I met Marceau at Christmas 2010.
« When the student is ready, the Master appears… »
Marceau is like a brother to me in Shanghai, but he’s also my master in Qigong. Through him, I’ve discovered not only Qigong but Qi Dance, which I will talk about in another article.
Qigong: a philosophy of life…
After practicing Qigong for just over a year (about 10h a week), I’ve come to discover that it’s more than a physical practice, but can offer a philosophy for life.
The movements and forms look simple, but in fact require the complete relaxation of the body and mind, allowing me to explore and discover myself more deeply.
One doesn’t go without the other, and by uniting physical lightness with a feeling of serenity, Qigong generates a perfect harmony between body and mind.
Do you know how to do that?
I for one realised that, whilst I might be seen as calm and peaceful to others, and even to myself, I was still far from reaching this holistic state of serenity. Whilst this discovery came as a surprise, Qigong helped me recognise and resolve the tensions I have inside.
It was remarkable to learn how to use my inner strength through simple gestures to move my body. For in Qigong, every movement relies on the complete relaxation of the muscles, without exception, and this creates a flow of energy we call the ‘Qi’.
The Qi is an invisible strength, an energy that is everywhere and in all of us. In order to experience the benefit of this force, to feel good in yourself and with the rest of the world, you need to know how to channel its strength.
The power that can be seen in kungfu movies also comes from the Qi, but it is hard for those who have not experienced it to understand its force. It demands many hours of practice and much personal discipline to control it and be empowered by it.
After many hours of practice, here is what I have learnt about myself :
I don’t know how to relax my shoulders… which for me signifies an inner need to control my body and, as a consequence, my spirit. This lack of trust, subdues the flow of energy within me, diminishing my ability to be guided by life.
At times when I’m able to relax, I experience a warm flow of Qi that circulates throughout the top half of my body. The sensation is very gentle and leaves me feeling peaceful, and I look forward to developing this movement of Qi throughout the entirety of my body.
All my life, I’ve experienced poor circulation in my hands and feet. After practicing Qigong for little over a year, I can already notice a difference in my hands, which now warm up much faster than before. I believe that once the Qi has spread throughout my body, this warming sensation will also reach my feet as the motion stimulates the flow of blood further.
This process of learning how to release the tension in my body and mind has allowed me to discover a lot about my culture and education. When questioning why it is so hard for me to relax my body, I realised that my spirit has never been taught to naturally let go and without this receptivity the Qi can never flow. Sometimes it can feel frustrating, but I’ve learnt to accept this, and this acceptance is showing me how to simply ‘feel’ rather than analyse.
Practicing Qigong has improved my flexibility, and when play-fighting with my boyfriend I have noticed that my movements are more natural and agile. When we wrestle, and in life generally, I have found I’m less afraid to get hurt – which was an unexpected outcome of Qigong, and this martial arts aspect is something that I will develop in another article.
Meditation is also an important part of Qigong, and during this process, practitioners are taught how to maintain awareness of their breathing and a peaceful mind. When faced with stressful situations, when once my hands would begin shaking and my heart would race, I now find myself surprised at how calm and controlled I can remain, both at work and in general.
The day I am able to pass into this meditative state on demand and surrender completely to the Qi in all its beautifulness, I know I will have reached a certain spiritual level and obtain a deep knowledge about myself.
What I have found so incredible is the ability of some Qigong masters to perceive a person’s state of mind simply by understanding and reading the essence of their body. Striving towards this level of perception keeps me training everyday, because I know that discipline in any practice is without a doubt the greatest tool of progress.
For me, the secret to a harmonious life is Trust. We must allow the energy of life to enter and leave our bodies naturally, without obstruction and all will be at peace. Everything becomes simple. Questions are forgotten. Just let yourself be guided by the energy, for it is a part of us and we are part of the energy.
Where to practice?
One year Training 2014-2015 in Shanghai, information here
In Shanghai, here is where to find the Qi Gong and Qi Dance website.
In France, I would recommend Les Temps du Corps, where Master Wen practices. In addition to promoting Qi Gong in France, Master Wen is currently developing Qi Dance with Marceau, and together they have enriched my experience of Qi.