Opening the Energy Gates of the Body Neigong
Opening the Energy Gates of your Body is a part of Bruce Frantzis' core neigong program. These days, the term 'neigong' is inter-changable with 'qigong', though it tends to signify a deeper more holistic approach to internal body work. This practice is for those who are serious about learning tai chi, qigong or any form of energy work. It teaches the fundamentals of how to activate and harness Qi, your life-force energy, to improve health, reduce stress and generally upgrade your body and mind.
Standing / Outer Dissolving
The first element of Energy Gates is also known as Zhàn zhuāng, literally "standing like a post" - a 3,000-year-old self-healing qigong in itself. Contrary to the most common notion of cardiovascular exercise necessitating vigorous movement, it is said that Zhàn zhuāng creates physical tonus and relaxed strength through no movement. In Bruce's system the practice is used as a way of removing blockages in Qi flow, through the practise of outer dissolving. This blockage removal occurs because Zhàn zhuāng, when correctly practised, causes a normalising effect on the body. Any habitual tension or tissue shortening (or lengthening) is normalised by the practice and the body regains its natural ability to function optimally.
To paraphase Bruce:
"If you have a ticking bomb do you think it's a good idea to diffuse it? Outer dissolving is like getting your finger out of the light socket. It releases the Power of No which leads to a big release of the nervous system - essential before you can go any deeper with your training."
The Cloud Hands exercise is for connecting, balancing, increasing and integrating the body's energy flows.
In the initial stages it can also be used at a much simpler level, teaching you how to turn and change weight whilst protecting your core structure (joints, spine etc.) When the outer body has released sufficiently, you can start to practise the internal connections that create a whole body movement with the exercise. As it says in the Tai Chi Classics - "In motion the whole body should be light and agile, with all parts of the body linked as if threaded together".
Swing One / Swing Two / Swing Three
The Swing exercises are used to activate the "Three Burners" of the body, and optimize the functioning of the body's internal organs - if you let your organs go, you can let your arms go.
The Spine Stretch
The Spine Stretch exercise is an extraordinary movement that brings your awareness into your vertebrae and teaches you how to relieve back tension and pain. As you become more proficient with the movement it can be used for initiating the flow of energy through the spine. Letting gravity do the work of creating a bend in the spine, the dissolving technique is used to release blockages in the vertebrae and release Qi down the legs.