Rabu, 27 Juni 2012

Five Fundamental Stances - Gong Bu

The most commonly used Shaolin stance is mabu or horse stance which I wrote about here. In this blog post, I focus on the second most commonly used stance which is: Gong Bu. 

Strengthens the legs.
Strengthens the spine.
Is the key to unlocking the Shaolin forms.
Centers and grounds the mind and body.

Step by Step:
1) Stand straight. Draw your fists to your waist and turn your head to the left.
2) Step your left leg out to the side so your feet are wider than your shoulders and slowly squat into Ma Bu.
2) Turn both legs and bend your left leg as much as you can , keeping your right leg straight. Turn your body to face the left.
3) Remain here for six breaths.

Check list:
It's a good idea to check your stance in the mirror.
Your back foot should be slightly turned in, it shouldn't be completely straight.
Your back foot needs to be in line with your left foot.
Your front knee should be over your front foot.
Is your neck tucked in and your shoulders relaxed?
Are you knees slightly pushed out so they are over your feet?
Are your eyes strong?
Are you gently grabbing the floor with your feet. 
Don't tip the body but keep it straight.

If you have knee or back problems then you need to keep your stance high. If you find the stance is aggravating the problem then you need to stop. There should be no pain when you do this stance.

How to deepen your Gong Bu
Move between Ma Bu and Gong Bu making sure that your head does not lift but your body stays at the same level. Practice the traditional punching techniques that I teach in Shaolin Workout 1 then stop the DVD and practice the punches slowly and with precision.  

It's a good idea for Qigong and Kung Fu students to spend some time working on this stance in the same way that yoga students spend time working on their poses. Our body's tend to be lazy and want to find an easy way out but regular check ups will keep us on the right path. 

Shaolin Stances look easy but they are hard on the legs. If you find them easy then you are not in the stance low enough! The Shaolin stances help us to get in touch with the strength that is already within us. Runners often find that they have more stamina when they practice the Shaolin stances alongside their regular running workout.

Want to learn more?

I teach the Five Fundamental Shaolin Stances in my Rou Quan DVD and in my book - Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity

Rabu, 20 Juni 2012

A Simple Method To Stop Anxiety & Stress

At The Beijing College of Traditional Chinese Medicine & Institute of Qigong Science, EEG results on Qigong practioners showed a predominance of alpha brain waves indicating that Qigong induces a relaxed and focused mind. After just three or four minutes there was a measurable shift of alpha and theta concentration from the rear occipital regions to the frontal lobes. This corresponds to a union of the mind and body from which feelings of peace and harmony arise. 

If you can, it's good to do some of your Qigong training outside. If you live in the city then get up early and go to the park, preferably a place where there are some trees.

Just as we spring clean our house we can also spring clean our body, being outside helps us to clear our stagnant energy and breathe in fresh air. It also reinvigorates our practice. The important thing is to be awake to the practice. It is important not to do Qigong by rote but say to yourself: For these next twenty minutes I'm going to dedicate myself completely to this practice, I'm going to let go of my worries and my thoughts and just do it.
A practice free from doubt and worry is what we mean by heart mind practice. If the mind and heart are dispersed then our Qi will be, and there won't be as much power in the practice. Because we are so used to thinking all the time, at first this may be difficult but the more we practice, the more we will find that our mind and body remembers, and concentration and letting go will come easily. Ironically it is when we are feeling most stressed and tired that we resist the practice, and this is when we need to do the practice most.

You can do your own experiment; measure how much you are thinking at the beginning of the practice and how much you are thinking at the end. Thinking is necessary but if we can't stop then who is the Emperor of our mind? Our thinking or ourselves?

A relaxed mind is a happy and creative mind, we have our best ideas, and are more functional in our day to day life when we are relaxed. 

Want to learn more about Qigong? Visit: http://www.qigongworkout.com/