In a previous post I mentioned that I had started some regular qigong practice. Here’s the follow-up. It’s been a little over one month and I’ve managed to get in at least 5 minutes of practice every day since. On average, I’m standing for about 20 minutes per session.
The main thing I can say for anyone starting to dabble with qigong: just do it. Qigong teachers (and books) will tell you the most important thing is to put in the time. And frankly, we all have 20 minutes to spare every day, right? No? What about 5? Don’t think on that too long though… your 5 minutes will be up before you finish thinking it through.
Truly, five minutes is a tiny amount of time. As with any regular practice – meditation, a musical instrument, team sports, jogging on a treadmill – five minutes can seem like an eternity when you first start. But once you’ve done it every day for awhile, it’s barely what you need to start warming up. You naturally want to dedicate more time to your practice… you see some progress and desire more… it all appears to be true for qigong almost as much as it is for other sports and hobbies. I say “almost” because another thing you can’t really sugar-coat is: you’re just standing. “Like a tree”. Not doing anything.
I’ve heard qigong described as one of the least immediately satisfying sports/exercises. There’s no question that it benefits your health. I haven’t heard anyone claim to have seriously tried qigong and given up because it did absolutely nothing for them. Bored them to death? That I’d believe. But even after a single month, I’m very clearly seeing some improved circulation (warmer hands and feet). So why isn’t it immediately satisfying? Well… when you start a new sport like soccer, for instance, you tend to get in much better shape within your first few weeks. On day 1, you’re puking your guts out after practice. On day 30, your stamina is way up and you’re seeing toned muscles, improved footwork, etc. With qigong, the progression seems to be a bit slower. People who’ve been practicing for years will tell you all about the amazing health benefits they’ve experienced in body, mind, and spirit. They’ll also tell you it took months or maybe years to start seeing solid results.
Ok… results, results. If you’re like me, you came here looking for real info, not someone rambling on about how hard it all is. Here’s where I stand with results, and I’ll report back again in the future if and when I have any breakthroughs.
I mentioned above that I’m warmer. It’s not all the time yet, but after I stand, my hands and feet are often very warm for an hour or two. Almost strangely warm. I also have more energy on a regular basis. In the past, I’ve been a snooze-button-aholic. Like, 20 snoozes on a rough morning. (I know, stupid.) But lately I’m snoozing once or twice if at all! Totally amazing. Other than that, I’m feeling real improvement in my general muscle tension, or lack thereof. I’ve known for years that I hold tension in my neck and shoulders. Turns out those are just the most obvious places. If I focus on it, I’m now able to release muscles in my back, neck, stomach, and legs in the normal flow of my day. Standing in line at the supermarket has never been more relaxing. Sitting at my desk or in long meetings at work have all become much easier. So, if you want to learn to relax… stand like a tree!