what are they?
Qigong practices are the intentional cultivation of energy. The word ‘qi’ simply translated means ‘energy’, while ‘gong’ refers to ‘working on a practice over time with some effort or dedication.’ Qigong practices employ breath awareness, meditation, mind intent, relaxation, movement and stillness to harmonize and create balance in the body. It is believed that chronic imbalances lead to illness and disease, and that these imbalances are regulated by the practices of Qigong–physically, energetically, and spiritually. Ideally, sincere Qigong practice provides the potential to live each moment of every day with joy, clarity of consciousness and intention, and a deep connection and sensitivity to self, others, and our natural environment.
Taijiquan differentiates itself from Qigong in that it is historically a martial art, cultivating better health and one’s abilities in self-defense. Taiji trains internal awareness and also the dynamics of relationship with others through the interactive training called Push Hands. The majority of Taiji that is practiced and taught is for solo training. These include many kinds of solo ‘forms,’ or choreographed sets of movement. Solo training may also include forms that use weapons, most commonly a straight sword. This training challenges and enhances bare hand forms by changing the complexity of the movement practice and requiring the practitioner to be able to control both body and the extension of the body, as well as extension of Qi, through an object. ‘Push Hands’ or ‘Sensing Hands’ practices incorporate
training with a partner to cultivate one’s ability to engage with another. The core energies of Taiji Push Hands play uses ‘Sticking,’ ‘Listening,’ ’Understanding,’ ‘Receiving’ and ‘Neutralizing’ as a way to stay connected to a partner.