If your desire is where the best place to learn Qigong might be, perhaps I can provide some insight. I’ve been practicing for over 30 years, and started teaching about 20 years ago. The best place to learn depends a lot on where you live, and if there are any practitioners in the area. Qigong is a bit of an obscure practice, so not every area has teachers available. In Qigong, (pronounced “Chee gung,” the instructors are referred to as Sifu, which translates into teacher.
Qigong: Some Basics
Conceding that some of you are unfamiliar with Qigong, it is a combination of two words. Qi, meaning life force energy and Gong, meaning work or cultivation. In short, Qigong is the cultivation and balancing of our vital life force energy.
Qigong is one of the 5 branches of Chinese Medicine. It uses the same meridian system, or model, as the other 4 branches which include the more well-known modality of Acupuncture. The difference is in the method by which the meridian system is managed.
Acupuncture uses needles to direct the flow of vital Qi through the meridians, which are like channels or circuits. Qigong uses movement, breath and mental intention, or visualization, to either move, cultivate (strengthen), balance or clear stagnant Qi.
The practice is not necessarily physically demanding, but it much more than waving ones hands around and stepping back and forth, although it may look like that at first glance.
Learn Qigong Online Free
YouTube is a great place to find free online Qigong training. The advantage is that you can earn without having a Sifu in your vicinity. My YouTube channel is: https://www.youtube.com/c/AlPerryQiFlow/
Qigong was passed down from Sifu to student without any written reference for more than 2000 years. Thus, there are as many versions of Qigong as there are dialect of language families. How to pick the right version for you is a personal choice.
Various Forms of Qigong
The first question to ask yourself is: What do I want out of my Qigong practice. If you want to achieve physical strength, you’d want some who teaches a more Martial Qigong, known as a hard form. You might look up: Iron Shirt Qigong or Shaolin Qigong. I do not teach or practice this form. Hard forms of Qigong create a lot of holding patterns for the connective tissue. While these forms create strength in the physical body, flow is reduced and longevity as well as general overall wellness can be affected.
I teach a form that is based on Medical Qigong. All the movements and intentions are to balance the Qi in each organ system. I have added Mindset Training to the form. Using visualizations and affirmations, I’ve discovered the Qigong is the ideal modality for mindset training and creating neuroplasticity, or the reprogramming of the brains neurons and their dendrite clusters.
The Daoist philosophy, which formed from the observation of the cycles Nature, is at it’s core about balance. Spiritual Qigong, sometimes called Philosophical Qigong because there is no dogma, is the purist form of this ancient practice.
The Three Treasures to Learn in Qigong
In Spiritual Qigong, cultivation of The Three Treasures is taught to be of great value. These three treasures are called Jing, Qi and Shen. They are cultivated and then stored in a field of energy named the Dantian (Literally: elixir field). There are three of these Dantians. The Lower Dantian is where the Jing is stored. The Middle Dantian is where the Qi is stored. The Upper Dantian is where the Shen is stored.
Jing is the essence we are born with. It’s like a combination of DNA and epigenetics, or the things that affect the programming of our physical body after birth. In both Spiritual Qigong and Medical Qigong, there are exercises that strengthen and concentrate Jing, which then helps refine it into Qi, the second treasure.
Qi animates the physicality of our being while manifesting our emotional being. Qi is also the energy of our emotional body.
Shen which is refined Qi and comprises the spiritual and mental being.
Here we can break that down to strengthening the body which is form, or physical, by using principles which treat the formless or energetic body. We are then, with this practice, treating the whole being, physical, emotional and spiritual.
The base of the candle is like Jing, the essence of the candle.
We see that the flame of the candle is like Qi, the working energy of the candle.
Finally, the Light emitted from the candle is like Shen, the result of our energy spent in life, lighting the path for others
The exercises in this practice refine the energies as follows:
Refines Jing (our essence from birth stored in the Kidneys) into Qi (Life-Force Energy)
Refines Qi into Shen (Spirit, Soul, the Emotions).
Refines Shen into Wu Wei (Emptiness or Enlightenment)
Learn Qigong At Home
While it is preferable to learn from a live Sifu, or instructor, there are classes available with instructor assistance that you can take at your own pace in your own home. As in the free classes on YouTube, it’s important to know what you want out of the class.
Qigong is helpful for many types of health issues, including body, mind, emotion and spiritual as well. The practice of Qigong is known as the Longevity Exercise.
Under the stewardship of the NIH (National Institute Of Heath), the National Library of Medicine (NLM) produced a study by the National Center For Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The study stated: “Qigong practices activate naturally occurring physiological and psychological mechanisms of self-repair and health recovery.” The study concluded that Qigong was beneficial for dozens of issues ranging form anxiety to pulmonary disease and falling prevention in the elderly.
What is it that you want from Qigong?
The picture on the right is the last part of the hike on cables which go to the top of the up exposed granite dome. The entire hike is 16.4 miles round trip, The trail climbs 4,800 feet in elevation, from 4000′ to 8839′ at the top.
My point is that few 70 year old men try this. It is not for the casual hiker. It’s rated extremely difficult. I’m doing it for my 70th birthday to bring awareness that Qigong is a way to allow your body to thrive well into your aged years. The hike takes 8 – 12 hours to complete, depending on one’s fitness level.
Perhaps Longevity isn’t important to you. Maybe you want to meditate but you can’t sit still. The purpose of meditation is to become fully present in this infinite moment. Qigong is a moving meditation. You don’t need to sit still to meditate. Qigong keeps your mind in the present moment by using it to create visualizations that reprogram the brain’s neuron network. This not only helps you be calm and centered. It also helps you manifest your true authentic life path, so you can realize your dreams.
Qigong and Brain Health
In light of the positive effect Qigong has on brain health. It has found to be very effective for anxiety disorder and attention deficit disorder. Therefore, if brain heath is what you want from Qigong, then look for someone who addresses that in their teaching.
My favorite course that you can take at home is my Live Life Fulfilled course. It addresses health, well-being and mindset training. It combines the ancient Qigong movements with imagery through visualizations as well as affirmations to reprogram your neurons to work for you. You can find out more about that course here.
The Qigong Institute
This link connects to an excerpt from the eBook which is a compendium of 120+ research studies from the scientific community on teaching, practicing, and legislating Qigong as a health care solution. There’s great information about Qigong in this free excerpt. The entire book is available to you for a donation. Visit the Qigong Institutes website for more information.
Qigong Training is a discipline more than a series of exercises. To train in Qigong asks you to dig deep into a part of you that is rarely discussed in our culture. You’re asked, when training, to see yourself as more than a physical body.
Qigong and Nature
Maybe you visualize yourself as a mountain river, roaring down seeking the clearest path forward to your ultimate home, the oceans. Perhaps you create yourself as a tree, whose branches reach out into the sky. As the wind begins your branches blow, going with the challenge and not resisting.
We learn from Nature. By becoming Nature in our minds we understand better how the Universe works, and we evolve.
When you begin to learn Qigong, start slow, with simple movements. Synchronizing movement and breath is your first mission. The trick is to eventually see your breath as the engine that moves you, instead of your muscles. The muscles should be supple and quiet. Feel the effort is all in your breath, Inhaling as you pull the body on way, exhale pushing the body the opposing direction.
Qigong Teacher Training
So you want to be a Sifu? Do you love Qigong? What style or form do you practice? What is your motivation for teaching? How can you help your students learn Qigong?
Do you want to make a lot of money? You better choose another field. Do you want to help folks be their best self? Now we are talking. Where did you learn? Does your Sifu train teachers? Try asking. It’s better to teach the form you are familiar with and practice yourself. Then you are authentic in the product you deliver to your students.
I have a teacher training, However my form is unique in that I concentrate on the development of Shen. In that process our body becomes healthier. The primary focus is on Mindset training. Qigong is the modality I use for that.
You can check out the online version of the course. I can’t certify you just through this online portion. It’s a guide, not the entire course. If you are local to the bay area, I would want to teach it in person. I you are out of my area, I would consider teaching zoom. I would need to interview you, however. Contact me through my website.
I hope this was helpful with finding where to locate The Best Place To Learn Qigong. My life is dedicated to help folks find their best version of themselves. If we can do that, we can make the world a better place for our children, and grandchildren.
Your path is lit for you to find and follow. Simply open your eyes to the doors that open up around you. May you find and continue on that path that has been created especially for you. You are simultaneously unique and one with Source.