Shaolin Qigong is a powerful way to unlock the body’s healing potential (you can read more about that here). Rou Quan ( Soft Fist) is a series of gentle flowing movements that profoundly affect our nervous system. When we enter this state of flow, our brain releases dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, which promote feelings of relaxation and reduce stress. Rou Quan is a great tool to use alongside Qigong or after a strenuous Kung Fu workout.
In China, many people will go to the park in the morning to practice this form. The smooth continuous movements and deep breathing are particularly effective in inducing relaxation. If you have a smartwatch connected to an App that tracks your nervous system, take a reading before your practice and after, and you’ll see the shift. Rou Quan is energising and effortlessly creates a peaceful state of being. You don’t have to do anything. You show up and move.
If my students are distracted or stressed, I will begin our sessions with some of these movements, and from there, we will move on to Qigong or Kung Fu. Starting our day from a place of calm rather than low-grade anxiety helps our day flow.
As a martial artist, we tune into our body and ask ourselves: what do we need today? Having these different therapeutic practices gives us a broader approach to our journey.