I have been practicing an advanced form of qigong for almost 5 years now. The name of this practice is Falun Dafa.
Have you ever heard of or seen Tai Chi? Well, Falun Dafa is similar and yet very different. It is similar in the sense that is has slow and gentle movements. It is dissimilar in the sense that it is easy to learn. There are only 5 gentle exercises to that are so simple and easy to learn that a small child or an extremely elderly person could still learn and do them.
Another major advantage that Falun Dafa has is that it is free to learn and practice. There are no class fees or ongoing monthly dues to pay. You can download video instructions from a Falun Dafa web site or you can learn from an actual volunteer instructor.
The volunteer instructors can be found in almost every major city around the world. And they won’t charge anything to teach you this wonderful, energizing, health promoting exercise practice. I know this for a fact because I also serve as a volunteer instructor in the Kansas City area.
So what have I obtained from the practice after 5 years? That’s an easy and exciting question to answer. After just two months of this practice, a nagging and recurring back pain that I had for many years went away. I was able to stop getting back treatments from my chiropractor. That was 5 years ago and I haven’t needed any further treatment since.
What is exciting about the above example is that previously I tried many things to alleviate my back problem. Nothing else worked!
I’ve always been relatively healthy with only minor health issues throughout my life. I have meant other people that had more severe health issues that also received total relief from practicing Falun Dafa.
What do the exercises entail? Let’s talk about them here.
What I’m about to describe is from my own experiences, if you would like a more accurate description and explanation of the exercises, please reference a book by Li, Hongzhi, the man who brought Falun Dafa out to the public. The name of his book is Falun Gong. You can get a copy of his book for free from the main Falun Dafa web site, falundafa.org.
The first exercise is a gentle one that involves stretching from head to toe. To perform one cycle of the exercise takes about 3 or 4 minutes. It is done from a standing position with the knees and hips relaxed, until the gentle upward stretch that accompanies each of the exercise’s movements.
When practiced, this 3 or 4 minute exercise is usually repeated three times. In normal circumstances, it takes about 12 minutes to repeat this exercise a total of three times.
The second exercise is a standing stance with 4 positions. Each position is held for a length of time that can vary depending on the ability of the practitioner. In the beginning it would be fine to just hold each position for maybe 1 minute each or even less, depending on the person’s ability and comfort zone.
Advanced practitioners might work up to as long as 7 minutes or more for each position. However, you can gradual improve your time according to your own wishes and abilities.
The third exercise is a gentle exercise where you move your arms up and down in front of the body. In the first half of this exercise the hands go in opposite directions. In the second half, the arms go in the same direction. Each repetition of the exercise takes about 3 minutes. Generally, when practiced, people will repeat this exercise three times, for a total duration of about 9 minutes.
The fourth exercise is similar but different in that the hands trace a path around the entire body. The path travels along the front of the body and then up the back of the body. The hands reach about the level of the mid-back before being brought in front of the body again. The path is traced for a total of 9 times constituting one repetition of the exercise.
The fourth exercise is generally repeated three times when practiced. When done this way the total time to repeat this exercise three times is about twelve minutes.
The fifth exercise is done sitting down in the cross-legged position. The leg cross can be simple “Indian” style or slightly more advanced depending on the ability and comfort zone of the person practicing.
There is a sequence of hand gestures at the beginning and there are positions to hold. The duration of holding the hand positions can vary. Once again, how long is determined by the person practicing. Both how long you hold the hand positions and the overall duration of the exercise are entirely at the discretion of the person practicing.
In the beginning a person might only practice the fifth exercise for a few minutes. Advanced users may practice for an hour or longer. Again, it all depends on the ability and comfort level of the person practicing.
These are very simple explanations of the exercises. For more detailed and accurate accounts of the exercises read Falun Gong by Li, Hongzhi. Or alternatively, you can download his instruction videos from the main Falun Dafa web site mentioned previously.
Mr. Li also has another book called Zhuan Falun, which to my understanding expounds on the characteristics of the universe: Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. I wrote that with the hyphens to underscore that this is one characteristic and not three separate ones. Again, that is my understanding about them and much more profound understandings can be found in the book Zhuan Falun itself.
Because you can practice Falun Dafa with others in a group setting without being charged any initial or recurring fees, it seems like the perfect alternative to other exercises that charge money to participate in. Exercising with a group or alone is fine and each person may have his or her own preference on that. It’s enjoyable either way.
I personally practice it both ways. On the weekends we do have a group practice here in the Kansas City area and you are welcome to come join us if you are in the area. Fortunately, many cities throughout the United States, Canada and around the world have similar group practices. You don’t have to come to Kansas City to enjoy this wonderful practice.
I have one last item of note. It seems that some people can’t stand to see others enjoy something good. And this is no different. The current person that runs China, Jiang Zemin, is terribly furious at people who practice Falun Gong for no logical reason that anyone can come up with. He brutally persecutes those who practice it in China.
If you want to learn more about the persecution of Falun Gong in China, there is a web site that you can visit, faluninfo.net. They even offer suggestions to help end the persecution if you are so inclined.
I do hope you get the chance to experience what I have from the practice. The health of my body and a deep sense of peace and well being are some of what I have obtained.
This article is for information purposes only. The information is not meant to give advice or attempt to prevent, treat or diagnose any health problems. If you have or think you might have any type of health condition, please consult your primary care physician immediately. Consult him or her before taking up any form of exercise.