In this article, Qi Gong Practitioner and Contemporary Meditation Coach Toby Ovury shares a simple-to-do Qi Gong practice that strengthens our stability and connection.
In Qi Gong trees are taken as a role model for our standing posture, as they are strong, stable, and balanced, with their roots deep in the earth, and their branches reaching high into the heavens. We try and emulate this in our own standing posture; drawing stability from our connection to the earth through our feet, keeping our centre of gravity low in our belly, our upper body relaxed, our head and shoulders open to receiving energy from the sky, sun, and stars.
Imagine now that there is a tall, strong, and beautiful tree in front of you (if you can stand in front of an actual tree all the better!). Feel and see its roots extending down into the earth, drawing up qi, water, and nutrients. Feel the strength and flexibility of its trunk, and the branches reaching high into the sky, drawing down qi and light from the sky.
Now become the tree. Feel your roots flowing down deep into the earth giving you deep stability and energy. Feel the stability of your trunk, flexible, and strong. Feel your branches and leaves reaching up toward the sky and sun, drawing down their qi into your being. Now as you breathe, feel every cell in your body breathing in qi from the earth beneath you and the sky above you. Feel light and qi flowing in and out of every cell in your body as you breathe in and out.
Directing energy with the hands and palms:
We can learn to direct qi though our body in a more powerful way through the positioning of our hands. If you like, you can try the following hand and arm positions as you ‘stand like a tree’. Initially this should not be done for more than five minutes at a time.
- Whilst focusing on your roots (the soles of your feet) angle the palms of your hands downward so that they are facing the earth. As you breathe in feel qi rising from the earth below into your body. As you breathe out, Feel that earth-qi expanding through each cell of your body.
- Now raise your hands and arms up so that they are at shoulder height, parallel to the ground. Face your left palm down, and your right palm up. As you hold this posture, feel qi rising up from the earth beneath you into your trunk/torso, and simultaneously feel the flow of sky-qi flowing down through your crown, head and shoulders. Feel these two energies merging and harmonizing in the centre of your torso.
- Now raise your hands above your head, opening the palms to the sky above. Feel as if you have branches and leaves reaching up into the sky, drawing down qi and light from the sun, stars and sky. As you breathe, feel this sky-qi moving and flowing through.
- Move back to position 2, and then to position 1, ending in the basic standing posture.