I recently received this breathing question and I thought it was worth sharing with everyone here as a post. (Don’t forget, you can send me your practice questions!) I’m really confused! I took a Yang Style Tai Chi course and at the end of the class we would do Qigong. He said “We will do diaphragmatic breathing. As you breath in draw the navel into the spine, as you exhale release and let the belly relax but don’t collapse.
Here’s a quick update on what we’ve been working on during Immersion Week 2014.
I’m very impressed (and I say so in the video about 15 times!) with the way this group has patiently explored many different facets of the Swings and Spine Stretch without rushing ahead to try to fit seemingly contradictory pieces together conceptually. Instead, they’re doing a great job experiencing/exploring each different component on its own.
When you settle into your practice each day, you should always give yourself a couple of minutes to just feel and see where your body, your energy, and your awareness are. In one sense, each practice session is about bringing the rhythms of each of those into harmony. That’s why Tai Chi and qigong can be so powerfully restorative. So, if you take a couple of minutes to just “settle in,”
I’m getting excited about Immersion Week at BTC next month, where we’ll take another look at the Spine Stretch and the Three Swings. Another look? Like we’ve done it before? Yes! Why is it exciting to go back to the same qigong sets over and over again? So-called creative people understand better than most that there is nothing new under the sun. Working with boulders of granite, with empty stages, with blank paper, they are credited with making something out of nothing, but that isn’t exactly what they do.
That’s right, don’t dissolve blocked energy, tension, or contraction in your body….let it dissolve. Now, that might seem like a fine semantic distinction, but it captures an attitude towards practice that is essential for energetic resolution and finding deeper layers of the mind. Let your body relax. Let your chi sink through the structure of your joints and bones. Let your mind land on the body. Let the blockages dissolve.
It’s been such a cold winter in the Northeastern US this year, that even Niagara Falls has frozen over. Every night, students come in to class shivering, that is, once they’ve resolved to venture out in the cold and the dark. And many haven’t even been up for that. Today I want to tell you about an important practice lesson you can learn from all this cold. You will develop a better feel for the chi of your etheric body and stay warmer in the process.
In this video, we’re talking about building up the skill of Outer Dissolving in your standing qigong practice. When you start out, it pays to follow a recipe - a set of instructions that lead through a certain procedure physically, energetically, and with your mind. However, there are times you want to break away from the recipe and times you’ll want to reflect on your experience verbally – but there are good and bad ways to do both.
“Is it better to structure your practice to stay with one energy gate, such as the crown, until you feel some dissolving happening there, or should you just keep moving through the gates week by week moving onto another gate?” Excellent questions like this one keep pouring in. Thank you for sharing your practice experiences with me. I know other folks who read the blog really appreciate it too. I love hearing from you guys, especially when your questions are grounded in exploration, practice and thoughtful reflection.