The Qi In Qigong

…meanwhile, if you read my prior stories here at Medium, you already got some Impressions and a first approach to Qigong. And for all the content of my little articles I try to put myself into your shoes and think back to MY starting steps in Qigong. What have been my BIG questions and issues I really liked to be solved right from the beginning?

So today I like to talk about the QI in Qigong again. Not only because it is THE most important aspect in the Traditional Chinese Medicine and within Qigong. Not just because its this “mystical” energy being the factor to initialize healing in your body. But because its also the most difficult aspect about Qigong…

Honestly, what did you thought when I first mentioned, that Qi is a form of energy, running on special channels or vessels, which are called meridians, in the body? What will you think, if I tell you, that the TCM even purport that this Qi is “intelligent”? That Qi itself “knows” where it is needed in the body and how to “work” on health issues?…

It feels at least a littlebit odd, doesn´t it? Or you even think of something esoteric or even occult, right?! I can asure you it is not, though I confess, that it really IS somewhat mystical or arcane. But to be honest again, isn´t it this mystic appearance that creates a lot of the fascination about Qigong and the methods of the Traditional Chinese Medicine, like Acupuncture, Tuina, Gua Sha and others? Its this fascination of the Unknown, that kind of unconcious HOPE that all these magic like possibilities may be true and that I can access them, approach and use them for my own sake…

Well, this is what I had going on in MY mind in the early stages of my Journey with Qigong, but I am pretty sure that in yours quite simillar thoughts are playing around, aren´t there?…

Thats the reason why today I like to introduce you a little deeper to the Qi. I will also kind of “demystify” it a littlebit, though I endeavor not to “kill” the fascination within you, but to keep it alive and maybe even cheer it on…

Today and maybe in continuing stories I like to show you little “gizmos”, so you will be able to experience Qi. Because once again and honestly, I can talk about Qi as much as I like, BUT you cannot see it… So do you have to just believe what I say? No, because though you cannot SEE the Qi does not prove, that it doesn´t exist. Look at electricity. If you are somebody who has never ever before came in contact with electricity, how can I explain it to you? I can talk about its effects and possibilities. I can show you how to switch on and off the lights just by pressing a button. You will possibly think it is working magic, won´t you?! I might get you to believe me, BUT that is not the same as to KNOW what it is, how it feels like and to understand at least a littlebit of its origin, even though you don´t need to become a physicist or electritian. So what if I (what for Gods sake I won´t do! ;-) ) ask you to take a needle in each hand and insert them into a socket-outlet… THEN you instantly will know how electricity feels like, right?!

Though this was just a mental experiment and would be dangerous to be implemented in real life!!! It may illustrate how to get “internal” knowledge of something thitherto being unknown… and that within an instant. And this is what I can try to do for you with the Qi as well. I will try to show you how to sense and feel the Qi yourself, so you know from your own experience that it exist and you don´t just have to believe what I talk about.

Are you ready for something like that? Don´t worry, what we are going to do will not harm you, like the experiment with the electricity would have… (though a much deeper approach to Qi then what are we going to do here, without having the proper knowledge and practice, CAN lead to harm, problems and even health issues! So please do not play with “magic”! Learn and practice from and with a good teacher and approach the deeper knowledge bit by bit. Don´t try to shortcut things or think you have found a way to skip some steps on your way with Qigong! There have been hundrets of generations of Qigong students prior to you and believe me, there already has been tried almost every possible approach to Qigong before, so PLEASE, for your own sake and health do not try to reinvent the wheel!)

With that said, lets do our little Qi-Experiment. I already introduced you to the “Return of Spring” Movement, that I liked to call “Flour-Dust” Exercise. I want you to do the movement again today, but only shaking off the dust, not the energy-cleaning at the end. So go ahead, just practice the movement for a while. And then I want you to just come to stillness and close your eyes. Now listen into your body. Feel, sense,… compare to how certain body parts felt before you practiced the shaking? Try to describe the difference or disparity with your own words…

For example, do your hands feel like vibrating from the inside? Or you got tickling sensations in them or on your skin? Is there this ants-running-feeling again? Are they warm or cold? Do they feel like swollen?…

All these kinds of sensations are effects, impacts or aftermaths of the Qi comming to the surface of your body. Lets say there you are able to sense the Qi through your nerves… Though this is only half of the truth, but its enough to explain what happened. So what you sensed are consequences of the circulating Qi. And no matter WHAT you sensed of felt, just TRUST your perception! Once again there is no good or bad, right or wrong, just the truth of YOUR sensation of the Qi.

Actually this IS the most tricky thing about the Qi, the spectrum of its effects and the different sensations each person has of it! Its logic on one side, because each person is different and so are his or her experiences in life (it might be interesting to try this with twins), but on the other hand it makes it even more complicating to introduce and explain the concept of Qi to students. On a workshop in China I asked the master about the liver-energy and how it may be felt inside. And he answered with a smile, that he could tell me how it feels for HIM, but for me it would in all probability feel completely different. He was right and I had to recognize, that EVERYBODY has to experience and learn for him- or herself how the Qi manifests. Sorry, this may sound a little disillusioning, but there is no generalized feeling or sensing of Qi. Though there are basic effects, that ARE the same for everyone.

But, HEY! We have just started the Journey, so isn´t it obvious, that we cannot expect or anticipate to already getting access to the knowledge of the whole journey?! We will dive deeper into it step by step and catch all those little bubbles of knowledge and wisdom on the way, to consume them and add them to our own collection of experiences…

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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.