Burn The Books

In today´s story I would like to talk about what is really important about Qigong, what you really should expect from practicing it and what you should avoid…

A lot of Qigong Practitioners just repeat the physical exercises and movements they have learned. Some of them are lucky and after a while they evolve the important skills that make Qigong effective and get the wanted results and effects. But the majority unfortunately never gets to this level, because they are not conscious about what it is that is of importance in Qigong.

I hope to be successful and my explanations will make a difference for you and you will no longer be a part of the second group.

In a way it is like dancing. Even if a dancer performs perfectly and correct every single step, it is no guaranty that the result will be pleasing and attractive. Dancing is more than just moving the feet to the beat. Really good dancer look as if they are one with the music. They feel and live the music and all of his/her movements are harmonious, natural and look soooo easy…

And with Qigong it is the same. The outside appearance is of much less importance as everybody expects it to be. It’s the internal abilities that count. So what should be the benefits of a high quality Qigong training?

1. You practice to relax at the push of a button and learn to calm down and rest your mind.

2. You learn to let go unwanted emotions, sorrows, fears , harmful pattern of thought and restrictive or limiting beliefs.

3. You not just get said that your Qi Flow will increase through your Qigong practice, you will experience this enhanced Energy Flow in your own body.

4. You learn and practice forgiveness. For yourself and others. This way you get rid of old ballast.

5. You train mindfulness and perception for your body´s needs and sharpen your thoughts.

6. You open up the energy center of your heart and with that you will become more and more tolerant, relaxed and happy.

Step by step this way you will become a new and better version of yourself.

It is very good, if you can calm down and find relaxation through your Qigong practice but really interesting it will become once you evolve this ability more and more and integrate it into your everyday, so you have and live it in everything you do. If you focus on evolving these important abilities or skills right from the start, it will save you a lot of time, energy and nerves…

So once again I tell you to not be afraid of making mistakes. Make mistakes! As long as you don´t unnecessary build up tension inside of you and press or force yourself into some kind of form your body don´t want to be in.

It is of no major importance whether your arms are open wide enough, are stretched enough, if your body is in the right angle,…

All of these are just small details that are more or less unimportant compared with the skills above. They are making the difference between Qigong and soft gymnastics. How bad your movements and performance ever will be, if after your practice your Qi flows better than before, if you feel more relaxed, refreshed and vitalized, peaceful and filled with energy you have been successfully practice Qigong and you have been more successful than maybe 80% of the regular Qigong practitioners.

If on the other hand you don´t get any of the above effects, even though your performance had been perfect, you did not really practice Qigong but something that just looks like Qigong.

The real key to success with Qigong is a relaxed and meditative state of mind. So better try to keep your head free from unnecessary thoughts as good as possible. And don´t force yourself, be patient and you will see, with each practice it will work out better and better.

One of the biggest advantages of Qigong is the fact, that the movements mostly are quite simple and easy to copy. But that also is the reason why many practitioners think they easily can learn Qigong by themselves through books or YouTube videos. But the Art of Qigong is not just the soft movements that one has to copy, the important aspects of the practice aren´t easily learned in home studies. But a good teacher will make it easy for you to learn the really important stuff.

If this is the only thing you learned from today´s story I have done a good job.

So go and search for a good school and learn from a competent teacher of flesh and blood…

Actually for swimming, driving a car or diving, nobody think twice when it comes to learn it from books or online videos or to look for a real course.

For my opinion Meditation is one of the highest Arts a person can learn, because mind, spirit and soul play such an important role in it. All the more one should be introduced properly into this Art. It is much more efficient, faster and safer to learn from a good teacher or master. To invest time and money into self-development is the best possible investment!

Later in your learning process books and videos could be a good support, reminder or help to further the knowledge.

The exclamation “Burn the Books” came from Bodhidharma, the founder of Shaolin Qigong and first patriarch of the Zen- or Chan-Buddhism. He wanted to pull the monks out of their theoretical studies and set them back on the track of practice.

“If you have the intention to renew yourself, do it every day!” Confucius

This is a good advice for your Qigong practice. Usually first positive effects will soon occur through quality training BUT the key to profound changes is continuous practice. Each day you will become more and more confident and experienced. Your skilfulness and your Qi will enhance. These benefits build up day by day so if you pause for several days the effects of your last session will already be used up, so they cannot accumulate without consistent practice.

To be completely honest, to practice Qigong once a week in a course and no personal practice besides will probably be no more than a relaxed evening with friends…

The “Gong” in Qigong means work, practice, skill, art,… it has to be cultivated and used!

Studies showed that a new habit will be integrated after round about 30 days of practicing the new behaviour, so how about giving your Qigong practice this time?!

You can ask your teacher how often and how long you should practice on your own. Usually the advices will be 20 to 45 minutes per day, but also 1 to 2 hours could be possible…

Some schools start with a 10 to 15 minutes of “warm-up” training to stretch the meridians and open the energy gates, before they start with the regular Qigong practice.

From my own experience I know that this preliminary practice is not necessary if you practice quality Qigong the effects will be nevertheless amazing. The developed Qi Flow is strong enough to open all energy gates and flush blockages off the Meridians. With time and practice you will be able to find peace of mind and come to rest in just a few moments and then practice effectively. So keep your eyes open for a quality Qigong style that generates great effects with less effort.

If you are a diligent practitioner you practice once in the morning and in the evening. More often is neither necessary nor advisable.

But how to find a quality and effective Qigong training? A Qigong course in the Fitnesscenter around the corner might be comfortable and convenient, but it pays back well to search for a high quality study instead. If the best possible Qigong study is right around the corner enjoy the bonus of the short distance but always keep the quality the crucial and essential factor on your search.

Nowadays it isn’t necessary to travel months or even years to China to learn and study Qigong, though this might be an interesting experience. There are good teacher all around. The costs should be within your own means, but also not the major factor in your search. Good quality has its price and if the effects are bigger and save you time, it might be the better choice to pay a little more.

I myself have spend lots of money for my Qigong study and do not regret a single Cent because I learned life changing things that are more worth than its weight in gold! And today I can pass on this knowledge, earn money with it and also get rewarded with the success of my students.

Pedigrees and certificates are nice as decorations on the wall but neither they are necessary nor they are a guaranty for success. In traditional Chinese schools the master selects the best student to pass on his teachings and his art but is not awarding a certificate for that.

For my opinion the teacher himself should be a living example for the effects of the practice. The right combination of skills and the ability of teaching is crucial fact.

Try a few schools and teachers and see which one harmonizes best with you! Ask for trial sessions or special “beginner starting lessons”.

Ask questions in a respectful manner. What to ask if everything is so unknown and brand new to you? Here a few possibilities:

- How long is the teacher practice Qigong himself? (It should be at least a few years)

- How often is he/she practicing? (practice what you teach and teach what you practice!)

- What benefits and effects did your practice get him/her?

- Since what time is he/she teaching Qigong?

- How big are the practice groups?

- Are there courses for advanced students? (this could be an indicator of width and depth)

- Is it allowed to ask questions during the lessons? (traditional is wasn’t allowed to ask the master anything at all, but today we know that is increases progress and understanding)

- Tell your own goals and ask if participants already had such results.

- Ask the students about their experiences and success stories.

After your trial lesson ask yourself how you feel. If you are feeling exhausted, groggy and used up, you did not practice Qigong even though it might called Qigong and may look like. After your practice you should feel refreshed, agile, peaceful and energetic. Also ask yourself if the teacher did respect and consider you as a beginner and if you got a kind of overview.

Besides the depth of Qigong lays in the simplicity. Often Qigong is practices in complicating and strict forms which basically is not wrong but usually not necessary with quality practice.

Have the movements been explained or have you been thrown in at the deep end? Maybe there are details you have expected but haven’t been considered? That might be because the teacher did not wanted to overwhelm you right from the start, but the movement performance should at least be explained roughly.

If the teacher explains that Qigong is no Meditation but stretching and mobilisation exercises and that there is no such energy as Qi, he or she has never experienced the real depth of Qigong and it is time for you to leave…

A good teaching will make difficult things easy! So the cueing should not be cryptic or mystical without further explanations. A good teacher will find simple words to explain all the important and necessary concepts. Great masters transfer the art from heart to heart. So if you don´t feel any kind of connection or inspiration you should continue your search.

After finding your teacher/master, hold on to his/her instructions and teachings! Besides I nevertheless would like to give you a few things at hand that have helped me on MY way. First three rules:

1. Don´t worry

2. Don´t intelectualize aka don´t think things over to much

3. Enjoy your practice

These simple rules have really profound effects. Also you should:

- Concentrate on the development of skills not on the performance of techniques.

- Practice outdoors in nature or at least ventilate well your room.

- Schedule a specific time for your practice and

- Tell your family or housemates that you now will have “your” time and like to be undisturbed

- Always take a few moments to calm down and centre yourself before you start your practice.

That´s it for today´s story. I know it was a littlebit more content than normally but I thought this might be helpful for you, especially if you like to dive in deeper and more professionally into Qigong…

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Martin Josuweit

I live and work in Germany, in the beautyful Harz-Mountains. I am a certified Health Practitioner, a Personal Trainer, Coach and a Teacher for medical Qigong.