I have been practicing an advanced form of qigong for almost 5years now. The name of this practice is Falun Dafa.
Have you ever heard of or seen Tai Chi? Falun Dafa issimilar and yet very different. It is similar in the sense thatis has slow and gentle movements. It is dissimilar in the sensethat it is easy to learn. There are only 5 gentle exercises tothat are so simple and easy to learn that a small child or anextremely elderly person could still learn and do them.
Another major advantage that Falun Dafa has is that it is free tolearn and practice. There are no class fees or ongoing monthlydues to pay. You can download video instructions from a FalunDafa web site or you can learn from an actual volunteerinstructor.
The volunteer instructors can be found in almost every major cityaround the world. And they won't charge anything to teach youthis wonderful, energizing, health promoting exercise practice. Iknow this for a fact because I also serve as a volunteerinstructor in the Kansas City area.
So what have I obtained from the practice after 5 years? That'san easy and exciting question to answer. After just two months ofthis practice, a nagging and recurring back pain that I had formany years went away. I was able to stop getting back treatmentsfrom my chiropractor. That was 5 years ago and I haven't neededany further treatment since.
What is exciting about the above example is that previously Itried many things to alleviate my back problem. Nothing elseworked!
I've always been relatively healthy with only minor health issuesthroughout my life. I have met other people that had more severehealth issues that also received total relief from practicingFalun Dafa.
What do the exercises entail? Let's talk about them here.
What I'm about to describe is from my own experiences, if youwould like a more accurate description and explanation of theexercises, please reference a book by Li, Hongzhi, the man whobrought Falun Dafa out to the public. The name of his book isFalun Gong. You can get a copy of his book for free from the mainFalun Dafa web site, falundafa.org.
The first exercise is a gentle one that involves stretching fromhead to toe. To perform one cycle of the exercise takes about 3or 4 minutes. It is done from a standing position with the kneesand hips relaxed, until the gentle upward stretch thataccompanies each of the exercise's movements.
When practiced this 3 or 4 minute exercise is usually repeatedthree times. In normal circumstances, it takes about 12 minutesto repeat this exercise a total of three times.
The second exercise is a standing stance with 4 positions. Eachposition is held for a length of time that can vary depending onthe ability of the practitioner. In the beginning it would befine to just hold each position for maybe 1 minute each or evenless, depending on the person's ability and comfort zone.
Advanced practitioners might work up to as long as 7 minutes ormore for each position. However, you can gradual improve yourtime according to your own wishes and abilities.
The third exercise is a gentle exercise where you move your armsup and down in front of the body. In the first half of thisexercise the hands go in opposite directions. In the second half,the arms go in the same direction. Each repetition of theexercise takes about 3 minutes. Generally, when practiced, people will repeat this exercise three times, for a total duration of about 9 minutes.
The fourth exercise is similar but different in that the handstrace a path around the entire body. The path travels along thefront of the body and then up the back of the body. The handsreach about the level of the mid-back before being brought infront of the body again. The path is traced for a total of 9times constituting one repetition of the exercise.
The fourth exercise is generally repeated three times whenpracticed. When done this way the total time to repeat thisexercise three times is about twelve minutes.
The fifth exercise is done sitting down in the cross-leggedposition. The leg cross can be simple "Indian" style or slightlymore advanced depending on the ability and comfort zone of theperson practicing.
There is a sequence of hand gestures at the beginning and thereare positions to hold. The duration of holding the hand positionscan vary. Once again, how long is determined by the personpracticing. Both how long you hold the hand positions and theoverall duration of the exercise are entirely at the discretionof the person practicing.
In the beginning a person might only practice the fifth exercisefor a few minutes. Advanced users may practice for an hour orlonger. Again, it all depends on the ability and comfort level ofthe person practicing.
These are very simple explanations of the exercises. For moredetailed and accurate accounts of the exercises read Falun Gongby Li, Hongzhi. Or alternatively, you can download hisinstruction videos from the main Falun Dafa web site mentionedpreviously.
Mr. Li also has another book called Zhuan Falun, which to myunderstanding expounds on the characteristics of the universe:Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. I wrote that with the hyphensto underscore that this is one characteristic and not threeseparate ones. Again, that is my understanding about them andmuch more profound understandings can be found in the book ZhuanFalun itself.
Because you can practice Falun Dafa with others in a groupsetting without being charged any initial or recurring fees, itseems like the perfect alternative to other exercises that chargemoney to participate in. Exercising with a group or alone is fineand each person may have his or her own preference on that. It'senjoyable either way.
I personally practice it both ways. On the weekends we do have agroup practice here in the Kansas City area and you are welcometo come join us if you are in the area. Fortunately, many citiesthroughout the United States, Canada and around the world havesimilar group practices. You don't have to come to Kansas City toenjoy this wonderful practice.
I have one last item of note. It seems that some people can'tstand to see others enjoy something good. And this is nodifferent. The current person that runs China, Jiang Zemin, isterribly furious at people who practice Falun Gong for no logicalreason that anyone can come up with. He brutally persecutes thosewho practice it in China.
If you want to learn more about the persecution of Falun Gong inChina, there is a web site that you can visit, faluninfo.net.They even offer suggestions to help end the persecution if youare so inclined.
I do hope you get the chance to experience what I have from thepractice. The health of my body and a deep sense of peace andwell being are some of what I have obtained.
This article is for information purposes only. The information isnot meant to give advice or attempt to prevent, treat or diagnoseany health problems. If you have or think you might have any typeof health condition, please consult your primary care physicianimmediately. Consult him or her before taking up any form ofexercise.