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In this new practice guideline article we examine regaining and maintaining balance.

Balance is a concept that seems simple but achieving it and maintaining it can take a lifetime. As students progress in their practice, increasingly more and more refined forms of balance are revealed. But let us not wait for this…

The physical body

The first way to regain balance for a novice practitioner is to balance the body. There are various standing or moving forms that help regain lost balance.

  1. The student must examine his center of gravity when he is in a standing position, both feet have to press equally on the ground, and the pressure must fall in the center of each foot, the left-right axis must be balanced after and then the front and back one.
  2. Aftewards you need to adjust the spine so that it is restored to balance, all of its distortions must be corrected slowly but steadily. Watch whether the shoulder line is horizontal when you allow the shoulders to fall back. Draw with a lipstick and a plummet on a mirror in your house where you can see the entire body, one vertical line. Also draw one or two horizontal lines so that you can align the shoulders and hips. Practice daily until you can maintain the correct position for 15 minutes with your eyes closed, at which time being balanced will already be in your subconscious mind
  3. Also the posture must be corrected in the meditation position, in which case again the mirror with the lines might help.
  4. All points must be checked, including the head position, both in terms of forwards-backwards and left-right positioning.


The next step that the practitioner must address is regaining balance in respiration, which focuses on having a correct rhythm in inspiration and expiration, regardless of the speed of breathing. Most serious diseases are associated with an imbalance in respiration, eg cancer patients’ inspiration has short duration compared with their expiration. In China there are even clinics where the therapy for cancer involves breathing and balancing exercises and a significant percentage of patients go into remission only because of this technique (over 30% of cases).

Emotions and mental

The next step is to regain emotional and mental balance. Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes that chronic emotional imbalances affect the function of organs. Each of the five emotions – anger, joy, anxiety, sadness and fear – is associated with a pair of yin – yang functions  in an organ. Because of increased sensitivity some people may perceive immediately the relationship between their emotions and the functions of the corresponding organs.

When an advanced practitioner faces a very large imbalance he immediately feels discomfort in his organs. This is not a creative view or theory but a real feeling, sometimes as real as when we shed a cup of hot tea in our lap. Thus students learn self-discipline and the level of the gong fu practitioner aligns the interest of avoiding pain, with his long-term aspirations and the emotional stability that he acquires.

Emotional balance is the foundation on which the advanced practice of qi gong and meditation are built. It is also the foundation of a pleasant, compassionate, and comforting life.

Balance of the elements

Whether within qi gong and the five elements ( wu xing ) in the Chinese tradition, or other traditions that describe four or five elements , the advanced practitioner will always find a position of balance among the elements. The position is more balanced and more stable if the practitioner is more advanced.

Meditation and martial arts practitioners are often surprised to discover that the five elements are not a concept or poetic metaphor diagram, but that have specific applications and real predictive power.

Of all the elements in any system we consider the two most important to be water and fire. It is very important to maintain balance between water and fire, for any period of time even if it is only minutes. For example, when practicing techniques we tend to amplify the power of fire in our physical structure. Therefore it becomes mandatory to maintain awareness and be adequately hydrated, otherwise you may suffer side effects from unhealthy practice.

As an experiment, we can look into another element, more common to us, namely air. Air is composed of water vapor and heat, and actually composed in any form, from water and fire. All of the occurrences of this element such as wind are the result of different ratios of water and fire as they are found in different adjacent geographical regions.

So before you seek balance in all elements, the students must master very well the balance between water and fire within their structure.

Balance in life

Practitioners should seek to obtain real and productive balance in their lives. Excesses of any kind are the cause of disease, premature aging and death. Balance that is well maintained is the source of longevity and health.

Balance in life includes understanding and one’s age and living with our requirements and responsibilities. It also includes a family balance, a balance of social and spiritual aspects.

The middle way, the balance that is preached by all the great religions of the world always promises the best results we can obtain from this life.

This concept has been understood for a long time by the Chinese, which is why they named their country as „Middle Empire” ( Zhong Guo ). The name is given not only because it is the geographical place between south and north or east and west but it also refers to the conduct that is expected from residents and the government.

Universe in Balance

Beyond the limits of human life, we find that all processes of the universe visible and invisible are governed by balance. Inertial forces, action and reaction, law of karma, are all arranged so as to ensure the preservation of balance.

In particular, for humans, any imbalance that is not restored by our awareness, will be balanced by the universal forces. Disease and premature death are the consequence of such reactionary forces.

Finally, the dualistic nature of the universe we live in, the myriad of yin and yang pairs that are mentioned in the Yi Jing ( or I Ching ), requires that the balance should be sought in every corner of existence, many layers deeper than what is included here. However this can be a starting point for changing the thinking in alive and creative practitioners.

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