Have you gotten off track with your qigong practice? If so, you’re not alone. Building a longterm practice is hard. I see this problem again and again in students, and I struggled with it myself too.
The good news is that if you sincerely want to get back on track, you can do it. These tips may help.
1. Know that Everyone Struggles
Sooner or later, everyone faces this issue. Even the most disciplined students go through phases where they stop practicing. It’s just human nature.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”- Thomas Edison
The sooner you acknowledge that failure is part of the learning process, the sooner you can get yourself back on track. I’ve failed, and so have my top students. What makes us successful is that we accept failure as part of the process.
2. Read a Book
Never before in history has so much quality information on these arts been available for so cheap. Get some books on qigong, meditation, or whatever inspires you.
Even bad books can sometimes inspire you to practice. After reading a bad qigong book, I feel like I need to go practice to cleans my palate!
3. Do the 2-Minute Drill
I originally developed the 2-Minute Drill for students who had stopped practicing. For whatever reason, it was too difficult for them to jump straight back into the 15-Minute Routine. The 2-Minute Drill, however, was something they could manage.
Do you have 2 minutes? Of course you do. That’s why the 2-Minute Drill works so well — because it’s doable. I recommend that you set a goal to do the 2-Minute Drill every day for 30 days. If you fail, then just try again, without beating yourself up (see tip #1).
4. Take a Class
Take an online class, or a live class. Learn some new techniques. Discover a new teacher.
Learning gets the juices flowing. Being in a group is also helpful.
If you can’t find a local class, then sign up for a workshop or a retreat! Don’t just think about it. Register. Put it on your calendar. Commit!
5. Create Space
Is there room in your life — physically and metaphorically — for these arts? Is there a clean, comfortable place where you can go practice whenever you want? If not, then maybe you’ve just found the missing puzzle piece.
Years ago, I moved into a beautiful apartment overlooking a park in New York City. My friends helped me move in, and I asked them to leave the master bedroom empty.
“Why leave it empty?” a friend asked.
“Because that’s the practice room,” I replied.
“But it’s the nicest room in the apartment!”
“Yep. And that’s why it’s going to be the practice room.”
I created space for my practice. At the time, this was a big shift for me because I had been cooped up in tiny apartments for years, making it difficult to practice during the winter. As soon as I gave myself a nice practice space, things started to change for me. Suddenly, I found it easy to practice!
We have a room for everything — eating, sleeping, watching TV — but we have no room for Mindfulness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
If you don’t yet have a place to practice, then create one. It can be a room, a porch, a gazebo in the back yard, but it must be comfortable, it must be convenient, and it must be readily available. Your space should be inviting, and it should entice you to practice.
6. Talk to Your Sifu
Sometimes, what you need most is a little support from your Sifu. Even if you probably know what he’s going to say, it can be reassuring to hear it. Your Sifu often has exactly what students are desperate for — perspective.
If you know me, then you know that I don’t just teach; I cultivate relationships with my students. Even though I’ve taught thousands of people, I know almost all of them by name. (If I don’t yet know your name, then I promise to learn it quickly if you start talking to me!) If I’m your Sifu, then you have a relationship with me. Use it!
If I’m not your sifu, then I encourage you to go talk to yours. As a Sifu, I can almost guarantee that yours will be happy to hear from you, and happy to help. (If not, then it might be time to find a new teacher.)
7. Read My Blog
My blog helps me to address subjects that are meaningful to my own students. And guess what? Lots of students struggle with practicing, so it’s a common theme on my blog. In many ways, my blog is for you!
Blogs are great because they are dynamic. For example, you can scroll to the bottom of this post right now and leave a comment. (Yes, it’s really that easy.) And I will respond to that comment, creating a conversation. And because that conversation is public, it helps to create community among all the people reading.
If you aren’t on my email list, then get on it so that you can receive updates about new blog posts. Mindfully yours, Sifu Anthony I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world how to use qigong for their own stubborn health challenges. As the director of Flowing Zen and a board member for the National Qigong Association, I'm fully committed to helping people with these arts. In addition to my blog, I also teach online courses and offer in-person retreats and workshops.