Week Eight Sessions Outline:
- Take a few moments to stand in a relaxed position, quiet your mind, relax your body, and slow and deepen your breath before you start into the qigong exercises
- This week’s focus exercises will challenge your balance yet again in a different way. You may want to warm up with some of the exercises from previous weeks so that you can feel the energy flowing before trying these exercises. Having awareness of energy flow will help you to get the alignment you need for good balance more easily. Spend as much time on these exercises each day as you like
- End your sessions with some simple qigong self massage to help return your energy to your centre
This week’s exercises present the biggest challenge to our balance so far. How easily we can stand on one leg and raise the other determines how smooth our transition of energy from one leg to another is. If you cannot stand easily on one leg for a period of time, it means that your alignment and resulting energy circulation and flow will be poor, your body will create tension that it does not need and a lot of your energy will go into maintaining that tension rather than the things you want to put your energy into. This does not affect us only when standing on one leg. If you cannot stand easily on one leg, it is likely that you also do not balance and align yourself effectively when standing on two legs, it is just not as obvious on two legs. A lot of your energy will still be going into holding ineffective postures and tension, holding you back rather than moving you forwards. Developing excellent balance will free up a significant amount of your energy.
Feeling the flow of energy in your legs really is the key to these exercises. Only raise and extend your leg as high as you can while still feeling this flow of energy. If you push too far and tense up, this will restrict the flow of energy and slow your progress. Lift you leg to where you are comfortable and can feel the energy flow, and then just try to lift it a little higher while still feeling the energy, and then maybe a little higher.
Beyond simply feeling the energy flow, there is additional imagery you can use to help you with these exercises. One commonly used image is to think of yourself as a tree, the leg you are standing on is the trunk and you can imagine that there are roots extending from the bottom of your foot down and out into the earth in all directions to help make you more stable and centred on that leg. Another image you can use is of yourself as like a bird (a crane or similar), light and graceful on its legs, easily able to balance on one leg while raising the other and extending the wings and neck. This lightness will help you to lift your leg higher with less strain.