Qigong for Health (Part I)
As a qigong master, I have talked a lot about eliminating other people’s illnesses and remotely transferring energy, but qigong is not only for working externally in this way, but also for maintaining one’s own physical and mental conditioning and health. Here, I will explain qigong for maintaining one’s own health.
- External Qigong and Internal Qigong
Qigong is largely divided into external qigong and internal qigong. External qigong is for sending chi energy to other people or objects, as I have practiced, while internal qigong deals with chi energy within one’s own body. Since internal qigong is more common and is practiced by far the largest number of people, it is more appropriate to say that internal qigong is the original term for qigong.
If you release the energy cultivated by internal qigong when you send chi energy to others, your own chi energy will be reduced and your health may be harmed. Even if you have improved in internal qigong, I recommend that you should learn external qigong separately, rather than considering external qigong as an extension of internal qigong.
There are a variety of books on internal qigong, many classes, and I am sure the details differ between schools, but here I will explain what I have practiced myself in preparation for working with external qigong. Then, in a separate article, I will show you how to knead your own chi.
Before engaging in qigong, first relax your body as much as possible.
By relax here, I mean relax your body to the point where you fall asleep. To do this, sit down in a chair or seat with a backrest, meditate, and breathe as slowly as possible. If possible, darken the room. Dim the lights, draw the curtains, etc. to reduce light. Continue in this state for about an hour if possible.
In the class I attended, singing balls were played during this time to help regulate your consciousness, but you cannot go that far if you are practicing alone, so keep the environment quiet and make no noise.
I think it is a good idea to set an alarm clock, because in this way you may really fall asleep.
After spending some time relaxing in this way, you will be conscious but in a slightly reduced state of consciousness, which is called altered state of consciousness. Once you get to that point, the degree of relaxation will deepen.
After an hour has passed, you will slowly awaken.
Do not get up suddenly, but gently open your eyes and take your time to get up.
Then, end the relaxation period by letting light in through the window or turning the lights back on.
It may be difficult to take an hour for this kind of relaxing time.
In that case, try to get as deep a relaxation as possible, even if it is only for 30 or 15 minutes, in the manner I have described.
When spending this time relaxing, it is important to regulate your breathing. I mentioned that we should take slow breaths, but we can also do something else.
First, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. There is no need to take deep breaths. The main idea is to maintain calm, quiet breathing.
As a specific exercise, shorten your inhalation time and lengthen your exhalation time. 5 seconds of inhalation and 20 seconds of exhalation is good. You do not have to force it from the beginning. If you force yourself to reduce it, you will want to take a deep breath at some point. Reduce the number of breaths to the extent that you can continue without taking deep breaths in between. After practicing many times, you will be able to reduce your breathing to less than two breaths per minute.
Once you are able to do this to some extent, you may want to try reverse abdominal breathing in the future.
Abdominal breathing involves expanding the belly as you inhale and depressing the belly as you exhale. While this makes physical sense, reverse abdominal breathing does the opposite. You concave your belly when you inhale and tense your belly when you exhale. This may seem unnatural, but the sensation is that when you inhale, you are filling your lungs to the brim, and at the same time you are lifting your diaphragm upward. When you exhale, you should feel as if you are depressing lungs and your abdomen is stretched out.
This breathing technique is useful for creating the altered state of consciousness.
And when you breathe in, inhale quickly and instantaneously, and exhale with a whoosh of time. When you can do this, you are at a sufficient level of relaxation and breathing.