Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi, Series Introduction


Take Back Your Energy

Tai Chi Qigong (chee kong) Shibashi (shi ba shi) was created by Professor Lin Hou Sheng from China in 1979. Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi is a benefit to health. It is also a type of martial art practiced in defense training.

Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi comprises 18 movements that are done in repetitions of six to eight times each. These movements are based on the natural flow of energy. They are easy to do and can even be practiced by those who are unable to stand. In a series of articles for May 2016, I will be describing how to do all 18 movements along with some of the health benefits that are known to occur from regular practice.

When first learning the movements, it is recommended to learn three at a time. Sessions normally start with a period of warm-up exercises. Each session is concluded with the last movement of the Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi routine which is called Balancing the Chi. Once the whole routine is learned, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to perform.

Moving Meditation
It is important to note that Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi is a form of dynamic moving meditation. It especially uses the eyes to produce a meditative state. The eye muscles are the only voluntary muscles that are driven by nuclei in the midbrain while all others in the body are directly innervated by motor neurons in the spinal cord and hindbrain. Furthermore, the eyes are connected to the whole nervous system through the spine.

Physical and Metaphysical
The practice of Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi is approached from physical and metaphysical levels. It is not done in a mindless, mechanical fashion, but rather in a focused, natural fashion. While we perform these movements, we focus our minds on the outside and what we direct our eyes to see. We also focus on what we know but cannot see with our eyes on the outside of our bodies. And we focus on the inside of our bodies with our mind, especially with the breath. We use visualization techniques as well.

We use our breath, feelings of energy, flowing, swinging and spiraling movements, focus, and visualization to improve the outcome of doing Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi. All of these components apply in and out of our bodies. The result touches all aspects of our being.

It is obvious that the breath goes in and out of the body. However, many of us might not realize that we are electrical beings with currents of energy that flow in and out of our bodies as well. And the energy from the movements of our external and internal worlds exchange.

Flowing, Swinging and Spiraling
The world and universe on the outside of our bodies and the fluids and life forms on the inside of our bodies move in flowing, swinging and spiraling motions. By moving our bodies in flowing, swinging and spiraling motions, we can connect to the energies from the universe and to those inside us. We thereby clear blockages and areas of stagnation, and release negative energy, all of which improve our well being. Also, just as breathing deeper brings more oxygen into the body, these movements bring more energy into the body, especially when in a relaxed frame of mind.

Aura Visualizing
The space on the outside of our bodies is an extension of the energy field on the inside, like the glow around a candle. This energy field is called the aura. The aura is similar to the body in that it can accumulate rubbish, develop holes, blockages and areas of stagnation. It can become dirty and rough. It can lose its brilliant colors, become drab, gray and even darker or be off-color in spots or the whole thing. For example, when someone is depressed, they may feel blue, and we may say that they look blue. This is reflected in the aura.

The aura is a force field that protects us similar to the enamel on our teeth being protective. Just as a healthy person has a glow in their cheeks, they have a glowing aura. Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi improves the condition of the aura.

Receptive Hands
Our hands are particularly receptive to energy fields. Hence, the well-know quip, "healing hands". To feel this energy:
  • rub the hands together quickly to generate heat
  • put the hands together with palms facing each other about 6 inches apart at the level of the tummy
  • and press them together slightly and release as if squeezing a soft ball in the hands. This is a ball of energy.
The energy in the hands can be stretched by pulling with one hand upwards and then the other. It can be mixed by moving the hands in opposite directions around the ball. And then this energy can be applied to the body with the hands. Some Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi movements include the hands in this ball of energy position and then move the energy around through the aura.

Regular Practice
One last point is that these movements need to be practiced regularly to reap the benefits. Repetition is how we learn on a conscious and unconscious level. As with the practice of yoga and simple meditation, it is helpful to do Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi in the same place because our presence leaves traces of energy behind which build up with repetition and create familiarity. Finally, it is helpful to do our practicing around the same time every day as the body gets into habits this way which makes progress quicker and easier.

Take Back Your Energy

Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi is a good way to access more energy. These movements increase and release our energy. The energy flowing in and out of us will flow more freely and reach every area where it is needed. We take back our energy when we break down barriers and tap into the energy all around us more effectively and fully, and these exercises help with doing just that.