9 “Master Recommended” Qi Gong Styles Every Student Should Learn

Holden QiGong
5 min readJun 27, 2023

There are a lot of different styles of Qi Gong, so which one should you try?

Even though there’s a lot of overlap between various forms of Qi Gong, each one offers unique benefits. By understanding the different styles, it’s easier to choose the classes and experiences that will nourish you the most.

If you’re like many practitioners, you’ll eventually want to try all the styles that Lee teaches, but it’s nice to have an overview of each form to help you get started. In this blog, you’ll learn about nine styles of Qi Gong that Lee Holden has mastered during his thirty-plus years as a teacher.

1. Five Elements

The Five Elements is one of the foundational forms of Qi Gong. Many other styles are based on the Five Elements, making it an important pillar of the practice.

In Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong, the Five Elements refer to five essential energies within your body and nature. These include Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. In order to experience health and vitality, it’s important that these Elements are strong and balanced within you. The Healing Sounds are also part of the Five Elements practices and are used to cleanse noxious Qi from your body.

The Five Elements Online Course is one of our most in-depth courses that teaches you how to cultivate the Five Elements within you. It’s also one of the courses required to become a certified Holden Qi Gong Teacher. If you’re not ready for the full immersion at this point, the Five Elements Flow is another wonderful program with more of an introductory experience.

2. Three Treasures

The Three Treasures is another foundation form of Qi Gong that teaches you how to work with core energies within your body. Specifically, it helps you cultivate and integrate the energies of your physical body, emotional center, and spiritual consciousness.

Similar to the Five Elements Online Course, our Three Treasures Online Course guides you through an immersive learning experience, helping you fully tap into the power of the Three Treasures within you. The course is also part of our Teacher Training Program.

3. Buddha Palm

Buddha Palm is a powerful form of Qi Gong that focuses on healing. In Buddha Palm practices, you cultivate your internal energy and use it to facilitate healing in yourself or others. The practice is called ‘Buddha Palm’ because you learn how to channel this healing energy through your hands.

Because the universe is abundant with Qi, Buddha Palm practices also focus on cultivating healing energy from the world around you. Just like a radio antenna can pick up radio waves, Buddha Palm practitioners discover how to tap into the right frequency of energy that the universe offers. Our Buddha Palm Online Course offers an in-depth learning experience to help you master this ancient practice.

4. Tao Yin

Yao Yin is one of the oldest forms of Qi Gong. In fact, to a large extent, both yoga and modern Qi Gong originated from Tao Yin practices long ago.

Tao Yin focuses on opening energy pathways (meridians) so Qi can flow more freely throughout your body, which is an important part of your health and vitality. Many Tao Yin practices include stretching exercises, making it a great practice for cultivating flexibility in your body. Our Tao Yin Online Course teaches you all of the most powerful Tao Yin practices that Lee has learned over his decades of exploring.

5. Swimming Dragon

Swimming Dragon is a wonderful form of Qi Gong that Lee learned from a 106-year-old woman. She described it as “the practice of longevity.”

Swimming Dragon practices focus on helping you cultivate both strength and flexibility, which are two key components of resilience. The full-body spiraling movements of Swimming Dragon also make it a great practice for “squeezing out” old energy, also known as purging.

In Lee’s Swimming Dragon Qi Gong Workshop, he teaches a variety of powerful exercises so you can learn “the practice of longevity” for yourself.

6. Microcosmic Orbit

The Microcosmic Orbit is a circular energy channel in your body that starts in your lower abdomen, moves up your back to your head, and then flows down the front of your body to your lower abdomen. It connects three core energy centers — Lower Tan Tien, Middle Tan Tien, and Upper Tan Tien.

Microcosmic Orbit practices teach you how to consciously circulate your Qi throughout this important energy channel. It also helps you fully integrate the energy of your mind, emotions, and physical body and experience more energy. Lee’s Microcosmic Orbit Workshop is the perfect way to learn this powerful vitality-boosting practice.

7. Iron Shirt

Iron Shirt is a martial form of Qi Gong developed in Shaolin temples. Originally, soldiers used it to cultivate power to help them in battle. Iron Shirt practices focus on tonifying (strengthening) your internal energy and ‘packing’ it in your organs.

Even if you’re not a soldier, Iron Shirt practices can still offer many benefits for modern life. For your physical body, Iron Shirt can help strengthen your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Not only does this help you enjoy greater physical mobility, but it also helps prevent injuries. Iron Shirt practices can also help boost your overall energy levels and sense of vitality.

In Lee’s Iron Shirt Workshop Online Course, he teaches a variety of powerful Iron Shirt practices to help you cultivate internal strength and power.

8. Five Animal Frolics

Some Qi Gong practices seek to cultivate the unique gifts that different animals have to offer. In the Five Animal Frolics, you’ll learn how to harness the virtuous qualities of five important creatures — the Tiger, Bear, Deer, Monkey, and Bird.

For example, the Tiger teaches you about courage and strength, while the Deer provides lessons about grace, tranquility, and stability. Lee’s Five Animal Frolics Online Course teaches powerful practices to help you integrate the gifts that these five Animals embody.

9. Breathwork

The most immediate way to work with your Qi is through your breath. Breathwork is an important form of Qi Gong that allows you to quickly activate and transform your internal energy.

You can use Breathwork practices with many different intentions. Often, they’re used to purge old energy, activate your Qi, and transform your mind from a state of stress to relaxation. Many other styles of Qi Gong integrate breathing exercises, but The Breathwork Online Course offers Lee’s most in-depth Breathwork training.

What Qi Gong Practices Should You Try Next?

If you read this summary and one of the courses or workshops jumped out at you, that’s great! You now know what form of Qi Gong you want to pursue next. On the other hand, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or want to try a diverse set of Qi Gong practices, we have the perfect opportunity for you: Our free two-week Qi Gong trial.

When you sign up for our two-week trial, you can ‘test out’ a variety of Qi Gong styles that Lee teaches in his subscription classes. This will enable you to further discover what additional workshops or programs you want to explore next. And whatever options you choose, you’ll find that all Qi Gong practices can help you experience less stress and more energy in everyday life.

Learn more and get started on your Qi Gong journey today.

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