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.
Day 3, 17/09/11: Discovering Qigong - China
The morning started off with a meditation and qigong practice in the courtyard. After a banquet fit for an emperor we began qigong treatments.
As I entered the treatment room my body was already tense. It's amazing how quickly the body learns... 'Pain'... In fact I don't think I've ever been as conscious of my own body's vulnerability as I am here.
Not sure what was different about today but my experience of it was the complete opposite to yesterday. As I lay down receiving the energy transmission I felt overwhelmed by a sea of colour; the transitions a kaleidoscope, waves and water.
On leaving the room I felt so much lighter... well, until I was prompted to go to for a foot treatment. Eek the memories of yesterday lay scarred in every cell.
A different student treated me today and it was a completely different experience. The foot pressure was so much more consistent; the rotations invited me deeper as each finger squeezed its way up the energy channels. The connection was visceral and for a split second I felt present in my own body.
Now, of course that sounds the most instinctual, natural thing in the world but for me it's huge. For years I have existed as a head. Straight up; I see my body, I push my body, I challenge my body but all the while it remains a separate entity.
Gabby was sat next to me in the treatment room and as she squirmed and mumbled I opened an eye, she had the same girl as me yesterday. In closing my eyes it was a fight to stifle my giggles; I so wanted to say, 'I know what you're going through love'.
With the foot treatments complete we were sent to another room where I caught glimpse of some acupuncture needles. My instant reaction was one of shock. 'Hang-on I don't remember acupuncture being mentioned and I'm not sure I'm comfortable to have needles inserted... big needles; I mean are they clean?'
Once again this merely served to demonstrate that I still have massive issues around saying, 'no'. During "Path of Love" I discovered that for some reason; during some time or another I made the association that saying 'no' meant forever. As a result I am never clear about what I want, need or how I feel about things.
As Master Wan entered the room, I lay back and thought of England; in lifting my t-shirt he inserted three needles in my stomach and one above each elbow. As soon as the needle in my left arm went in the energy flow was instant; like a powerful current, the pulse radiated.
Unlike the acupuncture I've experienced in the West Master Wan used a slightly different technique. He literally 'fired' the needles in; the movement was so quick, so precise that I felt the hit, almost like a slap but didn't actually feel the needles.
After lunch Master Wan painted our personal calligraphies. It was quite a ceremony; he used qigong movements to receive our energy before transmuting its essence onto the scroll. With everyone's attention so focused the atmospheric energy became heavy, oppressive, and as the temperature rose I found myself with a thumping headache.
As I sat on the chair in front of Master Wan I began to drift, catching myself I thought, 'think mountains girl, think mountains'. For some reason I really wanted to emit mountainous chi, however when I opened my eyes I saw three Koi. Hmm well I suppose if mountains are yang and water is yin perhaps I needed the Koi to harmonise the yang; balance the masculine energy.
No sooner had the calligraphy ceremony finished we were swept off for a meditation session followed by massage. My body is definitely feeling more receptive today; perhaps it's starting to accept how powerless it is and therefore how futile any form of defence would be.
After a lavish banquet I was given two boxes of herbal tablets and instructed to take four tablets twice a day. Considering I have absolutely no idea what these are, let alone what they're for I'm amazed at how willing I am to take them. Talk about heuristics overload; it's like I've given up all responsibility to take care of myself out here.