How long and how often should one practise?

The effect of the exercises is the more intensive the longer one practices (however without exhausting oneself completely). Beginners or sick people can start to practise with duration of 5-10 minutes. The practising period should little by little be extended to 35 minutes up to one hour or more. It is possible to practise three times a day. Basically it is sufficient to practise once a day, if this practising period is long enough.

Are there any special requirements for the place, the time or the orientation?

One should choose a quiet place with sufficient fresh air for practising, and ideally practise in the morning, at midday or in the evening. It is favourable to look south or north.

For beginners it is not jet so important to meet those requirements exactly. They can choose the place and the orientation flexibly according to the present circumstances. Beginners as well as advanced practitioners should always avoid wind that comes from front.

When is the best time to practise?

In principle one can practise Qigong at any time. However if possible one should prefer to practise in the morning between 5:00 to 7:00 am, at midday between 11:00 to 1:00 am, in the evening between 5:00 to 7:00 pm or even at night between 11:00 to 1:00 pm.

According to the personal health condition, it also might be favourable to specifically choose a different time to practise. The reason for this is the fact that some Meridians (energy channels), which are connected with the internal organs, are especially active and sensible at certain times.

Under what circumstances should one not practise?

As practising Qigong leads to an intensive connection between human beings and Nature, it neither is advisable to practise outdoors nor inside as long as Nature is unbalanced. This applies for example to bad weather, storm, hail, intense heat, thick fog and thunderstorms.

One should also postpone practising as long as one is very tired or strongly emotionally agitated. It is also advisable not to start practising with an empty or a too full stomach. One should wait 30 to 60 minutes after a meal before starting to practise. And vice versa, one should also wait 30 to 60 minutes after practising, before one eats something.

When is it necessary to practise in an especially adapted way?

In case one depends on medication, it may be important, according to the clinical picture, to adapt the exercises individually. Those adaptions should always happen in consultation with a Qigong Master or an authorised teacher. The provided adaption may be implemented by, for example, simplified exercises in motion or through special exercises in silence.

During menstruation women may continue to practise normally, choose simplified exercises or practise in a sitting position, depending on their individual feeling. In case unpleasant feelings occur while menstruating, one may take a break practising for a few days. During pregnancy women can also practise simplified exercises in motion as well as exercises either sitting or lying down.

Which clothes are suitable for practising?

Basically all clothes are suitable for practising, which are not confining and in which one can move freely. The shoes should also be comfortable and not too tight or constrictive. Watches and jewellery should be taken off while exercising, for they might possibly influence the effectiveness of the exercise.

Is it okay to eat or drink right before or after practising?

One should neither start to practise with an empty or a too full stomach. If you want  to practise in the morning directly after getting up, it is okay to have a snack or drink some warm water with honey before starting to practise.

While practising Qigong, the energy  “Qi” follows in the whole body. This process gradually subsides after the end of the exercise. In order not to disturb this process, one should wait 30 to 60 minutes after the exercise before one eats again.  And vice versa, one should also wait 30 to 60 minutes after eating, before one starts to practise. During those periods, before and after the exercise, one should neither drink any cold beverages.

How should one deal with emerging thoughts while practising?

While practising Qigong a state of calmness is pursued, in which no more conscious thoughts emerge from within. In order to achieve this goal, one method is to concentrate the mind on one thing. For example one may observe the own body while exercising and doing so correct its posture.

The most natural method to deal with thoughts is to let them come and go. If one succeeds, the flood of thoughts little by little decreases. Merely by exercising one automatically achieves a state of inner peace.  The advantage of this approach is, that all the processes which are being stimulated by Qigong, are happening completely natural and without being influenced by the consciousness.

When itching or tingling sensations occur, is it allowed to scratch oneself while practising?

Those sensations are a good sign. Itching and tingling sensations mean that the energy (Qi) already starts to have an effect. By scratching during the exercise, the Qi-effect will disappear because of the external stimulation and the effect of the exercise will only be little.

What is to be done, if the legs shake or the knees hurt while practising in a standing position?

Those phenomena mostly happen only to beginners. In case the shaking does not cause pain one can try to go on practising unchanged. If the shaking is too exhausting, beginners can stand less low. However it is important that the knees are never locked. If one is already well trained it is favourable to stand even lower in order to avoid the shaking. In case of pain in the knees one may find a painless posture by adjusting the standing height.

Shaking of the legs and pain in the knees indicates that the energy (Qi) already moves within the body; however the Meridians are not jet sufficiently free.

Are there different exercises for different illnesses?

The practitioner in any case initially starts with a basic exercise like for example standing in the riding position, or a corresponding exercise in a sitting position, regardless of any existing illnesses. Once a certain energy level is achieved by practising this exercise, one can start to practise specially customized exercises according to the individual state of health.

What is to be done if ill organs or body parts suddenly hurt while practising?

According to the TCM pain always occurs where blockades in the Qi-flow exist. The Pain caused by the exercise is a good sign. It means that the energy (Qi) already has a positive influence on the illness. Therefore one should not worry and absolutely continue to practise.

Why do some practitioners experience back pain?

The reason for this is in most cases, that the spine is not naturally positioned, straight and relaxed. Thus the flow of Qi and blood is blocked especially in the lumber spine area, which causes pain.

Another possibility is that there is a spinal column injury or that there has been one in the past. The energy (Qi) now dissolves the blockade, which was caused by the injury; this is why temporary pain occurs.

Back pain may also occur if the energy of the practitioners kidneys is too week. In any case one should continue to practise. As healing progresses and Qi is being accumulated the pain will ease gradually and finally disappear.

Why are sometimes the hands cold while practising?

Mostly cold hands while practising are caused by tensions in the shoulder region through which the flow of Qi and blood is blocked. If one relaxes the shoulders, the hands will become warm again. Therefore it is important, to keep the shoulders relaxed.

What is the cause for headaches or dizziness while practising?

Those problems can be the result of tensions in the shoulder region or in the whole body. A balanced flow of energy is being prevented by those tensions.

A further cause is a too high mental tension while exercising, which can be caused by too strong and therefore unnatural concentration on certain body regions. Headaches and dizziness may also result if one forces oneself to fulfil the requirements of the exercise, even though the bodily strength may not be sufficient on this day. It is however also possible that the practitioner has been drinking alcohol before the exercise.

If headaches or dizziness already have occurred one should breathe out slowly or put the hands over each other on the belly button while practising in a sitting, standing or lying position.

What is the cause for an increased heart rate while practising?

Heart palpitation may result if the mind cannot find peace or if one is too tense. Other reasons may be tensions in the chest region or an unnatural breathing. In such cases Qi accumulates in the chest area and cannot flow off, which again causes palpitation.

What can be done if one is too drowsy or tired while practising?

Practising Qigong does free oneself of many thoughts, which are making one restless and thereby one achieves a pleasant, relaxed state. The mental activity is being reduced, the brain is working less, the body relaxes and the mind is calm. All this are good conditions for falling asleep. Drowsiness or fatigue often occurs with beginners, when they start to practise physically and mentally exhausted.

If one is not able to respond effectively to drowsiness or fatigue, one should take a break practising and move a bit, massage the face or tap the body. If those measures also do not help one may practise exercises in motion or drink a bit of warm water.

The quiet state of Qigong does differ significantly from the sleeping state. In order for the exercise to be effective, one should avoid to fall asleep while exercising. However people, who suffer from insomnia, may well use the effect therapeutically to facilitate falling asleep.

What is the reason for some exercises being performed reversed by men and women?

Some exercises are being performed reversed by men and women. Within some techniques, for example, the hands are being placed on top of each other on the lower belly. Doing so, men place the right hand on top of the left, while women place the left hand on top of the right hand. The reason for this lies in the different nature of both sexes and is related to the theory of Yin and Yang. Men represent Yang and women represent Yin. Furthermore the left side of men is Yang and the right side is Yin, whereas with women it is the other way round.

Is it possible to practise Qigong exercises from different systems at the same time?

Every Qigong-system has its own inner logic and method. By practising different systems at the same time the flow of energy may be stimulated differently and possibly be influenced in an opposing way. It is therefore very important not to collect and practice exercises from different systems arbitrary at the same time. It is best to practise only one suitable Qigong-system supervised by a Qigong-Master or an authorised teacher.

Who is able to learn Qigong and who is not?

Due to the diversified positive qualities, but also due to the possibility to individually customize the exercises, Qigong is, with only few exemptions, suitable for all people. By exercising, the functions of the organs, all body systems and the body’s defence are being activated. Thus healthy people are able to maintain health, to prevent illness and to prolong life. Sick people can increase their condition or even regain health. Qigong even can effectively be used with chronic deceases like cancer.

Qigong exercises are suitable for healthy people but also particularly for sick and weak, obese or elderly people. Also people who are under a lot of bodily or emotional distress can significantly benefit by this method.  For Qigong having a holistic effect, parallel to the bodily state of health the emotional state also improves. One develops a good feeling for the own body and calms the mind. Therefore Qigong also can have a positive influence when dealing with problems related to drugs or alcohol.

Despite the positive effects of Qigong it is in some few cases not advised to practice any exercises. Qigong is not suitable for people who:

  • suffer from severe pulmonary tuberculosis,
  • have internal bleeding,
  • have bleeding ulcers,
  • who are dealing with infectious diseases.

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