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Qigong – Methods of Practice
Before moving on into another mind body modality, I want to offer some overall thoughts on the qigong we have learned together and offer you some suggested routines for practice. The framework in qigong is subtle, complex, open to intuitive interpretation, and therefore difficult to structure and define. How could this not be the case, since from the beginning point you are told you are dealing with the qi of life? Qigong is energy work and energy work, with the offering of materials and methods for the moving within and interacting with the subtle energy layers of life, is an open door to circular thinking, a method of learning with which I am quite comfortable. What is difficult for me is to go in a straight line. Energy just doesn’t seem to do that. Each tangent we feel or see seems to draw and attract, and yet, at the same time leads you right back in to a center, though leaving a mysterious road out there for one who is trying to decipher how to follow. Let’s see if I can offer the roadmaps, by describing a way of thinking to make it all make sense.
A Complete Qigong Practice
How should you approach your qigong? Let us turn to Kenneth Cohen’s overview. A complete qigong routine, according to Cohen, has four aspects to the practice: a Gathering of Qi, a Purifying of Qi, Circulating Qi, and Dispersing Remaining Stagnation. The qigong we have practiced together has given you a routine for each of these aspects. The Healthy Breathing practice gathers qi. The Intuitive Healing practice purifies, offers healing. Standing Meditation practices qi circulation. The Sealing of the energy centers, circling in the Lower Dan Tian and circling in the Ming Men, finishing with self-massage, closes your routine with methods of grounding and removing stagnancy. This is what we have done together. You have one practice for each aspect.
What are the tools you are using as you practice in each of these aspects, for the tools overlap and are used throughout. The tools are truly your practice. The aspects are just techniques within which you may use these tools. Your tools are breath, focus, and at times movement. Breath and focus are the threads that tie together your practice. As you breathe you work with qi. As you practice you work with qi. As you move with breath and with focus you work with qi. Remember this, for these offer you the heart of your modality. Whether you remember anything else, if you work with focus and your breath, you will be moving qi. And, this is a case of – whether you feel or see it or not – it happens. If you are an energy body, and if you are working in energy practice, you are working with and moving energy. Yes? It sounds so hand in glove and glove in hand, yet that is the actuality of the reality. You may say this sounds like faith. It is faith, yet it is a faith that expresses the truth of energy science. Mind, body and spirit, we are mind body and spirit and in qigong we begin with qi to weave together and arrange and rearrange our subtle energy patterns. Without the use of these tools, the exception being movement, for all qigong does not involve movement, you are not practicing qigong. Mind into body – consciousness into form – spirit into matter – it always comes down to mindset and breath, consciousness and activity, a co-creative dance between the particles within the poles that relate together to form the essence of Life. Learn this and you learn the faith in yourself to find your own way in to interpret and manage as best we can, our dense physical world.
The Tools We Use – How They Help Us
How do these tools offer you this energy experience? Let’s look at breath. Breath is qi – breathing is working with qi. As you practice your Healthy Breathing, the movements you make with your arms opens your torso providing you with a sense of breath that increases, lengthens, and deepens each time you make a circle with your arms. This increase in breath offers an increase in qi. You are increasing the qi of the body through the air/prana/qi that enters your being, through your lungs, permeating your body through your cells.
The subtle energy of prana/qi/ether is the operative agency within the world in which we live. It is our space, our invisible ocean, holding and expressing the very particles of intelligence which make life. Making movements to interact with it, allowing the mindset to open to interact with it, and you interact with it. It just seems so impossible to explain, yet the simplicity of the truth is the only answer. It is an energy world. Life is energy made manifest. Qigong is a modality that practices working with energy. The tools in qigong that tap you in to the ethers of life are breath and focus and movement.
Turn to the part of your practice where you focus upon purifying your energy. All of us need this. The imbalances we have energetically are reflected in the physical mental and emotional discomforts we suffer. So, once again, in our modality we take our powerful tools and through using our breath and our focus and our movement we purify our beings. Telling ourselves we do this does this. As I’ve said so many times, it is not difficult. The process is simple. You have the tools inherently within you. The spirit that you are offers you the in-road; the mindset you have offers you the ability to tap in and find your way into the journey, your breath, movement and focus offer you your physical mental emotional expression whereby, like Jean Luke Picard, you make it so! Through our tools, we work co-creatively to express the best of what we can be, physically, mentally, spiritually, within the venue of life. Like faith, energy work asks you to come into it with the mindset of the little child. Believe. Open. Use your tools. Purify. Remove toxins. Breathe disharmony away, releasing all negativity through breath and focus. Heal.
Circulating energy is no different. The tools are still the same. As you focus, you open. As you breathe and move, you connect. Holding the body into specific positions to honor an energy center, you breathe, you focus and in your focus you tell yourself in each center that excesses yield, deficiencies strengthen. The simple stating of your framework for circulating qi allows qi to circulate. The mental expression becomes energy reality.
The same of course is true when we look at the closure, the grounding, the sealing, the dispersing. What makes this aspect work is no different from any of the rest. The practice is the use of the tools. And, when the tools create in us the peace we seek, then we have in fact reached our innermost space, our spirit within, for all healing comes to us from the realm of soul.
Soul we are –
soul we express
when we open and tap into the experience.
It is a beautiful energy truth
and a worthwhile goal
for each of us who walk upon this earth.
Suggested Qigong Routines – Sequences to Practice
For a routine that is short and simple, though effective, practice Healthy Breathing, closing with a Qigong Sequential Relaxation.
For a more detailed process of healing, practice Healthy Breathing, Intuitive Healing Qigong, and close with a Qigong Sequential Release.
To have a complete qigong routine: practice Healthy Breathing, Intuitive Healing Qigong, Standing Meditation, closing with Sealing and Dispersing Stagnancy.
Recommended sources for further study materials and practice DVD’s are the works of Qigong Masters, Kenneth S. Cohen and Dr. Yang, Jwing Ming, and Deborah Davis.
Enjoy your qigong.
Keeping your practice
will help to keep you.