Integrating the 5 Elements from Chinese Medicine into your Qigong practice can add a multitude of benefits. In this article I am going to go into how to add it to your practice, why you need it and the benefits of it.
First and foremost you need a basic and simple understanding of what the 5 Elements are.
Why Should You Integrate the 5 Elements into Your Practice?
One of the principles of Taoist Qigong is connecting to nature to realize our interconnectedness.
Scientific studies have proven the healing benefits of forest bathing.
Studies have found that “forest bathing” (Shinrin-yoku) has positive physiological effects, such as blood pressure reduction, improvement of autonomic and immune functions, as well as psychological effects of alleviating depression and improving mental health.
Think of connecting to the 5 Element integration as bathing your senses, body, and spirit in natural healing.
The sounds of water can be so calming and activate your parasympathetic nervous system which can help you deeply rest, rejuvinate and relax.
Benefits of Integrating the 5 Elements Into Your Qigong Practice:
- Alleviate stress
- Reduce blood pressure
- Boost immune system
- Alleviate depression
- Improve mental health
- Much more!
What is the 5 Element Theory and How Does It Work?
Everything in the earth is also within us? We are made up up the same 5 elements that the earth is. We are the microcosm of the macrocosm. Those 5 elements are listed below.
You need to first feel and understand how you feel effected by different natural elements. Some people feel peaceful with an ocean. Some people feel power with a mountain. Others feel the softness and mystery of a forest.
Go and experience different elements of nature and feel how it effects your mood.
I had one master I studied with who like to do his breathing Qigong practice in the mornings in a flower garden because the colors and scent of the flowers made him feel good.
Feeling good is the point.
The more time we can stay in a better mood, the more our health will improve.
When I do my Gratitude Meditation (as is taught in our Qigong for Emotional Balance online courses), I like to absorb nature through my senses and connect with it.
In Chinese Medicine the organs have a direct connection to the sensory organs.
For example, if I am by the ocean I close my eyes and tune in with my ears to the sound of the ocean waves. I feel so good from this and it relaxes me.
The sound stimulates the kidneys as the kidneys are related to sound in the 5 Elements.
After a few minutes of this, I tune into the feeling of the soft, salty, ocean air on my skin and enjoy that fresh air feeling. If you can, listen to a water source such as a river, stream, or gentle waves on a beach.
I do Skin Breathing Qigong where I feel as if I can breathe the air in through my skin.
The skin is connected to the lungs in the 5 Elements. Then after a few minutes of this I open my eyes and take in beauty of the scenery as if I can breathe it in through my eyes, absorbing the beauty and enjoying it.
The eyes are connected to the liver so this is beneficial for the liver.
If you can look at something green as this will be even more soothing for the liver. We can see signs of unhealthy organs at times through the exterior of the body.
It does not necessarily mean that the organ is unhealthy, but it can be a sign.
Having bad skin due to sun damage or improper care doesn’t necessarily mean the lungs are unhealthy as that came from an external factor, but living in a polluted environment and having bad skin is an example of the lungs being poisoned by the pollution which directly effects the skin and vice versa as the skin actually breathes as well.
Instructions for Integrating 5 Elements into your Qigong for Golden Elixir Qigong:
It is recommended that you do this Qigong facing a sunrise or sunset to capture the fire from the sun.From the Standing Qigong posture:
- Staring at the sun with your eyes closed so you don’t burn the eyes, take a deep, slow, long and soft breath in as if you can draw the sun’s fire through the eyes. Focus the fire going into the lower Dan Tian.
- The fire element is connected to your heart and the heart manifests in the sensory organ of the tongue. We will stimulate that by circling the tongue around the gum line. This is part of the Golden Elixir practice in the Primordial Breath Qigong.
- Breathing in, drawing the sun’s fire into your closed eyes and feeling the fire go into your mouth. Chatter your teeth multiple times to generate saliva while exhaling. Inhale, drawing more fire from the sun into your mouth. Move the tongue in circles around your gum line generating saliva and exhale slowly out of the nose. Keep repeating this until you feel a small amount of saliva building in the mouth.
- Now inhale drawing more fire from the sun into your mouth and beat the sides of your mouth with your tongue as if you are beating a drum while exhaling. Now inhale and begin chewing with your mouth open to mix saliva with oxygen and then exhale.
- Take a slow, deep inhalation drawing more fire from the sun into the mouth and swallow the golden, liquid fire as your exhale leading it down into the lower Dan Tian. Repeat this last part until you have swallowed all of the saliva.
- Now focusing on the Lower Dan Tian, visualizing and seeing a small pool of golden fire begin to expand and permeate your entire body, burning away all desire. Feel the gentle heat, visualize the golden fire. Engage more senses by listening to the crackling of the fire. Each breath is slow and long.
- After 8 breaths of this. Feel the fire all sinking back down into the Lower Dan Tian, coalescing and condensing into a small golden pearl. Feel the peaceful contentment throughout your entire being.
- Breathe slow soft breaths for as long as you want here, enjoying the feeling.
Doing this practice daily has brought me deep peace, a deeper connection to nature, better health and greater appreciation for my life.