Daily Prompt: First Qigong Lesson

qi_gong_symbolToday’s WordPress Daily Prompt:

Tell us about your first day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.

I had to think back to my first Qigong class.  January 19th of this year.  An incredible way to start the new year.  I didn’t know how challenging it was to be.

Qigong can be thought of as a Chinese form of yoga.  The histories of yoga and qigong predate written history.  Both disciplines are designed to heal you.  To heal body, mind and spirit.  Qigong is a physical discipline involving poses, movement, breathing work, meditation and self-massage.

I found Qigong while desperately searching for some way to keep alive the most important person in my life.  That’s not an exaggeration.  After two rounds of multiple organ failure and a long coma caused by Lyme Disease, she had pretty much run out of options by Western medical standards.  So we turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Qigong.  We found the miracles we were praying for.

So at the age of 60, I decided to turn my life inside out.  Instead of looking forward to retirement, I committed myself to six years of study, with the goal of becoming a Qigong teacher and Master Healer, so that I could bring to others the hope that had brought life back to our world.

So there I was, in my first day of class, having no idea what I had signed myself up for.  I walked into class and was immediately overwhelmed by what I saw there… dozens of women and a few men, either sitting on the floor in the lotus position and meditating or twisting themselves into different yoga postures.  Yikes!

I have never been flexible.  Not a day in my life.  I was 60 years old, overweight from decades spent at a desk job, and totally unprepared for a physical discipline like Qigong.  I knew I could get down on the floor but getting up again would be embarrassing.  I found a folding chair and placed it in the back of the room.  The teacher started demonstrating the movements and I suddenly remembered something I had forgotten… that I have a type of dyslexia that makes it almost impossible for me to watch a movement and mimic it.   What I see looks simple enough, but my brain doesn’t know how to translate that into movement.

I have always been an exceptional student.  Top grades.  Academic honors.  But I have never attempted a physical discipline like this.  I grew up a crippled kid with polio legs and lungs.  I’m a geek, a book worm, a nerd.  And in this class, this class that meant so much to me, I was so very, very out of place.  I wanted to scream and throw my chair across the room.  I wanted to run away and hide.  I wanted to dissolve into a puddle of tears.

Fortunately, the adult in me forced me into sitting through the class and beat down the waves of panic.  Nine months later I’m still in class.  It takes me a lot longer than anyone else to figure out what I should be doing, but my brain is rewiring itself to make sense of the movements.  They come easier to me now.  My body is starting to see patterns and ideas in the motions.  Qigong is in me, a part of my body.  I love what I’m doing.  I love going to class.  I’m where I should be, doing what I should be doing.  And as for that first class, it’s now a memory that I smile at, a yardstick measuring how far I have come.

Many thanks to Master Liu He for being such a wonderful teacher and inspiring me.  If you are near Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington, check out the classes at the Ling Gui International Healing Qigong School.

15 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: First Qigong Lesson

  1. Reblogged this on Cee's Photography and commented:
    Chris, my partner, has started up a blog. She is a geek, a book worm, a nerd. She see’s in words where I see in pictures (photos). So we are quite opposite in how we see and think. Although our beliefs and dreams are nearly the same. She took the Daily Prompt: First and wrote about her first Qigong Lesson. I hope you find it entertaining and uplifting.
    Check out her blog at 61musings.com
    Qi (energy) hugs,
    Cee

  2. You may want to ask the Master if he could give you pictures of the poses, they are going to practice before the class to help you visualize better during the class. As with all ancient arts, the effects of practice are long term. I am glad your efforts are being rewarded. Very nice post.

  3. You and Cee have me very interested in Qi Gong. I love your honesty about how out of place you felt that first day! It gives me a little nudge of courage to think about maybe going to a class one day.

  4. This is so inspiring – to hear you describe how foreign it was, and yet you persevered, and you notice that things are changing in your brain, making it just a bit easier – and you’re not 25 (neither am I)! 😉

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  6. Good for you, Chris! and good for you, Cee, for reblogging.
    I loved the couple of exposures I had to Qi Gong. I found it much different from yoga, which never did much for me (nor did I do much for it). Qi Gong really appealed — but there’s nowhere around here that works for me. You certainly had the motivation, and now you demonstrate the guts and the persistence. You’ll be there!

  7. Great to read more about the benefits of Qigong. It’s an ancient art but quite new to me. You explain the class and the process brilliantly. Thanks for making this post.

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