Qigong and moving energy
As a Qigong practitioner you learn different ways how to move energy through your energy system, but you also learn how to exchange energy with the surrounding by leading the energy in and out of your energy field.
It is obvious that before you start to learn methods for moving Qi, you must first cultivate your physical body, your breathing and your mind, and learn how to maintain the smooth flow of your Qi. Then you are ready to learn how to consciously move Qi.
Different methods to move Qi
In Qigong different methods for moving Qi are used to achieve different goals. The most common methods are circulating the energy inside your body, drawing/absorbing and exchanging your energy with the energy of the nature, expelling unwanted energy from the body, cultivating, refining and transforming energy, exchanging energy with partners, transfering the energy to others,…
Each particular style of Qigong uses at least few of these ways to work with Qi.
In this post I will talk about the Qigong method of drawing/absorbing the Qi from the nature and exchanging your energy with the energy of the nature.
Yi and breathing
In all methods for moving Qi your wisdom mind (Yi) is critical to successfully lead the Qi. Yi is “Water Mind” (sometimes called also “intention” or “intellect”…) which is calm, clear and stable as the opposite of emotional mind (Xin). You start to lead the energy by using Yi in coordination with your breathing which helps you to move the energy. When your mind (Yi) and breathing are unified, you are able to bring the energy in or out of your body.
Many ways of breathing were developed (Skin breathing, Four and Five gates breathing, Embryonic breathing, Thread breathing…) to serve different purposes of leading the Qi.
Much later, at the very advanced stages of Qigong (Nei Gong), also the coordination with breathing is no longer necessary. The Qi can be lead only by the intent of your Yi.
Drawing/absorbing Qi and Exchanging Qi with the Nature
Unified with nature
We are all part of the nature and to me seem very natural to connect with natural sources of energy in order to adjust my Qi. In Taoism the practices which help you to balance and align yourself to the energies of Heaven and Earth and nourish your body were of the major importance.
When you spend a lot of time outside in the nature the exchange of your energy with environmental energy happens spontaneously. Try to remember a boost of energy that you feel every time when you are outside on the beach, in the forest, in the mountains, on the grass… It is because you are in a natural environment where your energy system can receive a fresh energy which balances you. We (me and Petar) always emphasize how important is to spend as much time as possible outside.
Consciously balance your energy
But if you are a Qigong practitioner you can go beyond that and refine this kind of exchange. You can learn how to consciously draw the energy from nature and exchange your energy with the external sources.
This is an extraordinary tool to regulate your energy system. This practice refreshes, rebalances and nourishes your energy system and raises your spirit.
The external sources
Most frequently you exchange the energy with great natural sources. You can connect with Sun, Moon, Earth, Stars, trees, water and many different natural environments where energy is beneficial for you in a specific way (ocean beach, mountains, forest…).
Sun and Moon
To connect with the Sun and the Moon energies, Yang and Yin polarities, is especially important for the practitioners of internal Qigong (Nei Gong).
When you work with a Sun or Moon energies you have to know what time to choose for the practice. It is said that the most suitable time to work with Sun Qi is the first day of the lunar cycle, early in the morning when the Sun is rising up and its Qi is fresh and mild. The energy of Sun is considered Fire Qi and it is very Yang. If you practice when the Sun is strong it might make you too Yang.
The Qi of the Moon is considered Water Qi. When the Moon is full its Qi is abundant and this is the best time to connect with it. This is usually around the 15th day of lunar cycle, between 8 and 24 P.M.
Drawing energy and exchanging energy through the energy gates
You draw/absorb the energy from external sources through the major energy gates of your energy system. Some of the most commonly used energy gates are Yongquan points (KI-1) on the soles of the feet, Laogong (Pc- 8 ) points on the palms, Baihui (Gv-20) point on the crown of the head and Huiyin (Co-1) at the perineum.
You can for example absorb Earth Qi by using Yongquan points on the soles of the feet. And you can lead into the body Heaven Qi for example through the Laogong points or Baihui.
You will start to work with single pair of energy gates and later you will become able to use more of them at once if necessary. You will focus, with your mind (Yi), on particular energy gate with intent to draw/absorb the energy from the outside through the gates into the center of your body, your Lower Dan Tian, when inhaling. You can visualize that when you inhale, you draw the light energy through the energy gates. This is process is drawing orabsorbing Qi.
If your awareness during the exhalation is on letting the energy out, you can also consciously exchange your energy with the external source andmix and balance your energy. You might feel how you and the source are exchanging your energy and in time feel both of you as one single interconnected whole.
Variaton with skin breathing
If you are familiar with skin breathing (or body breathing) you can use it when exchanging or drawing the energy with external sources. Use the whole skin surface and breathe through all tiny skin pores. You can lead Qi with your Yi from outside into the Lower Dan Tian or into the deepest areas that you would like to nourish (pelvis, bone marrow, brain…).
Start with a tree
It is not a coincidence that in Qigong one of frequently practiced postures is called “Standing like a tree”. Trees are, as human beings, placed between the Heaven and Earth. When you are “Standing like a tree” you should be like a tree, which is rooted from below, spreading its roots deep into the Earth, and at the same time reaching upward to the sky or Heaven. A lot of people nowadays have forgotten about their connection with the trees from which we also get oxygen which is essential for our life.
As I adore trees and I feel deeply connected with them I will share with you a simple exercise to exchange your energy with a tree. This same method can be used also with other sources (regarding the practice with Sun and Moon see the paragraph above).
To start learning how to exchange your energy with external source find a tree you like, which is vital and if possible located in a quiet environment.
Stand in a normal stance. Quiet your mind and breathe slowly and deeply using your Lower Dan Tian. Relax and connect your mind and your breathing with your Laogong cavities on the palms. If you like you can do a simple Qigong exercise to start sensing Qi in your palms.
Then put your palms on a tree trunk. Bring your awareness to the Upper Dan Tian and connect with a tree. Feel its energy. Then inhale and start to draw the energy of the tree through your Laogong cavities into your Lower Dan Tian. When exhaling let the energy go out and back to the tree. You and a tree are now sharing and exchanging your energies.
After some time you may feel very connected to the tree, you can feel its potency, strength, pure energy … even its wisdom… Continue with a practice until you feel comfortable.
You can practice this exchange of energy also without physically touching the tree. You can simply stand (or sit) with palms facing toward the tree and breath. Or if you prefer you can use some motion to enhance the feeling of absorbing and giving back Qi (for example, draw palms toward yourself as you inhale (absorb energy) and extend/push palms out as you exhale (give the energy back).
When you finish feel appreciation for this wonderful experience of interconnectedness with the tree and your true nature.
Enjoy the practice and May the Qi be with You!
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