It is very important to understand that the objective of applying new knowledge to our practice is not to force the body into a perceived better posture, using excessive muscular tension, but through the regular daily use of proper “body softening and joint aligning exercises” to naturally restore the body back to a better state, before many years of indifferent habitual misuse that distorted it.
The bones, muscles, and fascia (connective tissue) are a whole structure of various interdependent and interconnected points. Using “softness to overcome hardness” is a therapeutic approach that will have a long lasting effect. Real improvement takes time and regularity. Most important it is to know how and what to practice. Quality over quantity. It is very different than the athletic approach of “no pain, no gain” and pushing the body further and further.
The wonderful thing about soft qigong is that over time the exercises get easier and easier to perform. Confidence builds in stability and ranges of motion. Due to this, we are more likely to want to do our exercise. Soft Qigong is not laborious, but energizing. We feel better after exercising than we did before.
“It is not the hard work and dedication that is the problem, but receiving no benefit from our efforts.” – Yang Zhenduo
This image addresses several of Yang Chengfu’s Ten Essentials.
Empty the neck, raise the spirit.
Contain the chest, raise the back.
Relax the waist.