Water is the source of life and vitality. On average, the human body is 60% water, with babies and children having higher percentages than adults. The human brain and kidneys are 80-85% water, the heart and lungs 75-80%. Even organs that we usually think of as solid, like bones, are 20-25% water; they are not fixed, but continually building up and breaking down.
Water carries nourishment. It is essential for numerous bodily functions, like temperature regulation, cellular function, and waste removal — functions necessary for optimal health.
So, why do most of us experience our bodies as solid?
And how does this impact our potential to heal?
In qigong and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the term “water” means the total sum of fluids inside the body: blood, lymph, and extracellular and intracellular fluids. Water and qi (energy) are very closely related. It is actually the qi of the water that is moving and transforming.
Many health challenges that express in different systems — for example, digestive, reproductive, and cardiovascular — are the result of the water in those spaces not flowing well. The warmer qi (or the fire of yang) isn’t sufficient to balance the cooler qi (or the water of yin). The effect is that the fluids in those particular areas of the body become cooler, denser, and therefore less flowing. In other words, stagnant.
Many people feel in their abdomen, or lower dantian (the energy center related to the physical health of the body), a pervasive sense of heaviness. Others might experience this as a fullness or bloating after a big meal. This happens when lower dantian qi is stagnant. Hence, the wisdom of qigong is to eat until you’re 80% full. Conversely, when water and qi are flowing well, the abdomen feels empty. Lower dantian qi is light, flexible, and strong.
The methods we have practiced for the past few months — which focus on lower dantian breathing, throat breathing, and standing meditation — repeatedly bring the fire of the heart down to lower dantian, where the water of the kidneys can then flow more easily and nourish the whole body. Mingjue (pure consciousness) also draws down to lower dantian with these practices. Remember: where the mind goes, qi flows.
With increasing standing meditation practice, combined with lower dantian breathing and throat breathing, we can come to experience less and less pain and fatigue, and come into a wu wei state of “effortless action.” Over time, not only does lower dantian become emptier, but so do our qi legs, qi heart, middle dantian, and mingjue (pure consciousness) itself.
Experiencing emptiness within our bodies is very important — not only during the practices, but in our daily lives. When we shift the sense of ourselves from solid and heavy to empty and light, we have the capacity to more effectively heal our health challenges and to continually renew ourselves.
Adapted from the course,“Awakening the Inner Healer,” Module 2, Part 3 (November 2022), as taught by Teacher Wei.
PRACTICE – THROAT BREATHING
Why throat breathing? This type of breathing, which is rougher and coarser than regular breathing, has the potential to stabilize and focus consciousness, induce calm, and draw qi into lower dantian to strengthen vitality and health.
Variations: You can practice with stronger or gentler breathing, depending on how you feel — you choose. You can also practice throat breathing while sitting, standing, or lying down. It is common to feel “asleep but not asleep” with this practice.
Draw your mind into shenji palace (center of your head).
Bring a gentle smile to your face, feeling your lips extend from ear to ear.
Make your throat rounded, like there is a qi ball inside it.
Breathe in, keeping your throat open and rounded, as though the qi ball is expanding within.
Breathe out, keeping the throat open and rounded.
Feel the coarse vibrations in your throat.
Continue this pattern, but expanding the in-breath deeply into the middle dantian (chest) and lower dantian (abdomen) — like balloons inflating in each cavity.
Continue to feel the vibrations in your throat.
The breathing is full. The entire inner space of the lung expands.
When you breathe out, make a rough sound with the exhaling air.
Continue to feel the qi movement in the lungs, in the middle and lower dantian spaces, and in the whole body — like a tiger!
You may feel the energy rise along both sides of your face (along the outer edges of the eyes), in your brain, and in upper dantian (center of the head).
This breathing goes from the middle channel down to the inner spaces of the three dantians — the qi of upper, middle, and lower dantian is all harmonized as one.
The throat remains open and expanded like a big qi channel.
Always hold the question: Who is breathing and who is observing the breath?
DEEPENING YOUR PRACTICE
We offer creative materials to help deepen your practice, make it more playful, or clarify the theories. Review them as you feel inspired. Keep whatever supports your process; disregard if not useful. Better yet, find other materials to personalize your practice. There will come a time when you go beyond all images and tools.
- In this 3-minute animation, you can observe the fluidity of the life within your cells. Bring this experience to your practice, observing the fluidity and movement of your body, and opening yourself to more awakening and healing.
2. In this 5-minute video, Teacher Wei gives a teaching on how an empty heart can guide us beyond the dualities of life to make wiser choices in a freer state.
REFLECTION FROM THE COMMUNITY
During this module, we have focused on standing meditation, lower dantian breathing, and throat breathing.
In the past, one person shared…
“At first it was hard for me to focus my attention and calm my mind for a long time. All sorts of thoughts came up, sometimes strangely, about events that took place a very long time ago, even 20-30 years ago. Getting to know and applying strong throat breathing helped me a lot on this. Watching my breathing makes it easier for me to stay focused. Using internal observation, I was able to feel qi all over my body, a feeling as if my whole body was tingling.”
Another person shared…
“I find that the practice of breathing (throat breathing, silent breathing, being in the silence between inspiration and expiration) is very efficient for me in stabilizing and purifying consciousness.”
STUDY AND PRACTICE MINGJUE GONGFU WITH US
- Practice with a vibrant, global community in our yearlong program, “Awakening the Inner Healer,” which started in June 2022. It’s never too late to join! Monthly courses are available a la carte, and translations are available in multiple languages.
- Are you or someone you know facing cancer? In September, Teacher Wei gave a powerful 7-day course on understanding and healing the root causes of cancer. The recordings are available for purchase, as well as live (virtual), teacher-led groups. To learn more, click here: Healing Cancer with Pure Consciousness.
- “What is the World Consciousness Community?” in Teacher Wei’s words (3-min video)