"Elite performers will often measure, quantify, and track their progress in various ways. Each little measurement provides feedback. It offers a signal of whether they are making progress or need to change course."
Mastering is to become skilled, proficient, or expert in a chosen area of interest. Here our chosen field of interest is qigong.
There are three key questions you need to give consideration to in order to master anything :
Why : "Why am I practicing qigong?" - Setting your goals
What : "What will I do to achieve my goals?" - The practical methods for achieving your goals
How : "How do I measure my progress & track my habits?" - Measuring your progress & habits
1. Setting your goals
Ask yourself - "Why am I practicing qigong?
Make a list of health the top 1-3 health goals you'd like to achieve.
Make the goals as specific and personal to you as possible. You can always review and change them later on. For example - to heal back pain, or to feel more energised in the afternoon, get better sleep, etc...
Below is a progress chart template for you to download and print off. You can use this to track your progress each week :
Write down your goals on the left hand column. Before you start practicing qigong - write down the top 1-3 health goals you'd like to achieve. Followed by any other health goals you'd like to improve.
Every week, for example on a Sunday evening, or whenever you prefer, sit down and review the score to see what improvements you've noticed. Make a note of a question you'd like to ask at the next webinar. This way you'll be improving and refining your practice over time.
2. What you should practice
Use the 5 steps of qi cultivation as a template for building a sustainable and effective qigong practice. The entire sequence is in this video.
Gradually build up a practice of between 5-15 minutes a day to include all 5 steps of qi cultivation.
To help you, please commit to your practice by writing down :
"I will practice qigong for (X) minutes, (Y) per day."
(X) write down the amount of time that you can commit to each session.
(Y) the number of sessions you're going to practice each day.
The ideal number of times is twice per day.
Start off by committing to practice once per day.
What are the ideal times to practice?
Ideal times to practice is in the morning (about 5 minutes after drinking 2 glasses of still, plain, room temperature, or warm water) and about an hour before bed. However please practice at a time that is suitable for you. The most important thing is to commit to at least 1 practice session daily.
3. How to track your new habits
"How do I measure my progress & track my habits?"
Here is a printable page to track your habits each day :
Write down the left hand column a habit you'd like to track.
For example :
- Entering stillness for 1 minute
- Practice the Earth movement for 1 minutes
Start off slowly and gradually add a new habit every few days. Be realistic with yourself to ensure that you can sustain the practice.
Tick off or fill in the days you've practiced.
How to Motivate Yourself
Using the combination of the weekly progress chart and daily habit tracker you'll be able to see your progress each week. This will motivate you to practice each day.
There is no room for perfectionism here. This should not be a chore but good fun. You'll definitely experience deeper and deeper levels of benefits as you develop a sustainable and enjoyable practice.
Slides for this webinar :
Here is the video from the "Care For Your Qi" webinars on 27th May 2020.
You can listen and follow along to the entire video.
If you've previously attended and wish to review, here is the content and timing in the video where you'll find the relevant sections.
0-3min 6s : What is Qi?
3min 5s : Introduction to webinar
6min 30s : Warm up sequence
Practicing 5 Steps of Qi Cultivation
13min 30s : Step 1. Entering Stillness
16min 55s : Step 2. Gathering Qi
20min 30s : Step 3. Qigong Form - 5 Element Tuning Qigong
20min 50s : Earth
22min 20s : Metal
23min 45s : Water
25min 25s : Wood
27min 30s : Fire
29min 30s : Step 4. Spontaneous Qi Flow
32min 40s : Step 5. Closing Sequence - Facial Rejuvenation Massage
How To Master Qigong
36mins : What is Qigong?
38min 40s : Why practice qigong?
40min 40s : What is mastery?
42 mins : 3 Steps to Mastery
42min 50s : Why? Setting your personal goals
43min 28s : What? Setting your objectives / dosage of medicine
44min 18s : A Review of the 5 Steps of Qi Cultivation
46min 30s : How? Tracking your progress
49min 10s: How? Tracking your habits / qigong practice
50min 45s : Owning your qigong practice
52min 16s : Take Away message
53mins 56s : Q&A
Qigong is the cultivation of particular skills for working with qi.
Practicing qigong therefore develops very clearly defined skills (gong) for using qi.
There are three main traditions of Qigong - Doaist, Buddhist and Confucian. Each have their own purpose and methodology.
Qigong forms can also be categorised as medical, martial, and spiritual. I've reframed these into health, human performance, and evolution.
What you see being practiced on you tube or demonstration is just the outer, physical aspect the form. whilst this is useful, it's actually the inner skills (gong) that are the main point of practicing qigong. These skills are not visible to others, yet definitely experienced by the practitioner.
Why are there so many different qigong forms?
For over 20 years of qigong practice and study with various master teachers, I've discovered that the many forms are like learning different pieces of music of varying levels and complexities. As we practice we discover deeper levels of refinement and satisfaction. Eventually no two sessions are the same.
What are the skills developed through qigong practice?
The foundation skills (gong) developed through qigong practice are :
You need to feel (discover) the qi in order to gather a lot of it and then circulate it through your body to heal itself.
How can we develop these skills?
There are many ways to develop these skills through qigong practice.
All traditions of qigong, regardless of their purpose, have health as the foundation for further development. The qigong I practice and teach is mainly medical and I select various forms to accomplish that aim.
What are the benefits of developing the key skills?
Practice any of qigong form develops the core skills of qigong. This then has the effect of improving our health, sharpen our awareness, and deepening levels of relaxation.
What are the specific benefits of qigong practice?
The specific benefits depends upon the type of qigong and how you practice it.
For instance the 5 Element Tuning Qigong attunes us to the 5 phases of qi transformation happening moment by moment in the universe. Every single process in life is intricately and beautifully interconnected. So, through practicing this qigong form, these natural forces become a part of our embodied experience. These hidden forces become known to us.
This skill is particularly useful in helping us to detect imbalances in our body and directs us to help ourselves, or with professional help, to heal effectively. We will be able to select the types of food, make lifestyle choices, and types of supplements or medicines that will suit our particular needs. A very useful set of skills indeed!
When you break down the components of every qigong style, there are, more or less, 5 steps in the cultivation of qi to improve our personal health and enhance healing. This is like a template to mastering qigong practice.
What are the 5 Steps of Qi Cultivation?
1. Enter Stillness
2. Gather Qi
3. Qigong form
(eg. 5 Element Tuning Qigong, 8 Brocades, 12 Channel Qigong, Alchemical Qigong etc.)
4. Spontaneous qi flow
5. Closing sequence
(eg. facial rejuvenation, acupressure massage)
How to use the 5 Steps of Qi Cultivation
A suggested daily practice to start with...
How long can you practice for?
When are the ideal times to practice?
Mindset during practice
Anything else to bear in mind?
These are the books that I've found particularly helpful for qigong, self healing, and Chinese medicine.
The Healer Within
The Healing Promise of Qi
88 Secrets of Chinese Medicine
Peace, Love, and Healing
Mind to Matter
Integrating the 5-Element qigong into the 5 Steps of Qi Cultivation will give a foundation for further exploration of self-care methods of Classical Chinese medicine.
We shall explore many aspects of qigong as well as foods, lifestyle in future blogs/webinars/ workshops.
Meanwhile please just practice gently and patiently. Please don’t worry about results; they will take care of themselves. Just enjoy sowing the seeds of practice and you will definitely reap the rewards.
Results are inevitable and your understanding will grow with practice.
The only secret is to practice gently and joyfully...
Here's a summary of what we covered during this week's webinar
The topic was "Making Your own Medicine 101"
What did we learn?
What is your inner medicine?
Qi is the inner medicine, see this article
How to begin making your own inner medicine?
The word qigong consists of two characters, qi and gong.
The meaning of the character for gong is
- develop skill
So in practicing qigong we develop the skills of working with qi.
There are three foundation skills that are developed with qigong practice, these are :
Discover, Gather and Circulate the Qi
We used a qigong practice called "Return To Spring"
Return to Spring
From the 5 Element Tuning Qigong Sequence
We learned the Water & Wood movements.
What's the take away?
Please practice :)
When is the next webinar?
Wed 13th May @ 3pm GMT
Here is the complete movement of the 5 Element Tuning Qigong Sequence which we learn during our weekly webinars. Here they are kindly demonstrated by my friend, Rahel.