Kikou or Qigong (気功 or 氣功)

It is of the utmost importance to breathe gently and to be relaxed in body and mind. A common mistake among beginners is to imagine that the more forcefully one breathes, the more powerful one becomes. That is not true. In Kikou training, what is breathed in is not just air, but cosmic energy, and forceful breathing often constricts the flow of cosmic energy. Again, it is important to emphasise being in a relaxed state of mind. Keep your mind free of distracting thoughts while doing the exercise.

Please note that all these points are fundamental to Kikou practice. If you are a total beginner, these steps might be difficult to follow. If this is so, don’t worry. Remember the Reiki precept – Just for today. Therefore, in the time being, just try to perform the exercise as naturally as you are able.

Physical Position

Place yourself where the air is fresh and plentiful. If indoors; preferably by an open window or door and if outdoors; by grass, trees or flowers, where there is Ki of growth. Feng Shui dictates that one’s back should be towards the mountains and front side towards water, if these are present geographically.

Stand relaxed, balanced on the centre of the feet. Make sure your feet are pointing forward, slightly apart with your spine erect. Focus on each muscle group in the body — starting with the top of the head and ending at the tips of the toes, and consciously release the tension in each muscle group, until the only function of the muscles are to keep you vertical.

Emotional Position

Make an internal agreement to let go of those things, which are adversely effecting your emotions for the limited time of your Kikou practice session. Place them aside for 15 to 20 minutes, or however long the Kikou session will take. Open your heart up to life.

Mental Position

Develop a ‘one pointed mind’ — a mind which will envelope anything that is focused upon. This is part of the process of developing a ‘Kikou state of mind’, which honours the requirements of Yin/Yang, Intuitive/Logical, Instinctive/Rational.

Important points to remember about breathing:

  • Don’t underestimate the importance of breathing during your Kikou exercises. Proper breathing techniques are at the very core of practicing Kikou.
  • Focus on your breathing. Don’t carry any tension in your jaw. Your jaw should be always relaxed. The most common mistake people make during most Kikou exercises is not breathing consistently and fully – and forgetting to relax simultaneously.
  • Breathe in through your nose. Your breath should be long, slow and deep.
  • Sit or stand up straight and relaxed, so that you can expand your chest.
  • Practice abdominal breathing, that is; breathing into the abdominal area, or lower hara. This concept has been in use for centuries in Kikou. It’s now seen in modern exercise practices, from Pilates to spinning to yoga.
  • Use your abdominal muscles to pull in more air. Feel your abs pull at the bottom of your lungs to fill in the lower lungs with air. This is what personal trainers call ‘filling your belly with air.’
  • Contract your abs to completely deflate the lungs, pushing out all the air. Pull up and in with the abs to accomplish this.
  • Try reinforcing your breaths by taking in a very deep breath and holding it in for a second before breathing in again to fill the lower lungs; then exhale completely. Remember to contract the abdominal muscles on the in breath.

Tips & Warnings:

If you experience any shortness of breath or pain during the practice of your Kikou exercises, stop immediately. You might need to seek professional medical attention.