WHAT IS FENG SHUI?
I would like to say firstly that Feng shui is an investment in yourself. And that is exactly what it is! Why is a personal investment a good thing for you? Because the quality of your life matters! Let me say this again, because the quality of your life matters!!
Secondly, Feng shui, often referred to the art of placement (an oversimplification however) is ultimately about balancing the energy (Yin and Yang) of our living environment, most notably out property and home. For example, how much positive energy (Yang) exists in your home and how much negative energy (Yin) exists in your home? It’s the ratio of Yin and Yang that matters. The ratio doesn’t have to be 50/50 but if the ratio is 80/20, your Feng shui is out of balance and your life will reflect this imbalance is some way(s). Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world and vice versa. By manipulating our outer world (building design, landscaping, specific placement of furniture and objects, the use of colors, textures and light, for example) our inner world / aspirations are supported and strengthened. The beauty of Feng shui is that when we intentionally change our physical environment, (free up and unblock the energy) we start to recognize that our lives flow better as a result of those changes. Life not only feels better but we also have more energy. Feng shui will improve all areas of life including home life, business aspirations, relationships and health. Is Feng shui magic? No but the results are life changing.
IS FENG SHUI A RELIGION?
No, Feng shui is not a religion. Religion requires that a person believes in a supernatural being and most religions have a set of rules or dogma that followers of that religion must follow. Feng shui does not require you to believe in a supernatural being nor follow dogmatic principals. Feng shui, therefore, applies to everyone regardless of his or her religious affiliation.
WE ARE HAVING A HOME BUILT SOON AND WANT TO INCORPORATE FENG SHUI. WOULD IT BE BEST FOR US TO WAIT UNTIL AFTER OUR HOME IS BUILT TO HIRE A FENG SHUI CONSULTANT?
No, do not wait! Have a Feng shui consultant look at your home’s floor plans before you build! Architects and builders are most normally not schooled in Feng shui. In reality, many homes are indeed built with blatant Feng shui flaws, such as incorrect beaming, walls that completely block natural energy, rooms with facing doors, bathrooms placed at inappropriate areas in the home, hallways that are too narrow and more. Exterior issues are also at play with Feng shui such as inappropriate land sloping concepts and tree placement. The point is this: If you are going to invest several hundred thousand dollars or more to build a home, it makes sense to invest a few hundred dollars to have a professional Feng shui consultant evaluate your floor plans and exterior property. The goal is to have a beautiful home and a home that is supportive to your life’s energy.
WHAT IS QIGONG?
Qigong is a system of alignment. Qigong seeks to bring three aspects into alignment: slow, graceful body movements, breath and the Yi (our mental focus and attitudes). When we are in alignment, we activate the medicine within and begin to heal. Remember that 75 - 80% of all diseases are preventable, which means that we have control over most of our health!
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I PRACTICE QIGONG?
You should practice 6 to 7 days a week. There will be days when we are unable to do Qigong practice but we can always stay in the spirit of Qigong. One can also practice Qigong without doing a formal routine. For example, standing in line at the grocery store and doing deep breathing is one way to stay in the Qigong spirit. No one will even notice that you are doing deep breathing. There are always times (going to the bathroom at work, for example) when you can do a few stretches along with deep breathing for 30 seconds that keep you in flow with the Qigong spirit. Occasionally I will pause, when I walk through my living room and do 2 minutes of a Qigong form. It feels beautiful, I feel centered and then I continue going about my day. Lastly, when one totally commits to Qigong practice, the time investment with Qigong will take care of itself.
HOW LONG SHOULD MY PRACTICE SESSIONS BE?
A practice routine need not be long to be effective. My standard practice routine is 30 minutes. If you desire to do longer routines and you feel that you can remain focused, then by all means do so. That being said, 15 minutes of Qigong alignment will balance the Qi in the body. Remember, it's better to do 10 minutes of focused Qigong than to do 30 minutes of unfocused Qigong.
HOW MANY QIGONG ROUTINES SHOULD I KNOW?
The fact is, you only need 2 or 3 routines. Having 2 or 3 routines that you do over and over (which means you will have these routines memorized...memorization is a desirable thing) will provide you all of the benefits that Qigong has to offer. For me, as a teacher and someone who is personally invested in Qigong, I have 12 routines (normally a routine includes 8 or 9 forms) that I have honed down and memorized. I will continue to pick up a routine here and there over the years as I feel necessary but I am very comfortable having the 12 routines that I currently use. In addition of course, I have many stand-alone Qigong forms, breathing techniques, warm up exercises, self massage techniques, acupressure concepts and Qigong philosophy that I share with my students.
Initially I felt that I needed to learn a lot of routines but now I know that the effectiveness in Qigong doesn't lie in the amount of routines a person knows, but in the way a person does Qigong practice. The key in addition to body movements and breathing is the Yi. The Yi means your mental belief systems, your thoughts (positive or negative), the visualizations you carry about yourself, etc. How do you engage the YI? You can engage the Yi in your practice by holding positive thoughts, saying affirmations, mantras, holding positive visualizations OR you quiet the mind and enter the "zone" of no-mind. Either way is effective to gain the benefits of Qigong.
So, don't worry about how many routines you know! Just find 2 or 3 that feel good to you and go with it. If the time comes when you want to pick another routine, you will.
One final thought...when you engage the slow body motions, the deep full breathing and the Yi, something magical happens to the human body...natural internal medicine is produced! You have literally turned on the medicine inside your body...you are healing. This is the magic of Qigong practice and the reason why you don't need many many Qigong routines.
WHAT RECOMMENDATIONS WOULD YOU HAVE TO HELP ME CONCENTRATE BETTER DURING MY PRACTICE?
Firstly, approach your practice in a calm and deliberate way. Some like to prepare by meditating and/or stretching for 10 - 15 minutes or so before starting their Qigong routine. Some like to go to a room with low lighting to help them focus inward and perhaps listen to soft meditation like music. For myself I prefer no music just the quiet space that I'm in.
IS QIGONG A RELIGION?
No, Qigong is not a religion. Qigong is a holistic health system that aligns your body, breath and mind. By aligning these 3 aspects, the body produces natural healing medicine within and starts to heal itself. We are empowered when we are in alignment, resulting in optimal health.
DO I NEED A TEACHER OR CAN I LEARN QIGONG ON MY OWN?
If you have access to a teacher, definitely start out this way. Later you can decide to practice on your own. If you don’t have access to a teacher in your immediate area, Youtube is a great resource. Remember however, you must incorporate all three aspects of Qigong (body motions, breath and Yi) for Qigong to be effective. Check my recommended Qigong Youtube resources on my “Books” page. Francesco Garripoli (one of the listed resources) is a must to understand the Yi aspect of Qigong.
WE OWN A SMALL COMPANY WITH THREE EMPLOYEES. DO YOU DO WORKSHOPS FOR GROUPS THIS SMALL?
Yes I certainly do! The smallest workshop I have done has been for three people. A small group allows for a wonderful intimate experience.