There are some "Essential Points of Practice" despite the varying styles and the differing importance attached to various elements by individual schools, and there are certain basic features which are essential to qigong regardless of form or school.
- Relaxation, Quietness and Naturalness: It is most important that during practice, both body and mind are relaxed, peaceful, and at peace. Before practice one must relieve oneself, loosen one's belt and any other restrictive clothing, and found a peaceful spot in which to practice. Make sure that one's posture is correct, back straight and body erect though not stiff, arms hanging down naturally, and the whole body relaxed, though not limp, so both mind and body are comfortable and aligned.
- Unity of Breath and Mind: It is critical in Qigong that the mind and breath are united by concentrating the mind on the "Dantian", so as to reach a state in which the breathing is deep, even and led by the mind.
- Exercise and Rest Combined: There are different methods of breathing for various forms of qigong. If one is practicing a breathing method, one should have a short rest, returning to natural breathing after ten to twenty minutes of such practice.
- Stillness and Movement Combined: Some forms of Qigong combine both stillness and movement into one style, such as Taijiquan, and some put stress on stillness. But after one has practiced a "still" form, you must carry on some "moving" exercises like Taijiquan or jogging.
- Gradual Development: It is vital to realize that one must practice according to the body's ability and strength, allowing it to develop and progress naturally at its own pace, never forcing it or striving anxiously for quick results.
- Practice Differs According to the Individual: Since each individual has a different state of health, and illness appears in many forms, the form of Qigong chosen for practice, therefore, shall vary according to the specific needs of each individual.
- Perseverance: If one is to be successful in one's practice, one must persevere, practicing daily for several months. Qigong is not like a quick-acting medicine, and the longer one can persevere, the more profound will be the effect.
- Restraint in One's Private Life: It is clearly common sense that if the exercises are to be given a chance to help the body, one must give up bad habits such as smoking. One should also restrict excessive drinking and excessive sexual activity, being sure to regulate your life so you exhaust yourself.
The above-mentioned eight essential points are fitting for all forms of qigong. When you practice a form of qigong, regardless of the style, you should follow these specific requirements.