Francesco & Daisy Lee-Garripoli
Gaiam has just released this DVD, which was 3 vhs videos: Qigong for Energy, Qigong for Healing, and Ancient Chinese Healing for the 21st Century, the documentary made by Garripoli about the history and practice of Qigong in China.
The Qigong workouts are filmed in front of a beautiful alpine lake in Colorado. Francesco and his wife Daisy demonstrate all the moves, and his voice instructs with a voiceover. I wish he had mirrored, so that his right is also your right, but I just follow what they are doing, rather than trying to reverse sides. The movements all begin in standing, with knees softy bent. Breathing is coordinated with each movement, and the cueing is timely and easy to follow.
The movements are slow (but not slow-motion), and gentle, and use full range of motion of the arms/shoulders, with some squatting down, or bending over. I prefer to follow Daisy, her movements seem very natural and flowing.
The menu does not give a chapter break-down, but if you hit “next chapter” on your DVD, it will skip to the next chapter. There is an introduction, then the next 3 chapters are the Wuji Short Form (from the video Qigong for Energy). This is followed by the Wuji Long Form (from the video Qigong for Healing), and is 18 different movements, each one is a separate chapter, and you do not need to do them all, or in this order, to be effective. There some very good shoulder and arm exercises here. Then, Shaolin Tui-na Self Massage (was in both videos), which is fun and feels good. There is also a short interview with Francesco. The DVD is just over an hour long.
These movements, mostly with Chinese names, are the real deal. They may look and feel a little strange to you, at first, if you are unfamiliar with Qigong. You will not work up a sweat, but will feel energized, yet calm afterwards. And if you feel a little tingling in your hands—that’s your Chi.
The documentary is on a separate DVD. It was made by Francesco, who had traveled throughout China, seeking knowledge of Qigong healing. When he realized what he was seeing, he went home, sold everything, and returned with video equipment to make this documentary. It’s a fascinating look at China, Qigong masters and their work.
Francesco is very earnest and sincere in the workout portions. He's more relaxed in the interview. Daisy is lovely and graceful, her movements seem very natural and flowing, and I prefer to follow her.
As stated in the previous review, this originally was 3 separate VHS tapes; I was waiting (hoping) for a DVD version to come out, and that's what this review is based on.
This is a "woo woo" type practice, so if that's not your thing, don't bother getting this DVD.
First, a quick background on me. I consider myself an intermediate exerciser, mostly doing Cathe strength workouts, altho I also Tamilee and other shorter workouts as I just don't have the time in the morning. I also have an ongoing problem with endometriosis, a problem where instead of blood flowing out of the body during that time of the month, some of it gets caught up in the body (that's easiest way to explain it). This causes considerable pain, sometimes excruciating, during every cycle.
I've hit on qigong, yoga, and tai chi to help me with this, which led me to a VHS tape on qigong that just didn't do it for me (beyond giving me something to start with).
This DVD comes close to what I was looking for in a good practice. Beautifully filmed, with instruction that doesn't start and stop suddenly. There's no mirror cueing, but so far I haven't had a problem with that.
This has 2 DVDs, the 1st one being the practice. It starts off with Basic Principles:
Wuji Swimming Dragon
Bagua Xun Dao Gong
This gives you an idea as to the flowing nature of qigong, how to breathe, etc. The Basic Principles doesn't take very long, maybe 15 minutes max (I didn't time it), so if you don't have much time, this would be a good way to get in your practice for that day.
The next section is the Wuji QiGong practice. In addition to the 16 exercises performed, there are bookends to them: Zhao, which is akin to waking up, and Hui, which finishes the set.
In between are these 16 exercises (the Chinese names aren't explained in the DVD, so I don't know what they mean):
1. Rao (for stretching muscles around spinal column & shoulders, flexes knees and ankles)
2. Chai (good for decongesting lungs)
3. Xuan (for tight neck and shoulders)
4. An (for neck, shoulders, eyes)
**I actually forgot my glasses the first day I did this, thinking, oh no, I'm going to get a headache and my eyes will be bleary when I'm at work. I don't know if it was because of this particular exercise, but I didn't get a headache or bleary eyes. Take from that what you will.**
5. Si (for arms, shoulders)
6. Jian (for hands and wrists; relieve lung congestion)
7. Chan (for digestion)
8. Kun (for shoulders, neck, arms)
9. Coa (for opening blocks in heart and lungs)
10. Liu (for strengthening spine, opening chest cavity)
11. Rao (wrists, forearms)
12. Tuoa (loosen tight muscles)
13. Xia (open lungs, energize liver and spleen)
**This is one I believe will help me with my endo problems.**
14. Moa (general energy [chi], energize spine and back)
15. Xun (balance right and left sides of body; energize kidneys)
**I believe this one will also help me with my endo.**
16. He (strengthen immune system)
I didn't time it, but this probably takes about 25-30 minutes to complete. I feel woken up and energized after doing these (I do them in the morning).
The last bit on this DVD is called Shaolin Tui'Na Massage. I'd heard about this, did a bit of research on it, but couldn't find a DVD on it - until this one! This includes things like Washing the Face, Ear Massage, Letting Go of Bad Chi, Shaking Like a Rag Doll.
Shaking Like a Rag Doll was fun in a silly way, and made me (and the instructors) smile. My younger dog sat up and took notice, in that curious way of his, probably wondering why I was acting so weird with a grin on my face!
There's a 2nd DVD that has a documentary on it, which I've only looked at for a few minutes, but it looks quite interesting: the history of qigong, its use today in China, that sort of thing.
All in all, the practice DVD of Qigong For Beginners is wonderful. I know I'll use it again and again, and incorporate a lot of the moves into my everyday routine.
Francesco leads by voiceover, so occasionally the moves and the voice don't sync; his wife follows along, and like the first poster said, she seems to do the exercises in a more natural way.
They do not mirror cue, so I have occasionally gotten messed up (I follow the movement rather than the voice), but I've gotten most of it anyway.
Francesco has a very mellow voice and cues pretty well. I like him, and I like the way how Daisy and he flow through the moves together like a team.