the first time these tremors had been so strong, and they were actually enjoyable to some degree. When I finished up all my practices, I felt really good.

 I can tell when I've done a particularly fruitful practice session when my motions start to feel sprightly. It's not like hypo-mania where one feels invincible and energetic, I felt the same but it also felt like there was less resistance in my motions. The only way to describe it is like weights had been removed from my arms and legs. This sensation was more pronounced today than it had been in a while, so I call this a success.

Good write up.

Lifting the Sky also causes a bit of tension or pressure around my shoulders. I think that's normal. You should feel it most strongly on the way up, and less on the way down (on the way down I feel it in my forearms).

If you have difficulty breathing during Pushing Water, try leaning forward slightly (bend at the waist just a slight bit and balance on the balls of your toes)...I find this helps.

The non physical tremors or vibrations in Wuwei meditation are interesting... they happen to me all the time in meditation. I always felt they are just a result of the strength of the energy body and your state of mind. I'm not sure if it really has anything to with energy pathways (meridians), I always read they are basically a manifestation of the mindstate, similar to neural discharges.

Quote
I can tell when I've done a particularly fruitful practice session when my motions start to feel sprightly. It's not like hypo-mania where one feels invincible and energetic, I felt the same but it also felt like there was less resistance in my motions.

Feeling clear and light is a good sign. This state will progress the more you practice, and especially the further you get in the course. I am glad you had such successes.

Remember, you can post multiple experience posts if you wish (as long as they are on topic). I am here to answer any questions. Also, everyone else should feel free to comment on others experiences, that's the point of the discussion.
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June 04, 2012, 01:01:49 PM
Reply #12

OnePsion

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I'm assuming you're referring to Lifting the Sky. Next time state the form name, or I have to guess at it. ;)

Sorry, I was sure that I mentioned it, my bad  :rolleyes:. Thanks for the explanation.   ^-^

June 04, 2012, 05:36:44 PM
Reply #13

ezpero

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Hopefully you understand, and hopefully I at least cleared up some of it (Lifting the Sky is sometimes called Gathering Clouds).

It's okay, no problem, Gathering Clouds does sound a lot more reflective and inline with the experience though.

Anyway, did the 3 forms again this morning,

Lifting the Sky gives the most experience today, at the beginning I sense some pressure like before in both of my palms. After several repetitions, I began to feel tingling sensations on the skin of my forearms, starting with the upward movement, but eventually felt throughout the exercise. On the palms, I felt some more pressure which after a few repetitions is followed by some circulating heat inside the palms, changing between cold and warm on the palm and the back of my palm.

During the exercise, I also felt an outer pressure around my movement, the air kind of feel denser somehow, maybe it's just because my skin is more sensitive. There are some moments when I felt the pressure "devoid" beneath my palms and kinda "lift" my arms upwards during the upward movement, but "halted" the downward movement with some pressure, it's like pushing down some gentle wind. Also moments when I'm somewhat being led by my arm of where to move instead of my mind telling what my arm is supposed to be doing, but I don't know why.

Is all that supposed to happen?

For Pushing Water, I didn't have too much of an experience, I didn't feel as sturdy or rooted as my previous experience, I felt some uncomfortable tension on my knee, and my body felt really heavy.

For Shaolin Archer, I felt some rush of blood to the head on my first attempt, but eventually stabilized on the second attempt. Felt pressures on my bow palm (the one that I would say represent holding a bow) as well as my pulling palm (the one that portrays the string pulling), I didn't felt as much focus or firmness as my previous experience though.

June 04, 2012, 05:45:16 PM
Reply #14

Koujiryuu

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Quote from: ezpero
It's okay, no problem, Gathering Clouds does sound a lot more reflective and inline with the experience though.

Anyway, did the 3 forms again this morning,

Lifting the Sky gives the most experience today, at the beginning I sense some pressure like before in both of my palms. After several repetitions, I began to feel tingling sensations on the skin of my forearms, starting with the upward movement, but eventually felt throughout the exercise. On the palms, I felt some more pressure which after a few repetitions is followed by some circulating heat inside the palms, changing between cold and warm on the palm and the back of my palm.

During the exercise, I also felt an outer pressure around my movement, the air kind of feel denser somehow, maybe it's just because my skin is more sensitive. There are some moments when I felt the pressure "devoid" beneath my palms and kinda "lift" my arms upwards during the upward movement, but "halted" the downward movement with some pressure, it's like pushing down some gentle wind. Also moments when I'm somewhat being led by my arm of where to move instead of my mind telling what my arm is supposed to be doing, but I don't know why.

Is all that supposed to happen?

Everyone experiences these exercises differently.

It isn't whether it's supposed to happen or not; these are all valid confirmatory experiences from doing Qigong properly.

Personally, with Lifting the Sky, I usually feel Qi rising up my back and outer arm to my forearms, palms and head when my hands are over my head. On the way down, I feel the Qi go back to my lower Dantien, and sometimes into the legs.

When pushing the hands back down, try to imagine you're trying to push a floating log down into a river- this is one common visualization used. Take note of how the Qi feels when you do this.

This tingling, pressure, heat, cold and other sensations are a good sign you're doing the exercise correctly and in the right mindstate.

Quote

For Pushing Water, I didn't have too much of an experience, I didn't feel as sturdy or rooted as my previous experience, I felt some uncomfortable tension on my knee, and my body felt really heavy.

For Shaolin Archer, I felt some rush of blood to the head on my first attempt, but eventually stabilized on the second attempt. Felt pressures on my bow palm (the one that I would say represent holding a bow) as well as my pulling palm (the one that portrays the string pulling), I didn't felt as much focus or firmness as my previous experience though.

It is normal to feel heavy when doing Pushing Water. Keep at it though. Focus your attention on the Dantien as you do it, and the rest of the body. You should try and blank out, while focusing on the Dantien.

Remember when doing Shaolin Archer, to make the One Finger Zen hand formation as you do it and focus on the tip of the index finger as you push the leading hand out.

If you have any other questions, ask.
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