Archives for the month of: June, 2014

meditationMindfulness is a simple, easy-to-learn process that will transform your life.  Following are links for interesting articles on mindfulness and meditation.

The first one is entitled 7 Things Mindful People Do and How To Get Started:  http://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-practice/7-things-mindful-people-do-differently-and-how-to-get-started

The Difference Between Mindfulness and Meditation

Meditation’s Effects on Emotion Shown to Persist

What Happens to the Brain When You Meditate

How Mindfulness and Meditation are Being Used by Large Companies

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Hakuna Matata is our motto and mantra.  It means no worries.  Worry, angst, stress, and anxiety will surely choke off any attempts at health and happiness.  In fact, these are some of the worst killers in human history.  And while we may need help getting a handle on our stress levels, we eventually have to face the undeniable fact that stress comes from within not without.  And we are ultimately responsible for our stress levels.  Stress is an internal reaction to external events.  At a certain level, such as when our lives are truly in danger, stress is a good thing.  At other times, such as when we worry about things we can’t control, stress is a very bad thing.  The key is in knowing the difference.  Worry, angst, and anxiety all lead to stress.  So many many people have physical and emotional problems that are a result of stress, stemming from worry and lifestyle choices.

The way to begin taking control of our lives and not being controlled by our emotions is to look honestly at life; ask ourselves if the worry is worth it.  Consider a different approach to life.  Understand that every second you have choices.  You don’t have to act the way you have always acted, the way you were raised to act, the way others you know act.  You are a complete, unique individual endowed with the ability to make your own choices, and blessed with the possibility of a higher standard of existence.

Consider these words from Jeff Foster:

What’s worse, the falling rain, or your resistance to getting wet? 
The changing winds, or your battle against them? 
The grass as it grows, or your demand for it to grow faster? 
This moment, or your rejection of it? 
Consider the possibility that Life is never ‘against’ you.
You are Life.”

“Nothing and nobody can make me suffer. Suffering is always, always, my own resistance to the Way Things Are Right Now, my own dis-alignment with a perfectly choreographed universe, an innocently imagined separation from my true nature as Consciousness itself”.

 

Consider this and choose wisely.  And remember, Hakuna Matata.

There are various approaches to Qigong.  In fact Qigong is a relatively new word that is used to define several different Asian energy practices including aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine; Chinese Yoga; Martial Arts; Shamanic Practices; and health and wellness practices.  Once you start investigating Qigong, you will find there are thousands of different approaches.

We primarily practice a set of exercises put together by Dr. Yang Yang as Evidence-based Qigong.  These specific Qigong practices have been proven through evidence-based trials to effect improvements in balance, strength, immune function, et al…  These practices are derived from Taoist Qigong practices known as Hunyuan or Primordial Qigong.  As such, there is a focus on internal development and spiritual awareness.

You will see as you begin this practice that there is a focus on stillness and a focus on movement.  Further, there is a focus on finding stillness in movement and movement in stillness.  For you really can’t have one without the other.  To practice moving Qigong without a stillness practice is empty and incomplete, as is the reverse.  The ancient Chinese say that Taiji (movement) is born of Wuji (stillness).  To truly understand movement, you must understand stillness and vice versa.  So, as you practice, look for these two aspects.  Notice the difference, but also notice the similarity.  Feel the separation and feel the connection.  Then notice how recognizing these two aspects of existence bring you closer to your true, higher Self and your connection with the rest of the Universe.

From there, take this age-old advice: don’t do Qigong, be Qigong.  Merge back into that from which you came: Tao

 

If you are not practicing these disciplines now, you will need to set aside the requisite amount of time daily to engage in practice.  An hour a day is ideal for developing a practice and realizing an increase in health and wellness.  However, that may not be realistic depending on your schedule.  I recommend a minimum of twenty minutes a day if possible.  Better would be twenty-to-thirty minutes in the morning and twenty-to-thirty minutes in the afternoon.  Again, each of us is different and have various demands and obligations.  Design your personal practice within your own constraints.  Feel free to contact me for help in designing a personal system.

First of all, integrate some stretching into your routine.  For the purposes of preparing the physical body to interact with the energetic and spiritual bodies via Qigong, basic stretching that addresses all the joints and muscle groups works well.  While we don’t teach Shaolin Qigong here, that discipline is great for pre-stretching.  An example of basic Qigong stretching is here.  If you want to go further, Hatha, Ashtanga, and/or Yin Yoga integrate well into our system.  Again, you don’t need to be an acrobatic, pretzel-twist yogi.  Just enough to open the joints, stretch the connecting bands, and prepare the body for energy work.

Optimal Qigong training alternates between moving and static practice.  For example, do moving Qigong for 5-10 minutes, then do Wuji or Santi standing for 5-10 minutes.  After standing, do agility exercises for about 5 minutes.  Then do another 5-10 minutes of standing.  If you are doing advanced Qigong such as the Hunyuan Series, Primordial Qigong Form, or Taiji you may do these and integrate stillness into your routine.  In time you will develop comfort with longer periods of standing Qigong and will want to practice dedicated extended standing.  Twenty minutes of standing is optimal, but work up to that.  There is no need to be in a hurry, the destination is found in the journey.

Optimal time for sitting meditation is twenty minutes or more per session.  It often takes 5-10 minutes to settle the mind in sitting meditation, so it is advisable to allow for longer than 10 minutes per session.  Make the time for meditation.  The rewards are worth it.  Once you are sitting for twenty minutes per session on a daily basis, you may want to consider extended meditation a couple of times per week (an hour is ideal) for deeper insight and spiritual growth.

You may want to do Qigong practice (stillness and movement) in the morning and sitting meditation in the evening, vice versa, or mix them in one session (ideal).  Again, this depends on your personal schedule and amount of experience.  The key is to alternate static and moving practice but to do both.

Don’t try to do too much, too soon.  Remember, this is nurturing practice.  It’s supposed to be fun and enriching.  That being said, if you have been practicing for a while and want to start approaching deeper experiences, extend your practice.  While an hour a day is ideal for health and wellness; two hours a day is better and will eventually lead to serious physical, energetic and spiritual growth.

Above all remember, this is your practice, your Qigong.  While an open and inquisitive mind is a good thing, find the approach that works for you and practice accordingly.  And never, never forget Hakuna Matata.

Welcome to the Insight Qigong Blog.  Insight Qigong is not a “style” or “lineage” of Qigong.  Rather it is a categorical container for a set of practices and approaches to engaged living.  The posts here are related to our practice and provide a deeper look into specifics and theories.  These posts are provided with the intention of providing training support so that practitioners can deepen their practice and topical knowledge.

The primary goal of Insight Qigong training is life lived at its highest level through intentional self-nurturing.  Within this teaching you will find many complementary ideas from various healing, wellness, martial, and enlightenment traditions.   The vast majority of what we teach is traditional in origin and scientifically proven through modern study.  This is a very solid, practical, yet deep practice.  I hope you enjoy it.