Natural Flow Qigong
Natural flow Qigong is a peculiar kind of Qigong practice based on free flow of Qi-energy.
There are thousands of styles, forms and schools founded by different Qigong masters, however Natural Flow Qigong cannot be called "a style" as such. Still it is often considered a true source of all styles, the earliest Qigong practice ever existed, and many advanced Qigong practitioners from ancient times to these days use it to continue their learning.
What is 'Natural Flow'?
'Natural flow' or "Zi Ran" Qigong is also known as Spontaneous Qigong or Zi Fa Gong which means literally "self-emitting Qigong". Attributed to prehistoric times in China, it is also found in other traditional cultures under different names. Sufi practice of Latihan (spontaneous dynamic meditation), Yogic practice of Kriyas (spontaneous movements caused by the awakening of Kundalini), Japanese esoteric practice of Akuma-Barai "the spirit purification", and some ritual dances;- are only some of those examples.
Natural flow Qigong can be defined as a dynamic meditation, a kind of a healing dance allowing a practitioner to develop an intimate personal connection to the unlimited healing energy of the Universe. The unity with this energy and following of the Universal order (Dao) is seen in Chinese naturalistic philosophy as a key to health and longevity.
The Yellow Emperor's Canon of Internal Medicine (circa 250BC) states: "In the past, people practiced the Dao, the Way of Life. They understood the principle of balance, of Yin and Yang, as represented by the transformation of Qi in the Universe. Thus, they formulated practices such as Dao-Yin [the ancient name of Qigong - OA], an excercise combining stretching, massaging and breathing to promote the Qi flow, and meditation to help maintain and harmonise themselves with the Universe. They ate a balanced diet at regular times, arose and retired at regular hours, avoided overstressing their bodies and minds, and refrained from overindulgence of any kind. They maintained well-being of body and mind; thus, it is not surprising that they lived over one hundred years."
Qigong forms and the Natural Flow
It is difficult however to create a predefined set of excercices for all varieties of people and natural conditions. The popular forms of Qigong promote natural flow of Qi in accordance with Chinese medical physiology, however they need to be tailored to the needs of a particular person to have a profound effect. You have to have a highly qualified teacher to recommend you the set of excercises and keep changing them while observing you on a regular basis. Essentially you need to trust this teacher unconditionally and entrust yourself to him or her.
Natural Flow Qigong offers another way. The exercises of Natural Flow Qigong are not predefined but received directly from the "infinity", when a practitioner follows the flow of his or her natural pattern of movement.
The essence of Natural Flow practice may be seen as a perfect example of Wu Wei or non-doing, the concept found in both Taoist and Buddhist philosophies. "Non-doing" in natural flow Qigong does not mean that you do not perform any actions during your training at all. Rather, all your actions emit spontaneously following the natural course: the mechanics of the Universe is reflected in your body, and there is no interference caused by your casual mind.
In Dao De Jing it is said that the "Tao is formless" and yet "it produces ten thousand things". Likewise, when a practitioner is able to accept and submit to the natural way, ten thousand movements may be born from this state
Creating the life you deserve
Do you believe you can create your life? Do you think you are already doing it?
Naturalists say that the whole Universe has its order and every creature from the tiniest insect to an enormous star have a certain place in its immense carpet. As humans, they say, we are entrusted with "Integral Qi" which means that we can create our own way of living. However, this new way often leads to disease and suffering, simply because we cannot "create" and act in harmony with the rest of the Natural world.
Natural flow Qigong is an answer to this. By following "the natural flow" you become aware first of the way your body meant to work, and then your mind, and finally - your place in the Universe and the role you are supposed to play here. It is so to speak - a welcome return to your true self. And from that awareness - your health and happiness emerge naturally and spontaneously, and the life created through that gives you fulfillment you are craving for.
"Blood follows the Qi, Qi follows the Intent" - this is the saying in Chinese Medicine. Thus, the practice of Natural flow Qigong begins with the intent to accept and be guided by the energy of Heaven, of the Universe. The trick here is to disregard your habitual busy mind for a few minutes - i.e. to leave all your learnt patterns of motion behind, and follow the natural way your body wants to move right at the moment. Our body holds thousands years old silent knowledge of how to restore its balance, and by letting go of the acquired patterns this knowledge is surfaced into use.
This kind of state of acceptance is not so easy to achieve in the begining. The presence of a teacher who has been immersed in this state for quite some time already is the very key that makes it happen to you initially. With ongoing training however, your personal connection to the natural flow is established and there will be no need for the teacher to be there anymore, although his or her presence may still help. From then on you would be able to practice all by yourself strengthening the link to the universal flow of things.
At first your movements might seem a bit clumsy, however this is what happens when the Qi is not able to pass through its channels easily. The movements created by the Qi therefore will come exactly in a way to help the Qi pass and restore the balance in the areas of stagnation. One of my teachers used to say: "awareness will spontaneously arise in the form of sensation". As it continues on and on, more channels will be unblocked, the body vitalised, and the pain and numbness in the tissues, joints and bones will silently go away. Your movements from certain point will be smooth and graceful, more like a Tai-Chi water-like flow.
After the training
Although you may feel a bit tired at the end, the state of freedom, lightness and clarity always engulfing you after the training is not something that passes unnoticed. Very often you may need some food and sleep after the training, as the energy structure undergoes the restoration process. After that you feel a surge of energy and can do so many things you were putting up for a better time. One student said: "my whole week went nice and smoothly after the class, and even my boss who is usually so aggressive was happy with me and easy to deal with!"
For your Body, Heart and Mind
As your body becomes more aligned with the natural flows of Qi, it becomes harder for sickness and disease to take roots in you. Very quickly you will be able to forget about your minor issues such as sore back, neck or painful joints, however the internal organs' healing may take a while.
Next, the stream of pure Qi will reorganize your emotional sphere. Practicing Qigong you will become aware of the mechanistic emotional reactions inherited through the family or learnt off your friends and teenage authorities in your formative years. Consequently, the effect of negative emotions such as anger or jealousy will gradually diminish in your life.
After that, there is a time for your mental sphere to be purified. You may experience an unusual peace of mind, feeling "like a child", and many events of your past will cease to be a burden recapitulated, re-lived in the state of tranquility and clarity created by Qigong practice. People around you will definitely feel it, and even those who are otherwise aggressive and demanding may become nice and easy with you.
These three stages do not necessarily come sequentially. Rather, the layers of your problems or unhappiness will be revealed to you just as the layers of onion become visible when you peel them away one after another. During your Qigong practice you may see your whole life passing by and you will understand quite clearly why were you given this or that experience and make that peace with yourself.
Help yourself, help others
Eventually you become clear enough to conduct the Natural Flow to help others, projecting out the Qi that you constantly draw from the Nature. It is possible to help all living creatures with Qigong and also promote a happy resolution of some difficult life situations.
There is a certain threshold in the Natural Flow Qigong training when you become sensitive of the acupuncture points, energy centres and fields, and the knowledge what to do with them to correct the imbalance will also arise spontaneously.
Truly, the way of Natural Flow Qigong is the way of neverending learning, a door into the wonderful world of the healing powers of Nature. All you need to help is practice to be "connected" at all times.