In this article I am going to suggest a framework of 7 P’s to gauge how complete your understanding of your qigong practice is. If you can run through this checklist of 7 P’s for any given exercise, and confirm for yourself that you do understand each of the 7 P’s for the exercise, then you probably have a pretty complete and well rounded understanding of it. If on the other hand you go through the checklist and find that there are one of more of 7 P’s that you do not understand, then this could act as a good guide for an area you could look at further to deepen your practice and understand it better.
The 7 P’s are:
We will look briefly at what each of these refers to and why it is useful to understand each of these for each qigong exercise to get the most out of your qigong practice.
The first P is Practice. This means to understand the details of how the qigong exercises are done. Of course to gain a good understanding of a qigong exercise you need to do it correctly and experience if for yourself. This may take quite a bit of practice so that you can refine the exercise to gain the most from it and understand how it feels.
It is not enough to just understand how to do a practice. You really should know what the practice is for as well. This will help you to assess whether you are achieving the desired benefits of the practice. It will also help you to decide if and when this is a good practice for you to do. It would be rather disappointing to practice for a long time only to find that the exercise you have been doing is not aimed at achieving the things you would like to achieve. You might be better off choosing other exercises to achieve your purposes.
If you understand the basic physics of how energy moves through your body in an exercise, you will be better able to adjust your posture and movements so that the exercise more efficiently achieves its purpose. You will be able to refine the exercise and gain more benefit from it. You will also be more able to identify when the energy is not moving correctly and be better at avoiding injury or other ill effects.
When you understand the physics of an exercise, you will be able to identify how the movement of energy from it is affecting the different tissues of your body including organs, muscles, bones, connective tissue, blood and so on. You will be able to identify how this stimulation then leads to chemical and other systemic effects right throughout the whole body. You will also be able to better understand when and exercise may or may not be suitable for your particular condition as you come to understand your own body and the effects of qigong on it better.
How our body works affects our mind. Pressure on different parts of the body, and release of different hormones send a message to our brain about what is going on in our world and how we should think and feel about it. Equally, our mind affects our body in the opposite direction. When we think in particular ways it sends messages to change the tensions, activity and chemical environment in our body. By mastering our psychology we can think in ways that most effectively harmonize with the physical aspects of the qigong exercises we are doing to make them more effective.
The final piece of the puzzle is philosophy. When philosophy is applied well it ties together all of the other elements: Practice, Purpose, Physics, Physiology, and Psychology. Comprehensive as that list of P’s is, there will still be gaps in the knowledge and understanding even when all of these are present. Philosophy helps to join those dots, to fill in the blanks and understand how the pieces fit together. It acts as a guide to help direct us where to look and what to do to take our knowledge beyond our current understanding and experience.
Each of us is different. Your physiology is different from mine. Your psychology is different than mine. Your purposes may be different from mine to a greater or lesser degree. When you really understand your qigong exercises well you will be able to adapt them to work better with your physiology, your psychology, and to more effectively achieve your purposes. Sometimes these adaptations will be very very small, sometimes they will be bigger. But you will be able to make the practices fit YOU, rather than trying to squeeze yourself into a practice that doesn’t quite fit right or meet your needs.
Where are you at in your understanding?
Now… you may read this list of 7 P’s and think… gosh I only really understand one or two of those for the qigong exercises I practice, and that’s ok. Even if all you understand is the ‘Practice’ – how to do the exercise, then you will still benefit from doing it, and over time as you practice many of the other P’s will reveal themselves to you through your own experience. Of course you can progress faster with good quality instruction and experienced advice which will help you to identify and understand all of these areas more quickly.
Taking your understanding further with Long White Cloud Qigong
I think at Long White Cloud Qigong we do a pretty good job of giving a practical understanding of qigong. Of course your understanding will come step by step and little by little, and time and lots of your own practice. But at Long White Cloud Qigong we go far beyond just teaching the practices, or just teaching the philosophy, and open the door to understanding every one of these 7’ps for each exercise that we teach, so that you can have a truly practical understanding of the qigong that you practice.
If you haven’t looked yet, check out some of our online courses. We also have instructors and teach workshops all over the world. So you might have the opportunity to find a class or a workshop happening near you. We also have some exciting developments to further enhance your learning due to be announced soon, so make sure you are signed up to our newsletter to hear about the details when they are announced.
Wishing you all the best on your qigong journey,