Day 6 of the 30 Day Qigong Challenge: Combination

energy circulationHey, sorry for the privately posted youtube videos for day 4 and 5.  They are now public so check ’em out.  You have now learned all the moves for the first series.  Today we are going to do them as a sequence.  I often alternate days with this series and the next series I will teach you (involving targeting specific organs).  I’m going to ask you to do this series for the next 5 days.  No, it is not because I’m too lazy to record subsequent videos.  It’s because I want you to experience the feeling of the building and circulating the qi energy within you.  I’m also being extra cautious to make sure you are able to circulate the energy so that we can safely move on to the next exercises in a few days.

Alright rock and roll: Qigong Challenge days 6-10

Also, please post to let me know if there is anything specific you want to learn or to share about any sensations you have been feeling:)

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Day 5 of the 30 Day Qigong Challenge: Circulating Through the Microcosm

We are going to circulate our energy through the microcosmic orbit.  Pretty spacey huh.

We are going to circulate our energy through the microcosmic orbit. Pretty spacey huh.

Thanks so much for sticking with this.  Today we will be taking the beating and drumming of the qi to the next level and circulating through our yin and yang governing vessels (through the microcosm, aka our body and head).  This is a great way to open up our qi flow to make it easier to eventually be able to affect and aid specific ailments and organs.

Here’s your next video: Day 5 of the Qigong Challenge

Day 4 of the 30 Day Qigong Challenge: Beating and Drumming of the Qi–Energy Building

Beating and Drumming of the QiWelcome to day 4.  Good job for sticking to this.  You will add quantity and quality to your life with qigong.  Can you tell I’m obsessed?  Today you will learn to start to build your qi energy through an exercise called “beating and drumming of the qi”.  You are essentially rotating a ball of energy inside your lower dan tien (between your perineum, your low back, and the space just below your navel).  This energy is like your life force and the more you build the more you will have to use.  Sounds pretty good huh?

Click here to view the qigong video: Qigong Challenge Day 4

Day 3 of the Qigong Challenge: Grounding Through the 1-4 Meditation

In today's exercise, you will imagine roots growing from your "bubbling spring point".  This point can be located near the center of the ball of your foot.

In today’s exercise, you will imagine roots growing from your “bubbling spring point”. This point can be located near the center of the ball of your foot.

Welcome to Day 3.  I am changing my plans a bit.  Originally, I was hoping to share all the movements I’ve learned with you over the next few weeks.  I have, however, begun to see the power of qigong the last couple nights and feel it would be irresponsible to teach you the more advanced techniques as I myself (after practicing for 5 months) am not quite ready for them.  Let me explain.  Last week in my class, we learned a meditation exercise to open the flow of all the meridians.  That night (after class) I had a crazy dream (wish I could remember it now to share with you).  You know, one of those dreams where you are so super busy or running around, or stressed or being chased that, even though you slept through the entire night, you wake up exhausted and worn out.  Well, I brought this up to my qigong teacher and he explained it was normal because I may have opened some channels that had not been opened in a while.  That was all well and fine but then something happened recently.  We had just learned to connect our three dan tiens (similar to chakras–connecting the 1. physical with the 2. heart center or mind with the 3. spiritual center) in my class.  I went to bed at 11pm as planned and lay there for an hour or more, restless.  Makes sense given that I was more accustomed to sleeping around midnight.  I eventually fell asleep and woke up around 3am to pee (I almost always wake up in the middle of the night for my dang bladder).  But then I couldn’t go back to sleep.  I tossed and turned for a good hour and a half (my poor husband).  Not only that but I was burning up (this has to do with some latent heat thing in Chinese medicine).  I’m often freezing when I go to bed but then I turn into a human furnace when I fall asleep.  I finally gave up my battle with sleep and got out of bed around 4:30am.  I realized my stomach was upset and I had a bought of diarrhea (I know TMI but it’s relevant), took a bath (to calm my stomach) and did some online shopping (found some adorable organic baby clothes for all my friends having babies).  I finally went back to bed around 6am.  I thought it might have been the raw yogurt I’d eaten that night but I had my herbalist test it using muscle testing and it was fine.

In the 1-4 meditation, you will imagine tree roots growing from the balls of your feet, gripping the earth and grounding you.

In the 1-4 meditation, you will imagine tree roots growing from the balls of your feet, gripping the earth and grounding you.

I later e-mailed my qigong teacher and he said that the dan tien exercise could have easily caused the issues.  He explained that usually, for the dan tien exercise, the response would be more emotional but that I should stay away from it for a bit and do more exercises to ground myself (i.e. the 1-4 meditation that we will do today).  I wonder if it was a bit of an emotional response as my colitis flare ups are so often associated with heartache and stress (not that this was a flare up, but it did involve some intestinal distress).  So, last night, I followed his instructions and slept way more soundly and feel much better today.  Long story short (too late as usual), I want to give you qigong information that will help you and strengthen you.  However, it is important to remember how very powerful this martial art can be.  It’s really so crazy cool!  Blows my mind.

Ok, you ready?  Click here for your next video: http://youtu.be/YBfN-kKpbG8

Relaxation and Protection against colds: 30 Day Qigong Challenge: Day 2

So cute.  We could all use a little more sleep and pictures of babies sleeping with baby animals.

So cute. We could all use a little more sleep and pictures of babies sleeping with baby animals.

Hey ya’ll, how’s the qigonging going?  In addition to my 30 day challenge, I am also challenging myself (you can choose to follow along if you so desire) to go to bed by 11pm every night for the next 30 nights.  We shall see.  This is probably the most difficult thing for me to do.  I can give up my beloved candy, even chewy candy and chocolate.  I can eat only organic.  I can give up eating out and cook my every meal (because restaurants rarely serve all organic/grass fed/non processed foods).  I can give up gluten.  All these things and more are things I have done in the last 6-8  months.  I, however, have not been able to successfully go to bed before 11pm on a consistent basis.  Even on those nights when I start talking about getting ready for bed around 10pm, before I know it, it’s midnight.  I have no idea what happens between the intention and the action, but it has been my biggest struggle.

Ok, I swear, last cute picture of babies sleeping.

Ok, I swear, last cute picture of babies sleeping.

Going to bed before 11pm is one thing that the majority of herbalists, acupuncturists, healers across the planet will say is the most important thing to do to take care of your health.  Just as eating and breathing is essential to our lives, so is sleep and adequate sleep.  Most people spend their days tired without even realizing it because it has become such a state of their being.  I completely understand; modern living and working does not leave time for an 8-9 hour night of sleep and often makes going to bed before 11pm impossible if you want to have any sort of social life or life outside of work and eating food.  However, that doesn’t take the importance away from it.  Our organs each need a certain amount of sleep.  Think of it like this: if your lungs and kidneys need two hours of sleep to regenerate the energy and effectiveness to properly function the following day, and then your liver and spleen need another two hours, then your large and small intestines need a couple hours, your gallbladder and liver need a couple hours; that’s 8 hours right there.  So if you get 6 then your poor liver and gallbladder.  Hopefully you don’t drink alcohol because then you’re screwed.  I didn’t pair up the organs quite right but that’s the general idea.

Ok, enough of that shpeel.  Today’s qigong movement focuses on relaxation and protections.  We will essentially be building a protective bubble around us made up of the heavens and the earth (quite a bubble if you ask me).  This is a great movement to do especially if you are feeling under the weather or around cold season (or just in general).

Here it is: http://youtu.be/LldZ36jeswY

Day one of the 30 day Qigong challenge…Food Qi Stagnation (good for weight loss and digestion)

It's official, I've made the first qigong video!

It’s official, I’ve made the first qigong video!

Ok, I have three takers (I know I said 5 but I was going to do this irregardless), so here’s my first instructional qigong video.  One thing I forgot to mention on the video, you should touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth just behind your teeth.  You should do this for the duration of all the movements.  I was also told, during one of my first classes to also slightly squeeze my anal sphincter (internally, just to clarify) as well but when I brought up concerns of pains I was having (perhaps from squeezing too much?) to my teacher he never mentioned that part again so I’m not sure how important that part is (it’s supposed to create some sort of a connection from your tongue to the roof of your mouth down to your perineum).  If you choose to do this, do so with caution:)

The muscles of the female perineum.  Do yourselves a favor and do not google search "perineum" images.  I know this is very similar to telling you not to think about an elephant but don't say I didn't warn you.

The muscles of the female perineum. I had to look this up after my first class just to clarify exactly what/where the perineum was.  Do yourselves a favor and do not google search “perineum” images. I know this is very similar to telling you not to think about an elephant but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Please give feedback on how the experience was for you and what you felt.  It is likely you will feel very little the first few times but as your qi (pronounced “chi) builds you will begin to feel more and more and begin to see the benefits of qigong.

I had to divide the video into two parts (I am new to this and didn’t realize youtube would only allow me to post up to 15 minutes).  The first part is the bulk of the practice.  The second video is just a little exercise to try to feel the energy you have created.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to ask questions if you are confused or want to request to learn something to target a specific problem area for you.

This exercise is good for “food qi stagnation”.  It is best to be done 5-10 minutes after eating to help digestion.  I do it anytime though, especially before I go to bed.  It’s a great exercise that accesses all your meridians.

Day one of 30 day qigong challenge Part I: http://youtu.be/7QZG2dnTKqU

Part II (short clip, an exercise on feeling the energy you’ve generated): http://youtu.be/UaBSNc3lMHY

30 Day Qigong Challenge…

I have a proposal for you, a chance for you to be involved in my, and your own, human experiment.  It’s kinda like the “30 day abs challenge” or “a better butt in 30 days” but I’m proposing better internal strength, ability to deal with stress, diminishing headaches, sleep better in 30 days kind of challenge.  Of course, this is not all for you.  Yep, I have selfish motives in this proposal.

This is what my dad brought home, a whole box of boxes of the most delicious chewy goodness (even better than marshmallow circus peanuts!).  Too bad I never got any, except for the few I snuck, in secret, from their "hiding" place in the back of the pantry.

This is what my dad brought home, a whole box of boxes of the most delicious chewy goodness (even better than marshmallow circus peanuts!). Too bad I never got any, except for the few I snuck, in secret, from their “hiding” place in the back of the pantry.

You see, ever since I was a child I have enjoyed the external motivation of a challenge to help me to achieve new goals.  I would probably have to thank my dad for this gift I possess.  He once bet me an entire box of boxes of Botan Rice Candy that I couldn’t have my room cleaned by the time he returned from his business trip to California.

Botan Rice Candy is just about the tastiest Japanese chewy candy I’d ever had the privilege to dig my teeth into, not to mention the super cool rice paper they were wrapped in that led to extended periods of enjoyment watching friends, ignorant of the edible quality of rice paper, try to peel the impossibly fine, fragile paper from the sticky candy.  Now here’s the catch–while I did love engaging in a challenge, I rarely saw the challenge through.  So, unfortunately, my dad came home with a big box of boxes of my favorite candy and I was never able to enjoy it (due to never cleaning my room) and it sat in the top of our pantry till the candies hardened with age and became inedible.

Here's a close-up of the edible rice paper around the candies that made them such a novelty!

Here’s a close-up of the edible rice paper around the candies that made them such a novelty!

I bet you’re wondering what’s the point to your challenge now?  Well the stakes are higher and I need some external motivation to reach my goal, and my goal is even more desirable than a box full of boxes of Botan Rice Candy (I know, hard to believe such a thing exists!).  My goal is to strengthen myself enough internally that I can successfully ween off my Western medications in the next 30 days (or at least begin to ween off).  I need your help though and I thought it would also be cool if I helped you in the meanwhile by teaching you techniques to overcome stress, headaches, etc.  My proposition is that I will post periodic instructional videos on qigong movements while explaining the intention behind them and what they target.  I, myself, will be practicing qigong more often for longer periods of time (I currently do 7-20 minutes before going to bed each night; it has greatly affected the quality of my sleep).  Together, we will be working on our internal strengthening and hopefully this can be somewhat interactive.  You can post questions about effects that you have felt after doing the qigong as well as questions about qigong that can help certain ailments that you suffer from.  I will post about my progress and answer your questions to the best of my ability.

Oh, did I mention they candy came with a sticker?  Once upon a time, I believe they came with temporary tattoos which is way cooler.

Oh, did I mention they candy came with a sticker? Once upon a time, I believe they came with temporary tattoos which is way cooler.

Here comes the disclaimer: I have been studying qigong once a week from a qigong master and have been doing this for 5 months.  I am not a qigong master and do not have a certification to teach qigong (not sure if you need one?).  I am obviously not doing this for profit.  I am just a girl with colitis who wants to kick this illness in the ass and needs some help with it.  Believe it or not, I do not wake up chipper to follow my diet, prepare my every meal, get acupuncture appointments, cook my herbs and take handfuls of supplements every day.  Some days, such as yesterday, my energy is low, my mood is crappy and I just wish I was normal.  Not normal like someone who eats MacDonald’s (because that would kill me and probably anyone if taken in large enough doses), but normal like someone who does not have to think about how everything they do or eat will affect their health and illness.  But I’m not normal and I never will be, I must just resign to being an anomaly.  So what do you say?  Are you in?  If I get at least 5 responses, I will start posting instructional videos…

Don't worry, you do not need to be able to do what this qigong master is doing in order to see the benefits of qigong.  It can even be done sitting or laying down.

Don’t worry, you do not need to be able to do what this qigong master is doing in order to see the benefits of qigong. It can even be done sitting or laying down.

Hmm, just realized I should tell you a bit about qigong before you agreed to embark on this journey.  While it is an ancient Chinese martial art, it is not physically strenuous and can even be done sitting or laying down.  All qigong routines include three main elements: breath, movement and intent.  For example, there is a movement that I use when I feel a headache coming on which involves bringing your hands over your head, around your ears and pushing your arms out in front of you.  While doing this, you envision a green color entering your liver and gallbladder (space just below your right ribs) on your inhale and the color exiting your liver and gallbladder on your exhale.  This may sound confusing, but with practice, it becomes easier and you will see results.  There is also a movement called “food qi stagnation” which can help with weight loss and improved digestion–great for those large meals that often leave a soul comatose.