Someone asked yesterday for more information about this. It’s an ancient Chinese ‘exercise,’ for lack of a better term. The goal is to become open to chi, the lifeforce that’s around us, and to use it to heal and to become more focused. It’s related to tai chi, but the movements are much easier.
Ok. That’s what the book I bought said. There are other resources, like this one , and amazon has quite a few books available.
I started doing this after I looked at tai chi in an effort to work on that all-important, but so-missing-in-my-life sense of balance and body awareness. Tai chi didn’t go very well because I couldn’t figure out the DVD player, and couldn’t find a class that I could manage to get to. A shame, because I think it’s a great thing.
During a bookstore trip, I came across The Way of Energy, which was written very simply. It started with standing. That’s right. Just standing, and focusing on being completely relaxed. No tension in your body, but you have to stand up straight – practice being a tree. And hold this for up to 20 minutes.
According to the book, trees have wonderful chi [or qi, depending on how you’re spelling it]. I figured that since Maggie the dog and I are in the woods every morning, there was no point in attempting it in the living room. It’s much easier for me to ‘feel’ it when I’m standing near at least one tree than if I’m standing in a room, especially in a room that’s over a basement.
After 3 weeks of this, you get to add another position, which involves a slight bending of the knees, leaning back slightly, and raising your arms so that you look like you’re embracing a large beach ball. And then you alternate these positions, and make sure to relax and focus on your breathing.
The movements are quite simple, but the challenge isn’t a physical one. And part of the very real discipline is patience, so you literally work your way up after several weeks to the NEXT position.
The first thing I noticed was that I ALWAYS walk around with my abs tightened as if I’m expecting to be punched in the gut. Oh dear. But at least, through the qigong, I’m can finally feel what it’s like to truly relax, and that helps a lot. Sometimes, after a particularly bad day, when I relax, I start literally gasping for air.
A telling moment, believe me!
There’s still a long way to go before I can even begin to say that I understand this, but I’m feeling more ‘in my body’ than at any other time in my life. And I’ll get to tai chi one of these days, but for now, this is enough, maybe, even all that I need right now.