Qigong is an ancient practice that stems from Taoist folk mysticism, literally translating to “life energy cultivation." Similar practices can be seen around the world in traditional folk communities spanning from the shamans of Peru to the aborigine in Australia. Qigong is simply one of the many paths used by humans to connect with themselves, others, and the divine. Qigong is essentially a ritual done through breath, movement and intention. Like any ritual, it necessitates and creates focus, clarity and has a process. At the very basic level this process has these three steps: clearing, cultivating and storing.
This step is like cleaning a dish before you begin to cook or emptying old stagnant water out of your fish bowl before adding new water. You don’t want to cultivate a bunch of energy and put it in a dirty vessel. When life's rough, shake like a dog to instantly feel the calming effects of clearing.
Jostling, shaking, and trembling are all ways clearing resets the nervous system. This allows the mind and body to start from center, often literally shaking off the day. Use it as a way to clear your own energy after a class, business meeting, or any other time you may feel energetically slimed. Also great for the lymph system, bones and muscles!
In short, all cultivation practices of qi gong and many energetic practices combine the 3 regulations: unifying the breath | intention | posture. When these three are combined, you are doing qigong. Through this centering practice one becomes likened to a battery that has just been put in a remote control, the practitioner is now in the optimal position to receive and transmit energy. From this stance the practitioner can move into other positions to circulate qi, creating different sensations while balancing specific systems. This process is known for its benefits: growing confidence, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, and building coordination are just a few of the myriad of benefits that are out there.
This can be the shortest aspect of the three part process and is essential to maintaining all of the energy that you created throughout your practice. One master describes this concept in modern terms. He said, “doing qi gong without storing the energy is like creating a word document and forgetting to press the save button, so much work for nothing." Always store the qi you cultivate, you worked hard for it, it only takes a few moments to do the minimum. Storing allows you to maintain the cultivated qi, protect from leakage, and ground the body | mind | spirit. Longevity, Libido, Creativity, Healing, Creating Fire Balls with your hands? The Force is now strong with you, what will you do with it?
The principles of Qi (life energy) are innate in us all. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, it is easy to forget our divine nature and innate connection with heaven, earth and our fellow [wo]man. Qigong gives us an understanding of how this force moves in our bodies, with others, and our environment. Qigong is about connecting. No matter what, remember to breath and you are connected. Live long and qigong. Keep in mind these three concepts when creating your practice: Clear | Cultivate | Store.