SLIMMING DRAGON QIGONG [2006-02-12]
Apart from being beneficial for health and being able to prevent and reverse many diseases, Qigong is also an effective method for slimming. I have mentioned previously that doing intense Qigong exercises ( especially certain Shaolin Qigong exercises ) can make you sweat as you burn the calories. In these cases, you will be getting all the benefits of Qigong practice, plus aerobic cardiovascular health improvement, and also the bonus of losing weight.
Today I will describe to you special Qigong slimming exercises that do not require intensive, tiring routines to burn the fat away. These exercises help you to reduce fat at the right places, and are therefore good for slimming and body-shaping. They influence the qi-flow, lymphatic flow, as well as improve joint flexibility and body-suppleness. They are good for the spine, joints, muscles, lungs, stomach and intestines, immunity, hormone production, and improve hormone blood and qi circulation. For women, they also improve womb health. So the slimming and re-shaping come naturally due to improved functions of many organs.
The exercises follow the movements of the mythical dragon, which features prominently in Chinese folklore, and in traditional Chinese exercises like Qigong. Hence this set is called Slimming Dragon Qigong exercises.
1) DRAGON SLITHERING UP THE COLUMN
Imagine your spinal column as the column that the dragon has to slither up, and your arms are the dragon's limbs. Stand in the basic Qigong stance ( see www.superqigong.com for description ). Then move the feet even wider apart, and bend the knees even more as if you are riding a horse. Keep your spine straight and your feet firmly anchored to the ground ( knees bent all the time ).
Do abdominal breathing ( tummy moves out when inhaling ), but when exhaling, squeeze in your abdominal muscles. This is not done during relaxed abdominal breathing, but is crucial in this exercise for you to regain your slim waist!
Focus your mind on the Ming-men ( at the back, about the level of the second lumbar vertebra ), a point directly behind the your Dan tian ( your main energy centre, about three fingers below your navel ).
When you are ready, very slowly rotate your upper body and arms as you exhale, starting with rotating to the left, gently bringing up the right hand ( palms facing down ) to rest on the left shoulder ( near the cheek ) and the left hand ( palm facing the body ) simultaneously going behind to touch the back just below the right shoulder blade (scapula ). Your eyes should follow the movements of the right hand. Stay in this position and inhale.
Exhale again as you reverse the movements to end with the left hand on the right shoulder and the right hand touching below the left scapula. This time your eyes should follow the left hand.
Repeat the exercise in sets of 6-8 repetitions. Men should start with the instructions reversed, and everyone should smile while doing these exercises!
2) THE DRAGON DANCE
Stand with feet together, and knees just slightly bent. Bring your hands together, in front of your chest, in the prayer position. As you inhale, make a half-circle towards the right ( left for men ) and going upwards until the hands ( palms always together ) are well above the head, and complete the circle downwards as you exhale.
The knees remain bent throughout, and swing to the opposite direction as the hands execute the circle. Make sure your spine move in a supple manner just like the dragon's long body. Repeat this and all the following exercises in sets of 6-8 repetitions.
Next, from the same starting position ( prayer posture ), make the circle downwards, bending at the waist and knees, to almost touch the ground. The rules for breathing and directions are the same as above. Remember that the knees must be turned opposite to the hands.
There are variations to this in other styles of Qigong. In SuperQigong, the upper circle is done the same way, but the lower circle is substituted by the figure "8", that is, two smaller circles are made, with the lower circle actually touching the ground. This exercise is also called the Snake Dance, or Thai Dance, depending on how sensually you perform the exercise!
Next, from the starting posture, bend forwards at the waist. Make a large horizontal circle, following the same breathing and direction ( women start to the right, and men to the left ) rules as previously.
Next, from the starting posture, bring down the hands ( palms together ) so that the wrists rest on your waist. Turn the hands so that the right hand is on top. Inhale as you gently slide your arms over your waist to the left ( or right for men ) and allow the arms to leave your waist as you continue to make a half-circle. Exhale as your hands slowly return to the centre. Now change the hands so that the left is on top ( right for men ) and repeat the exercise in the opposite direction. Done slowly, with rhythm, and especially if done in a group, this is a beautiful exercise even to watch.
Next, from the starting posture ( prayer position ), inhale and extend the arms fully above the head, keeping the hands together always. Exhale and make a large vertical circle forwards by bending down at the waist and knees, hands going down to the ground, and coming back up close to the body to the starting position as you straighten up.
Finally, for the closing, the hands are brought down to the waist again, and are then placed over the Dan tian ( females left hand over right hand, males vice versa ). Do deep abdominal breathing as you visualize qi-energy being stored in this energy powerhouse.
If you regularly practice these exercises, you will become healthier, slimmer and lose fat from the correct places. You will also have a stronger and more supple spine.
LEARN FROM A TEACHER
I have tried to describe the exercises in the simplest way, but it will not be easy to follow accurately without having a teacher demonstrating to you. Those who are interested to learn from me are most welcome to attend my Qigong courses.
Dr Amir Farid Isahak