BHE Week One: Introduction

Welcome to the Between Heaven and Earth online qigong course.  In this course you will learn a series of qigong practices for activating the eight extraordinary meridians and enhancing your connection with the energy of the earth below and the heaven above.  This will lead on to strengthening, cleansing and renewing of the energy fields of your body.

The focus of week one of this course is basic familiarization with the complete set of exercises you will be learning over the course of this twelve week program.  Just follow along with the complete exercises at this point and become comfortable with them.  In future weeks we will examine each of the individual exercises in detail so that you fully understand them and can gain the full benefit of these simple yet powerful qigong practices.

Resources

Each week there will be one or several videos showing you the exercises to focus on that week and with instructions of how to do the exercises and what to look/feel for as you do them.

There will also be additional written material giving you insights into the theory behind the exercises that you are doing.

It is also a good idea to download and use the practice journal to help you keep track of your progress with the exercises and any insights and experiences you have as you go through the twelve weeks of qigong practice.  It is available here as a pdf: PRACTICE LOG or as a Word document: BHE Practice Journal

The material on the website is sufficient for the study of these practices, but you may also be interested in the book Between Heaven and Earth which provides additional insights, available from Amazon.com here.

Time Commitment

You will gain the most out of this course by committing to daily practice five or more days a week over the twelve weeks.  Most people find it easiest to do this if they choose a time of day that they will do their practice each day and stick to it – making it a regular part of their routine.  It is best if you can allow 30 minutes a day for your qigong practice, but if this is difficult for you to do you can still get great benefit from as little as 10 minutes a day.

If you find that your routine is interrupted and you have to stop your qigong practice for a few days or weeks, all is not lost, just pick up your qigong practice again where you left off when you are able to.

While this course is laid out for twelve weeks, you may find that you want to spend more time on some of the exercises to become fully comfortable and aware of the energy flows that each exercise is stimulating.  This is fine, spend as much time as you need to on each ‘weeks’ exercises before moving on to the next week.

Give Freely Receive Freely

This course is offered on a Give Freely Receive Freely basis.  This means you pay what you wish or can afford in return for the value that you receive. In this way the training is made available to everyone regardless of their financial situation.  Follow this link to donate to support the courses.

Exercises

This video shows you the complete set of exercises you will be learning during the twelve week course along with some basic instructions.  This week just follow along with the exercises, listen to the instructions and enjoy them without worrying too much about the energy flows at this point.

 

If you only have time for a shorter qigong practice session, the video below provides and example of what you might do in ten minutes.  There are no instructions with this video, so you might want to watch the one above at least once before beginning.

Theory

Three Powers – Heaven, Earth and People

In Chinese philosophy there are three great natural powers (三才) Heaven, Earth, and People.  For humankind to be successful in their endeavours in this world they must constantly draw upon the powers of heaven and earth.

What is this power we draw on?  Well from a scientific perspective we know that there is a difference in electrical potential at different elevations within the earth’s atmosphere.  Even across the relatively small height of a human being this has the potential to create flows of electricity between the higher and lower points of electrical potential.  With practice, we can literally tap into and make use of this electrical flow between heaven and earth.  But this is just one aspect of the energy we draw on when we work with the power of heaven and earth.

Micro and Macrocosmic Reflection

Another important aspect of Chinese philosophy is the concept of micro and macrocosmic reflection.  The Chinese believe that the universe is reflected within our bodies.  That is the same principles that govern and operate in the universe at large also operate on a smaller scale within our bodies and within our lives.  Viewed in this context the power of heaven and earth is referring to far more than just a difference in electrical potential.  Along with many other attributes the power of heaven is yang, light, orderly and warm.  The power of earth is yin, heavy, chaotic and cool.  Heaven is insubstantial, it is spirit, ideas, inspiration and direction.  Earth is solid, it is physical and practical. Reflected inside us, heaven is more like our mind and spirit, earth is more like our physical bodies.  Success comes when the connection between these two is strong and there is harmony between them.

The practices in this Between Heaven and Earth course will help you to strengthen this connection between the power of heaven and earth, mind and body and harmonize their effects within your life.

Extraordinary Meridians.                                                                   

In order to channel these energies effectively we need to make sure that our meridians are open strong and resilient.  We strengthen the meridians by correctly aligning the body and creating suppleness and strength so that physical force can transmit through the pathway effectively, fluid can move freely carrying electrical charge and heat, nerves are unimpinged so that they can carry signals effectively, blood lymph, cellular and other fluids can flow freely carrying oxygen, nutrients, hormones and so on.

There are two sets of meridians that run through the body.  The twelve organ meridians which carry energy relating to the function of the internal organs and the eight extraordinary meridians which relate more to the structures of the external body, the muscles, bones, connective tissue and nervous system.  The two sets of meridians are similar in some respects, but also have some notable differences.  In particular:

Organ Meridians Extraordinary Meridians
Fine and delicate Large and strong
Primarily close to surface of the body Deeper within the body
Carry small currents of energy Carry larger currents of energy
Can be thought of as rivers and streams Are more like mighty ocean currents
Have a set direction of flow Can flow in either direction
Clearly defined More generally defined
Each have numerous acupuncture points Apart from the central and governing meridian, only share points with organ meridians

 

Because the energy of heaven and earth is so powerful, we do not want to expose the relatively delicate organ meridians to this energy directly.  Instead we interact with these energies through the stronger more resilient extraordinary meridians and use these to pool the energy in our dantien (major energy centre) where it can been drawn upon by the organ meridians as needed.

Due to the breadth and power of the extraordinary meridians their pathway is not so clearly defined as the organ meridians.  This has led to the extraordinary meridians being represented in different ways by different authors from different schools of thought.  In qigong practice we do not need to be concerned with this, our focus is on the broad powerful flow of energy, with practice you will ‘feel’ the pathway of the meridian for yourself.

The exercises in Between Heaven and Earth will help you to open, strengthen, feel and direct the flow of energy within the eight extraordinary meridians.

*Note on qigong theory: For deeper insight into qigong theory relating to these topics and others please refer to the Qigong Theory course.  This course is currently only available as an ‘in person’ workshop, but I hope to be able to put this into an online format later in 2013!

Twelve Organ Meridians: If you would like to learn more about practices for the organ meridians, the Qigong Foundation Practices online course teaches a set of exercises that will really help you to develop and understand these meridians.  You can access this course here.