Qigong stages

A new starter usually commences class with muscular tension, poor bodily awareness and incorrect skeletal usage.
They cannot reasonably perform qigong well.
It is necessary to work through clear stages of development:
  1. Stage 1
    - this is what the student starts with
    - it reflects their initial capacity to perform each exercise
    - a crude sense of the qigong is gained
    - the aim is to acquire a sense of each exercise
  2. Stage 2
    - the onus is upon relaxation of the muscles in order to drop the shoulders, elbows & wrists, and free the hips, sacroiliac, scapula, knees, vertebrae, neck, chest & ankles
    - the hips, back and chest are opened and expanded
    - functional alignment is established between key joints in order to rely on postural muscles for strength
    - coordination of weight shift, waist turn and arm movement 
    - the student reaches to 50% of capacity
    - the health benefits are increased notably

  3. Stage 3
    - stretching takes place without straining the joints or provoking muscular tension
    - the muscles are encouraged to perform a more demanding, diverse range of actions
    - the body lengthens
    - the pelvis is stabilised
    - the tendons, ligaments and fascia are stretched
    - the feet are always shoulder-width apart from one another
    - the student reaches to 70% of capacity
    - all actions tie into the centre
    - the purpose of each qigong must be considered
    - strength, martial utility and health benefits are amplified considerably

  4. Stage 4
    - subtle neigong qualities are now incorporated into the qigong exercises
    - the exercises are dismantled in order to fully understand how and why they work
    - advanced biomechanical features are explored thoroughly
Each stage is significantly more demanding than the previous one and there are no shortcuts.
Seeking to force a result will lead to injury and incorrect practice.
The body needs time to re-grow and change, the nervous system must be attuned, and the mind settled.

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