Monday, September 6, 2010

Qigong Meditation

Yin and yang stones
"Qigong meditation" is a redundant phrase, because if you are doing qigong, your are engaging in a form of meditation. Static meditation postures are probably more familiar to most, sitting cross-legged or in a chair. In the qigong tradition, there are also static standing postures, or zhan zhuang.

The principles used in static meditations are carried into the movement forms, where practitioners observe tranquility and maintain internal awareness to become familiar with the emptiness within movement and the interplay between yin and yang energies as they practice the forms.

A meditative mindset is aided in the movement forms by focusing on centering the movements from the lower dantien and by doing them in a mindfully - mindful of the physical movements and how they are being performed, the state of mind, the internal aspects including the energy flow and the breathing.

Meditation can be done on a single physical aspect of a movement over fixed periods of time so that one makes stepwise improvement in awareness and ability, much in the way that sitting meditations often focus on a single aspect, such as following the breath.  Once this is mastered, one can progress to a more advanced practice like abdominal breathing. In moving practices, repeating a movement oven and over is helpful, but it is also helpful to focus on one aspect of a movement, such as movement from a single part of the body like the wrists or elbows.

Another aspect of Qigong Meditation in the Water Tradition is that there is no force.  Force has no role within this tradition, rather, it can hinder your progress.  Use your intention in a gentle fashion to bring you back to your practice when distractions occur. Return back to your central point of meditation.  

So, if you are doing qigong and you aren't meditating (or focusing in a relaxed manner), you are just dancing or doing free-form movement. Not that this wouldn't improve your health or result in healing (it would help with flexibility and mobility at least) but it does not include the internal aspects of meditation and energy development that are the principle benefits of Chinese qigong practice.

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1 comment:

  1. I've been practicing the standing post (zhan zhuang)for 15 years. It helped me beat four bouts of supposedly terminal bone lymphoma back in the early nineties. I recommend it highly as a way to improve health and strength.

    It's difficult for many in the West to meditate, either sitting or standing, as it appears one is "doing nothing" and not accomplishing a tangible goal. As though one is wasting time. But everything positive is happening internally in mind and body. A good way to fool the "monkey mind"--that which floods one with absurd doubts and worries--is to focus on simple visualizations to move energy.