What should I practice?
Yes! Okay, that’s easily the worst answer I’ve ever given to a student’s question, but alas, this is such a wide-ranging question that it gets a wide-ranging answer.
If you’ve been practicing qigong for some time, chances are you’ve learned a lot of skills and a lot of exercises. Since there are only 24 hours in the day, it raises an often-asked question: with all of these tools in your belt, just what should you be practicing?
The simplest and probably least helpful answer is: anything you like. As one builds and deepens their practice, most people naturally gravitate towards a handful of qigong patterns, present company included. My daily qigong practice is largely as boring and redundant as it is deep and powerful.
A more helpful answer is: it depends. If you’ve learned a specific pattern to deal with a specific physical or emotional ailment, then practice that pattern until you have satisfactorily overcome it- whether that’s by your own subjective assessment or even an objective assessment by a professional (decreased blood pressure, anyone?). If you’re not trying to overcome anything, but simply trying to enhance your life, then you get to be a scholar of sorts, tailoring your practice to your aims and objectives. Say you want to strengthen your Qi flow, you can spend a few months on qigong patterns that are good for whole body Qi flow, like Lifting the Sky or Carrying the Moon. Want to develop more internal force? You can spend dedicated time practicing Pushing Mountains, or standing in Golden Bridge. Looking to deeply train your Shen? Then dive deep into Abdominal breathing or similar skills.
Journaling can be immensely helpful while you explore the richness that qigong has to offer. Starting out by writing down your goals, you can then go back after a time and assess your progress, record what worked, what didn’t, and then adjust your training accordingly. As a general rule, when you learn a new skill, it’s good to practice it consistently for 3-6 months to really build its foundation, then shove it in your toolbelt for the job at hand or to come.
Are you an existing Shaolin Wahnam student looking to deepen your learning and add to your skill set? I’ll be teaching the 12 Exercises of Sinew Metamorphosis starting in just a few short weeks. While registration for this class is restricted to established students, you can also drop me a line here and be the first to find out when our next beginner course opens up this fall. Connect with me and get ready to add some powerful tools to that belt!