Video On Demand Summer Practice Guide

 

“The three months of Summer denote opulence and blossoming. Qi interacts with heaven and earth and the myriad of beings bloom and bear fruit.”
-The Great Treatise on Regulating the Spirit with the Four Seasons (四氣調神大論)

 
 
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Happy Summer Qi Friends!

Everything in the Universe is energy, and energy takes two fundamental forms: Yin and Yang. The five seasons shift between these two states throughout the year. This month those of us in the Northern Hemisphere will experience the Summer Solstice, when the Yang energy is strongest. For our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the Winter Solstice, when Yin energy is strongest. Wherever you are in the world, it is a powerful time to attune your energy and flow with nature. This season the YOQI Video Library contains a variety of fun and spiritually charged routines that will activate, balance and attune you to summer’s vibration.


THE ENERGY OF SUMMER: EXPANSION

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The Chinese character for the word summer, xia , is an image of a man standing under the scorching sun. Summer is the Great Yang (Tai Yang 太陽) when the days are longest, and the nights are shortest. The consistent heat of summer ripens the fruits of our hearts, creating the sweetest and juiciest energy of the year: joy and love.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer is the peak of nature’s expansion, so it is the best time for us to express the most yang aspect of ourselves. It's the time to live life to the fullest, nourish our spirit and dare to go places we have not gone before. Summer's sunshine invites us to go outside and to be more active through movement and play. While in winter we should sleep more to nourish yin, in summer we can get away with less sleep (still remembering to always tend to the needs of our individual state of health). Dynamic relaxation, joyful flow and laughing qigong are beautiful characteristics of summer qigong practices.
 
Energetically, summer is also a powerful time for transforming energy. The element of summer is Fire. In our body, Fire connects to the Heart Fire, or Imperial Fire, that resonates the human force of unconditional love and acceptance. Therefore, many qigong practices for summer come from Spiritual Qigong traditions that focus on internal alchemy; the process of transforming and refining our vibration to its highest potential.


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A QIGONG PRACTICE FOR SUMMER

Physically, summer qigong practices focus on the organs of the fire element: the heart and small intestine.

The heart is a miraculous pump that ensures a constant circulation of oxygen rich blood to all parts of the body. The average heart beats 100,000 times per day and pumps about 7,200 liters (1,900 gallons) of blood! Every cell must relax and contract in a precise rhythm for the heart to keep us alive. One tiny hiccup can disrupt the electrical signals, causing a heart attack or stroke. The relaxation, rhythmic movement, and patience cultivated through qigong are all beneficial to regulate the physical aspects of the heart.

Although the element of the heart is Fire, too much Fire or Heat disturbs the heart. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, when heat collects in one area of the body this is called “fire poison", otherwise known as inflammation. Summer, being the hottest time of the year, has its own two pathologies called Summer Heat and Summer Damp Heat. The symptoms of Summer Heat are dizziness, confusion, lack of sweating after profuse sweating, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle cramps, and fainting. Summer Damp Heat symptoms include nausea or vomiting, poor appetite, stuffy chest, heavy or fatigued limbs, and diarrhea. In extremely hot summer weather it is important to dress lightly, drink lots of fluids and take care not to physically overexert yourself. Practice qigong early in the morning or later in the evening.

The YOQI Summer Qigong Flow to Purge video focuses on specific exercises that clear summer heat, calm emotional heat and move the qi in the blood. The Qigong Flow to Tonify and Qigong Flow to Circulate are both designed to activate the heart fire, nourish the blood, balance yin and yang and cultivate patience. The complete routines that balance the heart fire are Qigong Flow for a Happy Heart and Qigong Flow to Activate the Three Treasures.


Emotionally our practice will focus on the emotions of summer: transforming impatience or hatred into acceptance and compassion.

The heart is the emperor and rules the kingdom of our emotions. While each organ in the body resonates with a particular emotion, the heart is always affected first. In Chinese language, the heart is such a powerful aspect of our being that it is recognized as having it’s own consciousness called the heart mind (xin nian). The heart mind perceives situations based on feeling and emotion (in contrast to the conscious mind, yi nian, that perceives based on logic and wisdom). As we have learned in The Six Healing Soundspractice video, the five primary emotions are anger, hatred, worry, grief, and fear. Hatred is the most volatile emotion that resonates in the heart. Hatred and impatience create heat and a violent movement that causes energy to rise and leak out. Qigong flows that balance the heart transform anger or impatience into love and joy. For this the Six Healing Sounds Seated Meditation, Yin Yoga for Emotional Balance, Yin Yoga for a High Vibrationand Guided Inner Smile Audio Meditation are all practices designed to regulate the heart consciousness.

When negative emotions are transformed into positive virtues, the heart becomes a cauldron of spiritual light that can bring joy to the whole kingdom. As the positive virtues combine in the heart center they are further refined into the ultimate spiritual energy, compassion. Compassion is a vibration that exudes a quality of magnetism: it touches others and is reflected to the person expressing the emotion. Qigong Flow for a Happy Heart and Qigong Flow to Circulate are dynamic routines that cultivate the virtues of the heart.


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Energetically, summer supports your ability to connect meaningfully to the world around you.

The heart is located in a very auspicious part of the body: the chest. The heart center is the energy center of love, called the middle dantian, while the physical heart organ is the home of the small spirit, called the shen. The spiritual goal of the heart spirit is Eternal Happiness through meaningful and intimate connections with the world.

The word spirit has many meanings in Chinese, as it does in English. In this context we can describe two aspects of Shen (神): the large Shen that resides at the upper dantian and guides our higher Self, and the small shen that resides in the heart organ. The large Shen and the small shen are intimately connected. The Large Shen is the all-knowing and unconditionally loving self. It is the connection to the source, which is limitless and formless. The small shen is conscious awareness and has the responsibility to make sure that the Large Spirit connects properly with the world of time and space. It’s like a bridge between our formless self and the world around us. When the heart spirit is balanced we express appropriate behavior, respect and care for others, are helpful and thoughtful at the right moment.When heart spirit disturbed there can be symptoms of insomnia, lack of enthusiasm, disconnection, lonliness, situational anxiety, and inappropriate behavior.

Surrounding the heart at the center of the chest is a vast resovoir of love, called the middle dantian. A dantian is an area in the body where qi gathers, is refined, exchanged and stored. Complimentary to the heart shen, when the middle dantian is strong we feel loving compassionate, generous, patient, understanding and we have the ability to love and be loved. When it is weak we feel unfulfilled, rejected, hypersensitive, shy, disturbed, lonely miserable, misunderstood.

The energy of summer supports full expression and expansion of the heart spirit and middle dantian. This season’s program introduces spiritual qigong practices that focus on internal alchemy. They are Qigong Flow to Activate the Three TreasuresThree Three Fires, Six Directions and Microcosmic Orbit, Yin yoga and the Microcosmic Orbit and Expanding the Central Meridian. To complement our yang practices, there is a new MP3 guided audio meditation for summer called the Guided Three Treasures Meditationdesigned to integrate and harmonize the three dantian.


 
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FEATURED VIDEO FOR SPRING: QIGONG FLOW FOR HAPPY HEART

The suggested complete routine for your practice this month is Qigong Flow for Happy Heart. This qigong flow routine is designed to purify, nourish and balance the heart and small intestine. The exercises work with the fire element to detoxify impurities and ignite our internal power and move through a process of internal alchemy by uniting fire and water, ultimately invoking our sense of compassion and wisdom. Enjoy the scenery of the ancient Buddhist temple ruins in Ayuthaya, Thailand.

 

VIDEO LIBRARY PROGRAM FOR SUMMER

Qigong Flow for Happy Happy Heart
Summer Qigong to Purge and Detoxify
Summer Qigong to Tonify
Summer Qigong to Tonify special edition
Summer Qigong to Circulate
Three Fires and Six Directions & Opening the Microcosmic Orbit
The Three Treasures Activation Flow
Central Meridian Expansion
Yin Yoga and The Microcosmic Orbit 

Note: These videos will appear at the top of the library status throughout the summer season.

 

DESIGNING YOUR SUMMER PRACTICE

This seasons QiBLOG post features the four keys to a powerful qigong practice.

1. Harmonize your routine with the season
2. Emphasize practices that address your state of qi
3. Practice quality over quantity
4. Practice consistently over time

Read the full blog post here.

 

You will find that all the videos added to the library this season address these four keys. So, I suggest that you focus on mastering the exercises in these specific routines this season, practicing quality over quantity. With consistent dedication and skillful effort, your qi and inner light shall blossom….
 
May the life force be with you!
Marisa

Video On Demand Spring Practice Guide

 

“The three months of Spring denote breaking open the old to create the new.
Heaven and Earth together generate life and the Ten Thousand things begin to flourish.”
-The Great Treatise on Regulating the Spirit with the Four Seasons (四氣調神大論)

 
 
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Happy Spring Qi Friends! 快乐的春天

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The Chinese character for the word spring, chūn 春, is an image of the sun underneath a tree with grass on top. (See ancient pictograph on the right.)

The character speaks clearly: Spring is yang (the sun), it's the element of growth (wood), and it brings life (grass).

In Traditional Chinese Medicine and qigong, spring is considered the beginning of the cycle of the seasons. We welcome this time of year when nature is born again after the dark yin phase of winter. Days become longer and Mother Earth gives birth to the fragrant aromas of fresh grasses and flowers.

Spring's rising yang energy supports expansion and growth, so its a good time for us to assume the movement of yang within ourselves. While in winter we should sleep more, in spring we should be more active, focus on goals, start new projects, and encourage other people on their journeys. Physically, spring is a great time to renew the body through detoxification and to strengthening the tendons and connective tissues. Energetically, it's a time to reboot our energy system so that we can restart the seasonal cycle with a clear mind. Spiritually, spring is a special time to expand our vision, shift into new perspectives and focus on manifesting our highest potential. 

Many qigong practices for spring come from dragon forms that use spirals to stretch the tendons and detoxify the liver. Most of these forms were developed through martial arts lineages that focused on creating a firm and flexible body. This season the YOQI Video Library contains a super charged variety of seasonal practices that will detoxify, spiral, reboot and attune you to spring's generous energy.


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A QIGONG PRACTICE FOR SPRING

Physically, spring qigong practices focus on the organs of the wood element: the liver and gall bladder.

The liver is the main organ responsible for processing toxins in the body. One of the liver’s main jobs is to filter toxic wastes from the bloodstream. Another task is to produce many of the alkaline enzymes upon which immune response and other vital functions depend. If the blood is constantly polluted by excess acid residues from a poor diet, alcohol and drugs, or excessive stress, the liver eventually gets overloaded with acid wastes and becomes deeply congested with toxic debris. This results in qi stagnation, chronic tension, joint pain, headaches, physical weakness, painful menstruation to name a few. Therefore, most qigong for the liver emphasize detoxification and purging rather than tonification or circulation. This season's  SPRING PURGE, TONIFY AND CIRCULATE qigong routines use spirals and swimming dragon forms to cleanse the liver and cultivate resiliency, the energy of the wood element. Other videos this season that support the liver are Qigong Flow for a Happy Liver, Pai Da for Cleaning, Pai Da with Six Healing Sounds, Qigong Flow for Stress and Anxiety, Yi Jin Jing and Jade  Woman Qigong.

Emotionally our qigong will focus on the emotions of spring: transforming anger or frustration into forgiveness and kindness

Our internal organs are reservoirs of energy. In the Taoist healing tradition, both positive and negative emotions are associated with them. The liver resonates with the emotional vibrations of anger and frustration. Most of us know intuitively that if we are carrying around stress, anger, grief and emotional trauma it has a direct effect on our body. Over time, the accumulation of too much anger creates heat in the liver, resulting in stagnation and impedes our potential. One of the most powerful tools to transform negative emotions is vibration. The Six Healing Sounds Qigong is a vibrational healing method that dates back to 4th century. It is a foundational YOQI practice we use to transform negative emotions into positive virtues. This season's video library selection introduces the complete Six Healing Sounds Method, and integrates it into a variety of practices: Pai Da hitting with the Six Healing Sounds, Seated Six Healing Sounds Qigong for Emotional Balance and Qigong Flow for Anxiety and Stress Relief.

Energetically, spring supports your ability to expand your visions and see new perspectives.

The energy of spring supports growth, expansion, vision and creativity. In Taoist metaphysics, these virtues resonate with the spirit of the liver, called the Hun. The Hun spirit shines through our eyes and gives us the energy to put things into perspective; to see the big picture. So spring a good time to break free from old programs, open to new ideas and set our Hun free. It's also a prime time to take new ideas and make them into practical plans. In this season's Qigong Flow for New Perspectives we explore the ability to focus on specific goals then relax and let things unfold naturally, at the same time. This standing flow is meant to be paired with the Energy Reboot Meditation, a powerful seated qigong that uses Dantian Activation and Meridian Tapping to realign your energy system and break free from patterned behaviors. Through this process of actualizing the Hun, we come realize that the largest perspective includes the highest good of all beings.

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FEATURED VIDEO FOR SPRING: QIGONG FLOW FOR HAPPY LIVER


The suggested complete routine for your practice this month is Qigong Flow for Happy Liver (38 minutes) and is offered in both English and Spanish. This qigong flow routine is designed to purify, nourish and balance the liver and gall bladder. Inspired by the Swimming Dragon style of qigong the routine uses spirals and twists to release tension, detoxify the liver, nourish the tendons and get the qi flowing. Enjoy the scenery of the Northern California Redwoods.

 

VIDEO LIBRARY PROGRAM FOR SPRING

Qigong Flow for Happy Happy Liver
YOQI RESOURCE SERIES: Dantian Activation
Energy System Reboot meditation
Yi Jin Jing (Muscle & Tendon Changing classic form)
Spring Qigong to Purge and Detoxify
Spring Qigong to Tonify
Spring Qigong to Circulate
6 Healing Sounds Meditation practice
Qigong Flow for New Perspectives
Hitting (Pai Da) to Detoxify
Hitting (Pai Da) with the 6 Healing Sounds
Qigong Flow for Stress & Anxiety
Jade Woman Qigong Form

Note: These videos will appear at the top of the library status throughout the spring season.

 

DESIGNING YOUR SPRING PRACTICE

This seasons QiBLOG post features the four keys to a powerful qigong practice.

1. Harmonize your routine with the season
2. Emphasize practices that address your state of qi
3. Practice quality over quantity
4. Practice consistently over time

Read the full blog post here.

 

You will find that all the videos added to the library this season address these four keys. So, I suggest that you focus on mastering the exercises in these specific routines this season, practicing quality over quantity. With consistent dedication and skillful effort, your qi and inner light shall blossom….
 
May the life force be with you!
Marisa

Video On Demand Winter Practice Guide

 

“The three months of winter denote closing and storage. Water freezes and the earth breaks open. Do not disturb the yang: go to bed early and rise late. "
-Su Wen Chapter 2

 
 
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The super moon welcomed 2018 and winter is in full expression. This year (in the Northern Hemisphere) the peak of the winter season lasts from December 21- mid February. In February winter will begin to wane, transitioning into spring.

The Chinese character for the word winter is an image of the sun locked up and stored in an upside down bottle. (see character on the right) This is a clever way to show us that the energy of winter is closing and storage. All of nature is in a state of stillness and hibernation. Winter is defined as the the end of the seasons; it is the darkest, coldest, most yin time of the year. Therefore, it's the best time of year to conserve our energy and nourish our qi. Qigong practices for winter emphasize stillness and inward reflection, sleeping longer hours or taking naps, nourishing our qi and maintaining internal warmth throughout the organs especially in the lower dantian, our internal furnace. The YOQI Winter Series contains a variety of these seasonal practices to attune your energy with winter.

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A QIGONG PRACTICE FOR WINTER

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Physically, winter qigong practices focus on the organs of the water element: the kidneys and bladder.

In the Five Element Phases of Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter expresses the water element. In your body, the water element particularly affects your kidneys, bladder, fluids and brain. The kidneys are considered the energy batteries of the body. They store the yuan qi, the precious gift of innate qi that we inherited from our parents. They also store the reserve qi, jing qi, which effects our general energy and sexual potency. When our kidney energy is weak the whole body becomes weak and we cannot actualize our full potential or will power. The kidneys also regulate the water element, our body fluids and the blood.

Because the kidneys are so critical to our state of vitality, there are thousands of qigong practices that focus on cleansing, nourishing and refining the kidney qi. In the winter the qigong classics suggest that we pay extra attention to conserve our energy and use nourishing life qigong practices that focus on the kidneys (called Yang Sheng). All of our WINTER SERIES practices combine effective nourishing life qigong techniques to support the kidney and bladder with focus on purging, tonifying, circulating and complete routines.

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Emotionally our qigong will focus on transforming fear or fright into trust and tranquility.

Can you imagine what it was like for the ancient people to survive the winter season? It was a time of danger, scarcity and death. Even today with our modern luxuries, those who live in remote locations are familiar with the trials of snowstorms and the priority of warmth and resources. Therefore, the natural emotion that resonates with winter is fear or fright.

One of the unique principles of Taoist wisdom is that emotions are not stored in the mind, they are stored in the organs and tissues of our body. In particular, the emotions of fear and fright are stored in the kidneys. As we work with the kidneys in this season's routines, we will be naturally transforming fear into trust and tranquility. As a result of this transformation, the emotional virtue or spirit of the kidneys that arises is zhi, meaning will power. When our will power is in a state of optimal balance we  have a natural sense of confidence that we project into the world to promote peace and connection. This seasons QIGONG FLOW FOR HEALTHY CONFIDENCE is a fun and dynamic routine that empowers our zhi, the emotional virtue of winter.

Energetically, winter supports your ability to reflect inward and cultivate awareness.

In Yin and Yang theory, winter is called the time of “Great Yin” (tai yin 太陰). Yin denotes darkness, while yang is light. Winter teaches us to become still and awaken the awareness of our senses.

One of the best practices to attune your energy with the yin energy of winter is meditation. This season’s Guided Qigong + Meditation to Awaken Awareness is a strategic series of awareness exercises that are designed to bring forth your true nature. This meditation is inspired by the Buddhist Heart Sutra, Xin Jin.


 
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FEATURED VIDEO FOR WINTER: QIGONG FLOW FOR HAPPY KIDNEYS

The complete routine video focus for your practice this month is Qigong Flow for Happy Kidneys. This routine uses specific qigong exercises that focus on the kidneys and the principle of effortless flow to harmonize your energy with the water element of winter.

 

NEW VIDEO LIBRARY ADDITIONS THROUGHOUT WINTER SEASONAL PERIOD

- Qigong Flow for Happy Kidneys
- Qigong Flow for Vitality
- Qigong Flow for Healthy Confidence
- Seated Qigong + Meditation to Awaken awareness
- Winter Series: Qigong Flow to Purge and Cleanse
- Winter Series: Qigong Flow to Tonify
- Winter Series: Qigong Flow to Circulate
- Winter Series: Qigong Flow Complete Routine
- Evening Qigong to Relax and Unwind
- Evening Qigong + Yin Yoga

 Note: These videos will appear at the top of the library status throughout the winter season.


DESIGNING YOUR WINTER PRACTICE

Choosing a routine for your day is a great way to use your intuition and listen to your body. The Seasonal Series routines are designed to be alternated throughout the week as you wish. Although each routine has a focus denoted by a colored spiral (purge, tonify, circulate, complete routine, or meditate) each routine is also its own complete practice that contains warm ups, main focus exercises and a closing to integrate and center the qi. There is no need to layer the videos and do all of them in one day. It's best to choose one per day and then rest. If you feel like you want to do a longer complete routine there many options in the library: Winter Complete Routine, Vitality Flow, Qigong Flow for Healthy Confidence and Qigong Flow for Happy Kidneys.
 
In honor of the conserving nature of the winter season, after each practice I suggest that you immediately take a 5 to 10 minute nap, or longer, to nourish your qi and allow the body to process the energy work. Then when you wake up you will feel refreshed and revitalized!

Read The 4 Keys to a Qigong Practice blog post here.


With consistent dedication and skillful effort, your qi and inner light shall blossom….
 
May the life force be with you!
Marisa

FOUR KEYS TO A POWERFUL QIGONG PRACTICE

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Qigong is a very new term for a very old practice. The roots of Chinese energy cultivation extend back over three thousand years. They can be traced to the oracle bones of the Shang Dynasty, and found flowering in the writings of Master Lao Tzu. Originally, qigong was known as Yang Sheng, a vague term which means ‘nourishing life’ and masters still call qigong exercises by this name today. At the same time, Chinese culture values systemization. In the last century qigong has been classified into four branches: medical qigong, martial qigong, spiritual qigong and philosophical qigong. There’s also terms such as nei gong (internal cultivation), wai gong (external cultivation) and shen gong (soul cultivation). With such an extensive history and multitude of applications, it’s no wonder that there are 100’s of styles of qigong and over 10,000 different qigong exercises.

So, the most common question people ask me is, “What kind of qigong routine should I practice to gain the most benefit for my body?”

Here is what I have gathered from my personal exploration and studies with some of the world’s leading qigong masters:

1.   Harmonize your routine with the seasons

One of the main goals of a qigong practice is to align our energy with the energy of nature. When we are in harmony with nature, we are in harmony with our true nature. A simple way to do this is to choose qigong practices that correspond to the five seasons: autumn, winter, spring, summer and late summer.

The five seasons are a result of the alignment of the earth’s magnetic poles within the orbit of the sun. They are Mother Earth’s expression of our interdependent connection to the greater Universe. All phenomena, from atoms and molecules to planets and stars, are composed of energy. We too are energy beings. Each of us has our own unique rhythm; we pulse, vibrate and resonate with the world around us. The Taoists observed and organized patterns of energy into interconnected rhythms called the Five Elemental Phases. Each season is associated with a different elemental aspect of nature—Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth — and corresponds to the five vital organs, five body systems, five emotions as well as colors, sounds, food, herbs and much more.  

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Seasonal energy runs in cycles, creating patterns of that are stronger and weaker at certain times of year. Therefore, we can use seasonal energy as a special time to support and focus our qi cultivation practice. For example, summer is the peak of yang or rising energy. It’s time to express ourselves, nourish the heart, radiate love and enjoy the light. Summer's polar opposite, winter, is the peak of yin or sinking energy. Animals hibernate and nature is quiet. It’s a special time for introspection, cultivating inner peace and focusing on who we are. The dominant organ of winter, the kidneys is an important organ for conserving life force energy and reproduction. In the spring yang begins to rise from yin, it’s the energy of expansion and growth. This is the time to cultivate your creativity and start new projects as well as detoxify  the liver. In autumn, energy in nature solidifies and we too begin to descend. It’s a powerful time to let go of the past, clean out the garage and breathe deeply into the lungs. The fifth season, late summer, is a special phase of energy that is the earth element. It is the energy of stability that supports the harvest period. Late summer is a wonderful time for qigong practices that nourish the stomach-spleen organ pair and to center our energy.

Often our internal energy is disconnected from the external energy. That’s why in autumn people tend to get allergies or get sick; resistance to change and letting go are showing up. This is partly an effect of modern lifestyles. Before we discovered how to turn the lights on, humankind co-depended on the cycle of farming. Now most of us don’t grow our own food, and many people suffer from insomnia and rely on caffeine to make it through the day. In this state of dis-harmony we can pick up acquired energy more easily, get thrown off emotionally by life’s challenges and weaken the body’s systems. This can easily be rebalanced when we align our intention with the energy of the season to optimize our health and true being.

Here is a simplified table of seasonal correspondences:

 
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Lastly, it’s important to remember that the rhythms of the Five Elemental Phases also interact within you every day throughout the year.  There is no fixed rule that you must practice specific qigong that corresponds to the season. The point of this illustration is that the energy of nature is always here to support your practice. A good place to start is to ask yourself, “Am I in flow with nature today? Could I expand my connection to nature even deeper?”

You can find the YOQI seasonal routines here

2.   Emphasize practices that address your state of qi (purge, tonify, circulate)

The first level of qigong practice is to develop a healthy body. Even in average healthy people there can be some imbalances in the energy system because we do not have control over the toxins in our environment, food sources, accidents and other external factors that put stress on the body. If we respond quickly, we can resolve minor health challenges before they become major illness, often by simply working with our energy and giving the body, mind and spirit what it needs. Therefore, it’s helpful to emphasize practices that address the state of your qi.

Qigong practices are designed to nourish our life force energy for self-healing and to promote longevity. The original Taoists were very interested in immortality, or prolonging life. And not only in this physical body, but in the astral body as well! The result of their experiments with alchemy contributed to the brilliant system of Traditional Chinese Medicine today. The branch of qigong that addresses health issues is called medical qigong. Medical qigong not only focuses on curing dis-ease but on preventing dis-ease from arising and then creating a surplus of energy for optimal health. When our qi is strong we make different decisions from when our qi is depleted. When our qi is depleted, our survival instincts kick in. But when we have a surplus of qi we become more resourceful and can tap into our full potential. We can move more qi, connect deeply to others and share qi to help others.

Every YOQI video contains a colored spiral symbol to help guide you to find the practices that optimize the state of your energy right now. They are Purge & Tonify, Circulate & Refine and Complete Routine. Here is a brief definition of each:

PURGE: Clear and cleanse out toxins, stagnation, tension, stress, mental agitation, emotional disharmony, and repressed emotions
TONIFY: Nourish and strengthen the qi in the meridians, organs, glands, immune system, and seal energy leaks.
CIRCULATE: Irrigate the meridian pathways, infuse tissues with energy, energize organs, recycle energy,  build internal power and strength.
REFINE: Transform one type of energy into another type (for example transform depression into inspiration). Raise the vibrational frequency.
COMPLETE ROUTINE: All the above included in routine

You can test the state of your qi here!

3.   Practice Quality over Quantity

When I first added yoga to my daily meditation and qigong practice I became overwhelmed with practices. There just wasn’t enough time in the day to do it all. Also, different masters had given me different practices and told me not to do others. Which practices should I do? I discovered the answer at a meditation retreat when my mind was in a state of complete surrender. One morning I stood on the mat with no plan. The mind was still. I stood in pure awareness and began to move. The qi moved itself. The mind moved the qi and my practice took on a new level of quality. I realized it was not about how much I did every day, it was how I did it.

Quality of practice refers to quality of awareness. Without mindfulness, qigong is just energy exercises. It still works, but not optimally. To optimize and maximize your practice, skillful attention and right attitude are required. Right attitude includes joy. Joy is an attitude of the heart, which is an important aspect of mindfulness that is often overlooked. The alchemy of awareness combined with an open heart infuses our practice with a power packed high quality frequency.
 

Another aspect of quality over quantity is to consider how many exercises to do in a practice, and how often. A qigong master once said to me “American’s love to mix practices”. It’s true, we do. He was referring to what is called energy soup. Mixing too many qigong practices can result in a mix up of energies that leads to a range of experiences from brilliant to ineffective to counterproductive. For thousands of years qigong masters have mixed and designed routines based on specific principles to generate a desired energetic outcome. In medical qigong traditions, a doctor will prescribe 1-3 qigong exercises to be performed up to 3 times your age per day! In Martial Qigong one taijichuan form can contain 72 movements. Your daily qigong practice can range from one exercise and a meditation to thirty movements in a full program. Therefor, you don’t need to practice thirty exercises every day to receive full benefit. Nor should you interchange different programs every day of the week. Qigong cross-fit training usually results an energy soup, unless its specifically prescribed by a qigong master. It’s best to stick to one prescription, program or theme until the desired result is accomplished and then move on to the next. For example, if you are purging, focus on purging until you feel clear. If you need to build up your energy center, do centering practices until the lower dantian is warm and full. If you would like to focus on seasonal energy, then follow the YOQI seasonal program guide. This is also why great teacher is very helpful. A teacher will help you focus on the practices that are most important to maximize your efforts. Ultimately, we are our own best masters, and the intuition brought about through awareness will help you discern what practices are working or not working for you. So will the results.

4.   Practice consistently over time

The Buddha said, the mind has the tendency to bend to that which we place our attention. All forms of mastery, from Olympic gymnastics to learning Chinese have one thing in common: repetition. Energy cultivation works the same way. A fifteen-minute practice every day is more beneficial than one hour per week. One hour a day is also very good!

Through consistent practice, the energy body becomes entrained to the patterns we are programming in the system. Healthy qi moves in specific rhythms and patterns in and around the body. For example, figure eights and spirals can be found throughout nature moving tornados, forming seashells and our DNA. When we become stressed or disrupted these spiral patterns become disrupted. We can also get locked into unhealthy negative patterns. The longer we wait to address imbalances, the more entrained they become. So patient, consistent practice over time is the key to unwind, unlock, restore and revitalize!

Ultimately, the goal of qigong is to refine our energy into a body of light - free from environmental, biological and acquired conditioning - and return to our authentic nature. The process to refine qi is not achieved through force, but rather through a gradual process of nature’s unfolding. Qi is moving inside you already, you don’t have to create something that’s not there. It takes time for the body to digest increasingly higher frequencies and high-grade energies. As your qi refines so does your ability to transform negative states into higher virtuous states of compassion, generosity, wisdom, courage. Through consistent dedication to this work, we peel back the layers of the mind and transform a selfish outlook into a deeper connection to all of life.

Would you like access to a video library of qigong, yoga and energy routines designed to guide you through the seasons and move your practice to the next level? To learn more about how you can subscribe to the YOQI video library click here.

May all being be happy, may all beings be peaceful, may all beings be free from suffering. Amituofo!