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  • What: An ancient healing system which focuses on the restoration of holistic balance through gentle breathing techniques and slow movements

  • Origins: Qigong can be traced back some two thousand years in ancient China.

  • Benefits:Qigong can harmonise, strengthen and have a healing effect on the functioning of all the internal organs and bodily systems. It increases the supply and flow of energy throughout the body, can have a variety of rejuvenating effects and is believed to increase longevity as it induces calm mental and emotional states.

  • Journal:Click here

Day 12, 26/09/11: Discovering Qigong - China

After an early qigong practice the group headed out to explore the Great Wall of China. Due to the rising level of pollution it's actually becoming difficult to see even the sky, instead everything appears as a poorly focused image; each pixel visible.

Like a dragons back snaking up and over the ridgelines the wall itself was an impressive sight.

A distant snapshot however is how I choose to remember this is epic structure, because once I set foot on it the enamour soon faded.

The wall itself was covered by a blanket of people; ahead, behind people cascaded, our pace and direction predetermined. As a result of an internal tourism campaign the wall now contains as many Chinese nationals as there are bricks in the wall.

In no uncertain terms this wall symbolises fear; the lengths people will go to in order to put up protective walls and barriers. Unfortunately it didn't work and on a metaphoric level it is often these early survival mechanisms that become our separating barriers in later life.

After braving the wave of people I decided to concede defeat, instead seeking a quieter spot where I could step back and explore my surroundings. As I did so I stood talking to Pokey.

Sometimes in life I meet people who I feel I have already met, and that's exactly how I feel about Pokey. I'm a person who shies away from any form of relationship, a person who doesn't like to get close but with Pokey it feels like that side of things has already happened. The result of which is really very potent.

Back at the institute we received treatments and after the emotions of yesterday I was glad to settle back into my body.

Lying out in the yard one of the girls began to walk on my back, as she did so she kept revisiting the same spot, pressing firmly with her toes. The area was to the left of my spine and as she did so it felt as if something was about to rupture inside or be pushed through my stomach. It was very unnerving, almost as if something felt swollen inside.

During acupuncture I received another six needles in my back; this time however they were placed around my lower spine.

Sh*t when these went in and were 'twisted' I certainly swallowed hard. Once again a raw nerve felt as if it had been hit, only this time the sensation was all too familiar.

The last time I felt this was at a Sangye Menhla retreat in Glastonbury. The tell-tale signs were very apparent.

As I lay with the heater lamp positioned above I could feel the energy flowing in, around and through my entire body. As it flowed a warm tide pulsated, its liquid flow filling every curve and crevasse with an arousing heat.

As the colours danced before my eyes, my temperature rose; here wrapped in a blanket of bliss I wanted for nothing... except of course my dignity.

After the treatments had finished I was feeling pretty spaced out; we each took an item to Master Wan to bless. Once again in the Taoist tradition the drums and bells sung out, pounding, beating; the energy was intense. My head was banging and with a sore neck I approached holding my Mala beads.

Outside in the courtyard Francesco led a qigong practice and before long we were collectively making Chinese dumplings. I had so much fun, though none of mine looked anything like a Chinese dumpling.

Being in this lively, laughter filled environment is great, such a release. Each and every person has brought their own energy, their own stuff to deal with and process yet here we all are making dumplings together, unified in simplicity. It really is a beautiful thing to witness.

As time goes on, Master Wan is also loosening; his inner vitality is becoming more and more noticeable. At times it's like playing qigong with an excitable, mischievous child. His spirit and energy is there for all to witness; for all to share.

After our dumpling extravaganza Taina & I performed a treatment on each other. As she was transmitting chi I began to feel really hot, at times uncomfortably so. This time when I transmitted I didn't experience any feedback through my Lao Gong point; the tingling sensation and heat were conspicuous by their absence. Instead I had a strong desire to radiate my palm back and forth in a wave like motion.