I had a wonderful trip to the east coast in early June. I was gifted a home on Martha’s Vineyard to spend a week with my qigong master, Dr. Wang, and to teach a workshop there. As a child, I visited the island a few times and was intrigued by the native women selling their crafts on Gay Head, a prominent cliff jetting out into the ocean with it’s fiery red-orange-yellow streaked clay soil. I think I still have a bottle of the dirt somewhere. I love the island with its weathered shingled homes, long secluded beaches, hidden trails in the woods meandering as the gentle streams. Lovely! Except for the ticks!
Dr. Wang is a treasure house of knowledge and knows more about the body than anyone I’ve met. I’m always amazed at his accurate diagnosis and perception.
Time with the Teacher
I hadn’t spent a week with Dr. Wang in years. He had pushed me out of the nest about 6 years ago to go out and teach. I really feel a profound gratitude for having such a close relationship with my teacher – he’s like a father, mentor, and friend all in one. Dr. Wang is a treasure house of knowledge and knows more about the body than anyone I’ve met. I’m always amazed at his accurate diagnosis and perception.
I had a pain in my gluts (my butt) for months that no one could diagnose or alleviate. I had been to chiropractors, PTs and body workers to no avail. He felt the attachments and pinpointed exactly where I had injured a few tendon attachments and then gave me qigong to heal them. I was out of pain in a couple of days!
During the week, he taught me chair qigong, a series for the arms and hips in bed (or yoga mat), protocols for diabetes, breast cancer (to prevent and treat), osteopenia/osteoporosis, incontinence, low back pain, qigong for after hip surgery and more. It was a full week of study. From all his years of experience as a surgeon, pathologist and qigong master, his sense of the body is profound.
Focusing on the Mind
Even though I’ve done this form for years (more than 15), he’s still refining my practice. The main lesson that Dr. Wang emphasized was the importance of focusing the mind during qigong practice, instead of being distracted with thoughts, to-do lists, worries or whatever occupies your mind. As the Zen saying goes: when you eat, you eat; when you walk, you walk and when you do qigong, you do qigong. So when you’re doing your practice it’s better to have a mindful 15 minutes of practice instead of 30 min. of mind chatter, just like in meditation
If the mind is not calm and quiet then you don’t benefit as much from your practice and that’s one main difference between qigong and other exercise.