“Over the last 365 days, roughly how many times did you practice?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I try to practice regularly, Sifu.” he said.
Daniel had contacted me about a specific health problem he was having. He originally learned from me about 2-3 years ago, and has taken a few workshops since then.
I frequently get emails like this, so I know how to handle them.
“I’m looking for a number, Daniel. Did you practice 700 times, 300 times, 80 times, or what?”
I think Daniel was surprised by my question. He probably wanted me say, “Practice X exercise for Y problem.” And sometimes, I do answer that way. But not often, and certainly not in this case.
“Maybe 150,” was the response that I finally got from him. In other words, out of the last 365 days, he had practiced roughly 150 times.
Not terrible. But not great.
Are You Taking Your Medicine?
It helps to think of qigong as medicine (because it is).
What is the proper dosage? If you are healthy and fully of vitality, then practicing once a day is probably enough. But if you’re not healthy, then you need a higher dosage:
The proper dosage of qigong for someone who is dealing with serious health issues is two 5-phase routines per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening or at night.
Of course, it’s critical that you also follow the 3 Golden Rules of practice. Someone just going through the motions won’t get results. But if you’ve learned the 5-Phase Routine, if you follow the 3 Golden rules while practicing twice a day, then you’re going to get results. Great results!
In other words, the correct dosage is to practice 730 times every year.
But let’s get back to the student I mentioned above. He was only practicing 150 times every year.
In other words, he was only at 20% of the proper dosage.
This is precisely why I didn’t start suggesting different exercises to the student. The choice of exercises wasn’t the problem.
Before we change the medication, we need to change the dosage!
600 Sessions Per Year
If he had told me, “I’ve practiced about 600 times in the past 365 days,” then my answer would have been different.
In that case, his dosage would be 82% correct, which is a helluva lot better than 20%!
So we would need to look somewhere else for the solution.
But in my experience teaching thousands of people, I can stay this: Students who practice 600+ times per year don’t have the same problems as students who practice 150 times per year.
(Similarly, those who practice 150 times per year don’t have the same problems as those who have stopped practicing entirely.)
Quite frankly, those who practice 600+ times per year get great results. They might need to tweak a few things in order to get better results, but they’re already enjoying the awesomeness that is qigong.
For example, one of my students was practicing diligently, twice a day, and getting great results. But she still had a minor health issue that wasn’t responding. With my help (and my wife’s), she fixed the issue by adding a specific exercise to her routine.
Her minor health issue disappeared within a few months. Eh whalla!
But for most students, the dosage is the problem, not the medication.
Think of it this way. A person practicing 600 times per year accomplishes in 1 year what it would take Daniel 4 years to accomplish.
But this isn’t even accurate because when you practice twice daily, you develop something that Daniel will never develop: Momentum.
If you practice once a day, then there are roughly 24 hours between sessions. During those 24 hours, your overall energy flow will gradually diminish. By the time you practice again the next day, the qi flow has dropped considerably.
But if you practice twice a day, then there are only 12 hours between sessions. Now the qi flow doesn’t have time to diminish.
So by the time you do your 2nd practice session, the qi is still flowing pretty well. And then when you wake up the next morning, you still have some flow left over from last night’s session.
In other words, your qi flow starts to build its own momentum. This momentum raises the effectiveness of practice even further.
The conclusion is simple: practicing twice daily is MORE than twice as effective.
By my best estimate, it’s more like 3 times as effective. Now we’re talking about some serious healing!!
Just Do It
I want you to be healthy and happy, If you aren’t yet getting the results that you want, then the first place to look is at the dosage of your medication (i.e. qigong if you’re reading this site).
This is something that you have full control over. You CAN do it. In fact, no one else can do it for you.
A great way to gradually increase your dosage is to use a short, 3-minute sessions.
Yep. Just 3 minutes.
If you’re currently practicing every other day, then use the 3-minute routine on the off days. If you’re currently practicing once a day, then use the 3-minute routine as your 2nd session.
If you are committed to your health, if you are determined to not only overcome your problems, but prevent future problems from arising, then just do it.
Stop making excuses, and start making qigong your #1 priority in life.
Now I’d like to hear from you. How often do you practice? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below. 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.