On retreat, I tended to wake up between 3:30 and 4:30.. check the clock and then nod off again until 5 am. For the majority of the time, I was making the early offerings for the shrine – water offering bowls, incense around the room and the Dharmapala tea offering. There is a beautiful offering (brief) practice we do for the offering bowls from HH Dudjom Lingpa Rinpoche.
I was up in the shrine room by 5:30 every morning and then at 6:00 I was usually the one teaching Qigong. Talk about being an early bird.
The best part was that I rarely ever planned anything for Qigong. We had 45 minutes, so the night before I would ask what I should teach, and typically something would arise.
I also got inspiration about teaching from the planets out early in the morning – we did a Pericardium specific qigong session when Venus and Jupiter were in the sky, for boundaries, to increase trust, safety and ease in social engagements.
I discovered fun ways to joining together pieces from the half dozen or so forms that I know (and practice on a semi-regular basis). One day we did Tap Qigong with an emphasis on tapping spheres of light into the meridians, then we did Empress’ Seal where you walk around imagining yourself pressing spheres of light into the ground with your Bubbling Springs point (Kidney 1). And we finished with the Pushing Spheres with the hands and arms! It was light and love for the whole body!
Another day we had fun playing with fierce energy – doing Aki Tai So Rowing exercises and sword preparation, as we did this I had them put on extremely fierce facial expressions – “I want you to make sure I don’t mess with you!” It was good fun.
And yet another day, we did more yin Qigong. I had the participants doing about 20 minutes of practice on their backs or sitting / kneeling. They got a definite variety and a decent taste of potent forms!
Finally I dropped in some delicious Extraordinary Meridian acupressure work. There are eight acu-points that correspond, or are borrowed / utilized by the extraordinary meridians, also known as the Strange Flows or Curious Channels (different translations). If you practice Qigong, you probably already know two of the eight – the Du and Ren Mai – the mid-line central channels that make up the Microcosmic Orbit.
In addition to my extemporaneous teachings, three other people taught. This may have been the best part.
One of my friends who was on retreat with us for about seven days, just so happened to study with Mantak Chia for about a dozen years back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Chia is one of the most renowned Qigong masters on the planet. She led us in Buddha Palm qigong – where we energize our channels and run light and love energy through our Palm Chakras. Very potent. Then she even included a little teaser from Iron Shirt qigong – the Golden Phoenix Cleans Its Feathers which included Bone Breathing! It was so so potent! Holy guacamole! Thank goodness for such a potent container the retreat provided! We would never get away with teaching semi-beginners this advanced stuff!
Then yet another friend offered Dragon Meridian Qigong from Master Zhongxian Wu’s lineage. This was also not a beginners practice! Wow wow wow! This was more graceful and fluid, feeling the inner dragon coursing through our meridians. Had we been able to do this practice for closer to 90 minutes, I have heard it helps to generate great levels of heat!
And then we had some excellent foundational qigong practice from the retreat leader’s husband. We did this qigong on the deck looking out at the vast ocean and then at the radiant rising sun. Just amazing and sublime. Oh and all under the watchful eyes of Venus, Jupiter, the Moon and Mercury!
I am so grateful to be able to lead so many great practitioners! I’m probably not worthy 🙂
Thank you for reading, and soon I will try to write more about later (in the day) practices from the retreat.
Happy New Year!!!