Qi flow can be compared to water. It follows the path of least resistance. It pools together seeking the lowest level. It needs to be pumped up from the ground. Depending on temperature, it can be a solid, a liquid, or a gas. Stilled, it putrefies. Moving, it purifies.
In our study of Qigong applicable to our daily practice, we need to answer these questions.
What restricts or promotes the ease of our Qi flow over longer ranges of movement?
How is our qi gathered, stored, circulated, purified, and emitted in and out of the body?
How does Yi, Xin, and Zhi affect our energy?
Basic Energy Work Education
To replenish 氣 Qi, proper nutrition for 精 Jing is prenatal input, air, water, and food and for 神 Shen is mental, emotional, and spiritual care. Therapeutic Qigong must address both needs, cerebral and corporal. “Mankind cannot live on bread alone. Spirit and flesh are not two separate things.
Five Element Theory is a means to understand the processing of Taiji as promotional and restricting cycles. Matter/ energy cannot be created or destroyed. It simply transforms from one state into another state. In promotion, there is restriction. In restriction, there is promotion. In other simpler terms, To obtain something, we must offer something. Offering something, we can obtain something. Yinyang is interconnected and interdependent.
Everything is impermanent. To keep something the same and redirect its natural tendency to change, we must maintain it. (Rust never sleeps) To advance or improve, we must apply consistent effort (intensity) regularly (frequency) for a sufficient period of time (duration).
For most of us in youth, we are introduced to physical fitness by participating in sports. Sports are basically competitive athleticism. We train to obtain greater aerobic endurance, stronger muscles to overcome resistance, and refined skills required by a particular sport. We gauge our success by judging it against other.
Being fit is different than being healthy. Being in good health is determined by a doctor using a series of medical tests. The exercises to keep a person healthy do not need to be as arduous as those required to reach heights of athletic superiority. It is possible to be fit and not healthy. For example, the injuries professional football players collect over the course of their career can have lifetime implications (concussions). Many long term Karate and Kung Fu practitioners require hip and knee replacement surgery due to the relentless ballistic stresses upon those joints.
We need to acknowledge the fact, that as we age our bodies are in retrograde. (Generally after 30, the body begins to degrade because on a cellular level, cells cannot reproduce perfectly to 100%) Forced improper body usage during exercise or the wrong combination of intensity, frequency and duration can lead to failure to remain healthy or actually accelerate the aging process.
The point is, what is appropriate for youth may not be appropriate for the mature adult. Although sports can be an excellent form of a health maintenance, injuries can easily occur derailing and setting back actualized gains in fitness. No pain, no gain is not therapeutic. We should assess our own health and practice at a level that is sustainable to reach our goals. Health exercise is not a competition with others.
By setting realistic short term goals and fostering a long term perspective is a good plan to remain healthy throughout life. Tai Chi engagement is to harmonizing with nature. Applying the principle of Wu Wei (non doing) is to push the canoe with the current and take advantage of the natural flow of life. To be constantly at odds with life and battling to hold the position of superiority is not in accordance with Dao.