I learned everything I know about practicing qigong from my wife. Or I should say, from watching my wife make magic in the kitchen! If you saw us cooking together, you'd see her doing everything right and me doing everything wrong. When I started to practice qigong the way she cooks, my whole qigong world changed. Let me tell you how.
What I do: I read every recipe word for word and line by line.
What she does: She reads recipes like poetry and gets layers of meaning from the whole thing.
Qigong Lesson: At first, you need to learn your forms and the basics of your qigong set, but eventually, you have to get a feel for the whole, or you'll never get truly energized from the practice.
What I do: I race back and forth from the counter to the cook book, thinking, "was that a lemon or a lime?"
What she does: She stops and imagines a taste, thinking "what kind of citrus will compliment these other ingredients? Maybe I'll use an orange instead"....and she's usually right!
Qigong Lesson: You need to develop a feel for your energy flows so that you know what kind of practicing you need to do on any given day or any time of day.
What I do: I freak out when the timer goes off, because the recipe said 10 minutes, but it's been 12 or 13 and I can't tell if it's done yet.
What she does: The recipe calls for a specific cook-time? She knows those are vague guidelines and she'll sniff, pinch, or push on the food to know exactly when it's ready.
Qigong Lesson: The exercises you practice all have prescribed times and reps, but they're just there so that you learn what "done" feels like energetically.
So, if you want your qigong practice to be as nourishing as a delicious, healthy meal, practice like my wife cooks: go a few layers deeper than your thinking mind and access your intuition. Learn to practice by feel. Otherwise, your practice will always be like reading out of a cookbook. When was the last time you got full from reading a recipe?