“The three months of winter, they denote securing and storing. The water is frozen and the earth breaks open … Go to rest early and rise late. You must wait for the sun to shine. … Avoid cold and seek warmth”. The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic, compiled between 100 BCE and 100 CE
Here in the Northern hemisphere, today is the winter solstice – the shortest day when yin reaches its maximum point. From now on, yang starts to grow – a glimmer at first but before too long the days begin to lengthen and we dare to think about spring and all the joys it brings.
It is traditionally a time to rest, sleep more, protect ourselves from the cold, to celebrate with family and friends and build and nourish strength for the cold months still to come.
And as always, it’s a time to practise qigong, bundling ourselves up in warm clothes if we have outside space, connecting to nature and the turning of the year.
My online school
I’ve set up an online school with a host of free and paid-for courses, talks, books and articles. I recently put up a two-part video devoted to slow, lower abdominal breathing. Part one explains the theory of this transformative practice from a Chinese medicine and a science perspective and part two is practical. Sitting or standing and breathing deep and slow can be a wonderful practice in its own right, but for most of us, once we get the hang of it, it’s good to move on and integrate it with moving practice, for example the free course simple qigong practice to build health and energy, deepen the breath and calm the mind. That itself can be the starting point for exploring deeper qigong practices like taichi shibashi qigong or the baduanjin (eight pieces of silken brocade).
For those who need help with lung health, whether due to Covid, long Covid or other problems, there are two free courses: 1. Build lung health for Covid and long Covid, and for those who may have trouble standing, 2. Seated qigong practice for long Covid and other chronic disorders.
Live (and zoom) classes next term
Tuesdays 7.15pm in the studio at Brighton Natural Health Centre and on zoom: learn the baduanjin – the famous eight pieces of silken brocade
Thursdays low-cost community class in the studio at Brighton Natural Health Centre and on zoom: varied qigong practice
“Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going”. Jim Ryun, Olympic runner
There is simply no substitute for regular practice if we want to explore and benefit from the riches of qigong. It’s true we may need a bit of will power at first but soon habit takes over and if we faithfully commit to it, it becomes a vital part of our daily life.
We practise when we feel happy and when we feel sad, when we’re full of vitality or weak and unwell, strong or vulnerable. Sometimes we fly with the gods and and other times we feel heavy and uninspired. But however it is we just do our practice and – almost without fail – we feel better afterwards. Then, as the months and year pass, we discover we’ve built a deep well of strength and centredness that we can draw on whatever may be happening in our lives.
As the 4th century BCE Daoist text, the wonderful Nei Ye (Inner Training) said, “You must be firm, you must be regular in this practice. Hold fast to this excellent practice; do not let go of it”.
Just a reminder that you can access everything (qigong courses, talks, articles, books etc.) in my teachable school for a small monthly subscription: https://peterdeadman.teachable.com/p/subscribe-to-…
With warm wishes for the winter solstice