Five Element Qi Gong:
The Water Element

Unify the Body into One Coherent Whole
+ Establish the Downwards Flow of Energy


Paul Cavel demonstrates Energy Gates Qi Gong

Water Element Qi Gong is the natural starting point of our system as all of the practices originate from the Water tradition of Taoism, with a living lineage that is directly linked to that of Lao Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching.

Water Element practices focus on cleansing, which highlights the downwards flow of energy, primarily to clear blockages and initiate the root. This not only takes care of any surface-level or superficial tensions stored in the body, mind or chi, but also makes energy cultivation practices safe and efficient.

Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body Qi Gong

The Water Element Qi Gong system I teach is “Energy Gates Qi Gong”, which was designed 3,000 years ago to lay the foundation for all Taoist Water tradition practices–from the most basic nei gong exercises to Taoist meditation. Whether your interest lies in health, fitness, stress management or reaching high-performance goals, Energy Gates Qi Gong is a great practice for beginning and advanced practitioners alike.

Energy Gates Qi Gong consists of six progressive exercises:

  • Standing + the Outer Dissolving technique
  • Cloud Hands
  • Three Swings
  • Spine Stretch

Standing Nei Gong and the Outer Dissolving Technique

Standing Qi Gong is one of the core stand-alone exercises of my programme because it is essential to all other moving exercises. Standing Qi Gong is practised to:

  • Learn how to properly align the body and maintain good posture;
  • Sink energy, activing as a grounding force for the body and its energy;
  • Become aware of and release bound daily and accumulated tension in the body;
  • Make the body strong and resilient.

The Dissolving technique is applied to systematically and progressively work with the downwards flow of chi to:

  • More firmly ground and root your energy;
  • Become aware of physical and energetic blockages inside your body;
  • Clear any blockages you encounter in the physical or energy bodies, allowing you to let go and deeply relax.

Once you have dissolved any physical and energetic blockages—to the extent that you are able—you are ready to energise yourself with physical movements.

Cloud Hands Nei Gong

Cloud Hands Nei Gong is also one of the core exercises in my programme since it helps to unify the body into one coherent whole, making whole-body motion possible, which is a prime directive of all nei gong exercise. A weight shift is the primary driver of Clouds Hands, which roots the lower body. In combination with turning and twisting, this exercise elongates the muscles and stretches the fascia. Ongoing practice is meant to loosen the muscles off the bone to allow greater freedom of motion and dramatically reduce tension.

Cloud Hands Nei Gong also serves as an access portal to activate the kwa. The kwa is where whole-body motion is initiated and is arguably the most important focus of beginning qi gong training. Activating the kwa through accurate practice of Cloud Hands can pump the blood stronger and boost production of interstitial and lymph fluids, thereby creating a powerful tool for opening and healing the body, and pragmatically building health and vitality.

The Three Swings

Initially, I recommend focusing on Standing + Dissolving, Cloud Hands and the Spine Stretch (see belwo) before practising the Three Swings to ensure you get the most efficient results while keeping your safety high on the list of priorities.

The Three Swings of Energy Gates are practised to:

  • Solidify the origin of movement from the legs-kwa-spine.
  • Release and liquidise the nerves, muscles and joints.
  • Begin the process of energising the three tantiens.

However, if you do not open up and loosen the hip area from regular practice of Cloud Hands, you will not be capable of accurately training the Three Swings nor achieve the associated health benefits.

The Unique, Energy Gates Spine Stretch

The unique Energy Gates Spine Stretch is unlike any other exercise, completing the set by stretching the back and, equally, front of the vertebrae. Used to gain access to each individual joint of the spine (pairs of vertebrae), each one is located and progressively loosened to free restricted or compromised joints. Those who practice the Energy Gates Spine Stretch use it to dramatically increase the suppleness and flexibility of their spine, while strengthening the whole spinal column.

Since all nerve pathways originate from the cord inside the spine, this exercise is practised to enhance the overall health of the spine for deep relaxation and higher functioning of the body, mind and energy. The Energy Gates Spine Stretch also prepares the spine for the C-curve in Circling Hands, a key component of Heaven and Earth Qi Gong, which involves operating each of the joints of the spine equally and simultaneously for full effect.

Most practitioners I’ve observed since I started teaching tai chi and bagua in 1995 simply create three or four bends in their spine and don’t actually achieve the C-curve. Without the C-curve, you miss out on many potential benefits that could be yours for the same practice time. So loosening all of the vertebrae is a point of great focus when I teach the Energy Gates Spine Stretch.

Energy Gates Qi Gong Level 2 Instructor + Re-certifier

I hold an Opening of the Energy Gates of Your Body Qigong Level 2 certification, granted  by my teacher, Taoist Master Bruce Frantzis, who learned Energy Gates in China as part of the Taoist Water tradition. I’m also an Energy Arts recertifier for instructors holding Level 1 certifications. Contact my team to schedule Energy Gates recertification testing.

Watch a Demonstration of Energy Gates Qi Gong

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