Personally I always prefer practicing Qigong in a group setting, it’s a completely different vibe to solo practice. I find that my Qi flow is more powerful, especially if there is a Qigong master present. But even when there isn’t there is something about training with a group of like minded people to really bring out the best in my practice.
Here are some pro’s and con’s of group Qigong practice.
My Qi doesn’t like you – this has only happened to me once, but I know that I’m not unique as I’ve heard many people tell of similar experiences.
I was at a course with around 70 other students. This was our 3rd Qi flow of the day (don’t do this in your ‘at home’ practice!) and I’d had a great time so far.
Then during this Qi flow I felt really horrible. Quite angry, fed up, hostile. Not the type of feelings I’d come to associate with Qigong!
I asked the teacher about this after the exercise and he explained that sometimes your Qi isn’t a good match for the person next to you. The solution was simple: go and stand somewhere else.
Like I said, this has only happened to me once and I’ve been to far more group classes than I can remember. But I thought you needed to be aware of it in case it happens to you.
Stale Qi Fog – this is a big one. When I used to be a Qigong course organizer for a Qigong master from Malaysia this was always a challenge. Especially with the English weather.
I knew people in Spain, Portugal and Malaysia who could arrange to have their courses outside, which is the best place to practice.
If you think about it the problem is obvious.
When you breathe in you breathe in good energy and when you breathe out you breathe out stale energy. But when you multiply this by a factor of 50+ people practicing Qigong exercises in an enclosed space, the amount of stale energy in the room can be staggering.
I used to hire big sports halls, because I noticed that they have a lot of double door fire exits. With these opened it was possible to maintain a good flow of moving air that would help to move away this stale energy.
I remember once driving around Brighton after a course had started to find 10 pairs of drumsticks (for a Lion Dance course later on).
When I returned to the venue a few hours later and walked in the room, the stench of stale, negative Qi was so thick it was like a fog.
A hall with good ventilation or outdoors is the best place for group practice.
Overcoming Depression – Qigong can be a very introspective and ‘inward’ focused. For those suffering from depression this isn’t good news.
I recommend that if you are currently suffering from depression then you should avoid practicing Qigong on your own. For your situation group practice will be much more beneficial because it will enhance social interaction.
Elvis has entered the building – my experiences of group practice were always best when I wasn’t the teacher =) Because if I was practicing in a large group and I wasn’t the teacher it usually meant that there was a great Qigong master present.
If you’ve never practiced in the presence of a Qigong master, the benefits are easy to explain but difficult to clearly put across.
For example you get to benefit from their abundance of Qi, which is literally like being sat next to, and benefitting from a caffeine shot – without the come down.
You also get to benefit from “Heart to Heart transmission” — teaching, guidance and insight beyond words.
If you ever get the chance to learn with a Qigong master, I recommend that you take it.
Caveat – I’ve written about this before. But it is very common to experience your ‘at home’ practice as somewhat of a damp squib compared to your group practice. Especially when there was a Qigong master presence.
(I wrote about this in my Qigong Daily book.)>
An abundance – in a group setting I’ve always found my Qi flow’s to be stronger. Why? Because there is so much Qi in the room, especially if a Qigong Master is present.
Social creatures – the social benefits to be gained from group practice are admirable and powerful.
We are social animals and isolation is a common and horrible issue that is commonly experienced by the elderly, especially those who are living alone.
Staying socially connected is vital as we grow older and Qigong lends itself brilliantly to being practiced in a group setting.
I recently read a Singapore newspaper article that was challenging social isolation amongst the elderly and they organized a group Qigong gathering of, wait for it…. 1600!
I’d love to take that class =)
And you know what?
Being in a group of people who have a shared interest is lovely and it can really help you to keep practicing when you’re on your own.
If you get the opportunity to attend a group Qigong class, course or practice session – especially if a Qigong master is present – make sure you attend.
For 6 years I was the organizer for a large UK based Qigong and Kung Fu event, I always used to feel very happy when I saw that a family group were coming to take a course.
I think a family that practices Qigong together is a very lucky family indeed!
Bye for now
Marcus “Do it in a group” Santer