Fun in the Sun! Qigong in Water for Better Relaxation & Chi Flow

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Qigong (Chi Kung – Pronounced Chee Gong) is a form of motion and/or still meditation in order to cultivate and flow your chi or life force. One of the principles in Qigong is that of reaching a state of relaxed tension throughout the body. It is similar to the feeling of buoyancy that one feels when moving through water. So practicing Qigong in water, in a pool, pond, lake or the ocean, can help achieve that feeling of relaxed tension in both motion and still Qigong meditations. This can help you better activate and flow your chi. Performing Qigong in water is also relaxing and fun!

In this post we’ll cover three forms of Qigong in the water, beginner Ba Duan Jin, intermediate Tai Chi Meditative Movements and advanced Full Circle Zhan Zhuang, with an added bonus at the end!

[Note: Doing Qigong in water, as seen here, is not what’s called “Water Qigong”, that’s a term used to denote a certain type of chi flow as is “Fire Qigong.” Those terms don’t refer to actual water and fire.]

Practicing Baduanjin – Eight Pieces of Brocade – Qigong in Water

The above video shows practicing Ba Duan Jin, Eight Pieces of Brocade, beginner’s Qigong in water. When practicing Baduanjin in water keep your knees relaxed and feel the buoyancy of the water helping your legs hold your body up. Especially feel the buoyancy in movement #6, touch the ground, when you bend down into the water and rise back up.

As in all Qigong exercises work on your “belly” breathing. Breathe in by relaxing and releasing your belly to draw air in deeply by dropping your diaphragm rather than by expanding your chest. In this version of Ba Duan Jin, from the book The Way of Energy, breathe out as you expand each stretch and breathe in when you return. Do eight repetitions of each movement synchronized with your breathing.

Once you get to the point in your Qigong training where you can feel the chi between your hands you can practice holding the chi ball in water as seen at the end of the video. The water makes it easier to hold your arms with relaxed tension by letting them float on the surface of the water. Move them together and apart synchronized with your breathing and feel the chi compress and expand between them. It almost feels like pressing two magnets together and having them repel along with a feeling of focused heat between your hands and tingling sensations as if they are lit up by sparklers. Stay tuned for future posts about activating and feeling your chi.

These videos are based on exercises described in the book – The Way of Energy.
The Way of Energy by Master Lam Kam Chuen

Practicing Tai Chi Meditative Movements Qigong in Water

Just as Baduanjin, practicing the Tai Chi Meditative Movements Qigong in water can help you attain the feeling of relaxed tension by using the buoyancy of the water. These intermediate Tai Chi Meditative Movements, from the book Chi – Discovering Your Life Energy, have more vertical motion than Baduanjin so you get an even better benefit from the water. You can also drop lower than normal when doing the movements in a pool to maximize your use of the water’s buoyancy.

Use the same “belly” breathing but in this case breathe in as the movements expand and breathe out as they contract. Focus your mind on feeling your chi expanding with each motion as you breathe in and feel your chi contract as you breathe out.

The video shows ten repetitions of each movement for about one minute on each movement. If you have more time you can do more. Whenever I have the time I do fifty repetitions of each movement for about five minutes on each. As in Baduanjin, I often hold the chi ball at the end to feel the activated chi when done.

If you know a full Tai Chi form such as the Yang 24 Step Form you can also do that in water as well. It’s a little more difficult than in the air but the buoyancy does help you achieve the relaxed tension that’s necessary. Stay tuned for more on the Yang 24 Step Form in and out of the pool in future posts.

The Tai Chi Meditative Movements are based on those in Chi – Discovering Your Life EnergyChi - Discovering Your Life Energy by Master Waysun Liao

Practicing Zhan Zhuang Full Circle Qigong in Water

This third video shows practicing a more advanced form of standing meditation called Zhan Zhuang (pronounced Jan Jong) from the book The Way of Energy. This is also called “Standing like a Tree”. This video shows a set called the full circle which takes about six months to work up to. Each meditative position is usually held for five minutes (about 50 breaths at 3 seconds in and 3 seconds out) before moving on to the next in the sequence. I only held each for 1 minute (10 breaths) in the video because that was enough to get the gist of it without boring you to death watching it. LOL!

When learning the positions you learn them in the order labeled as first position, second position, etc. and each gets more difficult as you drop deeper into the stance. But when doing them in the full circle as seen here the order is done as they are numbered as 1), 2), etc. so that they get more difficult as you sink and then easier again as you rise. When learning start with each position and after you can hold that position for 20 minutes, then you are ready to learn the next position up to the fifth position. The fifth position you only hold for five minutes because it’s the deepest and very difficult to hold (when not in the water). Once you have the fifth position, then you are ready to learn the full circle seen here. The low stances are much easier in the pool of course because of the buoyancy and that feeling is what you are trying to replicate when out of the water. As before, the end of the video shows holding the chi ball in the water.

Stay tuned for future posts about each of the positions in Zhan Zhuang and working up to the full circle, and beyond.

These videos are based on exercises described in the book – The Way of Energy.
The Way of Energy by Master Lam Kam Chuen

Running in Water for Water Resistance Training

Here’s a little bonus. This video is part of my karate training rather than Qigong. I try to run at least once a week for a cardio workout. When it’s too hot outside to run though, I run in the pool. This is cool, fun and surprisingly difficult. The water is great for resistance training. I’ll typically run in one direction for five minutes which builds up a whirlpool like current. Then I’ll turn around and run against the very strong current which starts out pretty much holding me in place for a bit. I continue reversing directions every 5 minutes for 30-45 minutes. The video only shows 5 laps before changing direction once just to give you the idea.

Give it a try and have some Fun in the Sun!

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Arigato Gozaimasu (Thank You Very Much!)
-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino

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