Within you, there is a
Thank you so much for all those who attended the webinar this week! So here's a summary of what we covered.
The topic was "How to Make Your own Medicine"
What did we learn?
What is your inner medicine?
Qi is the inner medicine
What is Qi?
Qi is one of life’s many wonderful mysteries. It was a discovery that came from ancient China and has had far reaching influence on every aspect of Far Eastern culture.
It exists and is intuitively sensed by each of us, yet escapes being pinned down by conceptual definitions, defies logical reasoning, and perplexes scientific investigation. It is a mysterious yet all encompassing phenomenon that has captured our imagination through the ages. I remembered seeing one of the first Star Wars movies and being completely spellbound when Obi Wan told Luke Skywalker to "Feel the Force."
There is no literal or simple definition of Qi, yet we all intuitively sense it. Trying to understand it literally is a bit like trying to hold onto water - it’s there and exists - yet you can’t actually grasp it.
Over the years I’ve come to know Qi by many things. My current exploration is the notion that Qi is the relationship to all that is seen and unseen.
So it is OK to just leave the word Qi to be just so.
How do we experience Qi?
Qi isn’t a solid thing in itself but arises from the relationship that we establish with all the things within and around us. The more we become aware of our connection to these things the stronger our experience of Qi. So we can experience Qi in the physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of our being.
Some people say they experience certain sensations in their body, that they feel more grounded, or that they feel deep connection to all things around them. All are valid experiences and indicate that qi is at work, yet these experiences are not Qi itself.
Let's take wind as an analogy. So we only know that wind is blowing by the experiencing it on our face for instance, or through the rustling of the leaves - or the power of a storm! So these physical phenomena are not wind itself but indicate that wind is stirring.
What's most pertinent is that Qi can be cultivated for tangible benefits, particularly for health and wellbeing, through the practice of Qigong.
What is Qigong?
The gong part of Qigong means to cultivate or develop the skills - for working with Qi.
It’s often referred to as energy cultivation, Chinese calisthenics, Chinese yoga.
There are many types or styles of qigong in practice these days. To reflect their intended purpose they are traditionally categorised into three :
Medical, Martial, and Spiritual
I classify these three categories of qigong as applied to human :
Health, Performance, and Evolution
Since health is the foundation of the other two, then we can say that all qigong practice has the purpose of improving our health. In my clinical practice this is the main emphasis.
Why do we practice Qigong?
A quote from a famous master of Tai Qi & Qigong, Cheng Man Ch'ing, sums it up :
“So that when you get to know life there will be some health left to enjoy it.”
- Cheng Man Ch’ing
What are the key skills that we develop through practicing Qi?
There are many skills that are developed through the practice of qigong.
However there are three foundation skills that we need to develop in order to fully reap the benefits. These are :
This week we looked at how to Discover Qi.
I was trained the ‘old’ way, as an apprentice to a master of these arts, for about ten years. During this time he would show the forms and I followed, with the odd alignment here and there. This was how things were done, and it was how I learned for a long time. During this time I had to discover and understand what I was experiencing through deeper practice, study and research.
However I don’t think we need to wait for years to experience Qi and I discovered that I could show my patients how to experience and activate Qi in a fraction of the time.
Why is it so important to discover Qi?
Well if qigong practice is to be differentiated from just a good physical exercise - which it definitely is - we need to be able to sense and activate Qi.
In developing the skill (gong) of discovering Qi, we can activate it within us. We can then learn to use it for improving our health and wellbeing.
How do we discover qi?
The energy of the universe is all around us so we don’t actually have to go looking for it. It’s simply a matter of being aware. This mean here and now we can begin to discover it.
We can do so by being still.
A posture to help us discover this is “Child Pays Homage to Buddha."
5 Element Tuning Qigong Set