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Back to Introductory Qigong Articles

Guidelines for Qigong and Tai Chi Practice

© Roger Jahnke O.M.D

In the practice of all forms of Qigong, including the various styles of Taiji, there are a few guidelines that will give the most rapid growth and learning while helping you to stay in the comfort zone.

These practices are all very mild, however, many people are at risk for injury, especially of the knees. The foot work in some forms of Taiji has caused some problems in a very small percentage of people. Always start carefully and allow your progress to be "slow but sure".

Some of the complex and vigorous forms of Qigong are contraindicated in people who are weak from illness or in the wisdom years. Be very hesitant to go to a Qigong or Taiji class and go to the front of the room. Linger in the back and follow these guidelines no matter what is happening in the class and you always improve, slowly but surely. In your personal practice time continue to progress carefully.


  • Relax deeply and allow the mind to be free of concerns and considerations. In China this state of mind is sometimes called "cheerful disinterest", "neutral" and "emptiness".
  • Practice daily if possible. The results you seek are the result of perseverance. Chinese tradition says "perseverance furthers". Carefully and correctly implemented Qigong and Taiji are safe to practice even several times a day. The practices are gentle and based on enhancing natural biological and energetic mechanisms of self restoration. If you are unwell enough to be off of work or school you have time to carefully do lots of Qigong or Taiji practice.
  • In Qigong feel free to make up your own routine and change the practices to suit your needs, likes and limitations. One of the most powerful forms of Qigong is called Spontaneous Qigong and is completely intuitive.
  • In Taiji it is generally less acceptable to modify the form. However, people with severe diseases should feel free to modify the practices to honor their comfort zone and promote self healing.
  • Always approach each practice from the richness of deep intention and belief in self healing. Keep it foremost in your mind that both Taiji and Qigong are profoundly healing practices. Rest in knowing that you have tapped a powerful pool of healing resources.
  • Allow the mind to rest in quiet indifference. Worry and anxiety turn off the naturally occurring, self healing resources. It is when the mind is free of concern that the profound, internal, self healing resources are spontaneously activated.
  • Notice that as you mature in these practices that the breath spontaneously regulates so that both the inhalation and exhalation are slow and somewhat full; not urgent, not exaggerated, just restful, intentful, conscious and calm.


  • Do too much. Taiji and Qigong are intended to assist you in self healing and to help you become more enduring and vital. Take it very, very easy. Ease helps to activate the Qi. Extra effort and trying hard go against the natural benefits in all varieties of Qigong. Going too far, too fast may cause discomfort and may result in you saying, "This is too much." Then, the profound benefit is lost. Achieve your goal of healing by allowing yourself to be free from the stress and rush that cause the organs, tissues and glands to become deficient. Expand your practice slowly and personal improvement is guaranteed.
  • Be fooled by the fact that Qigong seems like nothing much. The vigilant application of these simple practices has demonstrated, over thousands of years of careful refinement, the ability to mobilize the naturally occurring healing forces within you. An ancient Chinese proverb says, "that which appears great on the outside is weak on the inside, that which appears to be inconsequential on the outside is great and powerful on the inside". Qigong is not an ever complex chain of details and new innovations; it is an ever simplifying and deepening practice that is refined toward perfection.
  • Expect too much, too soon. Know that on occasion extraordinary results occur right away. Bring Qigong into your life delicately. Too much of such a good thing and you may say, "I don't have time for this". Then the remarkable possibility for self restoration will be lost. Most often dramatic results come over time with vigilant practice.

1st Warning: Learning Qigong from a book, a video or even a great teacher is always frustrating particularly because of your longing to perfect the practice, now. Please, go very slowly and intentfully, follow the directions the best you can. Give yourself permission to invent some things too. Remember it is not so important to do the practice just like the instructor suggests. More important is to do the practice just like it works best for you. The only way to be wrong about your implementation of these practices is to NOT do them or to not follow the rule of "go slow and easy". Therefore, the most important rule in Qigong is-DO IT!

2nd Warning: Qigong and Taiji are hazardous to your health problems and they have the potential to alter the definition of health care. They help resolve many ailments for no cost. They have no side effects. These practices may limit your doctor visits. They are dangerous to the conventional medical system and could have a radical impact on your personal life, your community, your society and the national debt.

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