In the spirit of holiday weekend festive feelings, I will share a fun and rejuvenating movement experience I call funky qi gong.
I'm a fusion sort of guy. I love synthesizing things together. I've studied yoga, dance and qi gong/tai chi for 40 years and I created this fun fusion experience that I often include in my Shake Your Soul: YogaDance class.
Funky qi gong is a simple, enjoyable and completely natural way to move the chi or prana in your body. Besides calling it funky qi gong I often introduce this movement exploration as riding the wave or sprouting seed into blossoming flower (sounds like a haiku).
Let's work with the analogy of riding the wave since my Shake Your Soul dance work is largely based on the reality that our outer expression of movement and dance naturally echoes the inner movement expression of our body's fluids.
Our fluid bodies (we are 70% by weight, water), are in a constant state of inner dance 24/7, whether its the movement of our blood, cerebral spinal fluid, synovial, intercellular, or lymph fluids.
So, riding the wave...think of the different expressions of "intensity" within moving bodies of water. Let's start with a very quiet brook or even more subtle, a little bubble of air and water rising up from the base of a pond.
Our dance can begin in this quiet and gentle way, authentic and alive- a bubble of a movement in our hips.
This is deeply satisfying to find the origins of movement within us as we play a piece of music that moves us! So as you approach this exercise, experiment with choosing music you love and are used to moving to and then stretch out a bit and try music that you enjoy but wouldn't think of dancing to.
Riding the wave can expand from this bubble state into more intensity as we explore the image of a river with a stronger current; from bubble or gentle streaming into strong currents of movement.
Just massaging a movement from bubble/quiet brook state to river level is a powerful way to build energy or chi in your body and you can then conserve the energy as you bring it back to the bubble state.
Then there are times where your spirit wants to soar or your soul wants to get down! From moderate intensity river currents to the whitewater rushes of a river or large ocean waves crashing into the beach. We cut loose! We let go!
So we have 3 levels of movement expression:
1. The bubble
2. The flowing river
3. The whitewater river or ocean waves
Why do I call this funky qi gong? Qi gong expands the movement and storage of qi in the body. We are attuning to the ever-present flow of qi from the earth and heavens, consciously inviting this nourishing energy to support and feed us--for energy to feed the matter of our bodies!
I believe natural dance, when we naturally move as we listen to music that touches our soul is unmapped qi gong. It is a surrender to the different areas of the body that music can invite qi to move into and through.
As many of us so often feel disconnected from our bodies and from our primary energy, this super simple exercise of funky qi gong or riding the wave can be a blessing, a gift to our body and soul!
Let's discover how to attune to and move from this primary source of energy.
Most of us are moving from our secondary sources of energy, from our adrenal glands pumping out cortisol in response to stress. Many of us habitually react to life from our fight/flight/freeze response verses discovering and working from our primary source as our partner in our life's dance.
In fact the yogic definition of prana actually translates as "first unit of energy"--pra is first and na is unit of energy. I believe the yogis were aware of the first and second units of energy.
Primary sources like this renewing and restorative life force that lives within us and surrounds us needs a regular attunement practice to help us identify this primary source of energy and move from it!
Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline have become what we identify as the energy we need to engage in order to dance through our days. It's a pretty quick activation process and easily programmed in our nervous system and glandular system.
It's a necessary energy for battling the tigers, but not navigating through our day.
So, put on some great music and ride the wave-let your qi get funky, from little bubbles, to gentle streamings, to whitewater rockin out!
May we all discover and dance from the wellspring of energy within us that renews and revitalizes our lives.