I had been standing for some minutes in San Ti (Three Circle) posture. My teacher had already noticed and advised me to sit down and as soon as he could came and sat quietly beside me.
Had I stopped my qigong training at this point I would have described it as an uncomfortable experience, and something I would not choose to repeat. I had not expected such discomfort, but continued with reassurances from Keith, that this would get better with time, and that these sensations would subside and evolve. That this had happened was a surprise to me, as I often worked as an artist’s model and was used to standing motionless for anything up to 3 hours of 25 minute periods. When modelling I could think through a project, a painting or book I might have on the go, or contemplate on something or someone in my line of vision, anything to pass the time. The concentration on me, my body, and the art of inward looking that qigong required was very different.
As with Tai Chi, as a beginner, I saw only the form; I wanted to learn the form. A teacher, such as Keith, from the onset teaches and speaks of all aspects that are an integral part of complete understanding. Although I could grasp the theory and listened intently to him, I did not always appreciate it;
‘Yes, but I want to learn to do the form’.
‘Let’s get on with it; I really want to learn the form.’
As the form became clearer the outward movements and the names remembered, suddenly I was aware that all his other input had actually had an effect, the words and explanations had stuck and were meaning more and more to me. As my physical ability and understanding advanced, I had a desire to look deeper, and to study more. I found that the form, in the superficial sense, was not enough anymore, it was just the beginning; I had barely caused the faintest ripple on the surface.
This does not mean that I was not enjoying what I had already achieved; it simply means that like a good book, one wants to keep turning the pages.
This was the beginning of my Qigong training; those sensations did subside, and were replaced with new and interesting physical manifestations.
I had been prepared by Keith but had not expected such powerful feelings, especially and surprisingly with the less dynamic forms.
With time and concentration, I was soon past the first feelings of discomfort and started to become aware of changes, movement and space inside my body. As I practised more I became aware of even more subtle consciousness.
I would experience what I can best describe as powerful creaking elastic bands in my limbs and joints. These were very strong, fascinating sensations and soon I was aware of looking inward, concentrating on my body and the more refined changes within it. At first as I learned to move my breath around my body, I experienced many changes, on one occasion to my amazement I found myself giggling, and much as I tried, I could not suppress it or do anything but enjoy it and let those around me enjoy it too.
I was prepared to put the training in, to discover what results, time and practise would bring. I have never thought of this discipline in any way as oppressive, after all I wanted to enjoy my practise, and this could only be done by achieving the goals I had set myself. Very soon my purposeful exercise became less externally imposed and became a source of inner strength and an enriching, natural part of my everyday life.
The results and really tangible benefits were apparent from the beginning despite my initial discomfort, my energy increased, my work as an artist was more easily inspired and with time I have experienced an ability to cope calmly with those things that we are not in control of and act more efficiently with those things we are. This has increased with ongoing practise and is exciting, diverse and wondrous on a daily basis. Perhaps in some ways, beginning the Qigong journey was for me the most uncomfortable part, the time when I was most tempted to give up, I am forever glad that I did not give in to that temptation. I am glad also that I had those experiences to draw on now when I observe similar discomfort, difficulties or doubt in my own students, to help them get past the temptation to give up...……
Go well, Gloria
Gloria is available for Tai Chi and Qigong courses and workshops
To contact her email; firstname.lastname@example.org
©Golden Rooster Institute of Chinese Internal arts. 2010 Penela, Portugal