One of the most effective forms of Qigong for overall balance is a set of exercises called Tai Chi Ruler (taijichih). It’s a great exercise for people who want to strengthen their legs and physical balance, as well as improve their breathing, mental clarity and digestion.
If you haven’t heard of it, Tai Chi Ruler is a series of movements, most of which involve holding a small wooden stick (the “ruler”) between the palms. The ruler, also called the “immortal’s wand”, moves in a slow, circular movement coordinated with the breath. It’s a very meditative, yet also invigorating set of exercises.
The ruler itself has a distinctive shape. Typically the two ends of the ruler are somewhat rounded to accommodate holding it easily between the palms. The center of the ruler is spherical, and is the specific area that people focus on when practicing the exercise.
Each woodworker has their own unique twist on the design, but here is a good image of a typical ruler:
I learned Tai Chi Ruler from Master Share K. Lew. In old China such exercises were traditionally kept secret. He originally learned it from a member of the family that created the exercise originally.
The story goes that in this family the exercise was practiced, but over time was forgotten. Then, after a couple of generations, one of the matriarchs of the family found she was getting stiff joints. She looked until she discovered this old family exercise and began practicing. After a short time practicing, her joint pain was relieved.
Side note: I will be teaching Tai Chi Ruler in Reno this coming March 6th, 2010 from 9:00 to 3:00. There will be a follow-up class to correct form and complete any movements we don’t get to the first class. That follow-up will be on March 20th.
You can learn more about that class here: http://www.RenoAlternativeMedicine.com/classes.html