By: Brian Kane
“I believe that just as school gives learning structure in the academic institutions, attending Yi Ren Qigong classes also gives structure to your personal practice, enhancing it and in turn enhancing your overall health—both physical and mental.”
Every day, I learn. Most of us do. We learn about facts and phenomena, but we also learn about ourselves: why we succeeded, why we failed. Through all of the trials and tribulations of learning, I have found that the two most detrimental things a person can do during the lesson of life are to let anger shut down your brain and obsess about how others view you.
In the fall of 2013, I went back to school. The prospect of going back to school frightened me, at first. However, I knew that I could not let an opportunity to get trained in a field that I had a passion for pass me by. I was not getting the work I wanted, and part of the reason was that I needed more experience and schooling. With both my education path and school internships, I am currently getting both.
I am doing well academically, receiving high marks and my work output satisfies me. However, my struggle matches my recent accomplishments. As I write this the day after the end of winter quarter, I can hardly believe I made it through the quarter’s course work. I took classes as part of my degree that involved material I had never seen before. As a result, I had to ask questions constantly, even at the risk of appearing stupid in front of my fellow classmates. In fact, I am certain that some of them thought that I was dumb and out of my element: The fact is, once I stopped caring about what others thought about me and once I gained the humility to admit that I was not completely absorbing the material, then I started doing much better.
We all have different learning styles and rates, depending on the material, and I feel that some very smart and able people sell themselves short because they care too much about the opinions of others, including the teacher. All in all, and all things considered, most of us are of average intelligence—we might excel at certain things but when all areas of knowledge are considered, most of us are in the same range of intelligence, myself included. What I believe, is what makes successful people (people who are happy and satisfied with both their work and personal lives) is having a positive, proactive attitude and being able to take failures in stride.
Exercising the mind is important, but
Don’t Leave Out the Body!
However, I have something to admit: Although I studied my school subjects intently and intensely, as the school quarter progressed, I neglected my Yi Ren Qigong practice more and more, eventually ceasing it altogether. My mind and body definitely was negatively affected by this. As Noble School of Tai Chi and Qigong Training owner Brendan Thorson has told me and other students, oftentimes people who are not active and/or do not practice some sort of spiritual work such as Qigong or Yoga, are too much in their heads and the body begins to suffer.
From my own personal experiences at school, I have found that school stress can wreak havoc on the adrenal glands and the organ they sit on top of, the kidneys. This can lead to an unhealthy increase in the stress hormone cortisol and also to Adrenal Fatigue. (see article by Brendan Thorson: http://www.taichiqigongseattle.com/2012/01/balancing-hormones-for-improved-energy-yi-ren-qigong-medicine/)
I believe that just as school gives learning structure in the academic institutions, attending Yi Ren Qigong classes also gives structure to your personal practice, enhancing it and in turn enhancing your overall health—both physical and mental. When I began school in the fall, I continued to practice Yi Ren Qigong, and I did not feel mentally or physically drained. Once I stopped practicing, I began to gradually notice that my mind was not as focused and would start racing, my energy levels became less and less, my digestive system began to be negatively affected and even my skin began to break out with a bit of acne, which I have not had in many years. As a side note: when I first started practicing Yi Ren Qigong, I suffered from eczema. My eczema would get worse, the more stress I had to endure. My eczema, at one time, completely went away. Although it did not fully return over the last few months, I did get a couple small blotches on my arms. According to Thorson, eczema could be a result of an imbalance of kidney qi.
So what’s the overall takeaway? Balance, boldness and humility are keys to living a happy and successful life. To me, it seems that no matter how busy we are, it is vital to remain active physically, including practicing Qigong. Ironically, oftentimes when I feel the least able to practice Yi Ren Qigong, is when I need to practice it the most. Attending Yi Ren Qigong classes can greatly help motivate a person to continue to practice on his or her own, and just as importantly, remind that person about the value of practicing Yi Ren Qigong.