Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and is an integral part of many religions and cultural practices. And that includes Qigong, where it can be used to cure a range of ailments, both physical and mental. But meditation is not something that is limited to alternative medicines, it is something that even modern medicine has embraced as a beneficial practice.
That’s because even if you dismiss the fact that meditation helps to regulate the flow of yin and yang, to remove blockages and to renew energy levels, the simple act of sitting and relaxing can help to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, eliminate insomnia and anxiety, and generally clear the mind and the body. Whether you are interested in Qigong or not, you can’t argue with the effectiveness of meditation, and if you want to improve your health and wellbeing, this is something you need to add to your daily life.
How to Meditate
In a moment, we will discuss visualisation techniques and focus on Qigong meditation in particular. But as far as basic meditations go, there are only a few simple instructions to follow. These particular instructions were taken from ones provided by Master Lin, of the Spring Forest Qigong Centre, and they form the basis for many of his meditations:
- Find Peace: You should first find a place where you will not be disturbed, a place that is away from the noise of the outside world and all of its distractions.
- Sit: You do not need to sit cross-legged. Just find a position that is comfortable for you, and one where your back and your neck are straight and your body is in no way slouched or hunched. If you have a problem sitting on the floor, then sit in a hard-back chair and push your back against the chair. You can also simply lie flat on your back.
- Eyes: Close your eyes, or keep them slightly open if you find yourself drifting off to sleep.
- Breathe: Breathe deeply, filling your lungs slowly and then emptying them. It may help to breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose.
- Avoid Distractions: Every time you get distracted, every time you find your mind wandering, drag it back and focus on your breath. Do not get frustrated, as this will happen.
Still struggling to meditate effectively? The following tips might help:
- Music: Most music is not good for meditation. The noise, the sudden jumps and the rise and falls can be a distraction. The fact that the music is catchy may also cause problems, as you are focusing too much on the music and on singing along, and not enough on meditation. However, there is music that can help, including specially composed meditation music available at the Spring Forest Qigong Centre. This includes Inner Beauty and Back to the Universe, both of which were composed by Master Lin.
- Fatigue: If you are too tired, then it might not be a good time to meditate, as you might just fall asleep. This is not a problem if you are experienced, but if you are new to meditation it is difficult for your body to tell the difference between when you are meditating and when you are trying to sleep. So, make sure you save your sessions for when you are feel energetic.
To get more from your meditation, you can turn to the Spring Forest Qigong Centre, where you will find a huge number of meditation guides. All of these are available as MP3s or CDs. They all contain a relaxing backing track, over which Master Lin guides you through the meditation. There are many different meditations, as they all target different things, from helping you to heal mentally and physically, to helping you to open your third eye.
- Small Universe: This is a basic but hugely essential meditation, and it is one that all Qigong students should seek to learn. Small Universe is included on a level 1 Spring Forest Qigong Centre course known as SFQ Fundamentals, but it can also be purchased separately as a 30 minute course or a 60 minute course.
- Temple of Heaven: You will need to be a little more experienced before you tackle this meditation, as it lasts for over 2 hours and requires you to go quite deep. The purpose of this meditation is to take you to a place that is special to Master Lin and will become special to all students that join him on this journey.