A very good question from a student recently. It is always, absolutely my wish and intention that anything I share and teach—be it memoir writing, yoga, meditation, or qigong—be brought into one’s personal life outside the class in some way, big or small.
The current qigong series is a whirlwind introduction to qigong to help people get a feel for qigong—literally. Qigong is not something to simply learn by memory, like a dance step, or to know intellectually. You could read ten books about qigong or watch dozens of videos and still not be actually doing or benefiting from qigong. It is something that is experienced, felt and practiced over time. It is the subtle, yet powerful, change in perception and relationship with one’s organs, body, breath, energy, mind, earth, universe, and nature. It is true alchemy and transformation.
My approach to teaching qigong is to offer a simple, fun, and supported means of cultivating change. I like to make things simple, enjoyable and accessible for people. With a foundation, without rushing to a destination, we can build and know our practice in an authentic way, through experience. The current series was not intended to be mastered, memorized or understood on all levels, but rather to begin the exciting practice of cultivating energy and all the benefits of the practice over time. That said, as many of you know, benefits happen immediately—calmer mind and body, better sleep, more energy, and so on.
Further practice, especially when we slow down in the upcoming sessions and spend eight weeks with each element and organ, will build our practice. By the end of the Winter Qigong series, for example, you will know, with full confidence, how and why to do the Bone Marrow Cleansing movements, and how and why to do Kidney Breathing and Packing. Workshops will allow us to go even deeper and give you the details of the practice along with written resources to bring home for self practice.
For now, you do know enough already to practice at home if you choose. You can fashion an inner smile meditation, do whatever Qi self-massage you like or remember, and move energy with some of the standing qigong we do each week, such as swinging and hitting, shaking the body, showering Qi, and moving your Qi ball. Qigong need not be a set or strict routine. It is working with your posture, breath and focus to cultivate flowing, healthy energy. Often, I will simply stop in the middle of my day and stand in qigong stance or do a flowing movement for just one minute.
For those who are practicing with me regularly and do want to practice more seriously at home, I will be offering a workshop on how to create a home practice.
If you don’t choose to practice on your own at home, that’s perfectly fine, too! Showing up to class, practicing with your qigong community and working with your energy will cultivate change and still influence the rest of your life—your breath, body and awareness—even without extra formal practice.
Whatever you do, don’t forget the power of smiling while you do it. 😊
© Sandra Tonn