When to practice?
Yes, it’s likely the most challenging aspect of the art. You’ve heard me say it’s important to
practice every day, and I could even say it’s imperative to practice everyday if you really want to discover the deep secrets of the practice. But how does one fit it into a busy life?
The first problem is that our lives become too busy as it is. Qigong is mental downtime, and we often don’t seem to schedule that into our day. I was advised by a Daoist priest from SF (Liu Ming) to examine my everyday life and find things are unnecessary or time wasters. You might or might not find something you could cut out. Remember to be objective, when you are too attached to your lifestyle, you won’t want to really look at it and won’t want to give stuff up.
The above advice was given to me, follow it only if it interests you. Here’s the advice that I give to you:
1. Morning and night practice are ideal. Why? Nighttime has all the Yin qualities…the energy of the night is quiet, relaxing and healing. This is compared to the daytime, which has Yang qualities of being bright, active, full of energy (both from the sun and from the collective buzz of 3 billion brains thinking). Midnight is considered by Daoists to be the ultimate time to meditate, it’s pure Yin. Morning is good because Yang (ie. the sun) is just starting to have an influence, but Yin is still pretty strong. It’s easiest to practice during these Yin times.
2. When you can find even just a few minutes in nature, use that time to connect with the Earth energy (again, Earth is Yin, ie. nourishing and healing). If you find yourself in a tranquil setting, take advantage of it and relax and breathe and absorb the energy around you.
3. You can practice your deep abdominal breathing anytime. When you find yourself nervous or anxious, try and remember to focus on your breathing. It helps immediately. You can also use this if you’re around stressed out or negative people. By focusing on your center (ie. dantien, belly breathing), you can keep your energy strong and not be affected by the energy around you. If your energy is weak and you don’t hold your center, you can be affected by other people’s energy. Waiting a long stop light is a great time to breathe – it’s often a place where we can become impatient.
4. Watching TV is not the most ideal time to practice, but you can easily mute the commercials and do some of the Opening the Channels exercises. Massage the hands, stretch the spine, do some of the exercises to release tension from the neck and shoulders, use tapping to reduce tension around the head and face. Heck, you can even do some of these while you watch TV. Remember, Qigong is about opening your energy gates, so gentle strecthing and massage are great techniques for this. Better to fit some in during commercials than to do none at all.
Hope this helps you on your path. Thanks to all who attended class this weekend…there was some strong healing energy from all of you. I actually felt some really intense magnetic energy during the opening and closing of the hands at my dantien, so strong that all I had to do is relax my arms and hands and the magnetic field moved my hands for me. Strongest I had felt in a very long time. For some it takes years to feel that stuff, others feel it quicker. Relax, don’t have expectations for
what you will feel – just experience exisiting without judgement; and you’ll soon start to unlock the secrets.