Welcome to the simple yet powerful teachings from the Nei Shi Qigong system. These principles can and should be applied to your Qigong and Meditation practice as well as your everyday life. You will find them applicable in your workplace, and home, and out in public places. These principles have all been around for thousands of years, so while this is not ‘new’ knowledge, it’s written from a modern day, practical perspective to help people of today understand Qigong and this system in a very simple and easy to learn manner.
The principles in this book might resonate with you instantly, creating a new sense of understanding and freedom. Some of these principles might take a little bit of time and thought for you to fully realize their meaning. This is normal – many of these principles will sound good at first to the mind but take a lot of patience and practice to fully understand them on a deep level.
Most common is the “intellectual recognition” of the principle, like you have heard of the principle before, and think I already know that. The true teaching is not one that can be understood by the mind, rather it needs to be experienced to understand it.
Spiritual wisdom is found everywhere, from the small paper tab on a tea bag to giant billboards on the side of the road. Sometimes, a deep spiritual concept is turned into a catchy phrase in advertising – I saw a billboard on the side of the road with a picture of a couple at a resort in Lake Tahoe, and the caption said “Let go and relax”. We can become numb to the true meaning of some of these phrases when our senses are bombarded with it.
The trick is to catch yourself when you feel like you’ve read of heard something before. Back up, and try starting again with an open, fresh mind. When you do this, you’ll immediately tune into the simplistic nature of Nei Shi Qigong teaching and the teaching will become part of you and your new way of thinking.
Above all, do not be on a fast-track to “enlightenment” or success. In fact, do not even strive for enlightenment or success, simply try to understand each teaching by itself, on the most fundamental level, and make the teaching a part of you and your life. Then, over time, these principles will build inside of you, and combined they will become more powerful than you can ever imagine. When you reach this point, you find that “enlightenment” is just a concept, and that the state of being you’ve achieved is far greater than any concept of enlightenment you previously had.
Nei Shi Qigong Basics
What is Qigong?
Many people want to learn Qigong for the benefits they hear the practice can bring. However, most people are not quite sure what Qigong is, and when they start, they are often surprised by the practice. This comes from our incorrect expectations of what the practice is or what we think we’ll feel like when we practice.
Qigong, simply defined, is moving meditation which combines breathing and relaxation to bring the body into a natural state of balance, promoting healing and general well being.
What is Qigong not?
Qigong is not stretching. When we stretch, we elongate muscles and really focus on the muscles, tendons and ligaments. In Qigong, we relax the muscles, tendons and ligaments, to allow circulation deep the joints and muscles.
Qigong is not working out. In working out, we consume energy. In Qigong, we conserve energy.
Posture – shoulder width – knees bent – tailbone tucked – abdomen relaxed – shoulders relaxed – looking forward with upper spine straight – eyes soft
Breathing – in through nose – out through nose – tongue on upper palette behind teeth – belly out when inhaling, belly in when exhaling
Mind – clear, simple, relaxed
Natural breathing or abdominal breathing is a technique you already know and have practiced before. When you were born, you knew how to breathe – your belly would come out when you inhale and come back in when you exhaled. This was the way your body was designed, and instinctually you breathed like this.
As you grew older, you learned to take control of your breath. Upon getting control, it was then possible for you to alter this natural way of breathing, thus the abdominal breathing you knew as a child started to go away.
Stress dramatically alters the way we breathe. Because our society is busy and often stressful, our breathing has been dramatically affected in a negative way.
For example, the body’s natural response to focusing on an object is to somewhat stop the breathing. This makes the body still and allows the brain to focus. Try this – focus on an object close to you, for 5 seconds. Observe your breathing – it stops temporarily.
Now, because we constantly are focusing on things at work and at home, we are constantly not breathing correctly. After years and years, this becomes our normal way of breathing, even though it is highly inefficient.
Natural breathing – belly in on the inhale, belly out on the exhale – is how we are able to bring in the maximum amount of oxygen into the body.
Why Breathe Naturally?
Why is it important to breathe “naturally” or “abdominally”? Many reasons – but very simply put: Oxygen = Energy. When you breathe naturally, you are able to bring oxygen all the way down into the bottom of the lungs. Oxygen = Energy.
Natural breathing also increases the circulation to the digestive organs, delivering more oxygen to the organs to sustain your body’s everyday functions. The diaphragm (the muscle under the lungs and above the digestive organs) rises and falls with the belly, and it massages the top of the kidneys, keeping the kidneys open and healthy.
True natural breathing should be effortless. So, instead of trying to push your belly out on the inhale, you need to relax your belly on the inhale. You do not want to use the muscles in your belly and low back to breathe naturally, you simply want to relax the belly and let it expand. Let’s talk about a practice that will help you understand this type of breathing.
Natural Breathing Practice
Natural breathing can be re-learned through a few easy steps. Keep in mind that if you’ve likely altered your breathing for many years, so it will take persistent practice to break the old habits you have.
I’ve been asked many times when natural breathing will come to be natural again. The answer is different for everyone. It’s like asking how long it would take to become a master piano player. If you practice once a month, it will take a long time. If you practice twice a day, it will come quicker.
In general, if you practice this as often as you can, it takes 3-6 months to start the changes, with real long term changes happening over the next few years. Then, as you progress, you find that you can constantly refine and improve your breath, and you become less focuses on achievement and more on just the practice of breathing. It begins to feel right, and therefore becomes easy to practice.
You can start learning Natural Breathing by using the following techniques: the “Out-In Breath”, “Natural Breathing Lying Down”, and finally by practicing seated.
The practice we use to understand natural breathing is called the “Out-In Breath”. Normally, we think of breathing as first inhaling, then exhaling – in this practice we do the opposite.
Start with both hands over your belly, around the navel.
1. Exhale, gently sucking your belly in – not too far – and it should not feel uncomfortable.
2. When done exhaling, relax the belly and inhale, letting the belly expand out as far as it wants to go – without forcing it – and take a nice deep comfortable breath in.
Don’t inhale too much – 75% – 80% of your lungs natural capacity.
When ready, repeat steps 1 and 2.
Again – don’t force it too much – it should not be uncomfortable, and don’t try to breathe too deeply – just relax and feel how the belly naturally wants to expand out on the inhale.
Through this practice, you’ll see how simply relaxing the belly allows it to expand naturally – and of course the motion of bringing the belly in on the exhale helps to setup the natural inhalation.
Natural Breathing Lying Down
After you have practiced the “Out-In Breath” and you feel comfortable with that feeling, you can then move on to practicing your natural breathing lying down. This is easiest to practice at night, as you first get into bed. There is no better way to prepare your body for sleep than to practice natural breathing.
Simply lie on your back, with your hands on top of each other on your belly. Now that your body does not have to hold up your weight, your midsection will be free to rise and fall at will.
When lying down, try to have your low back flat against your bed – this will help to support the muscles in your low back, and will feel good.
- Simply inhale and allow your belly to rise up
- Exhale and allow it to fall
Relax your breath, don’t think about it too much, and simply breathe in and out.
The motion of the belly down is facilitated by gravity and will be completely effortless. The motion of the belly up will need just a small amount of effort – not much – but is most easily accomplished by relaxing the midsection so it can expand naturally.
Practice this every night, and you’ll find it also facilitates a great night’s sleep!
Continue to practice Natural Breathing Lying Down every night, for the rest of your life. It’s a practice that will forever be beneficial.
Natural Breathing Seated
Once you’ve worked with Natural Breathing Lying Down, move on to Natural Breathing Seated.
Find yourself a comfortable chair with good back support. You want your low back supported so you are not using or stressing those muscles.
Once you have good back support, sit up straight and being your natural breathing.
- Inhale, relaxing the belly and letting it expand out
- Exhale, and allow the belly to come back in
Practicing Natural Breathing Seated is the final step before practicing standing during your Qigong movements. Once you have mastered this feeling of the belly rising and falling when breathing, you can apply it to the inhale and exhale in your Qigong sets. Be ready for the dramatic increase in energy and well-being!
Qigong is Not a Competition
Competitive sports are a competition. Business is also competitive.
Qigong is not.
Qigong is your own personal practice. It has nothing to do with anyone else. It cannot be judged or compared to anything or anyone, including yourself.
This might be a tough concept to really put into practice. It’s common for people to judge others, including themselves. I am not sure if this is some learned behavior passed down, or just part of our society. It certainly goes back thousands of years, when people were judged and behaviors and classified as “witches” or “evil”.
In order to truly become free, you must break the bad habit of judging others and yourself.
I’ve had many discussions on this topic over the years. A common justification of not wanting to let go of the habit is “Judging others is a survival mechanism, it helps you to understand whether someone else is dangerous or not”.
Sensing danger is a survival mechanism, and even assessing someone’s physical or behavioral presence is definitely a survival mechanism, and should not be abandoned.
What should be abandoned is senseless categorizing ourselves and others when there is clearly no danger present. The homeless person on the street, the rude person in line at the grocery store, and the person driving fast down the road all have a story that we don’t know about. To classify them into categories of “bad people” generates negative energy in the body, and is simply as waste of thought.
Qigong practice works with conserving energy. Energy is consumed and wasted when we generate negative thoughts about others, so it has no place in our practice or our life.
When we judge others, we then judge ourselves. When we are insecure, we compare ourselves to others, often disliking people who have what we want to have. We also dislike others who display bad traits that maybe we once possessed or are hidden inside of us. Regardless, we all are our own biggest critic.
There are many self help resources out there that work with things such as positive thinking, positive affirmations and such. Our system recognizes that any form of judging or comparing, positive or negative, might not be a good thing. It’s better to try and abandon that line of thinking completely, to stop comparing. I am not attempting to discredit or discourage you from trying those methods, but simply offer another way of looking at it.
A NFL football coach was talking about the mental aspect of kicking field goals in football. Last week, 3 or 4 different kickers all missed seemingly easy and routine kicks, prompting the question “how does that happen?”.
The coach said the reason they all missed is because they all were thinking about kicking the ball. The muscles and body know how to kick the ball, but the mind does not. Using the mind to try to kick the ball is futile. Kickers that had good days were asked “what were you thinking that day” and the answer was always “nothing”. On bad days, they admitted to thinking too much.
Surprisingly, the coach found that even using positive affirmations had a negative effect. Thinking “I’m the best kicker in the league” engages the mind, and the mind does not know how to kick a football. I’ve found this to be true in the competitive soccer league I play in – when I do not think, I perform. When I think, I’m a half-second behind.
Positive thinking is better than negative thinking, but no-thinking is better than thinking.
So, in our Qigong practice, there is no need to think. Simply relax, breathe and do the movements. That’s all there is.
Internal and External Stillness
We see people practice Qigong and Tai Chi, and it looks very relaxing. The slow, easy going movements put us in a trance. However, we only see the external movements – we are unable to see the inner stillness (though you might sense it). In true practice, the outward movements are only a reflection of the inner state of being.
Erroneously, many people practice Qigong and try to focus on the external movements, either thinking that the external stillness will bring inner stillness, or even worse – they don’t focus on inner stillness at all.
True practice cultivates inner stillness first, and the external stillness arises from that.
The external is a mirror image of the internal.
How does one cultivate inner stillness? Through practice, of course.
In your practice, we first loosen the body from head to toe. Simultaneously, we work on calming and controlling our breath. When these two conditions are met, naturally the mind relaxes and we begin to cultivate inner stillness.
The formula is not complicated. However, the mind can get in the way and make it very complicated.
Don’t complicate things. Relax the body and breath, and the mind will follow.
Harmonize Your Breath with Your Movement
When observing Qigong from the outside, we only see the outer movements. The subtle breathing patterns of a person are often hard to recognize (unless you are paying very close attention). As previously stated, the external is a mirror of the internal.
In Qigong, the external movements follow the internal breathing, not the other way around.
For example, when inhaling and raising the arms, we focus on our breathing, and the arms simply move at a speed that matches our breath. The incorrect opposite application is to raise the arms up slowly, and try to match the breath to the slow movements of the arms.
Breath is first, movements follow.
If this is not specifically stated or understood, many people will incorrectly let the external lead the internal. This is because the external is easy to see, the internal is not.
We practice a movement that allows you to feel this concept right away.
In the practice described below, you will move your hands up with breathing in, and down when breathing out. The distance the hands travel is not important. Your hand might come up to the level of your belly button, chest, neck or head.
Your hands will simply travel up as you breathe in, down when you breathe out.
Start in natural posture with your hands by your side. Take a moment to relax and breathe. Let go of all thoughts. This practice is so easy and does not involve any conscious thinking.
- Begin by inhaling and slowly raising your right hand up, palm up. Your hands are relaxed, and you are using very little effort to raise your hand.
- Focus on your breath, not your hand.
- When you have taken in 75% of your lung’s natural capacity, turn the palm over and begin to exhale. The hand descends down, palm down, as you exhale.
- Again, focus on your breath, not your hand.
- When you have exhaled completely (without forcing it), turn the palm up and repeat steps 1 through 3.
Work Within Your Own Limits
Years ago, I was learning Tai Chi from my first teacher. I had been practicing diligently every day for months, working on my form, trying to perfect my movements. One day my teacher stopped to observe me.
I thought I was doing well, but instead he asked me to stop posing, to stop acting. I was shocked.
He then told me to look at Betty over in the front, her Tai Chi was far superior to mine.
Betty was 86 years old, had been practicing for 10 years with my Sifu, but her movements were very limited, and she barely stepped out into stances. I thought he was just trying to insult me, but after I understood what he meant.
Betty was working within her own limits, thus her Tai Chi was perfect. She was not trying to be anyone other than 86 year old Betty, with bad but healing hips and limited movement. She was relaxed. She was happy. Her mind was clear.
I was trying way to hard and it showed – I wasn’t relaxed, I was deeper in my stance than I should have been and it showed I was slightly uncomfortable. My shoulders were tight, I was thinking too much, and I cared way too much about what the Sifu thought of me.
Many people get excited about Qigong when they first start practicing, and attempt to mirror their movements with the teacher or another student. I was trying to mirror the movements of my Sifu, a person who had been practicing for 45 years. Why did I think that a few months could make me look like him?
Turn inward, focus on yourself, be aware of your own limits, and work within them. That’s the only way you’ll be able to truly relax, and thus progress past your limitations.
Your First Practice Sessions
For most people, the first time you practice is very different. Your mind is too involved in trying to understand Qigong, and you are unable really experience the practice. Your brain is trying to wrap it’s arms around what exactly Qigong is and isn’t, and you might be trying to memorize some things.
The teachings don’t change, but your ability to hear the teachings does change. You might not pick up on a small piece of wisdom one day, only to discover it years later like you had never heard it before.
I recall my first practice sessions, and the time period spanned a couple of years. Qigong must be undertaken as a life long practice. With that time frame in mind, your first couple of years become the “beginning time” and you are able to relax and really feel the practice.
The Practice Works when We Simply Practice
There is lots of theory behind Qigong practice. Medical Qigong is a branch of Qigong that is integrated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to prevent, treat and cure diseases and illnesses. You can study acupressure, acupuncture, and the 5 Phases to get a very complete understanding of the way Qigong works in the body. There is also much Western research on how Qigong works, relating to the lymphatic system, the nervous system and blood pressure and flow.
However, this theory will only take you so far. The only thing that will truly allow you to understand and benefit from Qigong practice is the practice itself.
It really does not matter so much how the practice works. It just simply works when you practice consistently and sincerely. When we shut off the brain, the conscious idea of theory disappears as we sink into the meditative mind state.
Many people like to learn about how Qigong works so they can understand just how powerful the practice is. For example, when we massage the knees, we are activating lymph nodes in the area to help the body remove toxins and enhance the body’s immune response. A simple thing like massaging the knees can have a very powerful effect on your health, but it is often dismissed because people do not understand why we do the movements we do.
I encourage you to research and explore how Qigong works through our training materials and the materials of others, as once your understanding of the practice grows, you have a greater appreciation for power you possess.
But keep in mind that the only way it truly works is when you take the time to actually practice.
Conserving Qi and Energy
Conserving Qi or energy is an important part of our practice. It is through conserving that we store and cultivate our bodies own energy, giving us more energy to heal our internal organs or simply for more energy in our day.
Conserving Qi is kind of like conserving money – when you conserve and store your Qi in your body instead of using it, it’s like putting your money in a bank account and collecting interest.
Qigong differs from exercise in this fundamental way – when you exercise, you expend energy in order to burn fat or build muscle, and in Qigong, we conserve energy by relaxing and doing the movements with as little effort as possible.
The formula is simple, right? Energy in – Energy Out = Energy Gain or Loss.
We practice so that our energy intake (through breathing) is greater than our energy output (doing movements), so the net result is a gain in energy. When we talk about relaxing and syncing our breath with the movements, this is so we can use as little effort as possible as not to expend a lot of energy.
In Qigong, this energy gain is vital to your body’s ability to maintain itself. When there is extra energy (oxygenated blood) in the body, the internal organs are able to use this energy for healing and maintenance. As the health of your internal organs improves, your body begins to function better and everything runs better.
In the beginning, the body uses energy to think about the movement (as you are learning it) and to do the movement (because you think your body needs to use muscles to move your arms).
When you are truly relaxed, it takes very little effort to move your arms around to do the movements. As you progress in your practice, this will become more clear, and something you will find satisfaction in working on for the rest of your life.
We also conserve Qi by relaxing the mind and not worrying or thinking too much. The brain burns 10 times more oxygen than any other organ in the body, so when your monkey mind is running wild, you are burning an awful lot of energy.
This is not to say you should never think – thinking has an evolutionary purpose – but in today’s modern world, we are constantly thinking as our senses are bombarded with information from television and the Internet. Think when necessary, and conserve energy whenever you can.
The human body is amazing. It is equipped with all the systems to clean to body of toxins and waste products. Through exhaling, we release carbon dioxide, a byproduct of our metabolism. Our liver, kidneys and intestines also help filter and trap toxins in the body and move them along their way to be eliminated from the body.
Qigong helps facilitate the purging of these toxins. When we relax, we open up the body’s circulation, removing blockages that prevent the body from efficiently removing the waste products from our metabolism. When we breathe, we bring in fresh oxygen to provide energy for the cleansing process and release carbon dioxide as we exhale. And by moving, we allow all the fluids in the body to circulate freely and go where they need to go.
Our Qigong practice can be broken down into a 5 phases:
- Opening the Channels – relaxing, moving, stretching and massaging to remove blockages
- Purging Stale and Stagnant Qi – movements that stimulate the body to remove and release toxins by focusing on the exhalation phase of our breath
- Gathering Energy – movements that help bring more fresh energy and oxygen into the body by focusing on the inhalation phase of our breath
- Meditative Movements – movements to conserve energy, circulate energy and release stress
- Massage of the Internal Organs – massaging gently around the internal organs to promote healing and to increase circulation to the organs.
Advanced practice does not necessarily involve more complex movements. Many people think they want to reach this level because something amazing and grand will happen and they will be completely transformed.
The truth is, the transformation happens along the way, so that when you finally reach some deeper areas of the practice, it’s nothing special. You have been feeling the changes all along, just not noticing. Just like when you watch your children grow – you don’t’ see them get bigger each day, but you know they are growing.
Advanced levels are reached through deeper states of relaxation and deeper breathing.
When practicing – (example of practicing after physical soccer game) – it should be nothing special. When we are feeling active, it’s hard to slow down and remember that it’s all about relaxing. But after something physical, your body needs to relax, and your practice is true.
Don’t Let Your Mind Get in The Way
When you feel stressed out, realize it is all created in the mind. You have made the choice to let your circumstances affect you negatively based on your perception.
Some will argue “but I truly have stress in my life, I lost my job” or “life has done me wrong, I have not had the opportunities others have had”. When we think these thoughts over and over, we build up tremendous negative energy in our bodies.
I know a guy who lost his job, and realized he hadn’t been spending any time with his kids. Losing his job could have been looked at as stressful, but he found the strength to see the positive side of his situation. Not only did he reduce stress by changing his perspective, but he was able to change something negative in his life to something positive. That is a great power that we all possess, we just need to become aware of it.
The challenge is that negative thoughts take over, consume us, and we have little strength to change them. How is this accomplished?
Fall back on your breathing, that’s the only way.
Once reason stress builds up is because stress itself alters our breathing. Our breath becomes shallow, we no longer take deep breaths, and we stop exhaling completely. Carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs. We are constricting ourselves.
Finally, after many hours of stress, we let out a big SIGH. That’s the body’s way of saying “Hello, I need to breath please”. A sign is actually a large quick inhale followed by a very large exhale. It clears the CO2 in the lungs as well as physical tension, and then we follow with a nice inhale, and we start to relax.
When you feel stress building, first pay attention to your breath. You will often find you are hardly breathing at all.
Then, take a big inhale, a big exhale, and relax your shoulders and the body.
Follow with as many of these as you like. Once you’ve made the adjustment to your breath and body, then relax the mind. Let go. Clear your mind of thoughts, pay attention only to your breathing and your body.
At these times, you must realize how important it is to relax. Your body is literally screaming at you to relax, and once you’ve realized this, you’ll find there’s no room for stress or tension in your life. It’s just not necessary.
The “Off” switch
Our brain has an “on” and “off” switch, but maybe you have not found yours yet.
The first level of our practice is finding the switch and realizing that it’s stuck in the “on” position.
Most people generally think 24 hours a day, even in sleep. Many people who have problems sleeping have an overactive mind, and usually cannot fall asleep because they are thinking too much, or waking up in the middle of the night because they are thinking too much.
With the mind stuck in the “on” position, our body is not able to sink into any effective healing state. However, when the mind is turned off, the power inside is unlocked and great things happen internally.
How do you find this magically switch?
First, take a minute or two each day to turn inward, breathe and take inventory of your body and mind. Assess yourself without judgment.
When you stop and turn inward, you will easily figure out if the switch is “on” or “off”. If you are stressed and you cannot stop thinking about something, the switch is on. If you stop, breathe, relax and find that your mind is fairly clear, your mind is most likely in the off position.
Once you have found the switch, how does one turn it off?
A simple deep breath with conscious relaxation of the body is generally sufficient to turn the mind off for a few seconds. If you continue this relaxed state, the mind should stay off for as long as you are relaxed. If it comes back on after, so be it. But practice turning the mind off regularly, and it will get easier.
Some will argue “We need to think so that we can function in society”. Of course, who is saying otherwise? This type of thinking is the mind’s way of being resistant to change.
Finding the off switch is like turning your car’s engine off when you pull into the driveway. Give your mind a break, just like you give your car a break. You might love your car, but don’t treat your car better than yourself!
There are volumes written on this subject, but for the purposes of Qigong, the teaching is very simple.
When we judge others, or engage in any type of thinking of that type, it wastes energy. Since our goal in Qigong is to conserve energy, there is no room for judging ourselves or others in our lives.
While judging yourself and others might be engrained in you, it’s easier than you think to let it go.
First realize that judging yourself and others consumes your vital energy. Then decide whether you can afford to lose vital energy over mindless thinking like that. If you choose not to waste the energy, then it becomes easy – you simply don’t judge.
As always, fall back to the practice of natural breathing when you find it difficult to control your mind.
Have a Seat
This may not apply to everyone, but the principle of “have a seat” does apply to everyone. Have a seat means that even though Qigong is traditionally a standing practice, many of the movements can be done seated. In fact, the Ba Duan Jin has a seated version of the set for those who might be restricted to a bed. It includes practices to stretch the back, strengthen the gums and teeth, and relieve neck and shoulder pain.
Many people in today’s society have low back pain for one reason or another. Standing for an hour might not be beneficial in the beginning. Therefore, “have a seat”. Don’t feel that you have to stand for an entire session for any reason.
Whether it’s low back pain, or maybe your feet going numb, or soreness in the knees – have a seat. There are gentle movements you can do seated to relieve what’s ailing you, and most of the Qigong movements we practice can be done seated.
In fact, our Qigong for Sleep movements can be done seated on the edge of a bed. It’s even encouraged in some cases – seated on the edge of the bed is one step closer to lying down and getting a good night’s sleep.
When practicing in a group setting, don’t feel self-conscious about grabbing a chair halfway through the session. You’ll feel much better finishing the session seated than trying to “fit in” and practicing with pain. Nowhere in any Qigong teaching does it say it’s ok to practice with pain, so why pretend?
Worrying has no place in our Qigong practice, and once you’ve fully actualized this, you’ll find it has no place in your everyday life.
Worry is an emotion that burns up an amazing amount of energy in the body. And it generally produces nothing in return, making it completely useless from an energetic point.
Why do we worry? Worry can come from the fear of something negative happening. It’s the brain’s way of trying to cope with a stressful or difficult situation. The problem is, worry and fear tax the body’s internal systems, depleting us of our vital energy and draining our very essence.
Q & A
How long will it take to become good at Qigong?
If I answered “9 lifetimes”, would that be sufficient for you to relax in this one? Our modern society has an addiction to instant-gratification. Take a pill for this, short weekend course on that, and somehow we think we can fast-track it to deep understanding.
Did anyone ever learn to play piano by just taking a weekend course? Of course not, playing any musical instrument takes constant practice. Some days you play well, other days it is off. Such is the way of the Dao.
Those who become great at musical instruments, and other things in life, have a love and a passion for their art. If you develop that same love and passion for Qigong, you will reach a deep level of understanding in this lifetime for sure.
Can Qigong heal my clinically diagnosed diseases and illnesses?
Our bodies have built into it the most powerful healing system in the universe. There are many things that can deplete this system, but the fact is that most of us have a working healing system, we just don’t use it. We let our minds fall into the trap of thinking something external will heal us.
And, almost all the time, the root cause of the disease or illnesses is in our own mind or body. Negative habits of thinking, poor eating, not drinking enough water, and excessive drug use can have a deep affect on our bodies ability to heal.
How Does One Get Better at Qigong?
The obvious answer is “through practice”, but the more truthful answer lies in the nature of the question.
Getting better at Qigong is a goal oriented approach, leading you to believe there is something you can “do” to achieve this. Pure Qigong practice is achieved not by “doing”, rather it is achieved by “non-doing”.
In the beginning, your mind gets in the way of the real practice. You think. You try. You want to get better.
After some time, you learn there is nothing to get better at, there is only relaxing more, breathing deeper, and letting go.
The relaxation we strive for is not doing more, but doing less. Please keep in mind this does not mean you practice half-heartedly, lazy and sluggish. During practice, you are aware, awake and alert – coupled with a deep sense of peacefulness and calmness of the body, mind and spirit.
So, to get better, don’t “do” anything except relax and practice.
How often should I practice?
There are two answers to this question. It is only through daily practice that you will learn Qigong. The more you practice, the more you will learn. It’s like playing piano – if you only practice once a month, it will take awhile before you get to level where playing is comfortable and easy. With daily practice, you will get to a comfortable level in a short time.
However, instead of thinking about how often you should practice, you should adjust your mind so that you want to practice. Have a burning desire to relax, breathe and let go. Then your practice will be real instead of forced.