Mindbody practices span a wide range of activities, including everything from exercise, breathwork, and meditation to hypnosis, experiential psychotherapy, and shamanic experiences. Basically a mindbody practice is anything you do that involves changing your state of consciousness for purposes of personal growth, emotional healing, or spiritual exploration.
With such a wide range of options, it can be hard to know where to start if you find yourself on the outside looking in. There is one particular mindbody practice, however, that provides an ideal starting point for the vast majority of people, which is qigong.
Qigong is commonly translated as “energy work” but an equivalently suitable term might be “self regulation”. Qigong is a mindbody practice that is built upon two first principles as well as three regulations.
The Two First Principles
The Nonexertion Principle: Don’t force, don’t strain, don’t overexert, don’t try too hard.
The Pleasure Principle: Enjoy your practice. If you’re doing it right, it will feel good.
The two first principles taken together say that you are responsible for taking care of your body and working within its limits (while perhaps gently pressing up against them). This makes qigong ideal for people at any age or in any state of health or physical condition, including high performers. It can be practiced as gently or as vigorously as your body can safely and comfortably handle.
The Three Regulations
Mind Regulation: Mind regulation consists of maintaining a meditative state, specifically one of present moment awareness and mindfulness of sensation.
Body Regulation: Body regulation consists of maintaining relaxation, balance, and alignment.
Breath Regulation: Breath regulation consists of maintaining conscious, full, smooth, relaxed, natural breathing.
The three regulations are the three levers by which an individual may affect their mind-body-energy system. As such, they are the foundation of all mindbody practices, and therefore having a foundation in qigong provides a solid stepping-off point for exploring whatever other types of mindbody practices one may feel called to pursue.
Of course, qigong by itself provides all of the benefits of a complete mindbody practice, including health, wellness, longevity, performance enhancement, and stress reduction. This is why I consider it to be ideal as a form of daily mindbody “energetic hygiene” practice for the vast majority of people.
If you would like support in establishing your personal daily mindbody “energetic hygiene” practice, you are welcome to join our Online Learning Community!