QI GONG IS A PROCESS
Occasionally, I receive a call or an e mail from someone interested in studying Qi Gong with me. I always ask if they have done any Qi Gong before and what was their experience of it. Often I am told that they learned some movements or perhaps even one of the Traditional methods/forms and most likely add that they like the experience of Qi Gong but do not practice much anymore. If we meet and I see their practice, I will look carefully for the subtle yet distinctive signs of Qi Gong achievement and more often than not I will be disappointed, not for me, but for them. Often what they are doing is only the outward expression of a Qi Gong practice.
Over the years I have come to see that the problem for many learning Qi Gong, certainly in the west, lies in the perception of what Qi Gong is and what is it they are supposed to be doing. Qi Gong can be undertaken in a very shallow and superficial way and indeed it is generally taught like this since teaching the “internal” aspects is very difficult. In addition, Therapeutic Qi Gong is not generally very demanding on the body in the way modern Yoga is, so it is easy to learn a set of movements and assume that that is Qi Gong.
Qi Gong however is much more complex since it requires you to train three critical aspects either simultaneously or progressively and they are the Body, Breath and Mind. Indeed the aim of Qi gong is to bring these three aspects to a very refined level of integration. In studying Qi Gong, each aspect is given special emphasis according to the various Qi Gong methods you are practicing. Each aspect can present many hurdles to overcome before being able to integrate them successfully into your practice. The two extremes of studying Qi Gong are firstly Dynamic Qi Gong methods and then at the other end of the spectrum Meditational methods. The first puts primary emphasis on the body and the latter on the mind. Between them are many methods and strategies and traditions. Respiratory technique accompanies all Qi Gong methods. .Most people unfortunately do not get beyond the first level of Body practice since they do not undertake the proper investigations and practices that cultivates the Body, Breath and Mental skills necessary that get to the deep Qi Gong experience.
With this in mind, it is easy to see how Qi Gong can turn into a long learning process. Each aspect must be studied over a long period of time to achieve refinement and each aspect may have particular practices that are conducive to their achievement. Finally those three critical threads of practice, need to be drawn together into one integrated wholistic experience. I liken the Qi Gong process to building a house. Each daily practice is like a brick being laid. When the walls are up, the roof must go on. The real achievement of Qi Gong arrives, however after the house has been built and you have moved in. Just be sure though that the foundations are sound , the walls straight and the roof is firmly tied down.