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Walking Qigong is an important branch of Qigong that we rarely see in the West. Even in China I think Walking Qigong is a bit less known than it was in the past. In the 1990’s when I visited parks in Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai there were countless people practicing various forms of qigong exercise everywhere. Particularly in Shanghai I saw many practicing Walking Qigong. There was a particular Walking Qigong that was popular for the liver and treating live disease and cancer. Everyone swore by it and would walk and then vary the tempo or rhythm of their step and pull up with their arms in a specific way. On my most recent visits in the 2010s I saw fewer people practicing both Tai Chi and Qigong than I did in the past.

In any case, Walking Qigong is great. Walking Qigong can be simple, or it can be an art in itself like the Ba Gua Zhang Ding Shir or Fixed Posture Circle Walking. Let’s look at simple Walking Qigong.

To simply walk and do Qigong is well, pretty simple. But beware, simple is often a code word for difficult and profound in martial arts. The heart of Qigong is your breath, mind, and posture. When we walk and breathe deeply in a mindful way with consciousness of our posture, we are doing walking Qigong. Ideally this would be in some magically, Qi super charged area like a beautiful forest, coastline, or mountain. Realistically, any place that isn’t subject to prohibitions against Qigong practice would fine (too noisy, smoggy, insects, frightening, etc.). It helps if you can walk a sufficient distance. A few steps isn’t long enough. Walk across a college campus or walk through a city garden or park. Find a trail and explore it for aways so you can take some steps.

When you walk, keep your head up and level, pluck up your spine.  Relax your lower back and hips. Let them balance as you lengthen your stride. Look expansively being aware of the world around you. Tune into your senses of smell and hearing and be as awake and aware as you can. Tune into your animal sensory awareness of your surroundings being alert and confident without fear or anxiety. Turn your attention to your breath and breathe deep. Breathe deep and sink your mind and energy to the center of your body while you also expand your awareness outward in all directions taking in the beauty and wonder of the world around you. Relax your mind as you walk and allow your blood and Qi to circulate. Concentrate and absorb Qi into the center of your body. This is both simple and profound. What makes Walking Qigong difficult is not letting your mind wander constantly and staying continually tuned into your breath, posture, surroundings, and center.

The combat oriented martial art of Ba Gua Zhang is famous for its emphasis on a circular walking Qigong method called Ba Gua Zhang Ding Shir or Fixed Posture Circle Walking. This unique method uses a unusual method of stepping known as the mud gliding step combined with 8 different arm positions. Each of the different arm positions strengthens the arms, shoulders, and spine in body alignments that are useful for martial arts. They also open the meridians or energy pathways of the body in a manner aligned with traditional Chinese medicine healing and rejuvenating the body.

Sifu Scott Jensen performs ba gua zhang for online ba gua zhang course. 10,000 Victories school is located in San Rafael, Marin, CA.

The mud gliding stepping method reverses normal heel toe stepping and has a profound rebalancing, recalibrating, and connecting effect on the base of the spines linkage to the legs. The art of Tai Chi Chuan uses Post Standing with feet spread shoulders width, Shaolin uses a low wide Horse Stance, and Xing Yi Quan uses a rear weighted stance Three Treasure Stance to practice their respective Qigong methods. Each of these is strenuous with legs bent and arms continuously raised. What sets Ba Gua Zhang apart is that instead of emphasizing a stationary stance they focus on walking and moving. Walking in circle is practical to maintain a steady step in small space. It is also practical for mastering the footwork to flank an opponent for self-defense. By stepping, blood circulation in the legs, hips, and lower internal organs is enhanced. This stepping action facilitates the circulation of blood and Qi like a pump and increases the effectives of the Qigong practice compared to stationary standing Qigong.

We have tired to keep our Ba Gua Zhang training group secret – for marketing purposes I’m told – ?! – but the word seems to be slipping out anyway. We do in fact practice this method in a secret class, that is not listed on any website anywhere in the world, on Monday and Wednesday nights, in a secret location within the main auditorium of the San Rafael Community Center. From 6:00 – 6:45 you can learn this Walking Qigong method and the Tornado Core Exercises from Ba Gua Zhang and more as part of our Qigong Class lead by Henry Geddes. It does not show on the registration page (I told you it was secret!) you have register for the Yijinjing class with Scott Jensen but then you will be able to take our Ba Gua Zhang Qigong class!

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