Sunday, September 27, 2009

Smiling to the Inner Organs Meditation

This is a fifteen minute recording of a meditation that we have been doing quite a lot recently in the Qi Gong classes. It is a fundamental Qi Gong meditation form for clearing the internal organs of negative or congested Qi within the bodily organs, and helping them to become positively charged and healthy. People at the clases have been mentioning how helpful they found it, so here it is for you to listen to at leasure! (click on link below)

Smiling to the Inner Organs Meditation

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Incremental Breathing

Incremental breathing is a way of using the breath to both energize and or relax our mind and body. Taking a few of these breaths at regular times during our day can really make a difference to the quality of our life, as well as making us more aware and empowered with regard to how we can influence the energies of our mind, body and nervous system for the better using such an easy technique. Incremental breathing can be practiced on the inhalation when we want to energize our body, and on the exhalation when we want to calm and relax our body and nervous system.
Practicing either of these two forms of breathing will be enhanced if we are first bringing our center of gravity down low into the belly, and breathing with the whole lung, as explained in the basic Qi Gong breathing article published earlier.

Incremental breathing on the inhalation.
As you breathe in divide your inhalation into three even lengths or 'sips' as follows:
Breathe into about 25% lung capacity, pause*, breathe in to about 50% of lung capacity, pause, breathe into about 75% of lung capacity, pause. By this time your lungs are comfortably full. Then, breathe a long, slow exhalation. Repeat 3-9 times.
(*the pause here should be short, a half second or one second max).
Once you have become used to the above technique, as you are inhaling incrementally, feel all the cells of your body becoming more and more energized as you inhale, so by the time you reach the top of your inbreath, your whole body feels full of Qi /energy.

Incremental breathing on the exhalation.
First take a long, measured inbreath to about 75% of your lung capacity, so that your lungs are comfortably full. Then, as you breathe out, divide your outbreath into three even lengths:
Breathe out to about 50% of lung capacity, pause, breathe out to about 25% of lung capacity, pause, empty remaining air from lungs, pause. Repeat 3-9 times.
Once you have become used to the basic process of incremental breathing on the outbreath, as you breathe out incrementally, feel your whole body becoming progressively more and more relaxed.

Once you have practised them individually, you can combine these two techniques together, so that you are breathing in incrementally to energize your body and mind, and then breathing out incrementally to relax your body and mind. The result is a very pleasant combined experience of energy and relaxation that we can take into and use in our life.

For the insomniacs among you, this type of breathing can be good to combine with the ''Hands on the belly to relax the brain'' technique in the article preceding this one on the creative Qi Gong blog.

© Toby Ouvry 2009 please do not reproduce without permission.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hands on the Belly to Relax the Brain.

This is another very simple technique that I use often in order to calm and reduce conceptual activity and center myself fully in my body. I use it most frequently when my mind is whizzing when I lie down to go to sleep at night, or if I want to take a quick nap during the day and want to move into a state of relaxed non-conceptuality relatively fast. It can be done sitting, standing or lying down:
Simply place your hands one on top of the other on your belly, just beneath your belly button. Close your eyes, relax the brain and simply focus on the feeling of warmth that the resting hands create on the lower belly. If you like you can imagine that the lower belly area is like a magnet, and that energy from the brain is gently being attracted down into the torso by the pull of this magnet. However, to be honest I find that this is not necessary, the natural sensation of the hand on the belly does the work for you, without you having to do a lot else!

© Toby Ouvry 2009 please do not reproduce without permission.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Free Form Breathing - Allowing your Body Conscousness to Decide

One very simple technique that can be used in order both to prepare for Qi Gong exercise and also as a general calming and grounding meditation exercise is as follows:
Simply ask your body how it wants to breathe in order to find its point of balance, relaxation and calm. Then simply allow your bodies consciousness to guide the pace, depth and manner of your breathing for a few minutes.

In this exercise rather than imposing a technique or form upon our breathing and body, we allow our body consciousness to guide us in the breathing pattern IT needs to do most in order to find centered-ness, relaxation and calm. It may decide that we need to breathe in short bursts with an emphasis on the outbreath, it may guide us toward long, evenly spaced breathing or whatever (you may be a little surprised!). The point is that we are allowing our body consciousness to do it, rather than dictating to our body what the rhythm should be.
Once you have done this for a short while you may find that your mind and body are calmer and more centered, and you can go onto engage in whatever activity you then wish with a greater sense of poise and presence of mind.

© Toby Ouvry 2009 please do not reproduce without permission.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Solar Qi Gong Meditation

This is a meditation that is designed to connect to and move energy from three solar sources through our body and energy system, and in particular though our middle, upper and lower dan tiens. The three solar sources are the sun that is the center of our solar system, the molten solar core of the earth and our own solar center located in the center of the chest (middle dan tien).
Once you are familiar with it you will find that solar energy is a particularly powerful form of Qi which can be used to great healing, clearing and regenerating effect within our physical, energetic, soul and spiritual bodies.

Begin by sitting in a comfortable meditation posture in a chair with your feet comfortably on the floor, or standing in the Qi Gong standing posture. Settle your mind and body with a few relaxed deep breaths.

Be aware of the Sun that is the center of our solar system, see it as being directly above your head in the sky.
Now send your awareness down into the center of the earth, feel the sun within the center of the earth.
Now feel into the center of your chest, somewhere between the level of your heart and the level of your solar plexus (it varies slightly for different people, go with what you feel regarding precise location), see a beautiful ball of solar light/fire there, the sun within the center of your being.

Focusing on the sun above you in the sky. See a line of light now descending to the point above the crown of your head. See being formed there a powerful and bright miniature sun.
Now see a line of light from the sun within the earth extending up to the point immediately beneath your feet. See a bright and powerful miniature sun
being formed immediately beneath the soles of your feet.

Now see the miniature sun above the crown of your head descend and locate itself in the center of your brain and head area (upper dan tien), so that it is almost like a halo surrounding your head and neck.
Focusing on the miniature sun beneath the soles of your feet, see it rising up your legs and locating itself in the center of your sacral area, just above the hips (lower dan tien).
You now have three suns locates in your lower abdomen, heart and head respectively.

See the lower sun in your abdomen rising and merging with the sun at your heart. Now see the sun in your head descending and merging with the sun at your heart.
See the lower sun continuing to rise from the heart and coming to rest in the head. See the upper sun continuing down from the heart into the lower abdomen.
Now the ''sun in the lower abdomen'' and the ''sun in the head'' have exchanged places.

After holding this visualization for a while, see the both suns gradually descending and/or ascending from where they now are back to their original positions in the head and the lower abdomen, so that the three suns are now back in their original positions.

Now see the three suns merging and forming a unified column of light from your pelvis all the way up to the crown of your head. Hold this visualization for a short while, then see the light expanding out into your whole body and energy field, until eventually you feel as if you have a very bright sun surrounding and interpenetrating your entire body and being, the center of which is in the middle of your chest. You can either hold this visualization for a while, or if you like direct the solar energy/light to any areas of your body that may need it for healing purposes. You can also send it to people or places that you may want to assist in any kind of healing process.

Finnish in your own time, ensuring that you have connected and grounded yourself fully back in your physical body before getting up and moving on.

© Text Toby Ouvry 2009, please do not reproduce without permission.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Some Questions on Qi Gong: On warming down after practicing Qi Gong, and on Qi Gong and the Chakras.

1) Why is it recommended not to expose your body to cold water after a Qi gong work out?

Essentially the reason is that, after a Qi Gong workout all the cells of your body, and the pores of the skin are energetically open. So, any cold energy that the body is exposed to, such as having a cold shower or jumping into a cold swimming pool will immediately penetrate the body which can result in a chill. So this is the same reason that when people are living in the tropics they should be careful of exposing their bodies to cool breezes (eg by going into an air conditioned environment after having been outside for a while). The ''cold'' energy will penetrate deeply into the body because the body's energy gateways are open. If you imagine a house with all its doors and windows open, any breeze will immediately penetrate into the heart of the house from outside. It is the same with our bodies in hot temperatures or when we have been doing an activity such as Qi Gong.

2) What is the relationship between the ''three dan tiens'' of Qi Gong philosophy and practice and the seven chakras taught in yoga and other spiritual traditions?

Quite a lot could be written on this one, but essentially Qi Gong identifies three main energy centers within the body; the lower dan tien which is in the sacral area, and houses the vital energy (jing) that overlights our physical body. The middle dan tien which resides in the center of our torso around the heart level, which is the center of our mental and emotional energy (qi) as well as our ''soul body''. Finally the upper dan tien which resides in the center of the head and houses our spiritual energy (shen) and is the center of our ''spiritual body''.
So, I would quite simply say that these three dan tiens are a three fold way of dividing energy up (energy, mind, spirit), whereas the chakras are a sevenfold, or slightly more complex way of dividing up the same energy (physical, energetic/sexual, emotional/mental, soul, atmic, causal and spiritual).
Another central facet of Qi Gong practice is the ''microcosmic orbit'', which essentially consists of a yang channel or meridian rising from the perineum up the spine, back of neck and head to the crown, and then a yin channel or meridian that travels from the crown down the front of the face (through the tongue, which is why we keep it placed on the roof of the mouth in Qi Gong workouts), neck and torso, all the way back down to the perineum.
These two channels have 14 points, 7 in each channel, spaced along them.
These 14 points form 7 pairs, each facing each other at various points along the torso, head and neck. These opposing yang/yin energy points then create 7 energy vortexes in the center of the body in roughly the places where we are taught the seven chakras are.
So, from a Qi Gong point of view the seven chakras are essentially energy vortexes created by the opposing yin/yang polarities of the microcosmic orbit.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Basic Qi Gong Belly Breathing

In recent classes it has really been apparent how bad breathing habits are really deeply ingrained in us to the extent that unless we really pay attention to it, we don't notice. To this end I have been doing a 'basic Qi Gong belly breathing' with the class at the beginning and end of every session. Here it is, I recommend you use it regularly until it really is an instinctive habit for you and your daily Qi Gong practice:

Stand or sit comfortably with a naturally straight back (for more details on posture see article on "Basic Qi Gong standing posture" here).

Place your hands over your belly, one on top of the other. If you are breathing properly, you will be directing the air down to the bottom of the lungs as you begin each exhalation, such that your belly will gently rise as you breathe in, and you will be able to feel this movement with your hands. Then, as you exhale you will be able to feel the belly gently moving back down to its resting position. Consciously now practice breathing from the belly, so that you can feel the rise and fall of your abdomen as you breathe in and breathe out.

After you have done this for a short while, do the following; As you reach the bottom of your exhalation, gently pull in the belly so that you are drawing in your belly button toward the spine. This drawing in of the spine will cause you to expel any remaining air from the bottom of your lungs, so that as you inhale again you will be breathing totally fresh air into your lungs, and no stagnant air will be left to remain in the lower part of the lungs. Now gently relax the belly and begin your next inhalation, slowly and naturally. Again, use your hands to really be 100% aware of the movement of the belly and abdomen as you are breathing.

In the final section of the exercise, practice combining this basic breathing pattern described above with the drawing up of the pelvic floor. As you breathe in, gently tense the muscles in your perineum. This will cause your pelvic floor to rise and become firm, and you will feel the downward pressure of the abdominal organs pressing upon it as you continue to breathe in. When you reach the top of your inhalation, gently lower the pelvic floor to its starting position by relaxing the muscles in the perineum. Repeat this pattern with each inhalation and exhalation.

This final part of the exercise can take a little bit of getting used to, but it is worth developing as a skill because it enhances the power of our breath to circulate Qi through our body quite substantially. Practising this exercise for five minutes in a day is a Qi Gong exercise that in itself will have noticeable effects on your overall health and well being!