Last time I was fasting and while I was experimenting with my diet I have just moved to a new rental place with my friends. Our volunteer trip in Slovakia finished and we came back in Gran Canaria to do the latest of our creations here until this day.
After 72 hours of fasting I started watching a Qigong beginners video, the first one I found on YouTube. A friend of mine had told me to give it a try many times ago. But for me, it was hard to do it in a place where I don’t have much freedom. Well, there is always a way, even living in a dorm, the question is how bad do you want it.
How I Started Doing Qigong
Did I believe in Qigong back then? No.
I didn’t even know what is it. That same friend shared a book with me as well and it helped me to get going. I was willing to do the experiment.
After all, that time that I have been thinking about it, I was now willing to try it.
Every experiment starts with a little “being bad in it” time. My first times I felt out of synch with my breathing and the movements. It was difficult to match the tempo of the online teacher. I was inclined to do it faster, than being slow and concentrated on the present moment.
Doing any kind of meditation requires a certain amount of discomfort, that in turn will make you present and help you to fix your focus at hand.
What Does QiGong Entail?
Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice, a set of movements, designed to captivate you in the now by relaxing, stretching, breathing and following patterns of movements to circulate your CI power inside. The nature of this practice also known as standing meditation requires a balance between the self and the world. It has an objective to merge the inner and another world for the subject doing it.
I fell this way, bleeding my pain or impatience with the activity and trust the process while breathing rhythmically. Flow movements are my favorites, you can feel those when you finish one exercise and starting a transition movement to the next one. It is a constant surrender of oneself to follow the steps of those countless people done before you.
The balance of qigong is between stillness and movement, inhale – exhale, stretch – flow.
During Qigong, one should become aware of the right moment to inhale and to exhale practicing it. That took me some time until I get it, even trying to do it from day one. Some movements are simplistic and other a bit complex. The first set of basic movements would require one breathing cycle – inhale(1) and exhale (1). Then when you move to do the more complex movements it would require two or three cycles – inhale (2) and exhale (2).
Here is an exercise you might want to try as well (source “The Art of Learning” By Josh Waitzskin):
For a glimmer of this experience, hold your palms in front of you, for fingers a few inches apart, shoulders relaxed. Now breathe in while gently expanding your fingers, putting yourmind of your middle fingers, forfingers and thumbs. Your breath and mind should both softly shoot to the very tips of your fingers. This inhalation is slow, gently pulling oxygen into your dan tien (a spot believed to be the energetic center – located two and a half inches below the navel) and then moving that energy from your dan tien to your fingers.
Once your inhalation is complete, gently exhale. Release your fingers, let your mind fall asleep, relax your hip joints, let everything sag soft, quiet awareness. Once exhalation is complex, you reenergize. Try that exercise a few minutes and see how you feel.
Breathing is a key to master to maintain higher energetic levels in your life. I have written a post long ago a book (“The Oxygen Advantage”)really much endorse in advancing your breathing.
The two guided QiGong exampled that I did include stretching. Mostly it is what Qigong is about along with flowing movements. In between those you have sometimes paused to find stillness.
In contrast with Yoga Qigong is a stand-up practice, there isn’t any exercise on the ground. That makes it perfect for outdoor places wherever you prefer – in the park or at home. Personally, I was blessed to have a big botanical garden where I often went to practice when I could.
Flowing movements are my favorite! Learning to move your body with ease and in sync with your breath helps to release stress easily. Also, it is a trigger for me, to get into the present moment and to flow through tasks for the rest of my day.
I feel how my body is relaxing with each pattern. You normally practice one for a few minutes, repeating the flowing pattern before you add up to a more complex one. Progressive in complexity is a good practice, especially when you are starting out. Check out Marisa and her YouTube channel, I found to love her 30 min QiGong session. If I can I start my day with this guided session.
To find stillness you need to relax into your posture. Locking your limbs and body, your neck, hips and helps you to focus on your breathing. Again feel how your lower Dan Tian is contracting and expanding.
After a few minutes resting in Wuji posture, you will feel a bit exhausted with limber limbs. That’s normal, with the practice their comes to the reward, and you will get used to the pain. It is only uneasy when you start.
Another key posture is Wuji with your hands expanded in front of your chest. Keeping them on this level for five minutes, at least, is best to be done at the end of your daily practice.
I followed two guides for these last three months. Now I am doing it on my own, a bit chaotically though. That is why I may research and find the more complex and maybe easier practice to see which would be better for daily ritual.
I love doing Qigong with a combination of Vipassana meditation. Those two are really boosting my mental and overall performance throughout the day and even my overall satisfaction.
I hope you give them a try and share your opinions with us.