“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to’”. -Lao Tzu
When I first began studying Qi Gong with my teacher Heiner Fruehauf, I was introduced to the proverbial 40 day practice. I was told that 40 consecutive days of Qi Gong would create a deep transformation on all levels of my being. I was encouraged to embrace a childlike curiosity, staying open to whatever the practice would bring, experiencing it as an internal adventure.
I was told the discoveries would be the gift to myself.
As I discovered, keeping up a 40 day practice is surprisingly challenging! There's the ego 'I don't feel like it' to contend with, sometimes boredom ('really ready to be done with this form!') and the self sabotage ('I'll do it later'). Be forewarned! What helps, of course, is a sense of solidarity, and a we're-doing-this-together kind've feeling. Also an understanding that there really IS something to 40 days.....read below.
Picking a Practice: For this first 40 day Qi-La Gong, pick a practice length that you can easily accomplish; 30-45 minutes each day is enough to achieve benefits.
Doing the same practice each day is best so that you can master that particular practice.
I recommend that you do not miss even one day, if you want to reap the most benefit. For me, dedicating myself to spend time each day with my practice makes it much more powerful. It builds accountability, an inner confidence, and of course discipline and focus. If you are faced with an illness or emotional upset, undertaking a practice of an hour or more can help support you in reclaiming a more balanced state. Do the best you can!
When to Practice: You can practice anytime you like. Find a time that is best for your schedule and try to set that time aside for your daily practice. For me, first thing in the morning is best, before breakfast, on an empty stomach. I like to start the day feeling grounded, calm and centered.
Approach your practice with light-heartedness – have fun. We don’t need take ourselves too seriously. At the same time, no one can tell you what you will discover or unfold, or what it will be like - it is the secret within you : that is for you and only you to discover.
Dr Kelly Jennings guides a 40 day Qi Gong practice once a year, around the winter solstice. To join her for her next one, write to email@example.com.