Qigong, Workshops, and Your Inner Practice

Last month I facilitated the first Qigong workshop since returning to England. The newly opened Meditation and Mindfulness Centre (Kagyu Samye Dzong Charity) in Scarborough was the perfect place to hold this event and the resident nun attended the course with 20 other attendees.

This has been an amazing transformation for me after 2012 when I was diagnosed with Cancer and received alternative treatment in Germany. To return to my home county of Yorkshire and teach my passion, Qigong, is indeed a blessing.

buddhist hallThe workshop focused around the basic understanding of Qi and how in this modern world we leak energy from our mind-based living; and how to reconnect to the middle and lower Dantian (centres) with breath and focus. Exercises with acupressure points and meridian opening were shown and practised with some visualisation and meditation. Lastly we focused on 3 Qigong postures and movements, guiding and practising to build a foundation for home use.

My Qigong journey started over 25 years ago being fascinated with energy and the mind. The science of Taoism has understood energy for thousands of years, and, like Yogic science, with the right practice of simple yet powerful movements, extraordinary changes happen in our body and mind.

For as long as we have written records the privileged have tended to care only for their own well-being while the under privileged have been deprived of realising their capabilities and accessing the bountifulness that is available for all. We now have access to a ton of information across the globe, but the information is of no use unless we can fully connect and experience through our bodies (and in our hearts) with minimal interference from our head space. Intellectualising will bring no benefits to your Qigong or Yoga practice!

Over the years I have experienced in practice some of my biggest challenges and setbacks. Yet it is through me diving deeper into the inner world (by this I mean internal body) that the biggest transformations have taken place. On days when I am so attached to my perception of how a certain day should look like and then I am met with the opposite to my idealised thinking, the practice becomes even more important to realign myself to my “now” experience. This gives space to allow the flow (Tao) to develop again.

I used to look for the perfect place to do my practice; outdoors with the right tree, flat ground and away from people and.. and.. and! Until one of my teachers told the story of his teacher who practised on a roof top at 1 to 2 am to avoid being seen by authorities who banned Qigong/ Taichi Chuan and spirit practice in China at that time. That truly took me back inside and be grateful for the opportunities and freedom I had. I now practise (aspects of either mindful awareness, breath or movement) in airports, train stations, in bed, or while cooking, and no one would even notice it.

In a Taoist practice we are looking to create a foundation of understanding, whether it be breath, movement, meditation or visualisation. It doesn’t always have to be a full hour’s intense practice, it could be just 5 minutes of mindful breathing, as long as you are present.

Let me end by saying we need to be firm, clear and be prepared to face our biggest enemy (ourselves) in this practice. You will experience days when you will feel too tired, too unmotivated, and too depressed to do any practice at all. This is when you need that practice the most. If you have already created a routine and discipline around this, then your body’s intelligence will guide you. Never give up! Remember to keep focused and not get caught wandering with either idle desires or the seduction of other people’s practice.

Blue sky blessings,

Neale

P.S. The workshop in Scarborough was videoed and some parts will be showcased on our website. A further date has been booked for the next workshop on the 6th of May at the Buddhist centre in Scarborough, which will be very useful for both returnees and new participants. Any questions please contact me on health@nealesvenson.com.au, or call U.K. mobile 0744 7423 531.

Top 10 Tips for a Spiritually Healthier You

1. Learn to meditate

There are many different ways to meditate from walking mediation to standing meditation. One of the easiest to start with is just to count the breathing in through the nose in 4 counts, then hold for 2 counts, then breathe out the nose for 4 counts. See how quickly your mind wanders, it happens to everyone. Don’t give up just re-focus and start again. Enough training develops the strength. Begin the process of meditation with small steps.

2. Learn to connect back to the breath (sequences of 4-2-4 or 4-7-8)

As described in the first tip 4-2-4 is one breath pattern. Another stress relieving breath sequence is 4-7-8; inhale through nose 4 counts, hold 7 counts, breathe out through the mouth for 8 counts.

3.Create more discipline

Stick to things, develop kidney energy, do horse stance*.

Sadly lacking in the modern world, discipline helps you keep going when things get tough. When used with breath and focus, knowing that all things in life change, nothing stays the same. Giving in to base desires weakens your entire system.

*Horse stance

Start with feet shoulder width apart and slight grip with toes. Bend the knees while maintaining a straight back (bum not sticking out, tuck in tail bone). Lift up perineum and hold throughout. The more the knees are bent the stronger the exercise. Hands and palms face lower dantian. Elbows bent, gap in armpit. Head upright, look straight ahead with eyelids 9/10 closed. Breath is long, deep, smooth and even.Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 3.31.56 pm
4. Always eat as well as you can, get to know your body’s needs.

So much rubbish in supermarkets does not make it easy, having discipline definitely helps with this one also , try to buy organic local and fresh as possible , cook, prepare yourself , we are what we eat and what we assimilate.

ireland

5. Learn compassion, firstly with self then others, then all of life

Have understanding for your own situation. Develop empathy with self like you would a best friend, not in a way of excuse. Once you have some compassion for self then you can have compassion for others and humanity.

6. Find the meaning for your life, connected to going in and meditating

Mostly we have lost the meaning of life and we are programmed to believe that to get educated, get a job, retire, die… is our purpose?!! 1st understanding is “ Chop wood, carry water”. Understanding this goes a long way in the reality on this earth.

7. Start the day with 3 positives, end the day with 3 positives

Start the day in a positive way , gears the mind and body to look at things differently and it’s amazing how other positives follow , don’t look at life from your perception, but with new eyes every day.

8. Help others in some way

When helping others even in small ways gives the heart a moment of feeling love and this feel good becomes infectious and shows others a way to be kind.

9. Let go of stuff, become more simple

Wether it’s stuff in the house or thoughts in your head, decluttering is very liberating. Then become aware of what you buy ecologically, where is it made? Do I really need it? How will it be recycled when I don’t want it anymore? In the head letting go of thoughts, attachments, or old habits. You need to practise this with the first tip and adding discipline.

10. Know your heart

Get to know you better, what is it that you love? Not in pleasing someone else but ask yourself different questions. Check in to see how you really feel, remember feeling is not a thought.

These are my top 10 that I use on a regular basis to build energy and develop myself with in this life. We all need guide posts, tips, mentors and friends to give us a reflection and support when we get stuck.

Find your most important top 10, write them down and work with them on a regular basis.