Monday, February 15, 2016

Early Experiences in Qi Gong Practice

 The following is an excerpt from the Level 2 text "The Universal Yi Fa Qi Gong", available only to Yi Fa Society students. In this excerpt we look at some of the common early experiences that happen to people starting a regular Qi Gong practice:

It is quite common for a significant percentage of new practitioners to experience the sensation of Qi
moving through the body while practicing the exercises; but it should also be noted that at least as many
may not feel Qi. While the ability to experience a sensory perception of Qi will steadily rise in most
students, to the point that the majority of Level 2 students will obtain such sensations, teachers should
take note of advising brand new practitioners that these sometimes surprising sensations are normal.
They should likewise reassure those who do not feel Qi yet that it is also completely normal not to
experience such sensations even until a considerable time practicing Qi Gong has passed.

Brand new students may feel, sometime in the first week or two of daily Qi Gong practice, some physical
symptoms that are not unlike having a mild cold; this is also normal and happens to at least a third of all
new students. The ancient teachers suggested that this was due to the expulsion of stagnant Qi (or later,
once Buddhism had become popular in China, the expulsion of "bad karma"); however it may also be
possible that these symptoms are in fact due to the way Qi Gong stimulates the lymphatic system into
more effective detoxification.

Many students will experience, after their first few sessions of Qi Gong, feelings of excitement and
pleasure during the practice, and a general sense of well-being after the practice. This is different from
the bliss stage of pre-enlightenment, but is rather an effect of that initial enthusiasm for practice (and
the conscious or unconscious sensing of initial Qi cultivation). It happens to at least a third of initial
students. Instructors should make it clear that this is a normal sensation, but not to dwell too much or
make that kind of pleasure the goal (otherwise, in the middle-early stages, when perfecting the technical
side of the movements becomes more challenging, they may start to get discouraged).

On the other hand, at least a third of the students may find that, in the days after initial Qi Gong
practice, they start to feel more easily annoyed or irritated by everyday things in their life and
environment. This is likely caused by the initial increase in sensitivity and perception that properly
practiced Qi Gong generates. Students should be advised not to worry too much about it, to try to avoid
outbursts or reactions caused by such irritation, and that once they get used to their higher level of
perception, these sensations will pass.

One very common physical side effect of Qi Gong practice is most curious: practitioners will experience
an increase of "bubbles" in their urine. The ancient teaching suggested that these are due to "excess Qi",
not yet able to be contained in the new student as they are still in the process of activating the First
Furnace. It may also be likely, however, that this is a side effect of increased oxygenation produced by
improved breathing when practicing Qi Breathing. In either case, this curious side effect is completely

Finally many students, after the first two or three weeks of practice, report that they are getting less
sleep than they used to; and for some this can seem quite distressing. However, the student should
consider whether their reduced hours of sleep actually translate into a sensation of being tired when
they wake up. They will likely find that even if they have slept one to three hours less than they were
previously used to, they wake up feeling no more tired than they would normally. This is because the
physical effects of Qi Gong, and the increased life energy generated by the proper circulation of Qi in the
body, makes less sleep necessary to get the same amount of physical regeneration. So if a student is
sleeping less but is not feeling exhausted from it, they should realize that this is not a serious problem at
all, but rather an advantage of practice! At the same time, the instructor should warn students away
from intentionally getting less sleep; if their body naturally sleeps less, that is different than if they are
trying to use Qi Gong as a way to "burn the midnight oil", which is not as such advised.

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