Chi is energy. In ancient Chinese wisdom it forms the basis of everything in the universe. Chi also animates all the human body's processes. Understanding and working with this chi is a fundamental part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and China's diverse martial arts systems. Tai chi and qigong both provide exercises for forming a ball of energy that help you to develop your awareness of chi and release unhealthy stagnant energy.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- A quiet space
- Five minutes or more of your time
First breathe deeply and consciously relax your shoulders to release tension. You can sit or stand to do these exercises.
Rub your hands together briskly with the intention of bringing energy into your hands. Focus on feeling the energy in your hands and how the energy connects them.
Once your hands feel warm and filled with energy, slowly bring them apart. Keep your hands and fingers soft and rounded, as if you are holding a ball.
At the point where you feel the energy connection between your hands weaken, bring them closer together again, but don't let them touch. Repeat this process several times. As you progress you should become more aware of the ball of energy between your hands and the warmth in your hands. Some people compare the sensation to attempting to push two repelling magnets together.
End this basic chi ball exercise by pulling your hands apart and shaking them gently. Practise this for at least five minutes, although you may go on longer if you wish.
Next, practise rotating your energy ball. Form your energy ball using the previous steps. Visualising an actual ball between your hands helps with the next step.
Keep your hands a constant distance apart and slowly rotate them, so that first one hand is on top and the other on the bottom. Experiment with rotating the ball clockwise and anticlockwise. Keep your movements, slow and smooth while you rotate the chi ball.
Create your energy ball as in step one and then focus on making it bigger and smaller. Once you have done this several times, rotate the ball slowly while expanding and contracting it. This helps you experience the expansion and contraction of energy in various directions.
Tips and warnings
- Be aware that intention and visualisation are important components of Tai Chi and qigong exercises.
- You may repeat the exercise as many times as you like during the day.
- Don't give up if at first you aren't sure that you're feeling the chi energy. It can take repeated attempts.
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