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Basic Skills - the Components of Qi-gong Exercises

Qigong routines can be simple or complex, short or long, and can be done at standing, walking, sitting and lying down. Some are quite vigorous and demanding, others can be practiced by people who are weak in order to regain strength and health. Most qi-gong exercises involve posture / movements (also known as form or frame), some type of breathing techniques and mental focus, these are called three elements of qi-gong. Each form of qi-gong practice integrates the three elements; the only difference is adjusting the extent of each element. However, the manner in which all of these pieces fit together and the training employed to accomplish it is beyond the scope of this article.

I. Postures (regulating the body)
Proper body postures and exercise are the preconditions to guarantee smooth respiration and mental relaxation. They assist in opening the body's meridians and directing the qi flow. The aim is to adjust the body to the most comfortable posture, including the head, neck, waist, limbs, fingers and organs.
II. Breathing (regulating the breath)
Qi-gong practice usually changes the depth, frequency and rhythm of respiration in a conscious state. Breathing is a critical component in making the exercise effective and combining breathing with meditation helps reduce stress. The deepening of respiration expands lung capacity, promotes circulation of oxygen in the blood, massages the internal abdominal organs and helps the digestion and assimilation of food.
III. Mental focusing (Regulating the mind)
To concentrate and regulate mental activity in order to enter a qi-gong state, is termed ru jing (entering a quiet state). The key point is to get rid of all stray thoughts, replace myriads of thoughts with one thought that gradually induces tranquil sensations and enters a state of void. This is the most essential in qigong practice, much of the success of a qi-gong practice depends on the level of peace and quietness one can attain.

There are differences among each practitioner. The time required to attain a qi-gong state varies from individual to individual. Sometimes a person requires only a short period of time to achieve his goal, while others may take several years. Certain techniques work for some people, while others do not. That is why there were various techniques designed for the attainment of a tranquil state over the centuries. It is better to practice qi-gong under the guidance of an experienced teacher.