To conclude my previous post about Mental practice in Qigong I would like to give you some tips how to practice mentally.
The way to practice mentally
The mental practice in Qigong can be done while sitting on the floor or in the chair, in standing posture or in a laying position. No matter what position you choose, try to use all the principles of correct Qigong posture, so that Qi can flow smoothly.
Your eyes can be opened or closed, it depends from circumstances. At the beginning majority of people prefer to close their eyes because they focus easier. I personally prefer to close my eyes whenever it is possible. I have found some recent information that there is a slight difference in the activity of the brains when you keep eyes open or closed while practicing mentally, but to be sincere I didn’t have time yet to try it and compare results.
When you practice mentally in places where there are a lot of voices or noise… you can use the headphones and listen to some relaxing music. It will help you to disconnect from the disturbing surrounding. Later on you might focus so well that you won’t need themanymore.
Feel yourself performing
From my experience the most important aspect of this practice is to feel yourself performing the action as you do when you practice physically. You also have to imagine that you apply all principle and rules regarding the Qigong posture and breathing, leading Qi… as if you were practicing physically. You will feel blood and Qi flowing.
It is not enough to simply visualize yourself while you are doing the exercise. You are not an observer, but the actor.
How to start a mental practice
Combining physical and mental practice
Start to mentally rehearse only one exercise. First do your normal physical practice, as many repetitions as you usually do. After you have finished, choose the position you prefer and rehearse exercise again mentally. The feeling of physical practice is fresh and alive and it is easier to re-experience it. In time you will start to feel how your body is reacting to mental practice. You might feel stronger blood stream in certain parts of the body, Qi flow and even notice small corrections in your body structure… Many similar phenomena as in a real physical practice.
Use every occasion to practice mentally
After you have become a little more familiar with mental practice start to use it also outside of your Qigong training in all sorts of situations to make a good use of your time (you can read more about this in the first part of Mental practice in Qigong).
Your mental capabilities will grow
You have started with one exercise. Slowly start to add more exercises, as much as you still feel comfortable. There are no limits. In time you might be able to rehearse a Qigong set, then a form… and within years even Taijiquan long sequence.
Going beyond the “real” limits
I would like to share with you yet another amazing aspect of mental training – how to overcome your mental blocks.
(I didn’t find any explicit mention about this aspect in a Qigong literature yet. If somebody is familiar with Qigong sources which discuss this topic, please let me know.)
Sometimes it happens that you feel limited or stuck in certain movements. For example you can’t fold forward and touch the floor with your fingers. But your body is not injured or damaged, you also practice a lot, you work on a relaxation… but there is no improvement. The cause of this might be your mental block. Maybe you are unconsciously afraid to hurt yourself or you think you can’t do it. Or in the past you couldn’t do it or somebody told you that you can’t do it… Not always, but very often it is your mental block which prevents you to do certain movements and also other things in your life.
Remember that your body and mind are tightly connected. The thoughts in your mind reflect also in your body. In your mind you are able to imagine that for example your range of motion is increased… You can imagine and “feel” how your body does movements beyond its current “real” capability. If after this kind of mental training you repeat exercise physically you might notice that your physical capability has improved. It means that your mental block starts to release.
Try this simple exercise. Stay in a standing posture, close your eyes, calm down your breathing and your mind. Then do a normal fold forward just to the point where you still feel comfortable and memorize the position of your palms. Return to the normal upright position. Close your eyes and do the exercise mentally at least three to five times but this time a little differently.
Let’s say that in your physical exercise you were able to touch the floor only with the tips of your middle fingers. In the first mental exercise imagine that you are able to touch the floor with all five finger tips, in the next you can go a little deeper and in the third repetition you can touch the floor with the both palms. Open your eyes and do the fold forward again to the point you feel comfortable, as before. No, you will not touch the floor with the whole palms yet but I’m sure you will go deeper as usually and you will notice a difference.
So, practice physically, mentally… and above all enjoy it. 🙂
May the Qi be with you!
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