Taiji Qigong Shibashi 太極氣功十八式
Shibashi means 18 forms/movements. Created in 1979 by the renowned Professor Lin Housheng, former director of the Shanghai Qigong Research Institute (Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine). Taiji Qigong Shibashi combines the beauty of Taiji (Tai Chi) movements with the healing effect of Qigong and Meditation. Simpler then Taiji, the fluid movements follow your breathing, creating a soothing sensation flowing through your body. The mind is relaxed and observes the movements or creates an image inspired by the name of each movement: “Expanding the chest”, “Rowing in the middle of the lac”, “Fisherman casting his net”. This Qigong leaves you relaxed and fully energized in less then 20 minutes.
Taiji Qigong Shibashi is taught in Chinese Medicine University. It develops vitality and longevity in healthy people and is recommended for people suffering from hypertension, lung disease, digestive issue, back pain, etc… It is also used to support patients during Cancer treatments.
Taiji Qigong Shibashi is also promoted as a health exercise by the government of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapour and Thailand. In 1991, the United Nations Development Programme recommended the promotion of Taiji Qigong Shibashi worldwide.
Of all the Qigong systems I have practiced, Taiji Qigong Shibashi is by far the most complete and effective. The system has a total of 8 forms, created between 1979 and 2010. Deceivingly simple, it is easy to miss the subtle internal development it provides. Since a “light” practice produces health benefits, many practitioners won't search to develop the “inner form”. But with a deeper practice, it becomes a powerful tool that incorporates all the variations of energy movements within the body.
Taiji Qigong Shibashi set 2 Instructional Video
Taiji Qigong Shibashi set 3
Basic principles of Shibashi
These are a few simple principles that guide the practice of Shibashi in order to gain its maximum benefits:
- The whole body always moves together, slowly, continuously, and harmoniously.
- The hand's movements guide the flow of Qi through the body.
- Each movement circulate the Qi through the Macrocosmic orbit (12 meridians and 8 extra)
- The head and the eyes gently follow the hand's movements.
- The inhale is through the nose and the gentle exhale is through the mouth.
- The breathing is soft, profound and continuous.
- The breathing gives the rhythm, the physical movements follow it. Don’t hold the breath.
- At first use natural breathing. Regular practice will develop full body breathing
- The mind is either in the “state of tranquility” or creating an image associated with each movement
- The mind observe the circulation of Qi but does not guide it
- Always practice with a happy state of mind. If you feel emotional, take a few minutes to calm down before practicing the form.
Developing and integrating these principles will take time. Through regular practice, they will become part of how you do the movements and everything else. A Qigong form is just a tool to integrate these principles into your daily life. As you integrate them, your life becomes a Qigong form.
Taiji Qigong Shibashi set 1
During set 1, you will learn to circulate the Qi through your body. Discovering its major movements of rising and sinking, entering and exiting, expanding and condensing. This first set was design to give you the tools to improve your health and wellbeing and begin your transformational path.
Each movement will assist the healing process of blood pressure, digestion, breathing, physical pain, mobility, stress, mood, and emotions, etc…
The gentle movement and their repetition provide a detailed learning frame for you to discover, develop, and integrate such concept as:
- Whole body movement.
- Abdominal, thoracic and full body breathing.
- The lower, middle and upper DanTian.
- Integrating the 3 adjustments (Posture, Breathing, Meditation) into one.
- Entering the state of Tranquility (Rujing).
Throughout the form, each movement supports one another and built upon the previous ones. This way, you can reinforce your weakness during the whole session and not just during a single movement.
Taiji Qigong Shibashi set 2
Once you are comfortable with practicing set 1 and you feel the circulation of Qi in your body, you can start to learn set 2.
This second form of 18 movements will teach you how to connect with the earth energy and let it fill up your body. This form is a bit more challenging physically than the first set of 18 movements. It will allow you to feel the energy of the earth rise in your body through more intense flexion of the legs and more weight transfer during movements. This Earth energy will be pumped by the legs, directed through your body via the waist and expressed through the arms movement, circulating it effectively through every articulation and meridians.
Using the skills you developed with the first set, you will go deeper in your understanding of your own body and how it relates to the Earth and the environment. This will also help deepens your understanding of the first set allowing you to integrate this new layer of perception into it.
Taiji Qigong Shibashi set 3
This set was developed to further improve the health of the practitioner with the intention of creating set 4 to help students with a specific disease. Adding to the skills developed by set 1 and set 2, this third set focus on developing the connection to the Sky/Heaven, completing the loop of “Human stands between Heaven and Earth”.
The movements of this set develop a stronger connexion with the energy coming down from the Sky, allowing it to flow smoothly through the body and penetrate deeply into Earth. Once this central axis of Qi circulation is developed, the simple act of relaxing the body will activate this connexion between "Heaven and Earth". This is the first step to enter the deeper levels of Qigong training.