Developing In Your Qigong Practice – Nurturing Growth, and Broadening vs Deepening.

We use lots of analogies from nature when we talk about qigong. We often describe the movement and state of energy as being like water, or sometimes fire, or light. We draw inspiration from nature and the elements around us to help us to understand the natural processes within ourselves.  In this discussion about developing your qigong practice, we will make extensive use of the analogy of the wood element, specifically growing a tree, perhaps with a sprinkling of the other elements thrown in.

Start as a seed

For each of us, our qigong journey may begin differently. But at the beginning we are like a seed, probably largely unaware of our own energy and with little skill in directing or working with it. Then something catches our attention. It might be reading an article, watching a demonstration, maybe receiving a qigong treatment. Somehow we are exposed to the energy of qigong and and like water it starts the process of germinating our seed.  Having experienced a glimpse of the possibilities of qigong we are curious and want to know more, we may start to attend regular qigong classes, or practice at home using books, dvds, or online videos.

We are now a beginner qigong student or enthusiast. It is fascinating to explore those first hints of awareness of our lifeforce energy. But we are young and tender and need nurturing if we are ever to become strong and truly skilled in our qigong. We need to water our curiosity with regular (hopefully daily) practice to support our growth and development. It doesn’t need to be a lot, but it does need to be regular, otherwise our curiosity may easily fade, and our interest in qigong will wither and not develop into anything of use to us, much like so many other passing interests.

If we do nurture this curiosity with regular practice, before long we will want to learn more, understand more, figure out how this qigong stuff really works. We might seek out more in depth courses and training, workshops, maybe even retreats. Our seedling qigong practice is starting to put down roots and gain in strength. Our roots start to spread wider as we seek for new sources of knowledge and understanding.

Developing wide and deep roots

This is an interesting stage of development. You see there are two main factors that give strength to the root structure of a tree:

  • How wide the roots spread out from the trunk
  • How deep the roots dig down into the earth.

As we look around and try different practices, this is like spreading our roots out wide, looking for different sources of moisture and nourishment. This is very healthy, but we need to be careful as we do this. You see, sometimes when we extend out too wide too quickly we don’t put enough time and energy into these new extensions to our roots, and they don’t gain the strength they need to nourish and strengthen us, and instead they may wither without us gaining the benefit.

Strong roots are both wide and deep

So there is a balance to be struck between widening and deepening our knowledge and practice.  When we go wide we gain a greater perspective on our practice. Learning new things keeps things interesting and helps us to understand the big picture of qigong more fully. It gives us more resources to draw on to help us apply our practice to our own lives and to help others around us. But as we do this, we must also always make sure we spend enough time to let our roots sink deep. Spending enough time with each practice helps us to truly gain the benefits of what we have learned and let them soak into our being to give us strength and resilience.

So how does this apply to you in your qigong practice?

If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you have participated in one or more of the Long White Cloud Qigong online courses. These are a great way to learn and expand your knowledge and practice of qigong. Each 12 week course teaches different sets of practices, or different aspects of theory relating to qigong. The 12 weeks of course time is generally enough for most students to gain a good understanding of the practices and theory, but… there is so much more to gain from each of these that only comes with time and practice. That first level of understanding from the course is a fantastic start, but you can gain so much more as you sink your roots deeper by continuing to spend time practicing these exercises. For myself, there are exercises that I have been practicing now for literally decades that I continue to gain insight and understanding from as I review and deepen my experience with them.

Equally, if you have been practicing the same exercises for awhile, you may think you have them pretty well mastered and understood, but then when you study and learn something new it gives you a new perspective on them that helps you do go deeper and understand new aspects of them that you had not fully appreciated before.

So right now, should you extend your roots wide and learn something new? Or should you instead put your practice time into going deeper into what you have already learned? There is no universal answer, it is really a question of where you are at in your own personal development. As you contemplate your qigong practice, you will get a sense of where you are at with it and which approach is best for you right now.

Becoming a strong tree within the forest

What if you have already gone wide and deep? Well, there is no end to that, you can always go both wider and deeper. But there will come a point when you will have gained a certain amount of strength in your practice, and your process of development will start to change.

You see young seedlings and trees rely on the shelter of other larger stronger trees around them to protect them from the harshness of the elements and provide them with the environment they need to grow and flourish. But as you grow in your qigong practice over time you will find that you are not a sapling any more, but one of the might trees of the forest yourself. More and more, instead of relying on the other large trees for protection and guidance leading you to grow straight and upright towards the light, you will find that you need to tap directly into that source of energy and inspiration for yourself.  Your practice becomes more and more a personal journey of exploration rather than something you need to be ‘taught’.

As a tall, strong tree, you still gain strength from the solidarity of standing with the other mighty trees of the forest, and in fact you may seek out and treasure those moments when you can practice with other experienced qigong practitioners even more than you did in the past.  You also become more and more an independent source of strength yourself, and more capable of nurturing and guiding other fresh seedlings as they sprout and begin their qigong journey.

My aim with Long White Cloud Qigong is to provide the environment, and the right amount of moisture from the cloud, to grow many such trees. Strong and independent in their own knowledge and practice of qigong, with great diversity amongst them, but with solidarity standing together as a forest.

So where are you at in your qigong development?

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Maybe you are a seedling just getting started. If so we have several courses starting this month that would be great for you to start that process of putting down your roots. Qigong Foundation Practices, and Between Heaven and Earth both start on the 15th of January and will guide you through step by step to help you really start to understand your qigong practice and gain benefits from it.

Maybe you are a young tree – you’ve been practicing for awhile now and done a few courses. You are probably strong enough that you can start to nurture  some new seedlings in your local area along. You might want to think about how you can begin or further develop your qigong teaching to people in your community. Teaching can greatly enrich your own understanding as well as giving you the satisfaction of helping others to benefit from what you have discovered for yourself. I your own practice you might want to consider if it is time to take on something new or if it is more valuable to put your effort into deepening your practice of what you have already learned.  If you are ready to take on something new, you can find the full list of upcoming course dates on the website here.

Maybe you have grown quite tall and strong at this point and you are starting to reach into the light for yourself in your exploration of qigong. Wonderful! I hope you are actively sharing with others around you. You will probably really value those moments of practicing with others of similar understanding to yourself. I hope that many of you will come to our retreat in Thailand in May (seedlings welcome to attend too!). But you might also want to take other opportunities to mix with other experienced qigong practitioners. Maybe take a look at the ‘Find an Instructor’ page on the Long White Cloud Qigong website. Maybe there is someone else near you, or where you will be travelling in the near future, perhaps you can get together at some point. You may also find qigong practitioners from other schools in your surrounding area that you can get together with.

Of course even as a strong tree you will have the desire to further widen and deepen your roots. There are more courses coming that will further enrich your understanding and practice… Be patient and in the mean time send your roots deeper and deeper into what you have already learned. There is plenty more to be gained as you sink your roots deep with ongoing practice.

Wherever you are at in your qigong growth: seedling, sapling, or tall and strong tree, we are glad to have you as part of our developing forest of Long White Cloud Qigong.

 

John Munro

Founder – Long White Cloud Qigong

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7 day Qigong Retreat in Thailand!

Long White Cloud Qigong are excited to announce our first week long qigong retreat! It will be held in beautiful Thailand in the month of May 2018!

There are early bird rates, so if this sounds like something you would like to be part of and you can see yourself joining us in Thailand in 2018; get a feel for what we are offering at the retreat on the website here, and then get in touch to book your place!

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A year of qigong – 2017 in review

Hi everyone

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season! As we draw close to the end of the year, I thought it would be a good time to write a brief review of all that has occurred in Long White Cloud Qigong this year.

New Instructors
2017 saw some changes to the way the Long White Cloud Qigong Online Instructor Certification courses are run. As you know, these are now run on a scheduled basis, with people enrolling in groups that are all taking the course at the same time.  This allows for more followup and feedback with additional videos and Q&A where students are able to receive the answers to questions from everyone in the whole group. As well of course as that extra motivation of knowing you need to send a progress report in each week to help to keep you on track.

This has been quite successful, with students reporting that they like the extra accountability and all the insights that they gain from doing the courses along with other students. This has led to an increase in instructor numbers, with 81 certified Long White Cloud Qigong Instructors now spread across 24 countries all over the world, up from 21 at the end of last year (and I know there are some more still working on their exams at the moment).

It is wonderful to hear from time to time from some of these instructors about the experiences some of them are having as they begin to teach qigong classes in their communities.

To check out upcoming course dates go to the website here.

New Team Member
Running the courses in this way has meant a lot of extra admin work, so many of you will have become aquainted with the lovely Tihana Nikolic who joined us at Long White Cloud Qigong this year to help with all the extra followup needed to make the courses run smoothly. Tihana has been a great help in supporting the students in this way.

Workshops
During 2017 I travelled extensively teaching qigong workshops in:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • Finland
  • Israel
  • Sweden
  • Czech Republic
  • Montenegro
  • Scotland
  • England
  • Mauritius
  • India
  • Australia
  • Hong Kong

In total there have been 82 workshops in 34 cities, sharing qigong with hundreds maybe even thousands of interested people all over the world.

It has been wonderful to be able to come and meet so many of you in person for the first time during this past year, and visit again with old friends as well.

Books
2017 saw the publication of three new qigong books:

  • Waking the Qi
  • Between Heaven and Earth
  • Enter the Flow

These short instructional books help to support students in their understanding and practice of the Long White Cloud Qigong practices. Many people find that they really help, as they present the information in a different way to the online material, and you can carry them with you to refer to whenever you want.

You can find them on Amazon.com in either hard copy or electronic form here:

I am sometimes asked when I am going to write a book on this course or that course, or this topic or that topic. The answer is that I plan eventually to have books available to support each of the Long White Cloud Qigong courses, and probably a few on other topics as well. Writing and publishing books does take a lot of time though… so you may need to be patient about when these will be finished.

Shirts
This is perhaps only a small accomplishment, but I think its a pretty cool one. During 2017 we now have available a new Long White Cloud Qigong t-shirt (and sweatshirt), and it is available all over the world too!

You don’t need any particular clothes to practice qigong, but it is nice to be able to have something that helps you to feel part of the Long White Cloud Qigong community. If you want a shirt you can get the t-shirts on Amazon here, or t-shirts AND sweatshirts you can get from Inktale here

Summary
It has been a whirlwind year. As I look back on what has been accomplished, some of it seems like a lifetime ago. It is amazing that all of this has been just in the last year.

It has been a challenging year for me personally, both with working hard to continue to develop the Long White Cloud Qigong school and community and achieve all that has been accomplished this year, but also particularly in the second half of the year out of financial necessity needing to divide my focus and put a lot of time into other work as well. This has made it difficult to keep all of the courses running, and develop further course material, and it has often felt like burning the candle at both ends and in the middle as well. But I am committed to continuing to spread and share this wonderful art with as many people as possible, so we have some exciting things to look forward to in 2018…

Coming up in 2018…

Retreats
The first exciting announcement is that Long White Cloud Qigong will be having our first ever residential retreat in the mountains of Northern Thailand. We have a beautiful venue arranged, and the rest of the planning for this event is ongoing, but so you can save the date – the retreat will run for 7 days, from 13th-20th May 2018.

We will need a minimum of 10 participants to run the retreat, and from the survey many of you answered recently it seems like we should be able to get enough people to make this happen. Full details of the retreat and booking information will be sent out soon! This will be an experience not to be missed!

If Thailand was not your pick of places in the survey, please don’t be disappointed. Thailand will be the first retreat, and if it goes well we hope to be able to run further retreats in other locations, possibly later in 2018, or otherwise in following years.

Courses
The existing Long White Cloud Qigong courses will continue to be available in 2018, and in addition to this the Introduction to Qigong Healing will also be available – I don’t have a date for when this will be available yet, but I am working on preparing materials for it right now.

More books!
I am planning to have finished at least one new book this coming year. It’s title will be kept a surprise until it is released… In addition to this we also have 2 foreign language editions of some of the existing books which are being worked on too. So that will be exciting to have these available to readers of other languages soon!

Conclusion
I hope that 2017 has been a fulfilling year for you in your qigong practice. We are glad to have you along with us on this journey of discovery and self development. We look forward to continuing to share this with you in 2018 and beyond!

Seasons greetings to you and your loved ones…

John Munro
Founder – Long White Cloud Qigong

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First 2018 course dates announced!

The first course dates for 2018 have been announced. You can see them here.

Contact us now to register to reserve your place!

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Long White Cloud Qigong tshirts now available worldwide!

There is a new Long White Cloud Qigong tshirt available worldwide!

As you know, Long White Cloud Qigong is a worldwide qigong school, so we have wanted to make these available everywhere that we have instructors and students, so that they can feel part of our growing community.

This is the new design (available on a variety of colors):

Here is a closer look at the logo:

It features the Chinese characters “Long  White Cloud” (Chang Bai Yun) vertically on the right, the large character “Qi” (energy) centrally, and the white cloud motif at the top; all within a traditional Chinese seal stamp (these were and are still used for signing important documents).

The design is also available on sweatshirts and hoodies, which might be nice for when the weather is cool:

You have two choices of suppliers. If you are in North America you can order just the t-shirts through Amazon.com here This will allow you access to free shipping if you use Amazon Prime etc.

For sweatshirts and hoodies or if you live elsewhere in the world, you can order from Inktale.com tshirts here, and sweatshirts here. They ship almost everywhere – even all the way down here to New Zealand!

Please note that as this is an international supplier, listed prices on the website are in US dollars.

I’m pretty excited to have these shirts available, I got mine yesterday and they look great!

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Qigong Workshops in Melbourne, Australia

We are pleased to announce that Long White Cloud Qigong will be presenting Qigong workshops in Melbourne Australia on 13th and 14th October 2017.

For full details go here.

We would love to see you there, and tell your friends – we would love to see them too!

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Passwords

You may have noticed that there are now passwords on many of the pages of the Long White Cloud Qigong website.

For several years all of the Long White Cloud Qigong online courses have been offered on a Give Freely Receive Freely basis. It takes a lot of work to maintain and run the courses that Long White Cloud Qigong offers, and even more work to create new course material for further courses. In order for us to be able to continue to offer these courses, we need to create a better balance between the giving and the receiving for these courses.

So as of now, all of the introductory material and the first two weeks of each course can be accessed openly. If you would like to proceed beyond the 2nd week you will need to email us for the passwords for week 3 and beyond. Of course people in one of the certification groups will receive the passwords automatically, but if you would otherwise like to follow the course without joining one of the certification groups you may – but you will be asked to make a donation of some type to support the work. The amount will be completely up to you, so the courses are still GFRF, but we hope that this little change will help to create the balance that we need between the giving and receiving so that we can sustainably offer these courses.

John Munro

Founder – Long White Cloud Qigong

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The Curse Of Always Being Happy

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be happy ALL the time? It might not be the blessing that you think it would be!  In this article I put forward a solid case for the controversial view that it is not natural, healthy, or even desirable to ALWAYS be happy. There are also some links to useful tools for helping you to release blocked emotions from your body that might be getting in the way of you living your life to the fullest…

TL;DR (sometimes these articles can get a little long, so here is the one paragraph version,, if you have the time I do recommend  reading the whole thing though 🙂)

All emotions are healthy for us. They are part of the tapestry of life and what makes life interesting and worth living. They only become unhealthy when we have them in excess or become stuck in an emotional pattern, otherwise there is benefit in experiencing and expressing every type of emotion.. Emotions are not just something abstract in our heads, they are our subjective interpretation of physiological changes in our bodies. Our bodies release different hormones and assume different postures and muscle tensions for different emotions.  For example when we experience FEAR our body releases adrenaline and pulls the shoulders up and in to protect ourselves. There are different characteristic responses for each different emotion. These responses are natural and healthy. Without them we cannot respond to different situations as effectively as possible.  When we try to have the same emotion all the time we do not allow ourselves to respond effectively to different situations and we can end up repressing emotions and holding them inside – literall as tensions in our muscles and organs and in the hormone profiles of our bodies. Qigong can be a great tool for releasing these deeply held emotions. Qigong Foundation Practices teaches a series of exercises that balances the posture and muscle tensions related to each of the different internal organs and emotions. Another tool from Qigong that is very useful for releasing blocked emotions uses sound to vibrate and massage the organs to release the tension held in them. A special mini course which explains this type of practice and shows you how to use it can be accessed by signing up to the Long White Cloud Qigong Newsletter using the signup box below. (If you are already subscribed, just put your email address in anyway – it won’t double subscribe you!).

Subscribe to our newsletter and get access to the Special Emotional Alchemy Mini Course!

The Modern World and Social Media

I don’t know if you have noticed, but the world has changed a bit over the last decade or so. For one thing there has been the rise of social media. This is wonderful! It allows us to keep in touch with friends and loved ones all over the world more easily, and to communicate in rich ways using words, photos, videos and even an occasional emoji 😜. We can share news and information, and learn about things that are interesting and useful to us. But with this wonderful technology of social media also comes increased social pressure. We can feel like we always need to look a certain way, be doing certain things, and to even having certain emotions. In particular, now more than ever there can be pressure to ALWAYS be (or at least LOOK) happy.

Cheesy Smile

There is nothing wrong with wanting to put your best foot forwards. There is value in emphasising the positive in our lives and not dwelling on the negative. What we focus on tends to increase, so if we focus on good things that make us happy this CAN actually help us to experience more of these. Also, not everyone needs to know about every detail of what goes on in our lives, our ups and downs and different challenges. We may naturally want to share the ‘highlights’ of our lives, without going into the full story of everything that is going on.

The problem arises when we feel the pressure to ALWAYS live up to this public persona and carry this over into our day to day private lives as well. So why would we not want to BE or even LOOK happy all of the time?

Emotions Arise From Real Physiological Changes In Your Body

Sometimes we can have a tendency to think of emotions as abstract things… ‘just’ emotions. But emotions are our subjective interpretation of physiological changes within our bodies. We make these changes to help us to better deal with different situations that occur in our lives. For example fear is an interpretation of the sensations we feel in our bodies when we release adrenalin. We release adrenalin to increase our heartrate, dilate our pupils, increase bloodflow to the external muscles etc to help us deal with something that could be dangerous to us. Fear is an appropriate response to such a situation.

Physiologically other changes also occur along with the release of the adrenalin hormone, our posture changes as different muscles contract in response to the demands placed on different organs, and as we instinctively shape our body in ways to most effectively meet the challenges of the situation we find ourselves in. If we do not allow ourselves to feel the fear, and even to look fearful, then we do not allow ourselves to fully adapt and respond in useful ways to the situation we find ourselves in.

Run

I can imagine some of you reading this starting to switch off or to object to what I am saying, because fear is bad right? Why would we ever want to feel or look fearful? We tend to put value judgements on different emotions, FEAR = bad, JOY = good, ANGER = bad, and so on. Well, FEAR will keep you alive sometimes. That’s not such a bad thing is it? As we develop a less simplistic view of emotions we come to understand that ALL different types of emotions are good and healthy for us. (It can help to also understand that we can control how we interpret the emotions we experience and the labels we put on them. If you haven’t read it before you might want to check out one of my previous articles that dealt with that here http://longwhitecloudqigong.com/2016/09/14/emotional-power-transmuting-your-emotions-as-a-source-of-power-in-your-life-aka-what-yoda-didnt-tell-you/  (do it, I think you’ll find it fascinating)).

All Emotions Are GOOD

Emotions are part of the richness of life. Can you imagine what your life would be like without emotion? Or perhaps with just one emotion? How much would you enjoy eating if every food JUST tasted sweet? Every emotion has its place within our lives, without the experience of all of them our lives would be unbalanced, incomplete, and healthy. Just a variety of flavours makes food interesting and enjoyable, experiencing the full range of emotions makes our lives full and worth living.

food

Emotions only become unhealthy or harmful to us when we have them in excess, or if we become stuck in the emotion so that it persists for too long. These conditions can cause the physiological response associated with the emotion to be too strong – causing harm and imbalance; or to also persist for too long in the body – again causing harm and imbalance.

So what happens when we try to maintain the same emotion ALL the time?

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Well as a brief analogy, lets revisit what would happen if you tried to make ALL of your food sweet ALL of the time.  You could do this by just eating sugar which is great in that it would give you plenty of energy for activity, but what about the other nutrients that you need to support that activity, the protein for healthy muscles, the minerals for healthy bones, the fats for healthy nerves? Just eating sugar wouldn’t sustain your health very well. So you could try eating other nutrients as well, but just coating them in sugar so you can’t really taste them. You would be getting the other nutrients, but you wouldn’t be able to identify what it is exactly that you are eating from the flavour. You could easily end up consuming things that are very harmful to you and not even know it because everything is drowned out by the sweet taste. And still… all that sugar – not a recipe for health and wellbeing.

Performance

So looking more specifically at the emotions what happens? Well… for a start it doesn’t allow us to adapt to different situations as effectively as we could. Our hormone profile and posture will not be permitted to adjust fully to the different demands placed on us.  We need different responses to be able to respond most effectively to different challenges, so our performance will be sub-optimal if our response to everything is just HAPPY.

Repression and Stagnation

Even if we try really hard to maintain the same emotion all the time, our body will still try to adapt to the different situations it finds itself in, but because of the desire to always SEEM to have a particular emotion, it won’t be able to fully make the changes to your hormone profile and posture as you try to hide them under a veneer of the “positive” emotion you are trying to maintain the appearance of. This can lead to the emotion becoming repressed or ‘stuck’ in your body. Because your body has not been able to fully express the emotion it continues to try to process it internally. Even though it is hidden, this can cause your body to maintain tension in muscles and continuous release of hormones for much longer than is needed. In fact this situation can persist until the emotion is uncovered and fully expressed so that the body can move on out of this pattern. Being stuck in this pattern of repressed emotion can of course lead to many health problems, but it also simply makes it harder to experience life fully. When we are stuck in one emotional pattern, whether it is superficially apparent, or buried and repressed, it is harder for us to then respond appropriately with other emotions as situations require them. We find ourselves at odds with life, and maybe not really sure why.

Communication

As humans we respond to the emotions of others around us. If we do not allow ourselves to express our full range of emotions, we rob ourselves of a valuable aspect of our communication. If our response to everything is HAPPY, then how will people know when they need to change their actions around us. Sometimes people need to see and feel expression of our ANGER in order to motivate them into action. Other times people need to experience our expression of FEAR in order understand our need for more reassurance and protection. Sometimes we tend to think that expression of these types of emotion is a sign of weakness, and there are situations where other people may perceive it that way. But in many situations, every aspect of expressing emotion, not just words, is important for communicating honestly and effectively. If we don’t allow full expression of our emotion, we won’t fully get our message across, and end up being misunderstood and frustrated by peoples lack of understanding and appropriate response to us.

Mental and physical health crisis

I think it would not be overstating things to suggest that a large part of the current mental and physical health crisis that we are experiencing in Western developed nations is due to our desire to always be HAPPY. This creates a fundamental mismatch with the circumstances of life and leads to all sorts of harmful coping mechanisms to try to achieve an impossible and not even desirable ideal. If we go back to our analogy of the flavour SWEET, what happens when you keep eating too much sugar for an extended period of time? Eventually our mechanisms for metabolising and dealing with the sugar (specifically our production and sensitivity to insulin along with some other factors) breaks down, and our body simply can’t process it anymore. Obesity, diabetes, and all it’s related health issues ensues (wait a minute, that sounds exactly like what is happening in the west at the moment…). Emotionally if we try to be HAPPY or EXCITED all the time… well the same thing happens. Eventually our ability to be happy breaks down leading to depression… (Oh dear, that seems to be very widespread now too…) ☹

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What can you do about it?

I’ve just painted a rather gloomy picture. It could cause an emotional response in you as you read it, maybe some feelings of unhappiness or worry. The tendency could be to brush over this and move past it because it is uncomfortable. But I would encourage you to let it sink in for a few moments. To truly deal with things properly, we need to first truly feel them. Let yourself dwell on the implications of our obsession with happiness for a few moments so that you can appreciate what it means on a deeper level within yourself. By doing this you are more likely to do something effective to change this in your life. What are some of those things you can do.

Change Your Expectations

For a start you can change your expectations. Don’t expect to be happy ALL the time, expect a range of different emotions. Look forward to them, embrace and relish them. Each emotion is part of the rich tapestry of our lives, to be celebrated for the beauty and contrast that it brings. Once you have changed your expectations you won’t feel like there is something wrong with you if your life is not one constant saccharine sweet parade of social media worthy happiness and excitement. You will be more ready to deal with the diverse situations of life authentically and honestly. Your body will be able to adapt more easily to the different circumstances you find yourself in, both physically and psychologically. And you will be less likely to want to bury or suppress an emotion because it is not ‘nice’ or ‘acceptable’, and in so doing be less susceptible to the attendant aches, pains, discomfort and health problems that can arise from such suppression.

A Neutral state

So if you’re not going to be happy all the time, how can you expect to feel? Well embracing your emotions doesn’t mean that life should be one continuous roller coaster of ups and downs and twists and turns as you swing from one emotion to another. Sure, it will have its wild times, but most likely, most of the time you can expect your resting state to be neutral. Not happy, not sad. Not angry, not fearful. Just neutral.

NEUTRAL??!? Coming from our cultural predisposition to constantly seek excitement and happiness that might sound a little boring. Surely just feeling NEUTRAL most of the time can’t be healthy?  Well actually it is very healthy. You see when we are already strongly set in one emotion, in order to properly experience another emotion we must first release and move out of our existing emotional state. This can take a little while, it slows our emotional reaction time, and because of it we can miss the more subtle emotional influences in life, because they are not strong enough to shift us from our set state. When we are neutral we are ready to more easily respond to the subtle experiences of life. We can more easily recognise and FEEL the emotional influence of small occurrences in our lives. Small pleasures and displeasures. Fears, worries, reassurances. We can truly experience and enjoy them because they are not blanketed over with one strong pervasive dominating emotion. Our life actually becomes richer and more responsive by allowing ourselves to have being neutral as our resting state.

How Can Qigong Help?

But how can you achieve this state of neutrality? First you are going to need to clear out the old emotional patterns you are holding onto in your body. Qigong is a great tool for coming to understand yourself and uncovering and clearing old buried and repressed emotions. You may have already gone through the Qigong Foundation Practices course on the Long White Cloud Qigong website. If you have, you will know how effective the exercises in this course are for releasing postural habits related to different emotions in our bodies. As the posture changes, the other aspects of the physiology, the hormone profile and activity of the organs also changes – helping you to become balanced and healthy, strong and resilient. If you haven’t already, you might like to check out these exercises in this course here. There is one exercise for each of the main internal organs and meridians, and their relationship to the different emotions is explained clearly as you progress into the course.

Qigong Tiger Stretches Back small

There are other qigong practices that are also very good for clearing built up emotion trapped in your body. One such type of practice uses the vibration from sound to literally massage and loosen tension held in the different organs, allowing you to physically let go of the emotions effect within your body. Sound interesting? It is! And also very, very effective. Up until now I have only shared these practices with a few people, but I would like more people to benefit from these powerful practices, so I have prepared a short video mini course explaining them and demonstrating how to do them.

This is a little bit of a sneak peek into Emotional Alchemy, the skill of harnessing your emotions so that you can use them as a source of positive power in your life. I plan to release more comprehensive training material on this in the future.

If you would like to access the special mini course, you can get it by signing up to our newsletter below.

(If you are already subscribed you can still enter your email address into the box and it will take you to the video – it won’t double subscribe you.)

Alchemy

Subscribe to our newsletter and get access to the Special Emotional Alchemy Mini Course!

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Post-Script:

If you followed one of the links earlier in this article you would have noticed that it contains Star Wars references. Well there is some more relevant Star Wars news that relates to this. The upcoming new Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie will feature an older, wiser, Luke Skywalker who has mysteriously disappeared for many years. One of the prophesies about Luke was that he would bring balance to the force. There are rumours about what this could mean…

Star wars

You see, in the Star Wars universe the Sith tap into their emotions as a source of power, but they tend to strongly lean towards emotions like Anger and Fear, and this leads to them being portrayed as evil. The Jedi on the other hand do not let themselves give into their emotions like this. They go very much the other way and do not allow themselves to form relationships such as marriage etc.  While this is portrayed largely as being noble and good, it can lead to problems… such as the genocidal rampage Anakin Skywalker went on as a result of his failure to control his supressed emotions.  Did Anakin fail because his character was flawed, because he was simply weak and not good? Or was it also due to the poor advice he received about dealing with emotions within the strict rules of the Jedi order?

Well, some of the rumours are that Luke Skywalker has been enlightened during his mysterious absence and become what some are referring to as a Grey Jedi. That he has learned to embrace his emotions rather than repress them, while still walking a path of goodness. I find the prospect of this quite exciting, and if that was George Lucas’ intention for the series all along I would have to say that he has greater depth than I ever gave him credit for. If it is portrayed in a good way, this would be a very healthy example for impressionable people to replicate in their lives after watching the movie.

Post-Post-Script:

Yes… even though I am quite knowledgeable about qigong, I am still just a regular person with regular interests like Star Wars. Qigong doesn’t magically transform you into a robe wearing guru who sits in the mountains and meditates all day (although that can be nice from time to time). It does give you really useful skills and understanding that you can apply to your regular everyday normal life though. Skills that can help you to live that life with more health, peace, and satisfaction.

 

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Maybe tests aren’t so bad

Many people get nervous about tests, but… they are all part of the learning process. A valuable chance to check your knowledge and skill, identify weaknesses, and find out how to correct them.

I recently received the following from a student who has completed some tests with Long White Cloud Qigong:

Taking an exam with John Munro: an inspiring experience

I have had the pleasure to take two different exams with John, one “live” one, the Level One Certification and one by Skype, the Qigong Walking Unit.

In both cases, especially the first one, I was nervous and I had some thoughts of self doubt: Am I good enough? Did I practice enough? Did I really understand the movements from the videos? These were thoughts that I had encountered in other types of exams where, by definition, you are being assessed if not judged.

My experience with John as a teacher/examiner was so different. The exams started with a talk in which I was able to relax. I remember John opening the Level One Certification Exam by asking: “Do you have any questions?” That allowed me to delve into the things that I was not entirely sure of and explain some of the difficulties with some movements. That is something that I would have thought impossible in other exams because I would have thought that addressing uncertainly and difficulties might have put me into troubled waters. But in those exams with John I was able to be myself.

The exams proceeded with John telling me what he saw and how things could be improved but what was different was the philosophy his exam exemplified. I got the distinct impression that John was there to help me and not so much judge me. He would use sentences such as:

“You know, when you teach some students and they have that kind of difficulty I want to show you a modification…”

So, it was a learning experience for me as well as an exam. John wanted to share his knowledge with me and the exam was one more opportunity for him to do that. 

I think that John gives the exams in the same way he teaches: it is a sharing, an offering, another way to share the joy and value of Qigong.

John, I am very grateful for everything that you have brought into my life with your teaching. Taking exams with you has proven an invaluable way to experience that teaching.

Thank you.

Elisabeth Pomès

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Parkinson’s symptoms gone! – from regular Qigong practice

The following is from John Curtis who has been practicing qigong in Savannah, Georgia, with Clayton Crosley, a level two Long White Cloud Qigong instructor.

Personal Story of Qigong and Recovery

I am 69 years old and about 5 years ago I started to experience some difficulties, most specifically I was developing a slight tremor in my right arm and my muscles in my left leg were losing their coordination. When walking my legs wouldn’t make the minor adjustments that it normally would and my balance was affected as a result. The gait of my walk was also being impacted by the loss of balance. I continued to have other problems as well, my right shoulder began to have some muscle atrophy and I was having constant intense pain in the AC joint. My normal movements became restricted and the involuntary tremors and loss of muscle coordination were having a compounding negative affect on other areas of my life.

A year and a half ago the answer was clear as I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The doctor immediately noticed the gait in my walk was off and we also identified other problems that were in line with the Parkinson’s diagnosis. Two major effects that my joints were stiff and that my energy was extremely low. A lot of this was due to the Parkinson’s disrupting my sleep. I was experiencing restless leg syndrome and was not going into a deep REM sleep. As these conditions continued my poor sleep made the energy even lower. I know all of this sounds severe and it was but there is a happy ending.

I started doing Qigong with Clayton Crosley twice a week in Savannah GA. I also began a regular practice of my own of at least 30 minutes a day. I added a boxing drill program to my regimen. You’re probably thinking “Boxing” at my age but this program was designed to help improve motor skills and specifically people who suffer from Parkinson’s. I can tell you that even after my first session with performing qigong that I noticed that my energy was increased. My energy continued to increase incrementally and this resulted in a huge increase over time. The mobility of the joints improved and the horrific pain that was in my right shoulder became nonexistent. I found that on the days I did an hour of qigong and then went to boxing that I performed at a higher level. The boxing was easier due to incorporating the qigong. I also recovered quicker and could sustain a higher level of energy. I have really been able to feel the “flow” of the vital Qi in my body. Even when I just begin to think of the Qi the flow is apparent. The mind and body connection is a reality and not a myth. I have been more in tune with myself on a deeper physical and mental level.

It has just been a year since I started the daily practice of qigong and the results have been remarkable. I must emphasize that I do a group class which is wonderful in its’ own right but that I also participate in a one on one setting in nature which is completely different. Being in a natural setting tapping into the energies of the environment really made a difference.

I am 100% pain free now, my balance and muscle coordination have recovered and my strength has made gains too.  I am no longer lethargic and my sleep has been better. All of these factors have made a huge impact in my quality of life. I feel better now than I have in the last 30 years. I cannot emphasize enough how beneficial this program has been for me, it has truly changed my life. I am a regular practitioner of the Waking the Qi and Between Heaven and Earth exercises of Long White Cloud Qigong. I also had the honor of attending an intensive workshop with John Munro which deepened my understanding of the exercises. Now here is the most amazing part I must share with you; on my last visit to my Neurologist the Doctor told me if she didn’t already have previous knowledge of the Parkinson’s condition she WOULD NOT have given me the diagnosis. This is a remarkable development, one year of committed practice has changed my body in ways I could have never believed if it hadn’t happened to me personally. I have continued my daily qigong practice and I really enjoy doing it. It is a structured part of my life that I will keep doing. I hope that if you read this proclamation that you will be inspired to add qigong to your lifestyle too. My deepest thanks to John Munro and Clayton Crosley for showing me this wonderful rejuvenating and healing exercise system.

John Curtis

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