Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi – 18 movements
Today I will introduce you to the Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi exercise with 18 poses. I learned this exercise in one group ten years ago, and I do it more or less regularly. It’s simple, you learn it quickly, you don’t need any tools and you need very little space. I also like it because it is an active exercise with a meditative effect.
In the first part of the article, I will introduce you to some basic information about Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi.
In the second part, I will present all 18 movements.
In the third part, you can watch some of the videos I recommend.
Presentation of Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi
It was created about 40 years ago by the renowned Professor Lin Housheng, former director of the Shanghai Qigong Research Institute (Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine).
Taiji Qigong Shibashi is taught at Chinese Medicine University. The purpose is to develop vitality and longevity and is recommended for people suffering from various medical conditions such as hypertension, lung disease, digestive problems, back pain, cancer, and the like. In 1991, the United Nations Development Programme recommended the promotion of Taiji Qigong Shibashi worldwide.
What is Shibashi
Shibashi, with the full name “Taiji Qigong in 18 Movements”, is a set of 18 Qigong exercises that we perform in slow rhythms connected and continuously. The fluid movements follow your breathing and create a soothing sensation flowing through your body. Shibashi consists of elements of Yang style Tai Chi and breathing and movement exercises from Qigong. It is described as a gentle and fluid relaxing Qigong exercise.
It is suitable for all ages and people. Generally speaking, it increases energy vitality, rejuvenates the mind, body, and soul, and contributes to greater flexibility and agility.
Basic impacts of Shibashi
Regular shibashi exercise affects our body, mind, and breathing.
The body gets used to soft movements with regular exercise, the whole body moves slowly, continuously, and harmoniously. The head and eyes gently follow the hand’s movements. With the movements of the hands, we direct the flow of Qi through the body through all our meridians.
It is recommended that we perform the exercises with a calm mind, in a good mood. We follow the circulation of Qi with the mind and follow the representations of the images that follow each other through the exercises. Shibashi affects the calmness and relaxation of the mind and encourages active imagination.
In the beginning, breath naturally, and with exercise, breathing will be regulated into proper full-body breathing. Once the body knows the movements, breathing will regulate the rhythm followed by physical movements. You inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. The breathing is soft, profound, and continuous.
Basic benefits of Shibashi
Benefit for the physical body
Regular exercise has many healing and preventive benefits: exercises develop better posture, build strength, tone, and flexibility, maintain activity without a strong impact on joints and bones. Increased lung and chest capacity through deep breathing techniques. Optimal body function is developed by maintaining the balance of yin-yang, effective Qi flow, and optimal blood flow.
Benefit for the mental body
Because we perform the exercises as a moving meditation, we develop conscious movement, become aware of our presence in the present moment and focus on the exercise, relax and relieve daily stress and worries, nurture our mental health, and build a positive self-image.
Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi – 18 movements
Proper breathing is very important in Qigong. However, I suggest not bothering with breathing at the beginning when learning poses. Once you have mastered the poses, however, start paying attention to proper breathing as well, and you will see that it will become completely natural.
In general, you inhale for Yin – performing movements towards yourself and inwards, and exhale for Yang – performing movements away from you, outwards.
The first set of six movements
1 Raising the Qi
Stand naturally with feet shoulder-width apart, knees and shoulders relaxed. Slowly raise your arms in front of you to shoulder height.
Lower your body and bend your knees at the same time as you lower your arms back.
Inhale when raise your arms to shoulder level, exhale as you move down, and inhale again moving up.
2 Broadening Chest
To continue from the first pose to the second, raise your arms with palms down and extend your arms. Then join your arms, palms down, lower your arms and finish with your arms in the abdomen while bending your legs.
Inhale as you raise your arms to shoulder level and outward, exhale as you join your arms, turn them down, and lower them.
3 Waving the Rainbow
Raise both arms to chest height, straighten your legs and place both arms over your head, and straighten your palms facing each other. Transfer the weight to the right leg, bend both knees. Lower your left arm. lift right up. Shift your weight to the opposite side and repeat. Inhale on one side and exhale on the other.
4 Wheeling arms to separate the clouds
Bend both knees and cross your wrists in front of your body with your palms up at the same time. Inhale and raise both arms above your head and straighten, and exhale as you separate your arms and lower them down and bend your legs at the knees. Then cross your wrists again and repeat.
5 Twisting Waist and Swinging Arms
Stand with your left arm outstretched in front of you with your palm up at chest level, your right arm behind you at shoulder height with your palm up, your elbows relaxed. Push your right hand forward, down your left hand, and at the same time bring your left hand back towards you so that your palms cross the other side in front of your body. At the waist, turn slightly to the left and transfer your weight slightly to the right leg. Then pull your left hand past your ear and down your arm and cross your palms again while bringing your right hand back. In the waist, rotate slightly in the opposite direction, transfer your weight slightly to the left leg and repeat the movement. Inhale as you push your arm forward, and exhale as your arm moves behind.
6 Rowing the Boat
Raise your arms from the back straight up above your head and swing them forward in front so that your palms down and in a circular motion drop in front of your body, bring your arms back, up, and over the top and down. Inhale as you raise your arms in a circular motion back and up over your shoulder and exhale as you lower your arms in front, as if you were rowing a boat.
The second set of six movements
7 Raising the Sun
At the waist, turn to the left, at the same time raise the right palm on the left side to shoulder height, palms facing up, release the left hand to the side and transfer the weight to the left foot.
Lift your right heel off the floor while inhaling. Switch from one side to the other, inhale as you move up, and exhale as you move down.
8 Gazing at the Moon
Stand with your arms at your sides and turn to the left at the waist, lift both arms up and to the left, right arm bent at the elbow. Then turn in the waist to the right, lift your arms on the right side, with your left bent at the elbow. Inhale when you raise your arms, exhale when your arms are lowered.
9 Repel the Fiery Dragon
Stand in the starting position with your wrists on your hips. When you turn slightly to the left, exhale to push your right palm to the left. Inhale, pull your hand back and turn your palm so that both hands are sitting on your hips again. Repeat with the left palm in the right direction.
10 Playing with Clouds
Extend your arms in front of you, palms facing as if embracing, with the left hand above and right hand below. When you turn your body to the left, push down with your left hand, then follow with your right hand and return to the starting position of this exercise. Turn the belt to the right and repeat on the other side – circling with the body. Inhale in one direction and exhale in the other direction. This movement has a circular sensation.
11 Scoop the Sea
Stand with your left foot forward, lean your body forward so that both arms are crossed in front of your knee, lift your back heel, and exhale. When you inhale, move your weight to your hind leg and raise your crossed arms, opening and separating them above your head when lifting your front toes. Then push your arms down along your body. Do the exercise a few times first with your left foot forward and then with your right foot forward.
12 Playing with Waves
Stand with your left foot forward, lift your palms facing forward. With the weight on your left foot during the exhale, push your palms forward and extend your hind leg, lifting your heel. Slowly move your weight to your back, lift your front fingers, and pull your arms back while inhaling. You swing gently with this movement. Perform the exercise a few times, switch legs, and repeat the exercise.
The third set of six movements
13 Dove Spreads its Wings
Stand with your left foot forward, lift both hands to your hips, place the weight on your hind leg, lift your toes, and inhale. Open the arms, like a bird opens her wings in flight, then transfer the weight to the front leg, lift the heel of the hind leg, and while exhaling close your hands like a bird. Repeat a few times first with the left foot forward, and then with the right foot forward.
14 Punching fist
Stand as in the starting position, and keep your fists loose at the hips. During exhalation, squeeze and push the left fist (facing down) forward. Turn your fist up and pull it back towards you, then repeat the same with your right hand. Exhale while stretching your arm. And inhale as you pull your arm back.
15 Flying Wild Goose
Raise your arms at your sides both outwards to shoulder height and inhale. Bend your knees a little and let both hands slowly lower to your sides as you exhale. Straighten your legs and raise both arms to shoulder height again. Inhale as you raise your arms up and exhale as you lower your arms.
16 Spinning Wheels
Stand as in the initial posture and raise both hands up. Inhale, turn to the left, and bend at the waist, lower your arms, hands following the movement of your waist. Turn to the right, circling with your hands like a turning wheel. Repeat the exercise in both directions. Inhale as you raise your arms up, and exhale as you lower them down.
17 Bouncing the Ball of Qi
When inhaling, raise your left leg to hip height and at the same time your right arm to shoulder height, then slowly lower them again while exhaling. Then switch sides (right leg and left arm) when you inhale again. As if bouncing a ball.
18 Balancing the Qi
With this last exercise, you balance the Qi energy that is now moving around your body. Place yourself in the starting position and raise both hands with the palm facing up in front of you with your fingertips pointing towards each other. While inhaling, raise your arms to chest height. While exhaling, turn your palms and lower your arms down.
When you are done, stand still for a minute or so until you feel comfortable and perceive the energy in your body. Thank to the universe and to your body.
Recommended videos of Shibashi
I really like the video I’m sharing, and I also did shibashi along with this video when I was learning the exercises.
Youtube channel with various videos that you may find interesting, including a video with set 1 and set 2, where you can learn shibashi.
You can also browse a bit on YouTube, and find a video that you like best.
Thanks for reading my article Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi – 18 movements. I will be happy to hear your comments where you can tell me if you already knew Shibashi, if you may be practicing it, or practicing some other similar technique.
If you want to do even more good for the body, read the article
I wish you all the best