FOUNDATIONS OF PRACTICE
FEEL YOUR QI: CLEARING
The first step in cultivating energy is to be able to feel energy. In order to feel qi, the mind’s attention must be in the present moment and the body should be in a state of dynamic relaxation. While purposeful attention is given to posture and alignment, a YOQI practice does not strive for outward appearances of form or extreme ranges of motion, rather, the practice is to arrive into a state of being. The FEEL YOUR QI state is a full body experience with particular attention placed on the sensations in the body. Feeling your qi awakens your understanding of how resistance, unnecessary tension, blockages, negative emotions and attitudes effect your life. This is achieved through YOQI practices such as meditation, body scanning, abdominal breathing, stress-release techniques, body tapping, and self-massage.
MOVE YOUR QI: NOURISHING
Physical movement is the fastest way to free stagnation and get your qi flowing. There are very specific ways to move qi in the body so that it circulates in all parts and creates abundant health. YOQI movements are designed to communicate with your body in the way your body can understand; the practice is gentle with no straining or pushing. Energy is built through internal power cultivation and a strong foundation, rather than force. Cultivating a connection to your natural flow requires dissolving the blocks of resistance, stress and tension. Force exhausts energy and eventually creates injury. Habits of tension are replaced with habits of relaxation and train the body to move with effortless effort. Practices such repetitive flowing movements, yoga postures, meridian tracing, sound and visualization of light progressively open the body’s energy channels, nourish and strengthen the flow of qi. The goal is to become soft, supple, strong, responsive, full of vital life-force energy, and pure like a child.
REFINE YOUR QI: CIRCULATING
The process to cultivate an optimal state of energy is to REFINE YOUR QI. We all want to have the highest quality health, mental clarity, performance and capacity to love those around us. While most of us have the tendency to focus on quantity of energy (the more energy, the better we feel) or lack of (the less energy, the more depleted and unmotivated we feel) YOQI focuses on the quality of our energy: optimizing our level of energy to a refined, balanced and sustainable level. The refined state is not something to get or accumulate, it is a process of transforming what you already are into its highest potential. We simply attune to the natural inclination of the universe to transform. The Daoists call the practices to refine qi “internal alchemy” and use specific meditation and energy circulation techniques to transform consciousness from one state to another through the vehicle of the body. A key ingredient that is often overlooked in many modern yoga practices is the power of the mind in relation to our energy field. There is a saying in Chinese, “Imagination leads the mind and the mind leads the qi.“ YOQI routines emphasize intention based awareness and visualization to enhance and direct the qi flow. Sometimes we direct the qi to specific meridian channels or places in the body, other times we simply observe whatever arises. The process to refine one’s qi is not achieved through force, but rather through a gradual process of nature’s unfolding. As your qi refines so does your ability to transform negative states into higher virtuous states of compassion, generosity, wisdom, courage as well as a selfish outlook to a deeper connection to all of nature.
MAINTAIN YOUR QI: BALANCE AND CONSISTENCY
Life moves in a constant flux that can take us from one extreme to another. It is said that the master too gets thrown off center, but knows how to come back to balance quickly. Yoga and Qigong both seek to find harmony and balance; harmony and balance within yourself, harmony and balance between you and nature, and with the universe. Maintaining a state of balance is the practice of keeping your energy body as clean and charged up as possible through emotional regulation, diet, cleansing, community, and daily physical practice. A MAINTAIN YOUR QI practice does not need to take hours. Most people feel their energy surge when they do a daily 20 minute YOQI energy routine regularly and consistently.