17 Sample Practice Routines

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I hear this question all the time, and not just from beginners:

“Sifu, what should I practice?” 

Never before in history have students been able to learn so many techniques.  It’s a nice “problem” to have. I joke that my school is like a Zen Supermarket.  Yes, it can be a bit overwhelming when you first walk in, but isn’t it wonderful to have so many choices?

So what should you practice?  For fresh beginners, the solution is simple.  Start with the 15-Minute Routine and the 2-Minute Drill.  In the beginning, it doesn’t matter what you practice; all that matters is if you practice.

Once you have a pretty regular routine, then you start setting some goals.  It takes time to do the goal worksheet, but think it as an investment.  The time that you invest into setting goals now will come back to you ten-fold later.   

Listed below are 17 sample practice routines.  If your goals are clear, then it will be easy to pick the right routine.  On the other hand, choosing various routines may help you to clarify your goals, which is great.

The times listed on the right are just estimates.  You should NOT be watching the clock or timing your practice down to the minute. Remember, these are just samples.  You may copy them, but don’t be enslaved by them.  The most important thing, whatever routine you choose, is that you enjoy yourself. 

1. Quick Stress Relief

This routine can be done standing or sitting.  If you do it sitting, then make sure to sit up straight.  This is a great one to do on a 30-Day Trial.

Duration: 2 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice as needed.

  1. Opening Sequence (30 secs)
  2. Gratitude (60 secs)
  3. Quick Closing Sequence (30 secs)

2. Quick Indigestion Relief

Try this after a big meal, or after eating something that you probably shouldn’t have eaten.  Just don’t do it in a bathroom.  (Read the Dos and Don’ts if you want to know why).

Duration: 2 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice as needed.

  1. Opening Sequence (30 secs)
  2. Plucking Stars (60 secs)
  3. Quick Closing Sequence (30 secs)

3. Quick Mental Clarity

Is your thinking getting cloudy?  Are you unable to focus on your work?  Then try this quick and effective routine.

Duration: 2 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice as needed.

  1. Quick Opening Sequence (30 secs)
  2. Pushing Mountains (60 secs)
  3. Quick Closing Sequence (30 secs)

4. Quick Energy Boost

Does your energy level plummet, especially in the afternoon?  I enjoy coffee as much as anyone, but this is a better pick-me-up.

Duration: 2 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice as needed.

  1. Quick Opening Sequence (30 secs)
  2. Merry-Go-Round (60 secs)
  3. Quick Closing Sequence (30 secs)

5. Pain Relief

You can live pain free.   In fact, you should make it one of your goals to be 100% pain free.

Duration: 15 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once or twice daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Carrying the Moon (5 mins)
  3. Five Animal Play (7 mins)
  4. Stillness (1 min)
  5. Closing Sequence (1 min)

6. Zen & Spiritual Cultivation

My teaching philosophy mirrors that of the great Bodhidharma.  Even if your main goal is to reach enlightenment, you still need to cultivate health.  The following routine is an excellent choice.

Duration: 17-20 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once or twice daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Choose any one of the 3 Qigong Treasures (5 mins)
  3. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (5 mins)
  4. Stillness (5-8 mins)
  5. Closing Sequence (1 min)

7. Curing the Incurable

According to the Chinese medical paradigm, there is no such thing as an incurable disease.  It is only when you view disease and illness from the Western medical paradigm that the word “incurable” applies.  The following routine is great for those dealing with so-called “incurable” diseases.

Duration: 16-20 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once or twice daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Flow through all 3 of the 3 Qigong Treasures (5 mins)
  3. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow or Five Animal Play (7-10 mins)
  4. Stillness & Positive Visualization (2-3 mins)
  5. Closing Sequence (1 min)

8. Empowerment Qigong

Would you like more wealth in your life?  Or maybe you’d like to improve your discipline?  Or maybe there is a life goal that you are working on?  Use this routine to help stay on target with your goals.

Duration: 15 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice at least once a week to stay on track with your goals.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Any Qigong Pattern(s) (5 mins)
  3. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow or Five Animal Play (5 mins)
  4. Stillness & Positive Visualization (3 mins)
  5. Closing Sequence (1 min)

9. Sinew Metamorphosis

The Sinew Metamorphosis exercises are more powerful than the 18 Luohan Hands.  Think of them like that super-concentrated laundry detergent which requires a smaller amount.  Because these techniques are more concentrated, the session should be slightly shorter.  Practice this routine if you want more courage, internal force, or mental clarity, or if you want to clear deep-rooted blockages.

Duration: 10-12 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once or twice daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. 1 or 2 Sinew Metamorphosis (1-2 mins)
  3. Flowing Breeze or Five Animal Play (7 mins)
  4. Stillness (2 mins)
  5. Closing Sequence (1 min)

10. The 18 Arhat Arts

The 18 Arhat arts developed from the 18 Luohan Hands.  They are like a hybrid of Shaolin Kung Fu and Qigong.  Practice these if you want more force, flexibility, balance, and strength.

Duration: 20 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once or twice daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Any Arhat Pattern (1.5 mins)
  3. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  4. Any Arhat Pattern (1.5 mins)
  5. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  6. Any Arhat Pattern (1.5 mins)
  7. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  8. Any Arhat Pattern (1.5 mins)
  9. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  10. Any Arhat Pattern (1.5 mins)
  11. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  12. Stillness (3 mins)
  13. Closing Sequence (1 min)

11. Warrior Qigong

For centuries, Tai Chi and Shaolin masters have used these powerful postures to cultivate internal force.  

Duration: 20-30 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Choose one of the 3 Qigong Treasures (2 mins)
  3. The Art of Flexibility (2 mins)
  4. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (2 mins)
  5. Choose 1 to 10 Warrior Postures (3-10 mins)
  6. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (2 mins)
  7. Warrior Flow or Cloud Hands (3-5 mins)
  8. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (2-3 mins)
  9. Stillness (2 mins)
  10. Closing Sequence (1 min)

12. Kung Fu Fitness

The goal is to be healthy, fit, flexible and strong, like Kung Fu and Tai Chi masters in the past.  Stop over-training, learn to exercise in a Zen state of mind, and learn to use Qi instead of strength.

Duration: 20-30 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Exercise #1 (1.5 mins)
  3. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  4. Exercise #2 (1.5 mins)
  5. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  6. Exercise #3 (1.5 mins)
  7. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  8. Exercise #4 (1.5 mins)
  9. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  10. Exercise #5 (1.5 mins)
  11. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  12. Stillness (3 mins)
  13. Closing Sequence (1 min)

13. Qigong Flow

As your repertoire grows, it’s good to flow through many techniques per session.  The following routine uses the “ebb and flow” method where we go in and out of chi flow.

Duration: 20 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once or twice daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Technique #1 (1.5 mins)
  3. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  4. Technique #2 (1.5 mins)
  5. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  6. Technique #3 (1.5 mins)
  7. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  8. Technique #4 (1.5 mins)
  9. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  10. Technique #5 (1.5 mins)
  11. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  12. Technique #5 (1.5 mins)
  13. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (1.5 mins)
  14. Stillness (1 mins)
  15. Closing Sequence (1 min)

14. Tai Chi Flow

This is a great “in-between” routine.  It’s somewhere in between a normal Qigong session and a normal Tai Chi session.  It’s great for Qigong students looking to make the step up to Tai Chi, but it’s also useful for Tai Chi students when they don’t have time for the full routine.

Duration: 15 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once or twice daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Cloud Hands (5 mins)
  3. Flowing Breeze or Five Animal Play (5 mins)
  4. Stillness (3 mins)
  5. Closing Sequence (1 min)

15. One Finger Zen

Traditionally, this would be taught to select Shaolin Kung Fu disciples, but in my school, I teach it openly.  Here’s a good way to practice it.

Duration: 20 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once or twice daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Lifting Sun and Moon (2 mins)
  3. One Finger Zen – Form Stage (2 mins)
  4. One Finger Zen – Flow  Stage (3 mins)
  5. One Finger Zen – Force Stage (3 mins)
  6. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow or Five Animal Play (6 mins)
  7. Stillness (2 mins)
  8. Closing Sequence (1 min)

16. Traditional Tai Chi Chuan

This routine is what Tai Chi students should be working towards.  I practiced this routine daily for many years. Start with 30 minutes once or twice a day.  If you want to practice longer than 30 minutes, then gradually increase all of the times proportionally, maintaining a balance of yin and yang throughout the session.

Duration: 30 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once or twice daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Choose one of the 3 Qigong Treasures (1 min)
  3. The Art of Flexibility (4 mins)
  4. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (2 mins)
  5. Choose any Internal Force method (5 mins)
  6. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (2 mins)
  7. Tai Chi Forms (5 mins)
  8. Tai Chi Push Hands and/or Striking Hands (5 mins)
  9. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (2 mins)
  10. Stillness (2 mins)
  11. Closing Sequence (1 min)

17. Traditional Kung Fu

Shaolin Kung Fu students should practice this routine daily.  Start with 30 minutes once or twice a day.  If you want to practice longer than 30 minutes, then gradually increase all of the times proportionally, maintaining a balance of yin and yang throughout the session.

Duration: 30 minutes.
Frequency:
Practice once or twice daily.

  1. Opening Sequence (1 min)
  2. Choose one of the 3 Qigong Treasures (1 min)
  3. The Art of Flexibility (4 mins)
  4. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (2 mins)
  5. Choose any Internal Force method (5 mins)
  6. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (2 mins)
  7. Shaolin Sets (5 mins)
  8. Shaolin Sequences or Sparring (5 mins)
  9. Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (2 mins)
  10. Stillness (2 mins)
  11. Closing Sequence (1 min)



Mindfully yours,
Sifu Anthony

I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world to use qigong for their own stubborn health issues. I teach online courses, and also lead in-person retreats and workshops.
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7 Responses to 17 Sample Practice Routines

  1. Kathy Sarra April 26, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    I think these are great suggestions and I thank you, Sifu.
    Best,
    Kath

  2. Linda Pence April 26, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    Thanks, Sifu I like it!

    • Pam Hunt April 27, 2012 at 10:53 am #

      Thank you, Sifu. This is excellent!!!

  3. Andrew Edwards June 6, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Giving many thanks to you Daisipak,for such wonderful tools. These are treasures for those needing a definite structure and flow for practice,especially post-intensive course participants! Thank you very much once again for posting this,among all of the other inspiring articles here.

  4. Kan March 25, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    Hi Anthony siheng,

    I’m thinking of picking up Kung Fu again in the future, so I can defend myself properly against street thugs. But looking at that kind of people (Big and athletic etc.) I was wondering whether 5 minutes force training is enough to handle them comfortably. I’m aware other factors also play important roles in a fight. What’s your experience and opinion about this?

    Thank you for your answer!

    Kan

    • Sifu Anthony March 25, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      There are many factors in learning to defend yourself. Having internal (or external) power is only one of many factors. Five minutes of daily internal power training is enough IF you are also practicing other skills, like footwork, forms, push hands, sparring, and mind training. On the other hand, 50 minutes of daily internal power training won’t be enough if you are not practicing those other skills.

  5. Kan April 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    Dear Anthony siheng,

    Sometimes I get the itch to practice some combat sequences anytime in a day. Is that allowed taking the “11am – 3pm” period in consideration? Also, does it suffice to finish the small session with a few seconds chi flow and walking around vigorously?

    Thank you again!

    Kan

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