Daliang Cun Qi Fa ("Amassing Chi") or Stopped Breath Qigong (advance level of training)
If you are new at qigong yogic breathing, begin with diaphragmatic breathing. If you already know how to do diaphragmatic breathing, practice the Huxi Liao Fa or Three-Breath Qigong Therapy which works at detoxifying the body and strengthening respiratory systems.
Advanced qigong practitioners can practice Daliang Cun Qi Fa ("Amassing Chi") or Stopped Breath Qigong.
One of my students suffered from chronic bronchitis, hayfever, asthma, and arthritis. He had a family history of these problems, but he was very determined to get rid of them.
After a couple of years of intensive training, he was very advanced in tai chi qigong, practicing several hours every day religiously. Shortly after I taught him Stopped Breath qigong, his symptoms, particularly his asthma took a turn for the worse.
He continued to persist in the exercise, until one day, he suddenly coughed up a lot of very thick yellowish phlegm. From then on, all of his symptoms — arthritis, hayfever, asthma and bronchitis disappeared, never to return.
However, if you aren't very familiar with qigong and don't know how to control your own vital energy, because of the inherent risks with with this qigong, it is advisable that you try other less potent qigong techniques.
If you have suffered chronic respiratory disease for a very long time, even Three-Breath Qigong Therapy may be too powerful a qigong exercise for you to do immediately. Chances are you may detoxify too much, and overwhelm your already weakened body.
In such a weakened state, you should practice the milder Shou Qi Fa or Gathering the Chi Qigong instead. When you have built up enough strength with this qigong, then you can move on to Three-Breath Qigong Therapy.
Above all, include Jian Fei Gong or Lungs Strengthening Exercise in your daily qigong routine. A very simple exercise, it will tonify and strengthen your lungs.
Do not try to skip steps or quicken the pace. You cannot rush your own progress. For best results, go slowly and let your body decide when it has improved enough to continue to the next step.
If you get too impatient and start to rush things, your body doesn't have sufficient time to recover. It's like wanting to run a marathon before you've even gotten rid of your wheelchair!
Chang Shou Qigong or Longevity Qigong Longevity Qigong also strengthens the vital organs, including the lungs to promote health and longevity.
I often practice it to prevent colds, flus and coughs. It can also be used to help reduce symptoms of asthma, COPD and bronchitis.
How do you know when you have built up enough strength through yogic breathing to move on to the next stage of qigong? Some of my students will complain that halfway through their exercises, their symptoms suddenly worsen, just when they think they are getting better.
Not to worry — that is a significant sign of progress!
In the process of detoxification, the body brings up so many toxins and contaminants, that sometimes the body is unable to eliminate it completely before being overwhelmed.
Whatever weaknesses brought on by your asthma, bronchitis, COPD or similar bronchial or lung disease, will be affected and made worse until all of the toxins are cleansed from your body. At this point, many students may be tempted to give up and quit. However, only through persistence can you eliminate all of those toxins.
Yogic breathing is mostly to help you detoxify, strengthen the respiratory system and build up some healing chi energy. When the symptoms have subsided somewhat and you find yourself mastering the exercises, it is time to move on to the next stage.
You can also continue with the optional San-Yao-Er Jingluo Duanlian Fa or Three-One-Two Meridian Qigong. Though it does not specifically target the respiratory system, nevertheless, this qigong therapy is very effective against many of the ailments associated with respiratory diseases, especially bronchial and lung disease, such as asthma, pneumonia, COPD, pleurisy and chronic bronchitis.
Last year, my mother suffered pneumonia. The attending physician notified her three weeks after the results of her chest x-rays came out! But by then my mother had already fully recovered two weeks before, with the help of Chinese herbs and qigong.
After a few months of practice, you should find that most if not all of your symptoms are significantly reduced. At this point, it is very easy to stop following the regimen and be satisfied with your condition. Keep in mind, however, that your lung disease has not been eliminated, and at the first sign of weakness, the symptoms will return.
Though you have completed the first stage of treatment, that is, treating the root cause of your disease, you now have to follow through with the second stage of the program, regular maintenance to prevent the disease from returning. That means practicing tai chi qigong as a regular part of your lifestyle.
It also means working your way up to two hours of tai chi qigong every day during your learning stage and a minimum of a half hour of daily maintenance thereafter (after eliminating most if not all of your asthma, COPD. bronchitis or other respiratory ailment).
My uncle contracted tuberculosis when he was young. In those days, there was no treatment, and contracting TB was equivalent to a slow death. My uncle began practicing tai chi chuan. In several months, he recovered fully from his TB and continued to practice tai chi qigong for the rest of his entire life.
I won't go over all of the prerequisites you require before learning tai chi chuan. Suffice it to say, it is highly recommended that you build a strong foundation before taking up tai chi chuan itself. It is not enough to know just the movements, as the physical features of tai chi are nothing but calisthenics.
The remedy for your asthma and/or other respiratory conditions lies in the combination of mental and physical training together. Skipping steps will not get you there faster, nor produce the health results you want. So take your time in learning it properly.
The minimum foundation you require? I would recommend the following:
- qigong stances: horse stance and bow stance;
- one or more of the following: Taijiqigong Nuanshen Fa or Tai Chi Qigong Warm-Up Exercises, Songchi Qigong or Loosening Exercises for Tai Chi Chuan and/or Taiji Qigong Shibashi or 18 Postures of Tai Chi Chi Kung;
- Taiji Bufa or Tai Chi Walk; and
- one or both of the following rooting exercises: Zhan Zhuang Jinggong or Qigong Standing Meditation Postures and/or Dun Zhuang Qigong Fa or Grounding the Chi or Rooting Qigong.
As for the tai chi form itself, just about any tai chi chuan will do, as long as you have established a strong foundation. However, for more effective results against asthma and other respiratory diseases, choose a form that you can practice nonstop for at least twenty minutes.
Most of the traditional long forms meet that requirement if you do it slowly enough. The more modern, modified short forms will also work if you repeat them several times nonstop to practice them as one continuous long form.
Conclude your tai chi chuan with a minimum of twenty minutes of jinggong or still meditation. You can practice this in different postures: standing, sitting, or even lying down.
The most effective one is the Standing Meditation, because it is both a rooting exercise as well as still meditation. However, for a wind-down meditation, some people prefer sitting positions. Try both and see what suits you best.
Lastly, conclude your daily program with Shier Bao Baojian Changshou Qigong or Twelve Treasures Longevity and Health Preserving Qigong Exercises. The Twelve Treasure exercises target many different areas of health and can be practiced any time.
In particular, pressure point massage and the mingmen and kidney exercise, will help boost the immune system, promote healing and prevent diseases such as asthma and other lung disease.
You can practice all twelve or select a few of the exercises to focus on that you find especially beneficial. Because they are easy to learn and take little effort to master, you can include them immediately after you have mastered your diaphragmatic breathing.
Respiratory diseases, especially bronchial and lung disease such as asthma, COPD, and chronic bronchitis, need not interfere with an otherwise healthy lifestyle. With the properly tailored qigong regimen to address these needs, you can lead a very healthy, disease-resistant life.
Yes, the symptoms of your lung disease may get worse before they get better midway in your progress, but don't give up: push through it, and eliminate the disease and your efforts will be well rewarded.