Qigong Forms

Topics:
Soaring Crane
Wang Family Turtle Longevity
Essence

Super Energy Method
Awakening Light gong


Soaring Crane Qigong

Training Cranes in the Northwest
History of Soaring Crane Qigong
Cranes Begin to Gather
Crane Gives China the Gift of Qigong
One Crane Soars to America
Why Practice Soaring Crane Qigong
The Soaring Crane System
Components

Kris practicing "Penetrating the Heavens and the Earth" (Soaring Crane Qigong) at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, May 2003
photo: C. Bolt

Training Cranes in the Northwest

Since 1993, when the Soaring Crane Qigong program was founded at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine by Professor Chen Hui-xian, people from all over the United States have travelled to the Northwest to learn this profoundly powerful medical qigong method. When Professor Chen retired from her post at OCOM in 2001, she passed her responsibilities on to her head teaching assistant, certified qigong instructor and acupuncturist Teri Applegate. Although OCOM no longer offers Soaring Crane Qigong as part of its qi cultivation program, Teri remains committed to providing quality training in the advanced levels of Soaring Crane to the Northwest. Having relocated to Seattle in 2004, she is a valuable resource to students in the Northwest and nationally for advanced training and teacher certification in the Soaring Crane Qigong methods.

The system is taught in weekend workshop format (suitable for students coming from out of town) in three levels: Level I, Level II, and Level III. Students who complete all three levels are encouraged to participate in the teacher training workshop and apply for certification to teach the Level I methodss.

History of Soaring Crane Qigong

Soaring Crane Qigong is a relatively modern qigong form. It was developed by Master Zhao Jin-xiang shortly after the cultural revolution. Many people in China at that time were suffering from poor health and in need of an efficient method of self-health-care with the power to help them recover from their illnesses and traumas. The form had to be short enough that it would fit into the busy post-revolution lives of the Chinese people, and powerful enough to produce lasting results in a short time. Master Zhao had suffered terribly poor health in his youth and as a young adult was hospitalized in a tuberculosis sanitorium which also served as a qigong hospital. It was there he began to learn about qigong and recovered his health through qigong practice. From this personal experience and with new ideas in mind, Master Zhao committed to helping others. Aided by the collaboration of Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors, Soaring Crane Qigong was developed.

Cranes Begin to Gather

Despite doubts about his ability to teach (he was from a poor country family and had only a fourth grade education), Master Zhao was determined to be of service. He went to a Beijing park and asked several seriously ill people if they wanted to learn qigong. Of the nine who agreed, two were in wheelchairs with paralysis resulting from strokes; two suffered from advanced diabetes; one had heart disease; four were diagnosed with advanced stage metastatic cancer. Within months all nine had completely recovered their health and physical abilities. One of the those origianl nine, the editor in chief of the People's Daily (the national daily newspaper serving all of China), returned to work after recovering from lung cancer, much to the surprise and delight of his staff. He wrote out the story of his experience with Soaring Crane Qigong and published it on the front page of a subsequent issue of the paper. As you might imagine, people flocked to the parks to learn this "miracle cure" qigong method.

Crane Gives China the Gift of Qigong

For the millions of people all over China who read the Editor's story that day in the People's Daily, the news of a qigong form that could help restore their health after the revolution was a message of hope ~ but historically speaking, it was much more than that. Master Zhao was the first qigong master ever to teach qigong to the general public. Traditionally in China qigong was an heirloom passed down through families, or a closely-guarded treasure passed on to apprentices carefully chosen by the masters of their forms. Not until Master Zhao went to the park in Beijing that first morning and began to teach Soaring Crane had qigong training ever been available to the public at large. Imagine you were ill and knew there might exist a method for you to regain your health but had no way of accessing it ~ and then one day found the way has been made available to you. This was the experience of all those millions of people, not just in Beijing but throughout the entire country.

Now imagine you are the only teacher of this method ~ and you suddenly have millions of students clamoring to learn. Master Zhao trained his original nine students to teach and sent them out to serve the Chinese people. Master Zhao also began working with the Chinese government to develop standards of qigong teaching, and to set in place a system that would ensure the public be taught only by teachers appropriately trained and certified. In this way students would have a safe and effective experience with their qigong practice.

One Crane Soars to America

Professor Chen Hui-xian was instrumental in bringing Soaring Crane Qigong to this country. Her experience with this form saved her life and set a new mission for her to fulfill. Diagnosed at age 49 with late-stage metastatic breast cancer and a grim prognosis, she began practicing Soaring Crane. She worked very hard to get well, each day commuting two hours by bus to a park for her morning lesson. In the evening, she practiced for an hour at home. Her hard work paid off: within three months she was seeing dramatic improvements in her health. Soon she was able to return to her job as a professor of English at the University of Business & Economics in Beijing. Deeply affected by her experience, she began what would be a lifelong commitment to the practice and teaching of qigong. Together with Master Zhao, she founded the qigong department at the university. With Master Zhao's encouragement, she traveled to Arizona in 1992. Her background as an English teacher for so many years served her well as she began to teach Soaring Crane Qigong to Westerners. Professor Chen's message is clear: practice consistently, be a good person, and help others. This, she maintains, is the key to good health, long life, and great happiness. She sets for us an excellent example.

Why Practice Soaring Crane Qigong?

For over thirty years, Soaring Crane Qigong has been clinically evaluated in China as the most effective medical qigong form for time commitment required to practice. It has a phenomenal track record with regard to cancer and other critical and chronic conditions. This said, people practice Soaring Crane Qigong for many reasons: to aid in healing from illness or injury; to become more balanced emotionally; to develop greater spiritual awareness. Many come to Soaring Crane at a time of physical crisis; others come with a desire to optimize their quality of life and make use of the form's preventative power. Soaring Crane is suitable for almost everyone, from those without physical strength or stamina (as the movements can be performed mentally at first while still transferring much of the energetic benefit) to professional athletes ~ and those many of us in between. Limitless personal growth is possible through Soaring Crane: all you need do is practice. It should be noted that practice of Soaring Crane Qigong is contra-indicated for those with diagnosed mental health disorders such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder or borderline Personality Disorder.

The Soaring Crane System

Soaring Crane Qigong is a complete system of qigong practice. The system features all four classical qigong form types: sitting, standing, walking and lying down. The multiple components provide a variety of therapeutic functions and offer flexibility in practice time commitment.

Components:

Eight Remedy Routines

Remedy Routines are short forms (5 - 20 minutes) with specific therapeutic functions. Examples include a method to support liver function, a method of lowering high blood pressure, and a method of relieving headaches. Two remedy routines are taught at Level I, two at Level II, and four more at Level III.

The "Five Routines"

Five short forms performed sequentially (45 minutes in total) that systematically open the acupoints, cleanse the channels, strengthen the internal organs, adjust all the systems of the body, and build up the practitioner's reserve of qi. The Five Routines are the primary component of Level I practice.

Standing Meditation

The Standing Meditation of Soaring Crane Qigong is the highlight of the form. It is a high level self-healing practice that empowers the practitioner to access his or her own "innate doctor" to stimulate deep healing of current and past injury and illness. Standing Meditation is the primary component of Level II practice.

Teri Applegate practicing "Touching the Water" from
Routine 4 of Soaring Crane Qigong's Five Routines.
Garden of Awakening Orchids, Portland, OR, 2003.
photo: K. Hall

Sitting Meditation

The sitting meditation taught at Level II aids in the spiritual development of Soaring Crane practitioners.

Crane Walking Steps

The walking form of Soaring Crane Qigong, taught at Level III.

Lying Down Relaxation Meditations

Two ancient qigong methods taught within the Soaring Crane system: Four Route Relaxation, for expelling spent qi from the body, and Exchanging Qi with the Universe, a breathing method to tonify the body with pure qi. Both are taught at Level I.

Level I Curriculum

Basic Theories of Chinese Medicine
Two Remedy Routines: Tonification, Method of Descending Turbid Substances from the Liver ("Liver Cleansing")
The Five Routines

Level II Curriculum

Review of Level I methods
Continued Study of Chinese Medicine
Standing Meditation
Sitting Meditation
Two Remedy Routines: Method of Lowering High Blood Pressure, Collecting Yang Qi Four Times from the Left and Three Times from the Right

Prerequisites: at least 12 hours of Level I class time and a minimum of 40 hours personal practice of Level I methods

Level III Curriculum

Review of Level I and Level II methods
Continued Study of Chinese Medicine theory
Advanced theories of Soaring Crane Qigong
Crane Walking Steps
Four Remedy Routines: Directing Qi Into Lower Dan Tian, Gathering Qi Into Lower Dan Tian from the Eight Directions, Drawing Qi from Five Acupoints into Lower Dan Tian, Touching Acupoint to Descend Turbid Substances (headache remedy)

Prerequisites: Level II prerequisites plus at least 10 hours of Level II class time and a minimum of 50 hours practice of Level II methods

Teri Applegate practicing "Holding a Ball of Qi in the Milky Way"
from Routine 2 of Soaring Crane Qigong's Five Routines.
Garden of Awakening Orchids, Portland, OR, 2003.
photo: D. Beardsley

Soaring Crane Level I Teacher Training
and Certification Curriculum

Review of Level I, Level II and Level III methods
Soaring Crane Qigong Level I Teaching Methods
Soaring Crane External Healing Techniques
Business Principles and Procedures for Qigong Instructors
Testing and Certification


Prerequisites: Level III prerequisites plus 48 hours of Level III class time and a minimum of 280 hours practice of Level III methods, total minimum personal practice time of 360 hours


Valerie practicing collecting qi
after a Level III lunch break.
photo: K.Caldwell

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Wang Family Turtle Longevity Qigong

Tiantian School of Qigong provides Level I and II training, as well as Teacher Training and Certification, in Turtle Longevity Qigong. The current Wang Family Lineage Holder of Turtle Longevity Qigong is Master Wang Zhezhong of Beijing. Prof. Chen Huixian was the first lineage holder outside the Wang Family. In 2007 he authorized four additional lineage holders outside the Wang Family: Ping Ping Li, Teri Applegate, Kris Caldwell, and Jennifer Daly.

Components:

"Watching the Turtle" Standing Form
"Learning from the Turtle" Standing Form
"Being the Turtle" Sitting Form
"Tong Tian Gong" Advanced Sitting Meditation
Self-Acupressure Method

Kris practicing "Gathering Yang Qi" (Turtle Longevity Qigong) at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, May 2003
photo: C. Bolt

Wang Family Turtle Longevity Qigong is a good example of a traditional "heirloom" qigong form. It was first developed 19 generations ago by a Wang family ancestor and has been passed down through the generations of that family, each of whom has contributed to refining it. It has a high reputation in the qigong community for being an excellent form: extremely effective for physical healing and spiritual development, and also quite safe as it has been "tested" for so many years. As Master Wang puts it: the fact that this form was meant to be practiced by members of the Wang family meant it was of high priority to each successive lineage holder (person who inherits the form from generation to generation) to ensure the form would continue to be of the best quality for the benefit of the successive generations.

For over 400 years Turtle Longevity Qigong was considered a family heirloom and never meant to be taught publicly. However, Master Wang was deeply moved by general health conditions following the Cultural Revolution and felt it was time to share his family's gift with the Chinese people. Upon approval from the Beijing Qigong Research Institution, Master Wang began to teach Turtle Longevity in China, later traveling to Japan, Canada and the United States, with extraordinary results.

 

Master Wang Zhezhong and Professor Chen Huixian
reviewing lecture notes. Beijing, July 2002.
photo: K. Caldwell

There are five parts to the form currently being taught in the United States: two standing forms, two sitting forms, and an extensive self-acupressure technique. The four main parts of the form are taught sequentially; the self-acupressure technique may be learned by anyone, with or without prior qigong experience.

Part 1: Watching the Turtle (standing form)
The first form works on the surface layers (skin, tendons, muscles) of the body, opening the acupuncture points, cleansing the meridians (energy channels) and beginning to cultivate the practitioner's reserve of qi. When the acupoints are open, fresh qi can flow into the body more easily; when the meridians are cleansed, qi flows more freely through the body to nourish and strengthen it.

Part 1 has five parts: a preparation, three "dynamic" parts (with physical movement and visualization), one "static" part (with visualization but without physical movement), and a finishing form. The three dynamic parts can be described as consisting of very few unique movements but with many repetitions of those movements. The visualization involves "watching" a turtle as it does different things in the water. The movements and visualizations combine to bring about deep relaxation in the practitioner.

Students report a wide range of results from practice of Part 1, including a dramatic increase in overall energy levels, deeper and longer sleep, relief from chronic back pain, greater resistance to colds and flu, improved digestive and bowel function, sudden emotional healing, and normalized blood pressure (many students who began their training on blood pressure medication have found their blood pressure so stabilized through regular practice that their doctors have had to reduce or eliminate their medication).

Part 2: Learning from the Turtle (standing form)
The second standing form works deeper in the body (penetrating the internal organs, bones, and marrow), with a special focus on cultivating the flow of qi in what Chinese medicine calls "The Microcosmic Orbit". When qi flows freely and in abundance along the Microcosmic Orbit, all 7,200 channels in the body are filled with qi. The highlight of Turtle Longevity Qigong, a method of exercising the spine and tailbone, appears in Part 2; Part 2 also includes an advanced method of simultaneously discharging spent qi from and absorbing fresh qi into the body.

A bit more complex than Part 1, Part 2 has nine parts: a preparation, seven dynamic parts, one static part, and a finishing form. The dynamic parts can be described as consisting of more unique movements than the dynamic components of Part 1, but with fewer repetitions. As in Part 1, there is a series of visualizations; there is also a breathing technique used throughout Part 2. The movements and visualizations combine to bring about an extraordinary sense of energy in the practitioner.

Student feedback about Part 2 is remarkably consistent: with regular, ongoing practice it produces nothing less than virtually unshakable vibrant health.

Master Wang Zhezhong demonstrates "Stretching the Body from Side to Side" from Turtle Longevity Qigong part two, "Learning from the Turtle." Beijing, July 2002.
photo: K. Caldwell

Part 3: Being the Turtle (sitting form)
The first sitting form begins with a visualization to balance both the yin and yang qi and the five element qi in the internal organs. Three breathing techniques follow, all of which tonify the practitioner's kidney qi; two more breathing techniques tonify the body with fresh qi and expel spent qi from the body. In all there are seven parts to Part 3 including the preparation and finishing form.

Because of its focus on tonification of the kidneys, Part 3 is extremely effective in preventing aging and improving sexual function (according to Chinese medicine, strength of the kidney qi is a key indicator of sexual ability; depletion of kidney qi results in aging and loss of sexual desire and ability). Male and female students alike report improved desire for and ability to engage in sexual relations. Many students also find thinning hair thickening, graying hair darkening, hearing sharpened, and improved skin elasticity with regular practice.

Part 4: Tong Tian Gong (advanced sitting meditation of Turtle Longevity Qigong)
Tong Tian Gong (literally Channel Heaven Work, the name translates as Channelling Heaven and Earth) is the most recently developed part of Turtle Longevity Qigong. This powerful sitting meditation, practiced with the aid of an audiotape or CD recorded by Master Wang and Professor Chen Huixian, consists of a series of visualizations that combine to deeply relax the practitioner and allow for a freer exchange of qi between the practitioner and the universe. Students report increased memory and intelligence in addition to rapid spiritual growth.

Self-Acupressure Method
The Self-Acupressure Method is the part of the Turtle Longevity Qigong system most recently introduced to Westerners. Master Wang introduced his American students to this part of the form for the first time in July 2002. This extensive technique enables practitioners to guide qi to further cleanse the acupoints and channels. It is an efficient and effective technique for overcoming chronic health conditions, and an excellent technique for improving and maintaining overall health.

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Essence Qigong

Component:

Standing form
Central Channel Sitting Meditation

Kris practicing "Beaming Qi into Six Acupoints"
(Essence Qigong) at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, May 2003
photo: C. Bolt

Professor Chen leads a practice session in Essence Qigong as a local man watches and emulates the movements. Beijing, July 2002.
photo: K. Caldwell

Essence Qigong improves physical health and triggers spiritual growth by focusing on developing the Central Channel. This is the major channel through which the body¹s organs absorb qi. Essence qigong is unique among forms in that it quickly brings qi deep into the body, penetrating rapidly through the muscles and organs and into the bone marrow. Additionally, the meditative nature of this form brings the practitioner profound tranquility through ongoing practice. Students who practice Essence Qigong regularly report reduction in daily stress levels, emotional balance and healing, recovery from grief, accelerated spiritual growth, increased physical energy, stronger immune funtion, increased bone density, greater compassion, increased intuition and creativity, overall improvement in life quality.

Essence qigong was developed by a committee led by Master Chen Fu-yin, director of the Chinese Academy of Somatic Science. Master Chen and his colleagues conducted a long-term study of many different qigong forms (both ancient and contemporary) and collaborated to extract the most essential components common to the forms he had studied. From these components Essence Qigong was created.

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Super Energy Method (Clapping Hands)

Components:

Standing Form
Sitting Meditation
Bedtime Form


Kris demonstrates Super Energy Method to the study group prior to leading a practice session in the form.
Beijing, July 2002.
photo: P. Lefohn

This exciting new qigong method is like none you have experienced before. Super Energy Method improves health and generates happiness through vigorous hand exercise, acupressure methods and sound vibration. This method detoxifies and tonifies the internal organs through with a series of hand exercises according to the principles of reflexology and of traditional Chinese medicine. The addition of a chanted mantra raises the natural vibrations of the practitioner¹s energy field. This form is easy to learn, fun to practice, and powerful to experience when practiced consistently.

Super Energy Method was developed by Master Ma Cheng-kai. Bed-ridden with terminal illnesses in the 1980s, Master Ma was determined to find a way to regain his health. Through extensive research, practice and study he developed this method. In Master Ma's words, "The key to health, wisdom and enlightenment is in our own hands!"

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Master Ma Chengkai and Ping Ping Li
during a lecture on Super Energy Method.
B
eijing, July 2002.
photo: K. Caldwell

Awakening Light gong

Components:

Sitting Form
Standing Form


Prof. Chen teaching Awakening Light Gong to 60 students at Tiantian School of Qigong in Seattle, 2005.
photo: K. Caldwell

Awakening Light Gong is an advanced form which is excellent for resolving health issues and for spiritual growth. Whereas a "qigong" method helps the practitioner connect with the vital life force energy of the universe ("qi"), this "light gong" method ("guang gong") helps the practitioner connect with the spiritual light of the universe. Light is considered to be the emanation of dao, and a substance of higher vibrational frequency than qi.

Awakening Light Gong was developed by Master Liang Guanghua of Harbin (Northern China). Master Liang was born in poverty and grew up in the Pu Ji Buddhist Temple, where he studied Zen Meditation, Buddhism and the Chinese arts with temple's senior teacher. After 50 years of study, Master Liang developed this powerful form of light gong, which includes a sitting meditation and a spontaneous standing practice, both of which accelerate development of the Central Channel and increase the practitioner's access to light. The practices are accompanied by ancient mantras provided by Master Liang's teacher, and spiritual music provided by Master Liang¹s son Liang Heping (an internationally acclaimed composer with the Beijing Symphony).

Prof. Chen and Master Liang's wife in Beijing, 2006.
photo: K. Caldwell

Master Liang taught Awakening Light Gong to thousands of people who, after practicing this form, recovered from cancer, diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular system diseases and disorders, and many other difficult chronic diseases. Master Liang has been acknowledged by the National Buddhist Association of China as an enlightened teacher and as one of the greatest qigong masters in China's history.back to top


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