Nowadays, there are many programs teaching Oriental Medicine, or Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM), across America. An Acupuncturist or Doctor of Oriental Medicine is usually trained to diagnose particular health conditions that are viewed as problems or diseases. The TCM doctor has studied numerous case histories and creates a treatment for the patient based on these histories. This treatment is often energy work in the form of Acupuncture but can also include dietetic advice, prescriptions of herbs or other methods, including Qigong.

An Acupuncturist trained in a TCM program has learned about energy meridians, or channels in the human body, often through the study of meridian charts and dummies dotted with acupoints. Acupuncturists use their knowledge of these meridians and acupoints in their efforts to direct the energy of the patient according to their understanding of how Qi should flow in the physical body.

If Qi deviates from this “optimal” flow, they may use burning moxa, needles, cups or other devices in an attempt to correct or facilitate the energy flow. This is believed to promote healing of the patient. This type of treatment is based on the belief that the Doctor knows where and how the life force should flow in the patient’s body. It also entails that the Doctor knows better what the patients need to experience than the patients themselves.

TCM programs attempt to cover the full spectrum of Oriental Medicine although many of them do not include a significant amount of training in Qigong Therapy and none use the Qigong Coaching paradigm. Qigong is the part of Oriental medicine that promotes greater energy awareness and coaches clients in self-healing. It may be quite challenging for the Doctor to offer energy awareness to his or her patients if the Doctor does not regularly practice Qigong for his or her own energy awareness. Health professionals in general and Acupuncturists in particular tend to agree with the supposition that patients heal only when they are ready to heal. Qigong is the part of Oriental medicine that promotes greater energy awareness and coaches clients in self-healing.

Indeed, Qigong is the foundation of Oriental Medicine and must be practiced as such. All styles of Chinese Qigong work with Qi – energy or life force. Since Qi is the basis of life, being in the flow of Qi is the key to health, happiness and longevity. Most forms of Qigong use flowing, circular movements, breathing, meditation, visualization and energy awareness for the purpose of cultivating Qi. Different styles of Chinese Qigong use various “forms.” These are choreographed movements that are to be memorized and repeated on a regular basis. In contrast to practicing forms, Qi Dao suggests feeling the flow of Qi and surrendering to it. The practice of Qi Dao does not include any routines of movements that are dedicated to achieving a particular goal. Equally, rather than attempting to conserve energy, Qi Dao believes that there is an abundant source of energy within us and that we can simply tap into that source. Besides, Qi Dao uses the four-element system of the Medicine Wheel rather than the Chinese five-element system.

As you may know, the world of Qigong is roughly divided into six main branches: Taoist, Buddhist, Confucianist, Medical, Martial Arts and Tantric Qigong. Nowadays, most Qigong styles seem to belong to at least one of these branches, following the steps of their famous founders. Historically, all styles originated at one time or another from a primordial foundation of Qigong that was deeply rooted in Shamanic Medicine Dances. Qi Dao represents the “missing link” between the modern body-oriented Somatic Therapies and ancient Shamanic healing practices working with all the aspects of the human being.

Similarly to TCM students, Qi Dao students learn to address meridians and acupressure points. But rather than memorizing a set of points, the students Qi Dao learn to address points by experience and intuition – by being in the flow. Unlike most forms of Chinese Qigong, Qi Dao does not teach methods of storing Qi or directing it where the practitioner believes it should go. The heart of Qi Dao is paying attention to the current flow of Qi without considering it right or wrong. If the energy doesn’t appear to flow following the acupuncture charts, it still flows somewhere as long as the person is alive. Qi Dao holds that there must be some profound reason for the energy to flow the way it flows at any given moment in time. Indeed, the flow of things, the Dao makes no mistakes, therefore Qi simply cannot flow where it is not supposed to flow.

Qi Dao students learn to be in the flow of energy, recognizing that Qi flows exactly where it needs to flow. They come to realize that they experience exactly what they need to experience in order to learn the lessons provided to them by their lives. Qi Dao emphasizes quite a unique attitude, encouraging its practitioners to explore their unpremeditated experiences with the flow of Qi as it unfolds moment by moment. Its approach to movement and bodywork is deeply rooted in the archetypal field of human consciousness, our inner nature. It allows the true nature to reveal itself spontaneously through the fluid and natural movements of the physical body.

With practice, Qi Dao students learn to perceive the energy flowing through the body and simply go with the flow, which brings forth a profound sense of harmony and well-being. After experiencing and anchoring that feeling of being in the flow, the students learn to pay attention to the whole spectrum of spontaneous processes occurring in both the body and the mind. Entering an altered state of mind, aptly coined “Qigong State,” offers them an opportunity to suspend discriminating logic and judgmental reasoning. In such a meditative state of mind, the students are more aware of their own true nature and receptive to their inner guidance directing them in the process of natural healing.

When people encounter such symptoms as chronic pain in any part of the body, they customarily tend to focus their attention on the feeling of pain, as if it were a problem, or an energy block. Qi Dao teaches us to shift attention from the block to the flow of energy streaming somewhere around the block, just like water flowing around an obstacle in its way. This is not unlike resolving the inner question: “If I were dreaming about having pain like this, what would be the meaning of such a dream?” Qi Dao heals by facilitating the process of manifesting the dream of being healthy and pain free for each and every part of the human being. Both the practitioners and their clients learn to accept every single experience as a lesson, rather than a problem. This empowers them to learn to integrate all the parts of the body, mind and spirit in order to embody vibrant health and wellness.

The clients receiving Qigong Coaching experience the benefit of harmonizing their personalities, which affects their relationships with themselves as well as the world around them. Awakening the healer within them, Qi Dao empowers them to transform the very sources of their somatic as well as psychosomatic issues in order to resolve them. It allows them to break through the lifetime of their old habits and programmed patterns of behavior and body awareness. This far-reaching holistic tradition not only addresses the issues on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels, but also balances all these levels.

It offers profound experiences in dynamic meditation and creative visualization, promoting deep peace and receptivity to inner guidance. Promoting holistic and intuitive living, Qi Dao serves as a major means for experiencing and exploring the qualities of human consciousness that are usually dormant in the conditions of modern, “civilized” life.

Author's Bio: 

Lama Somananda Tantrapa is the holder of the lineage of Qi Dao that has been fostered in his clan for 27 generations since 1224 AD. He has over 30 years of experience in Qi Dao and other internal martial arts. He was primarily trained by his Grandfather who was the last Grandmaster of this style of Tibetan Shamanic Qigong. In addition to being recognized as an incarnate Bön lama, ordained as a Buddhist monk and initiated into Subud spiritual brotherhood, he holds a degree in Cultural Anthropology and certifications in Qigong, Hypnosis and NLP.

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