If you’re reading this, you probably already practice Qi Gong and know that it has numerous benefits for physical, mental, and emotional health. For many practitioners, Qi Gong is a cornerstone for each day and helps to cultivate stability in a turbulent world.
Although the idea of Qi is quite simple to understand, some struggle to fully experience it in their practice. Some may feel relaxed or energized but not truly experience their life force energy. This blog post will discuss the experience of Qi and ways to feel it more strongly in your practice.
We all are born with an abundance of Qi that is inherited from our parents. Lee sometimes talks about how each one of us is born as a “Qi millionaire.” It flows within us, between us, and all around us. Each thought or movement has an effect on the state of our internal energy.
In daily life, we often give our awareness to what is clear and obvious. It’s easy to feel a chair beneath us as we sit, or experience the sensation of a loved one’s touch. We experience our world as a physical place that we interact with on a physical level.
However, if we delve deeper we can feel that there’s more that lies beneath the surface in a simple movement or routine breath. We’re not used to directing one-hundred percent of our attention to something as basic as our breath, but when we do, our breath expands into far more than we might have imagined.
For many, it’s easiest to first experience Qi through a moving Qi Gong practice. Feeling Qi requires us to move past of our usual limitations in perception. Instead of only paying attention to what your body is doing in a movement, pay attention to what your body is being. Rather than viewing a movement as an effort to get from point A to point B, experience it just as being, and let the outcome of the movement only be on the periphery of your mind.
This is a different way of going about our actions. Instead of being focused on the external effect, we bring our attention inward and pay attention to what is taking place within.
Putting Ideas into Practice
It’s all nice and good to understand the shift in perception that must occur, but how do you consciously go inward and experience your Qi? There are several actional steps you can take that many find to be quite useful.
Stop thinking, start flowing: Sometimes people don’t experience Qi because they’re too focused on understanding the directions about what they “should” be doing. If you’re not familiar with the movements, you’ll likely put all of your attention into understanding what the external appearance of your practice “should” look like. Many practitioners encounter several questions running through their mind: How much do I bend my knees? How far do I move my arms? When do I shift my weight? When do I inhale and when do I exhale? It’s a good idea to follow the right movements, but if that’s all you’re thinking about then you’re doing exactly what we talked about above: Paying attention to the physical and not tapping into what’s happening within.
To avoid this, many practitioners find it useful to practice the movements so they can happen naturally. Once you know the movements “good enough,” let go of worrying about your form and just practice. You’ll always return to the process of improving your form, but dropping into a deep, nourishing practice and experiencing your Qi only happens once you’ve stopped striving for the perfect form.
Wake up your Qi: Another helpful tip is to start your practice with some nice stretches and awaking exercises. Most of the routines that Lee teaches guide students through a similar progression that allows students to get the Qi awake and moving before dropping into a flow. Once Qi is livened up, it’s easier to really feel it in your flowing practice.
Take slow, deep breaths: Breathing is an important element of any Qi Gong practice. In fact, some practices focus solely on breathing as a way to work with Qi. In a movement practice, the breath is still an essential element to dropping in and experiencing Qi.
Short, shallow breathing is a typical response to many of the stressors we encounter in daily life. Unfortunately, this kind of breathing isn’t helpful for much and only further prevents us from finding peace or experiencing Qi. Instead of taking the stress from your day into your practice, let it go by focussing on slow, deep breaths. Sometimes, it can be good to start your practice by bringing all of your attention to this kind of breathing. Once you’ve established a healthy breathing pattern, continue that as you begin your movements and let it be the foundation for the rest of your practice.
Consistency: Like all things, Qi Gong takes practice. If you’re only practicing a few times a month it can be difficult to drop in and really experience your Qi. However, with consistency, you’re able to strengthen your practice and make it easy to return to that wonderful state of feeling your Qi and being in flow.
At Holden QiGong, we offer a program that helps to create a stable foundation for your practice and gets you to feel your Qi as quickly as possible: The 30-Day Challenge! Lee’s 30-Day Challenge offers a Qi Gong routine for each day of the month and can be practiced online from the comfort of your own home. Each video is just seven minutes so it’s easy to find the time to create a stable Qi Gong routine in your daily schedule.
Qi Gong has many great benefits including cultivating emotional balance and supporting good health. As your practices progress you’ll truly be able to tap into your Qi and gain a new level of awareness of what is taking place within your body and mind.
Nothing is more important than your health and well-being, so check out Lee’s 30-Day Challenge and nourish your practice.
Click here to learn more!
By Ian Drogin