How to gather, store and circulate energy (qi, prana, life-force) and being aware of the vibratory nature of our body and mind

May 8, 2008

How to gather, store and circulate energy (qi, prana, life-force) and being aware of the vibratory nature of our body and mind, are central to any yoga or qigong practice. You may be asking how to achieve this spiritual state? To “acquire” more spiritual energy would imply the creation of a container, of boundaries.

One way is to learn to utilize the energy/intelligence of the pelvic floor, the “base” upon which our entire torso rests. The first step in doing this is simply to let our awareness circulate more freely in the lower belly, and to encourage an opening or widening of the skeletal and muscular structures of the pelvic floor.

Can we actually feel the muscles that flow between our two sitting bones? Can we actually feel the muscles that connect the pubic bone with the coccyx (tailbone)? Each of these sets of muscles is a diaphragm ~ similar in structure to the more well-known “diaphragm” located at the lower edge of our ribcage.

And in the same way that our thoracic (ribcage) diaphragm helps us to breathe more deeply, the diaphragms of the pelvic floor can help us to “breathe” energy: to draw life-force from the surrounding environment into the field of our bodymind. We can begin to activate this mechanism simply by imagining that we’re “breathing” through our sitting-bones (as though they were our “nostrils”).

Another way is to sit quietly in a room where you’re not likely to be disturbed, for the duration of the practice. Now look at one of the walls … and begin to imagine that you are yourself becoming a wall: feel the rigid, impenetrable quality of the wall, and allow those qualities to enter into the very cells of your body. Feel yourself becoming “wall-like” on all sides of your being: not letting anything in or out, hyper-vigilant, rigid, contracted. Maintain this state of being for ten minutes, or so.

Now, turn to face the door of the room. Let go of those qualities of “wall-ness,” and let yourself, instead, begin to adopt ~ into the very cells of your body ~ the qualities of a door. Feel within yourself the capacity to be open, fluid, completely relaxed about comings and goings … completely open to any and all phenomenon that appear within the field of your senses, the field of your experience as a human being. Be completely open. Maintain this state of being for twenty minutes, or so. Notice how you feel.

If we practice this for 60 days, we can become more & more comfortable remaining “open” to the experiences, to the flow of our lives. Also important (at the beginning stages of the practice, in particular) is to notice the choices we have along a whole spectrum (from 100% closed to 100% open) … and to become more & more adept at consciously choosing where we place ourselves, in a given situation, along this spectrum. To ask: what feels “safe” to me, and why? And to become more and more comfortable with this (and all!) paradox …

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