On my way home from a trip into the mountains I stopped at a hot springs and had a soak. I began practicing qigong within the chest-level lithia water; the pool for uplifting the mood and for aiding digestion.
Digestion is more than the processing of food and nutrients; the spleen and the stomach are hard at work digesting ideas and emotions as well. And since my time in the wilderness had brought so much up for me to chew on, I picked this particular pool in which to soak and to move.
I chose a spot to begin practice that faced the massive rock-face peaking just below the rising sun. I deliberately positioned myself so that there was plenty of space in the pool from which others could choose to soak without invading my personal qi bubble during practice. And then I settled in for some medical qigong.
Ten minutes into the form, I felt the presence of someone entering my energy field to my right. Another minute and she had inched into my line of vision. Within a few more minutes she was sitting nearly directly in front of me as I faced her, the rock-wall beyond her, and the sun beyond it. I went through the movements of sinking and lifting, drawing in and sending out, replenishing and releasing, all while she sat little more than an arm’s reach away.
Photograph by Brea Fisher
I felt myself involuntarily shrink my qi closer into myself, to give more room to this woman and also to protect myself and remain in my own field without sharing it with someone I hadn’t invited in… Or had not known I had invited.
But, as I was already in a deep state of qigong meditation, I watched myself have that knee-jerk response and then I promptly released it and opened back outward to include her because it felt right.
She inched even closer then, as if on the breeze of my window opening. I soothed my protesting mind by telling myself she was someone I loved. She became family. She was an auntie. She was my mother. She was my teacher.
I felt honored to have her there in witness of my practice.
She opened her arms wide to receive.
As I finished the form she left my field and when I got out of the pool she motioned for me to sit beside her. She thanked me and started to explain that she just need to be near me while I moved. Then she stopped, took off her sunglasses, and spoke from her heart.
“My husband passed five days ago.”
I looked into her eyes and held space for her grief. “He was a healer, too,” she said, beginning to cry. I held her in the best hug I could give and we stood like that, in embrace, and we became family.
I felt so very honored to have been there with her. I was grateful to have given her something during her grief. I was humbled by the power of qigong as a treatment.
When you practice qigong near another person the vibrations radiate outward, creating a healing field that can be felt by those around you.
This is a qigong treatment. It’s the process of sharing your qigong practice with another— giving them part of the experience.
Had I slunk away after feeling this beautiful grieving woman enter my personal space I would have missed that sacred exchange. I allowed her into the healing space and by witnessing my practice she benefited by it, too.
The brain makes little distinction between what the body is actually doing and what the senses perceive.
Think back to the times you’ve been watching a movie and had your heart rate skyrocket during the climax of a thriller, or have had your breath become shallow while the star of a scary movie crept through the pitch black of the unknown horror to come.
The eyes perceive the movie, which causes the emotional and physical traits being viewed to manifest themselves according to what you’re seeing.
When you watch someone moving in a calm, slow, and centered way, your brain begins to take those aspects into your body as if you yourself are moving calmly, slowly, centered.
That’s why the Everyday Tai Chi Films are popular with such a wide range of viewers. One of the reasons people who have no martial arts experience are drawn to the short practice films I publish is because seeing me practice qigong and tai chi is a way for them to slow down themselves.
When we practice qigong or tai chi the breath lengthens, the body relaxes, and the mind is calmed; and when you view someone else practicing, those things are likely to happen within you also.
It’s not just the visual that inspires the qigong treatment to have an effect. One can receive the healing without ever seeing the form at all. It follows the same principles of distance healing.
If I hold you in my focus during qigong practice I can actually share with you the qi I cultivate.
My students and I often do this at the end of class. We mentally and energetically call forth someone in the world who could use a little extra healing. Individually, we hold them in our focus. And then we use the intention to share the qi we’ve made with them.
I’ve been recording my daily practice every single day for over a year and there are over 300 Everyday Tai Chi Films posted online for you. By watching these short practice films (they’re all one minute or less), you can get your own qigong treatment from me.
You can bring the qi I’m cultivating into your own body.
Your challenge is to take me up on the invitation. Watch one or two— or a handful of films— and sink into it. Let yourself soften as you watch. Breathe with me. Feel your breath slow down to match my movements.
If you want to go the next level, follow along with me in movements that speak to you. Many of the Everyday Tai Chi Films include Form Notes. Call someone to mind either before or afterward and use your intention to share the qi with them.
Sharing qigong with others is in service to all involved.
Giving someone a qigong treatment doesn’t deplete the one practicing as one might fear. Qigong creates a circle of energy that flows continuously and generously; therefore, sharing the qi you cultivate can actually make the experience of one’s practice even more potent.
After having remained in my practice in that hot springs pool I felt uplifted not only because of the minerals in the water. It was mainly because I had opened myself up to give to another.
By sharing my qigong with that dear, grieving woman I had comforted her in a way I could have never imagined possible as a stranger. By letting her into the healing space of my qigong practice she became my sister.
The gift was deeply moving and one I will not forget. It is my wish that you, too, have the good fortune of experiencing such a blessing in your own life.
May you share your qi or open your arms wide to receive the qi of another, and in so doing may you draw the generous circle of energy from your heart to the hearts of your fellows.
If you’re interested in receiving a Qigong Treatment from me, reach out. I’m currently offering them free for as long as it feels right to do so. You can comment on one of my Everyday Tai Chi Film posts on Instagram, Facebook, or Patreon, comment below, or simply send me an email. Feel free to share as much or as little about what you’re working with right now and I will hold you in my focus during an upcoming practice.
And if you know someone who may benefit from these articles or from any of the other offerings I share, please do me the great honor of sending them my way. I am ever-grateful for shares!