Anyone can practice Qi Gong. Whether you’re a world-class athlete or you’re suffering from serious health conditions, there are always Qi Gong exercises that you can do.
Unlike certain other activities, Qi Gong is something that can be completely adapted based on your own needs, desires, and limitations. This makes Qi Gong accessible to people of all ages and walks of life.
At Holden QiGong, we often receive questions from students about how to modify various exercises to accommodate specific physical limitations. Therefore, we decided to share three general ways that you can modify your Qi Gong practice to ensure that it works for you and your body.
1. Listen to Your Body
Even though following an experienced teacher has many great benefits, it’s important to remember that no one can come between you and your own body. Therefore, listening carefully to your own body is always the best place to start when it comes to working with physical limitations.
What does it mean to, “listen to your body?”
Listening to your body means becoming aware of all the sensations and feelings happening inside you. When you practice Qi Gong, try to really focus your attention on all of the subtleties taking place within your muscles, ligaments, bones, and organs.
If you know that you have a specific injury or medical condition that you should be careful with, try to direct a bit of extra attention to that area. For example, if you have arthritis in your lower back, make sure to be mindful of how each movement or posture affects how it feels. Similarly, if you had neck surgery at some point in the past and it still causes tension or tightness, try to stay aware of how your movements affect that part of your body.
Being aware of the different parts of your body allows you to avoid movements or postures that cause pain.
In certain sports, players and coaches will sometimes say, “no pain, no gain,” but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Physical pain is your body’s natural way of telling you that what you’re doing isn’t healthy.
If you feel pain when you do a certain Qi Gong exercise, it’s important to stop what you’re doing and modify the practice. Often, this means limiting the range of your movements or reducing their intensity. Sometimes, it means completely stopping certain exercises altogether and replacing them with ones that are more comfortable.
The bottom line is that it’s important to pay attention to your body, modify or refrain from exercises that hurt, and find new exercises that are better for your body.
2. Focus on Flowing Movements
There are many different kinds of exercises and movements in Qi Gong.
If you have an injury or ailment, be careful with exercises that are at all jarring. For example, a lot of activating exercises require that you tap different parts of your body. If you have a broken hand, you certainly don’t want to knock it against the door of life (lower abdomen and lower back).
While stretching exercises can be great in certain situations, such as for releasing tension and tightness, they can also cause further injury if you stretch the wrong part of your body. Your knees are an area of the body that commonly require gentle treatment when it comes to stretching.
Flowing movements, on the other hand, are great for the body in almost every circumstance. Unlike tapping or stretching, flows are generally pretty safe and don’t challenge the body in the same way.
Flowing movements also focus on tonifying the body’s internal energy, which is an important part of healing and strengthening. This makes flow exercises the perfect choice if you’re injured or in pain, but you can still move enough to practice flowing movements.
Even though flows are great for the body, it’s still a wise idea to pay attention and only move as much as your body comfortably allows. With time, flowing exercises can increase your mobility, flexibility, and overall physical wellbeing.
If your mobility prevents you from engaging in flowing movements, meditation and breathwork are the practices of choice.
3. Meditation and Breathing
Meditations and breathing practices are perfect if movement exercises aren’t accessible to you. In fact, meditation and breathwork can offer many of the same benefits as movement practices.
There is an important principle in Qi Gong underlies all practices: “the mind leads the Qi.” In other words, your mind has the amazing ability to guide and direct energy throughout your entire being, even without moving your physical body.
Visualization is an important part of many Qi Gong meditation practices. By visualizing the flow of energy throughout your body, you’re able to experience the nourishing qualities that Qi can offer — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Microcosmic Orbit meditations are especially wonderful when it comes to circulating energy throughout the body.
Some visualization practices include imagining energy within your body, while others are based on visualizing yourself doing various Qi Gong exercises. Even if you can’t move parts of your body, just visualizing yourself practicing can have a dramatic effect.
There are many accounts of individuals using visualization meditations to help them heal from various injuries. In some cases, musicians and athletes who have suffered an injury on one side of the body have been able to regain their full strength and match the other side of their body simply by using visualization healing meditations.
In addition to visualization meditations, breathing exercises are another great option if your mobility is limited.
In Lee’s classes, he often talks about how your breath is the most direct way to absorb Qi. With each inhale, your body takes in nourishing Qi. With each exhale, you’re able to release old energy that you no longer need.
Breathing also provides a direct path to working with your thoughts and emotions. By focusing on your breath and working with it in an intentional way, it’s possible to experience an almost instantaneous shift in your body’s internal energy. This can lead to a peaceful yet energized feeling throughout your entire being.
If you’re interested in learning wonderful flowing exercises and meditations that focus on health and healing, be sure to check out Lee’s Microcosmic Orbit Workshop.
Pre-Recorded Microcosmic Orbit Online Workshop
For thousands of years, Qi Gong practitioners have used Microcosmic Orbit Qi Gong practices to cultivate health, vitality, and spiritual wellbeing.
As one of the most important energy pathways in the body, the Microcosmic Orbit plays an essential role in connecting all parts of who you are. By working skillfully with the body’s natural flow of energy throughout the Microcosmic Orbit, practitioners can learn how to refine their most precious internal resources to experience greater health and inner harmony.
In Lee’s pre-recorded Microcosmic Orbit Workshop, he explains how each person is a microcosm of the entire universe. He also shares invaluable practices for absorbing the natural gifts that surround us and how to cultivate an abundance of energy within ourselves. The practices he teaches include both flowing movement exercises and meditations.
Click on the banner below to learn more about how ancient Microcosmic Orbit practices can help you feel your best and start practicing today.