During my practice of qigong over almost 20 years, I have collected several books on qigong practice that have helped me along in understanding what qigong practice is all about. These books that are reviewed in this post cover essential aspects of effective practice, from standing meditation to the mechanics that are necessary for connecting with your energy and the energy that surrounds you. Is there one qigong book that is the best? Find out from the reviews below.
Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body: Chi Gung for Life Long Health, by Bruce Frantzis. (2005). In 1992, I was in my local library and was browsing the section for health exercises and ran across this book. This book is clearly written, well-organized and inspiring in its content, starting off with an explanation of Frantzis’ journey of learning martial arts and describing the finding of a Taoist lineage teacher in Beijing who, after several years of training Frantzis, conferred his lineage to him. The five foundational nei gong practices covered in this book begin with a description of standing qigong meditation practice and then describes four different moving practices, including Cloud Hands, two swinging movements and a spinal stretch. These practices help introduce you to the internal aspects of nei gong. Part of the process described is the dissolving of energetic blockages for improving your health and stamina. This book introduced me to qigong and started me on my journey. So I give it the highest recommendation! I do recommend that you work with a certified instructor however to help you get started regarding the alignments and other factors that need observation by a trained eye.
Frantzis’ book is inspiring and well-written. His prose is direct and easy to understand. His deep understanding of the Taoist water method of meditation and his ability to convey those principles in English are invaluable. I don’t think anyone explains it better. Frantzis has workshops in the U. S. and other countries and you can check out the energyarts.com site for current information.
The Way of Energy. Mastering the Chinese Art of Internal Strength with Chi Kung Exercise. Master Lam Kam Chuen (1991). A thorough book that introduces standing meditation, or Zhan Zhuang, and has advanced postures that are suggested after the practitioner has had sufficient experience. The illustrations are very good. There is a table in this book that describes some of the bodily changes that practitioners may experience during the first months of practice. Ba Duan Jin moving qigong practice is also described as a means of helping one prepare for the energy and advanced postures are also suggested for further advancement.
At the end of Lam Kam Chuen’s book, there are suggestions for integrating your practice in your daily life, such as when you are working at your computer, talking on the telephone, sitting down to read or watch television, riding bicycles, and many other situations. These are great practical ways to help maintain your health in situations that frequently result in damage to health. This book complements the treatment of standing meditation in Frantzis’ book very well – I particularly suggest implementing the use of Frantzis’ dissolving technique to help one allow removal of energy blockages.
For advanced and intermediate practitioners, there are two books that I recommend from Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming: The Root of Chinese Qigong: Secrets of Health, Longevity and Enlightenment; and Qigong Meditation: Embyonic Breathing. The first explains regulation of the chi and provides a background into many concepts regarding energy cultivation. There are a few exercises in this book, but it is mainly devoted to illustrating the theory behind the practice of chi development. There are a few qigong breathing exercises. Dr. Yang emphasizes the importance of finding a good master to learn. But you also need to regularly practice as well….
The second book that I recommend from Dr. Yang is invaluable for its translation of ancient texts into English, translations which give insight into the fundamental meaning of subtle energy and Taoist meditation practice. This text is definitely not for those who are beginning qigong practice, however. You need to first develop a sense of energetic body awareness, and the best book that contains practices that I know will help you do that is the Opening the Energy Gates book by Frantzis that is mentioned above.