Five Aspects Qi Gong Intensive: Objectives and Curriculum
September 24-26 I will be presenting an intro-intensive to Five Aspects Qi Gong in Seattle, Washington at Samadhi Yoga. The objectives for this course are as follows:
· To provide a rationale for the practice of Qi Gong.
· To provide detailed instruction on cultivation practices for the five elemental energies.
· To provide useful information on five elements applications.
· To introduce and apply practices for the Five Aspects’ personal transformation energy work.
· To activate and awaken the elemental energies of the body.
The curriculum for this three day course is as follows:
· Temple Meditation
· Finding and feeling energy
· Five Elements Form
· Five Aspects Theory and Application
Now, the point of all this is WHAT? You may ask yourself Why? and Who Cares? I will now attempt to answer those questions…
Q: First of all, what is the difference between five elements and Five Aspects?
A: Five elements represent fundamental energies within the human body, human mind, and all of nature. They are water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. The elements combine and interact in ways that create a tapestry of flow which we all call life.
Five Aspects are a function of the relationships we have with our world, both inside and out. The Five Aspects are Awareness, Will, Heart, Spirit, and Embodiment. The Five Aspects are closely linked with the five elements, but they are a personalized and intimate expression of these energies as they manifest within a person’s life.
Q: How do the five elements relate to me?
A: The following is a basic description of each of the five elements and its relevance to our lives.
Water: The energy of intuition and emotion. In the practice of water, we learn to let go of control. With the release of control we find freedom within our emotions. Often times, when we become trapped in judgment, the fluid nature of the feeling body becomes rigid and ice-like. This can manifest as fearful or avoidant behavior as well as stiffness or hardness within the body. Practicing the art of water makes us more supple within our body, mind, and emotions.
Wood: The energy of growth and aspiration. The tree holds its roots deep within the Earth while its boughs reach toward the heavens. If the tree forgets to acknowledge the sun, it withers. If it is stoic and refuses the water it becomes brittle. Therefore, a tree must be rooted within the experience of here and now, yet also aspire to lift itself upward toward the higher frequencies of light. The tree embodies all of the various strata of Earthly life, providing us with a ladder through which we can find both integration and ascension.
Fire: The energy of opening, forgiveness, and compassion. Fire is the energy of light itself. It is warmth, which allows us to be open, and it is combustion, which is the energy of transmutation. Fire opens and penetrates into the frigid and darkened areas of our psyches so that we may know and experience ourselves more completely. Fire breaks down the barriers of separation and returns us to a state of unity, wherein the oneness of life can be realized.
Earth: The energy of integration and empowerment. Earth teaches us to be present with the happenings within our life so that we may extract the wisdom from our experiences. It is about digestion; the ability to take what we need and let go of the rest. The letting go helps us to find our base, and to relieve ourselves of the unnecessary burdens of attachment. Integration allows us to realize the strength that comes from experience, and to build from a place of authenticity and presence.
Metal: The energy of confidence and self-expression. Metal provides the scaffolding upon which we position ourselves to address the world. It is the steel of our commitments and the conduit through which our energy flows out into the world. Metal teaches us how to find discipline for the accomplishment of tasks, and structure through which we may embark into new territories of our heart’s unfolding landscape.
Q: What are the Five Aspects’ functions and how are they relevant?
A: The Five Aspects are an intuitive and purely personal expression of the five elements. They are a method for finding centering within the chaotic happenings of everyday life, and a set of techniques for integrating effectively into the passing moments of our lives. I will provide a brief description of each aspect below.
Awareness: Awareness is the ability to step out of subjectivity and find grace within periods of emotional constraint. When the waters of emotion become congested, and the chill of fear begins to set in, awareness is the ability to stop and let go. With awareness we can create a pristine moment wherein all of the noise of our minds recedes into the background and true sight/insight becomes attainable.
Will: Will teaches us to trust the light we find within ourselves. It is the practice of becoming a mirror for this light and magnifying it out into the world. Will teaches us to how to honor the gifts alive within us, and gives us a tangible experience of making authentic connections with others.
Heart: Heart is the center of the soul. It is the place of primary intelligence within us where we have access to all other dimensions of existence. The practice of heart is to establish a link between all of the subjective elements of personality in order to forge a nucleus of presence. This nucleus becomes a blazing sun within our center which keeps us connected to the fundamental essence of our being.
Spirit: Spirit is the art of ascension. It is the activation of mind and body in order to attain higher frequencies of awareness and intuition. Spirit is also attunement with the essence of creation, the creative source, and the energy of grace. Spirit is a vehicle for attaining elevated states of being, while remaining true to our intrinsic nature. Spirit allows us to live into the highest potentials of our grandest dreams.
Embodiment: Embodiment is the art of bringing healing and restoration to our physical self. It is about attuning the cells of our bodies to the frequency of light while eliminating dense and toxic elements. Embodiment brings restoration to the tissues while enhancing circulation, and relieving stress. It is the way we realize and manifest our work into physical reality.
Q: So why should I care about any of that?
A: We are beings with both physical and energetic dimensions. If we live purely in the physical, life can become overly materialistic and banal. If we live exclusively in spirit, in ether, we lose reference for our humanity and create an ever widening gap between ideology and experience. To be truly integrated is to find true fulfillment. We are spiritual creatures with a body and a mind. When this trinity is in balance we are unstoppable, and with cooperation, there is nothing we cannot achieve as a species. Our world is changing, and the need for the balanced integration of masculine-feminine, spirit-body, mind-emotion, and give-receive cannot be overstated. Five Aspects Qi Gong is one avenue for creating and maintaining this balance between the dualities of Earthly life. It is a tangible and reproducible practice which will work for anyone dedicated to self-improvement and personal growth.
Q: How does this practice relate to Yoga?
A: Yoga is a complete system within itself and therefore can be regarded as whole, and without need for augmentation. That being said, yoga often refers to Asana or the practice of postures and alignment, within a more general sense. To this description I would offer the following analogy. If yoga is the water, qigong is the mist. Applying this type of imagery and awareness to a standard yoga practice is akin to adding a new aspect to the experience of asana. It is something which will live and grow within you and add new depths and dimensions to your life.