The Qigong for Pianists articles on Pianodao focus on the “secondary benefits” of Qigong that are particularly relevant to piano playing, with descriptive instructions for a few simple introductory Qigong exercises and techniques.
But it is likely that having experienced the initial benefits these bring, readers will want to find out more about Qigong, its background, and exercises.
Qigong is a huge and fascinating subject, and there are a great many excellent books and other resources now available to help the Westerner with an interest in finding out more.
If you are keen to find out about the primary benefits of Qigong practice, here are some recommended books to explore – between them they include practical advice for Qigong practice, simple exercises for beginner practice, a philosophical grounding, and a general overview of Qigong history, science, its many styles and applications.
These books are suitable for beginners and those who simply want to find out what Qigong is all about.
I have included a short description of each, which I hope will help you to select the right book for you. And elsewhere, the Qigong Resources section on Pianodao includes reviews of other books and resources which may be of interest.
The Way of Qigong
Kenneth S. Cohen
Ballantine Books, 1997. ISBN 978-0-345-24109-8
Kenneth Cohen’s book is nothing short of a classic! Subtitled “The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing”, it provides a comprehensive overview of the core concepts and applications of Qigong, including the use of Qigong as a healing art and an in-depth look at sitting Qigong meditation.
The book includes instructions for many simple Qigong forms, and places Qigong firmly in the context of other Daoist practices, including diet, massage, advanced breathing techniques – and even drinking tea!
An absolute “must read” book! [428 pages]
A Complete Guide to Chi-Gung
Shambhala Publications, 2000. ISBN 978-1-57062-543-5
An alternative (or supplement) to Kenneth Cohen’s book, again giving a comprehensive overview of the history, core concepts and practices of Qigong, Daniel Reid takes a fairly populist approach, providing a highly readable account of the subject.
The book includes plenty of practical advice, and is easy to follow. A number of exercises are included, including a very helpful section introducing different breathing techniques.
The book also includes plenty of general lifestyle advice which readers will hopefully find interesting (if occasionally idiosyncratic!) and useful.
Highly recommended! [326 pages]
The Theory and Practice of Taiji Qigong
Lotus Publishing Ltd (3rd Edition, 2011). ISBN 978-1-905367-32-0
The bulk of Chris Jarmey’s excellent book is taken up with detailed instructions for the 18-step Taiji Qigong Shibashi form, which also provides some of the exercises included within Piano Qigong, making it a particularly good supplement to the material provided here on Pianodao.
Read this book to learn the whole form. And in addition to the detailed instructions for the set, the book includes a superb explanation of Qigong practice and concepts, including some of the clearest guidance I have found for beginners.
An essential and easy introduction for the Shibashi form! [192 pages]
Eight Simple Qigong Exercises for Health
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming
YMAA Publication Centre, 1988. ISBN-10: 1-886969-52-3
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming is a renowned writer and teacher of Qigong, with four decades experience and a large number of publications and videos available from his in-house organisation YMAA Publication Centre.
This particular book includes a very good and fairly easy Qigong set popularly known as Ba Duan Jin or The Eight Brocades, which is the main form I myself try to practise daily.
Dr. Yang’s books are characterised by providing an in-depth theoretical background, and there is a huge amount of information snuggling within this deceptively slim volume.
The videos originally produced to accompany the practical instructions are now available as a multi-platform app, which I would highly recommend for use alongside the book itself. [96 pages]
Chi: Discovering Your Life Energy
Master Waysun Liao
Shambhala Publications, 2005, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59030-695-6
This is a little book that you will read in an afternoon – but I think it is quite brilliant, and one to come back to again and again!
In a popular writing style, the author explains in simple terms (no theory or technicalities here!) what Qi – or Chi – is, and how to connect with yours. Mind blowing!
The book also includes a photographic introduction to a simple Qigong set, which should be possible for anyone to try out.
Great stuff! [156 pages]