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What are the 18 Luohan Hands?

Here is an introduction to the history, philosophy, and practice of The 18 Luohan Hands. In romanized Chinese, the 18 Luohan Hands is written Shiba Luohan Shou, which is pronounced as follows: • Shi (like the word “ship” but without the “p”) • Ba (rhymes with “La”, ) • Luo (rhymes with “claw”) • Han (rhymes with “con”) • Shou (sounds like “show”) The word Luohan comes from the Sanskrit word Arhat. Both words refer to a person who has cultivated a high level of spirituality. After the Buddha passed away roughly 2500 years ago, 500 of his top disciples gathered together in a grand council. Together, they reviewed and discussed his teachings word by word. These disciples became known as the 500 Arhats. 
When Buddhism spread from India to China, there were some cultural adjustments. For example, the Chinese paid special homage to 18 of the 500 Arhats. Statues of these 18 Luohan are often found in Buddhist temples today. 
When Bodhidharma taught at the Shaolin Temple (roughly 1000 years after the passing of the Buddha), he chose to pay homage to these 18 Luohan, perhaps in an effort to reach across the cultural divide. So he named a set of Qigong techniques after them. 
The word Shou means “hands”, but refers to the 18 techniques. So a figurative translation would be the 18 Techniques of the Enlightened Ones. Over time, the 18 Luohan Hands evolved into the 18 Luohan Fists. Here, “fists” also refers to the techniques, but implies that they are not just for health. In other words, it was a form of Kung Fu. This was the birth of Shaolin Kung Fu, a martial art that would become legendary. The 18 [...]

Frequently asked questions about Qigong

Is Qigong difficult to do? Most qigong is very easy to do.   The forms I teach are not physically demanding.  The movements are simple and easy to learn.  In fact, the form is not the most important part of the practice.  So,  you can butcher the movement.  I won't correct you, or tell you you are doing it wrong.    Everyone is encouraged to move within their personal comfort zone.  The most important part of Qigong practice is learning how to relax, followed by learning how to breathe.  Yes, relaxing and breathing.   Practicing qigong is training your body to enter the relaxation response quickly and effortlessly.  Only then can the body heal.   Being relaxed allows the energy in the body to move freely.  This movement facilitates healing.   The dynamic & static postures enhance the movement of qi through the energy meridians.   Practicing regularly helps you to discover and feel the qi.  Once you are at this stage you become very in tune with your physical body and learn how to move the energy to your benefit. Do I need a yoga mat? You do not need a mat or any special equipment. Do I have to sit on the floor? All the qigong movements I teach are in a standing position.   You will never have to sit on the floor.  If you learn a meditation from me, you will be standing or sitting in a chair.  It is very important to have your feet on the floor for all qigong movements and meditations. What do I wear? Wear comfortable clothing and non slip indoor shoes.  Loose clothing that is not restrictive.  What ever you are comfortable in.   I usually teach at yoga studios and they [...]

By |February 11th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Five Reasons to Try Qigong

Carrying Mountains one of the 18 Luohan Hands   Movement is medicine! Did you know that the single most important thing you can do for your health is move more everyday!  I believe that movement is medicine, taken daily you can ward off most ailments including aging.  I love to move, and want to share one of my favourite movement medicines Qigong to all who are interested. Easy to do and restores health: Half of the population in Canada is not active enough for health.  People claim they don’t have time. Qigong can be practiced anywhere, anytime, for any length of time - inside or out, and no props are required…just YOU!  For best results aim for 30 minutes a day. Endorsed by research!  The Harvard School of Medicine has endorsed Qigong.  In a recent review, Harvard researchers cited the following improvements from practicing Tai Chi and Qigong. Some of my students have seen improvements, like less pain, lower blood pressure, increased sex drive, and no more heart burn, in as little as 2 weeks. Manage stress: Qigong is a form of dynamic meditation where you calm the mind, breathe into the poses and follow the flow of energy through your body.   When you practice Qigong, your internal chemistry, and energy function optimally. Qigong builds mental and emotional strength while teaching the body to react in a positive way to stress. Treat, manage or prevent disease! Qigong is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Qigong movements are a form of medicine each movement encourages the flow of Qi, the circulating life force (or energy) that circulates via meridians throughout your body.   According to Chinese medicine when the meridians are blocked or if the energy is [...]