Here is your mountain.
Its water is spiralling
up from your own well
to water your roots.
Each tree is a place of
Worship, of open exchange,
in ‘being’ the understanding,
for kindness and human-kinship.
By Susan 0’Toole
So, what does it mean to take part in a weekend course learning Qigong? How do people respond when you all learn something together? What happens? It is not by chance when learning this ancient art that we feel and resonate deeply in an openhearted way, experiencing all being moved in unity and as one. It’s a subtle awareness discipline, offering a tool as the practice drives us into an automatic relaxation, bringing us more in touch with ourselves. It goes right to the heart of the matter, by presenting a way of moving with pleasure, and enjoying feeling in motion.
This time honoured process, spanning thousands of years, is likened to embarking on an exciting voyage, with support, and nurturing the growth by sharing the wisdom that has been handed down, making learning comfortable and safe, and highly grounding the body and mind. The Qigong form is a set of guided imagery instructions composed of patterns of movements. They are configured into postures according to the style you are learning along with the basic patterns of breathing techniques. Qigong is no longer an obscure pursuit or for the selective few, but part of the daily lives of many people.
The two main forms taught and practiced here in our community are:
‘Soaring Crane Qigong’ – based on the red crested crane that lives into it’s 70’s and is a very devotional bird.
‘Essence’ – which strengthens the kidneys, which are the building blocks of the body, according to traditional Chinese medicine.
Qigong can work on everyone from doctors, teachers, farmers and housewife’s to the wheelchair bound. They are helped gain access to the positive components by the reassured framing of the techniques of the form, helping to resolve any physical restrictions that someone might be experiencing. Qi moves beyond any physical limitations. We can discover the simplest way to stay centred and balanced, and let that blocked energy move. Then the world around us will transform. When I stand with my feet rooted to the earth, relaxed and natural, like a pine tree, the body of my weight is evenly distributed. That is symbolic for equilibrium. It can also be symbolic for situations in life, when we are between two events where, for a brief moment, equilibrium has a chance to re-establish itself, or in a qigong movement before the shift comes over to the other leg, between two steps.
These systems are not static; they accommodate our energy flow freely on a day-to-day basis, helping it to circulate continuously in our mental and physical selves. This happens through the acupuncture meridians that show the pathways of the Qi energy where the spirits of the meridians come alive. The Chinese saw the macrocosm of the universe mapped out onto the microcosm of the body, to balance functional relationships that maintain the quality of the human being.
Practice has a two-fold purpose. Leading and guiding the Qi like a great flowing river, gently moving and exercising the limbs, encouraging blockages to disperse so the Qi energy can flow again. Secondly, practicing in a group is fun and a way to explore the hidden potentials of the mind. We work on the whole feeling of centring and rooting, which is a way to get the body relaxed, calm and energized. This in turn strengthens our nervous system, which is the interface with our lives through which we experience our life. Through practice, our organic memory is restored to its original nature, allowing integration of some lost aspect of function that had been obscured by life’s habituating influences.
We teach courses at a pleasant spacious house, set on an organic farm in West Cork, where you are away from the pollution and stress of noise. And a short walk will take you to the end of a boreen to a memorable bay of glassy hues of green and blue sea.
Susan 0’Toole teaches Qigong, and practices Acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
www.qigonginireland.com 02828960 or 0864044020
Eileen Murray, a Qigong instructor, has made a full recovery from cancer several years ago.
www.qigongireland.com 0861732473 or 0214852977
Ann Shaw uses her Qigong skills to help horse riders gain their balance and posture.
www.southreenfarm.com 0868054152 or 02833258