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 Mind/Body Tools for Peak Performance: Choosing your Path: What Form Shall I Learn? 

There are thousands of forms of Qigong (Ch'i Kung) and Taiji (T'ai Chi).

The forms that are the most simple and easy to access are Qigong methods that have only a few instructions. Spontaneous Qigong, for example, is simply a practice of allowing the body to move about in a random fashion according to one's inner guidance or wisdom. The cancer recovery Qigong method developed by Guo Lin in the 1970's is very simple as well. Both of these forms are profound in their benefits, with millions of people practicing them in China daily.

There are many forms of Qigong that are quite complex and esoteric. Wild Goose Qigong has two sections with 64 movements in each section. While it is complex and difficult to learn Wild Goose Qigong is exceptionally beautiful. In the West we think of geese as loud birds that try to nibble at your fingers. In contrast, in China, the goose is considered to be a marvelous creature who flies high into the clouds to gather cosmic energy and information and bring it to Earth.

There are a number of different styles of Taiji all of which are generally considered to be kinds of Qigong. Traditionally these forms consist of 108 movements. It will take a serious student from six months to over a year to learn the "long form". Most styles of Taiji have adapted shorter forms of 27 movements and 38 movements, etc. While a strong emphasis in Taiji is health, there is a widespread community of practitioners whose interest is the martial arts aspect, usually referred to as Taijiquan (quan translates as fist or boxing).

In the end the best guidance on how to choose a form to learn is relatively simple.

If you are healthy and wish to sustain your health and if you have the time to invest, learning Taiji or one of the complex systems of Qigong is highly recommended. Or you may want to begin with a more simple for of Qigong and graduate to more complex forms at a later time.

If you are unwell you may have the time to invest but not the energy. To build up your health and heal the disease that is your challenge you will want to begin with a practice that is easy to learn and simple to perform. Some of the most profoundly healing forms are quite simple. Intelligence (Zhineng) Qigong has several million practitioners in China and is growing radically because each student is encouraged to become a teacher. Many powerful stories of healing are associated with the Zhineng method because so many people are practicing it.

If you are healthy but also too busy to spare much time a simple form of Qigong will help you to build power, endurance and intuition while not asking too much of your time. Later, as you realize the immense blessing that Qigong provides, you may elect to deepen your practice with additional methods.

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 About The Author
Roger Jahnke OMDRoger Jahnke has been in the health field since 1967 beginning with body therapies, herbal medicine, Tai Chi, Yoga and meditation. He turned his attention seriously to Oriental medicine in 1972 with study at the North......more
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