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Analysis of Basic Elements of Health Qigong (Body Regulation)(Ⅰ)

Health Qigong is a sports project which regards health as its purpose and gentle body activities as its basis, and achieves physical and mental state through regulating body, breath and mind. That is to say, in health Qigong, gentle body movements are its form of expression; regulation of body, breath and mind is its method of exercise; tendency to the integration of the three aspects above is its principle of exercise. Hence, while practicing health Qigong, how to recognize, understand and perform the three aspects is the core problem which health Qigong practitioners should value and also an issue which is worth our further discussion.

Section One About Body Regulation

I. Concept of Body Regulation

Body regulation, that is, regulation of body shapes, is active and conscious adjustment and exercise of body postures or movements, thus gradually making them meet with the requirements and purpose of exercise. It’s the prerequisite for breath and mind regulation, the foundation for exercising health Qigong. Its basic purpose is “correct shapes and relaxing body”. “Qi won’t be smooth if the shapes are not correct; mind won’t be stable if Qi is not smooth and spirit won’t be orderly if mind is not stable” explains the purpose. It’s an important method of improving health as well. There are many famous quotations in ancient and modern times which expound the effects of body regulation. For instance, “Running water never becomes putrid and a door-hinge is never worm-eaten”. “As long as you exercise, your body will be strong”. “Life lies in movement”. “For those who are engaged in sports, they have their own way of living and make their body averagely developed so their life is orderly and regular”. All of these quotations are concrete functions and demonstration of the body regulation effects. In traditional exercise, the ‘bear-hang’ and the ‘bird-stretch’, stretching the body to make it flexible, conduction, induction and massage, solemn body like elephant all belong to the scope of body regulation.

II. Object and Content of Body Regulation

(I) Object of Body Regulation: Body regulation is to regulate the inside and outside, top and bottom and all parts of the entire body. Hence, the objects of body regulation are numerous. From top to bottom is head, neck, shoulders, elbow, wrist, palm, finger, chest, belly, upper part of the side of the body, rib, spine, back, waist, buttocks, hip, anus, leg, knee, ankle, feet and toes, etc; five sense organs include eyes, ears, nose, throat and tongue; the torso includes chest, enterocoelia, pelvic cavity and backbone, etc; five internal organs include liver, heart, spleen, lung and kidney, etc; all of them are the objects of body regulation and maintenance of health Qigong.

(II) Content of Body Regulation: Regards to the objects above, the content of body regulation is rich and colorful. It includes: body posture, form of movements, movement direction, relative position, method of exercise, way of exercise, exercise trajectory, exercise speed, exercise strength, amount of exercise, exercise frequency, exercise order, preparation before exercise and integration after exercise, etc. These elements are endless and belong to the body regulation content of health Qigong. All of them serve for making mind peace and regulating breath, dredging main and collateral channels, circulating Qi and blood, strengthening bones and tendon, balancing Yin and Yang and harmonizing five internal organs.

III. Methods and Requirements of Body Regulation

In the exercise of health Qigong, the basic purpose is “correct shapes and relaxing body”. Focusing on this purpose, explicit and detailed methods and requirements are established for regulation of the entire body. For instance, the requirements for “correct shapes” are standing still, upright head and neck, vertical spine and chest, sinking shoulders and elbows, loose waist and hip, tongue against palate and looking straightforward, etc; the requirements for “loose body” is peaceful mind, combination of the inside and outside as well as run-through. The methods and requirements adopted for body regulation of health Qigong should follow detailed exercise ways and practice features for each method. They have been described in detail in every method book so they won’t be mentioned here again.

(By Hu Xiaofei)

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