Week Twelve 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 your sessions will consist of moving in whatever way you wish to while focusing on energy flow. This is an extension of the freestyle qigong in week nine but having now experimented with fighting and everyday movements, you may find yourself incorporating these into your sessions as well. Also this week you are encouraged to check yourself at different points throughout the day and see if you can feel the energy flow. See the notes below for guidance on this.
- End your sessions with some simple qigong self massage to help return your energy to your centre
I hope that you really enjoy practicing the freestyle qigong as part of your regular practice sessions. My advice is to play with it, don’t take it too seriously or you might be hesitant to explore movements that will give you new insights into the use of your body and the energy flow within it. Try using very large movements and very small movements. Try moving very fast and also very slow, maybe even stop and see if you can maintain the sensation of energy flow even while your body is stationary. Make your regular qigong sessions play and experimentation time, which hopefully you will look forward to more and more as you discover new and more enjoyable ways to use your body.
As well as your regular qigong practice sessions this week you are encouraged from time to time during the day to ‘check in on yourself’ and see if you can feel the energy flow in whatever you are doing. During our qigong practice sessions we focus on our energy flow and sometimes do specific movements to cause the energy to flow in different ways and sometimes we strongly stimulate the energy so that it becomes very active. At the end of our qigong sessions the flow should continue, probably not at the same level but it should be there flowing gently through everything we do, filling it with energy and maintaining the health and function of our bodies. To consciously focus on sensations of energy flow all the time would be quite distracting, so it is best that outside of our qigong practice sessions we let go of focusing on this most of the time, ideally it will carry on subconsciously. To begin with though it is likely that if we stop focusing on energy flow we may fall back into old habits of how we use our bodies, maybe tensing the body up and using poor alignment which will get in the way of the energy flow. By checking in on yourself from time to time you can see if you have slipped into any of these habits and gently remind yourself to use your body in a way that allows the energy to flow freely. Once you have done this, you can let go of the conscious awareness until you decide to check in on yourself again and little by little build up a healthy habit of maintaining energy flow unconsciously.
As you become more aware of your energy circulation and output, you can become better at regulating your energy use. Sometimes when people begin doing qigong they think the aim is to have massive energy flow circulating all of the time. But to keep a high level of energy flow/generation going all the time is actually very taxing. It is better to vary and regulate your energy output according to your needs and what you are doing at the time. During qigong sessions when you are focused on working with your energy you will probably want to increase your energy flow to quite a high level, during some other vigorous activity where your focus is not so directly on energy awareness you will probably want it at a more moderate level, during most day to day activities it is best to just have it quietly circulating in the background at quite a low level. You can think of this like having an accelerator on an engine, or a regulator on a stove top, you need to adjust the level to the requirements of what you are doing for optimal results.
As you practice being aware of your energy circulation, many people will find that they have habits of cutting the energy flow off or reducing it too much, others will find that they are actually expending more energy in some situations than is ideal. By becoming aware of it you will be able to change these habits little by little so that you can have a healthy balanced flow of energy at all times.
What Comes Next?
I hope that you have enjoyed this course. The awareness of energy and movement skills you have learned in this course can be applied to many other qigong practices as well. Giving them greater richness and depth, and making them more enjoyable.
There are several other qigong courses available from Long White Cloud Qigong. If you have not completed these yet, you might like to take a look.
Qigong Foundation Practices
Between Heaven and Earth
In addition to these I hope to be adding more courses soon, so check the www.longwhitecloudqigong.com website regularly or sign up to the free email newsletter to stay up to date with developments and new materials available.
If you get the chance it is highly recommended that you attend any live classes or workshops in your area to gain greater insights into the qigong practices that you have learned. If you have a group of people interested in a workshop it might even be possible for an instructor to come to you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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