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Chi Kung
the art of breathing: the fundamental basis of tai chi

a guide to 18-Form Chi Kung


Before starting, stand quietly in a loose standing posture for a few minutes, allowing your body and mind to relax. Keep your head straight as you practise the form, and your shoulders relaxed. Hand movements should be coordinated with your breathing, and both should be in a continuous, fluidic movement. Breathing is very important in chi kung: In general, breathe in for yin (inward) movements, out for yang (outward), in long, controlled breaths, and allow your breath to naturally follow the movements as they change.
lesson 1

1. Starting Position

Stand naturally with your legs shoulder width apart, drop and relax the shoulders. Keep the hips straight, and your gravity in the centre, and slowly raise the arms to shoulder height.

Then, while lowering the body and bending the knees, bring the arms down, exhaling on the downward, and inhaling on the upward.

Repeat 6 times.

lesson 2

2. Opening the Chest

Stand naturally, with your legs straight, and raise your hands to the front of your chest.

Separate your arms to your side as you open your chest and breathe in. Bring the hands back to the body in a circling motion, finishing with the hands in front of the stomach as you bend your legs and breathe out.

lesson 3

3. Rainbow Dance

Raise both hands to the front of the chest, straighten your legs and bring both hands over your head and straighten the arms.Your palms face each other, and breathe in.

Move your weight into the right leg, bending your knees - straighten your left leg and raise your heel off the floor, so that only your sole/toes are touching. Bring your left hand down to the horizontal level of your left side, palm upward.

Arch your right arm in a semicircle bringing the palm over the head, and as your body moves to the side, breathe in.

Repeat, on the opposite side, swaying gently from side to side in a continuous motion. Do both sides six times.

lesson 4

4. Separating Clouds by Wheeling Arms

From a standing position bend both knees into a horse stance. Simultaneously, place both hands in front of your body, palms towards your stomach. Raise both arms above your head and separate, then bring them down and around back to the front of the stomach.

As the arms come down bend the legs and straighten as they cross; the palms circle outward and upward over your head.

lesson 5

5. Rolling Arms

Stand with your left hand extended in front of the body, palm upward at chest height, right hand out to the side at shoulder height, palm upward, elbow bent. Push the right hand forward and down, withdrawing your left hand so that the palms cross in front of your body.Turn your waist to the left to transfer your weight to your right leg.

Now bring your left palm past your ear, down your centre, over your right palm, and withdraw your right hand. Transfer your weight to your other foot as you turn your waist in the oppsoite direction - you are repeating the move.

lesson 6

6. Rowing the Boat in the Centre of the Lake

Stand with your legs straight, and bring your arms straight up from the side to your front and round over the top of your head.

Slowly lean forward at the waist as your hands come down and round.

lesson 7

7. Looking at the Moon by Turning the Body

stand with your arms at your side, turn to the left and swing both arms parallel upwards and to the side (your right elnbow bends naturally) - left palm upwards, right palm down.

Repeat on the other side, and execute eight times.

lesson 8

8. Lifting the Ball in Front of the Shoulder

Stand naturally, turn to the left and bring the right palm up to the left above shoulder height, as if you are lifting a ball. Keep your left arm to your side, and move your weight into your left leg. The right leg then stretches on tiptoe with the heel up. Turn the waist and breather in.

Change from one side to the other, breathing in on the upward movement, and out on the down.

lesson 9

9. Pushing Palms

Stand in a horse stance, and hold both arms upwards at the waist. Bring the left arm back slightly and turn your waist to the your left, then turn and push forward with your right palm, bringing your left palm down to your side and move your balance to your left leg.

As you turn from one side to the other, bring your palms to cross over each other. Keep your upper body straight as your waist turns. Repeat four times.

lesson 10

10. Cloud Hands in Horse Stance

This is identical to the 'wave hands like clouds' move in the Yang form (see Net Guide, part two, move 25), except that you do not move, but stay in a horse stance, moving your waist.

Repeat eight times.

lesson 11

11. Scooping the Sea

Put your left leg forward, lean your body forward, bring both hands to cross in front of your knee, whilst breathing out.

Cross the hands as you move your weight to the back leg, then open and separate, and the head then looks at the sky as you breathe in. Repeat this on the other leg, and do four times each way.

lesson 12

12. Pushing Wave

Stand in a bow stance with your right foot forward, lift your palms up to the side of your chest, facing forward. With the weight on your right foot, push forward at shoulder height, and stretch the back leg.

Slowly move your weight to your back leg into a heel stance, and withdraw your arms, breathing in.

Change leg stances and do four times on each leg.

lesson 13

13. Flying Pigeon

With one leg forward, lift both arms up to your side, place your weight on the back leg, lift your front leg toes, and breathe in. Imagine that you are stretching something with your arms.

Transfer your weight to your front leg, raise the heel of your back foot, and bring your hands together in front of your chest - breathe out.

Repeat four times.

lesson 14

14. Punching in Horse Stance

Adopt a horse stance, and hold both fists under your armpits. Push out your left fist, twisting it so that the palms end up downwards. Withdraw the fist as your push out your right.

repeat ten times.

lesson 15

15. Flying Wild Goose

Stand naturally, then bring both hands outwards to shoulder height at the side of your body, and slolwy squat down into a horse stance. Let both arms now drop down to your sides.

Raise up your body, bringing both hands to shoulder height again, breathing in on the up, and out on the down.

Repeat eight times.

lesson 16

16. Rotating Wheel in a Circle

Stand naturally, and bring both hands to cross in front of your stomach, then turn to the left side, keeping your arms straight. The arms follow your waist movement, going up and around over the top of your head, palms forward. Breathe in as you do this.

Your hands drop down and you breathe out, then repeat in the opposite direction.

lesson 17

17. Marching Bouncing Ball

Lift up your left leg, and at the same time your right arm to shoulder height, breathe in, and then drop them down, breathing out.

Repeat on the other side.

lesson 18lesson 18

18. Shau Gong

This is to balance your chi. Stand naturally, and lift both hands palm upwards in front of your stomach, finger to finger. Lift your hands to your chest, breathe in and lift your heels.

Turn the palms down, fingers facing, and bring down your arms down to your tantien and breathe out and bring your heels down. Repeat a few times.

origination of images is unknown, possibly from an uncredited source.

In general, breathe in for yin (inward) movements, out for yang (outward), in long, controlled breaths, and allow your breath to naturally follow the movements as they change.

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