February 7, 2016 at 3:17 pm #45906
One of my primary (initial) goals on entering HT practice was to improve my energy level. After my initial few months of practice, I found my results in this area to be rather disappointing. I attributed the problem (chronic fatigue) to what in the west is called adrenal exhaustion, which translates quite readily into the daoist concept of kidney energy, and I started to focus more on this area. I added Goji berry juice to my regimen and started regular practice of the standing postures from QF4 combined with natural breathing through the limbs. I felt like this was somewhat helpful but also felt that I needed something more. I started experimenting with the combination of deep earth pulsing and reverse breathing with qi ball moving back and forth from QF4. This seems to have produced very noticeable results within a fairly short period of time (a couple weeks or so) in the form of a better overall level of energy and vitality. However, a couple of concerns have come up in the wake of this development. One is that my irritability level has gone up as my energy level has gone up. I wonder if this might be partly attributable to the fact that I no longer tolerate the level of stimulant (caffeine) consumption that had become habitual for me. Also, I find at times that I experience a degree of soreness in the kidney area after I do these practices (DEP and reverse breathing with qi ball), especially after reverse breathing.
I’ve also experimented with a He Shou herbal formula which doesn’t seem to have helped much at this point, but I gather the nature of herbal therapies of these kinds is that they need to be adhered to consistently over relatively long time frames in order to see good results. And I might just mention also that it’s sometimes hard to know what’s working or why at any given time. Evaluating one’s practice is somewhat speculative at times.
Any thoughts on kidney building practice appreciated.
elephantFebruary 7, 2016 at 6:52 pm #45907
Standing practice, ala Yiquan Standing-in-Stillness postures from QF4, is good, but much better is ROOTED standing practice postures from Iron Shirt 1. You might consider exploring this at some point in the future, as the QF4 postures–which I think of as good beginner postures–only provide 10% of the benefit for kidney building as the IS1 postures. That said, you are getting some progress with the variety of things you are doing, so keep doing them. This comment here about IS1 is more of a future-looking comment.
If your kidneys are severely depleted, it may take a period of time of continual work and support. Herbs such as Goji 100 juice and He Shou Wu need to be taken over a long period of time, as the effect is cumulative. Goji does tend to be faster acting in the short-term, I’ve found–and, if you only had to pick one–I’d go with the Goji. Personally, I take both of them myself.
Caffeine consumption is destructive and counteracts the benefits of kidney building. I have myself [many years ago now] given up coffee, caffeinated tea, caffeinated soft drinks, and the like, because my body will not tolerate them. I can feel the harm that they do, and I have long since gladly left them behind. In particular, when you consume caffeine, it forces your adrenals to release adrenaline and forces your kidneys to release stored qi. So it weakens the whole kidney system. If you can get off of the caffeine, and get past the withdrawals (which can last weeks), you will feel a lot better and have more energy, and be less irritable.
Soreness in the kidney area can be either kidney healing/detox (good), or too much kidney work all at once, i.e. overwork (bad). It’s difficult to determine which. You need to tune in internally and see what your kidneys are telling you, and your basic intuition about whether you feel you are doing too much practice or not.
As for irritability, I strongly recommend caffeine elimination.
One other player here worth noting is that if you do a lot of kidney building, then when that qi begins to move in the creation cycle, it will flow into the liver system. So it is good if you start incorporating some exercises to support the liver, especially if you have some liver qi stagnation. If liver qi is not flowing properly, anger/frustration/irritability arise. Caffeine also affects the liver, because the liver is the major detoxification organ, and it works to detoxify chemical poisons that enter. This includes caffeine and includes alcohol (ever wonder why alcohol and anger tend to go hand-in-hand?). Stress also affects the liver; it is the first organ that it hits.
Good liver support includes reducing or removing biochemical toxins, reducing stress, and doing qigong that help liver qi to move. Best liver exercises are Tai Chi and brisk walking.
Often progress is non-linear and takes place over a period of time, following the right habits, being consistent, and being persistent. It sounds like you have some progress already. Keep going.
StevenFebruary 8, 2016 at 6:10 am #45909
Interesting and helpful.
I don’t have a copy of Michael’s Healing Love DVD. But I see that one of the (many) exercises on it to build kidney energy is “knee walking”. Just wondering what your experience is of knee walking? Presumably, one needs to do it on a soft surface (e.g grass, a carpeted floor, mats at the gym) or wear knee-pads?February 8, 2016 at 6:46 am #45911
Keep in mind that I’m new to qi gong (7 months) so the next one is not an experienced advice more like a suggestion for an experiment if you feel like it:
I found this great synergy of deep earth pulsing (try aiming for opening the bubbling spring poing (meaning the weight, only a little bit to the front)) and kidney healing sound. So after deep earth pulsing with the intention of opening the bubbling spring next try the healing sounds. And now you could breathe in trough bubbling spring all the way to the kidneys, and other way around when doing the sound (this happened spontaneously for me). It felt great for me, got more energy, better sleep. The only side effect was that this energy would overwhelm me after few hours which got easily fixed by doing few heart sounds.
Playfulness and experimenting aside great job in improving your situation, good luck and happy qi gonging and hopefully nei gong-ing in the long run 😉February 8, 2016 at 6:50 am #45913
Like in my case, although I got great results in cleaning the spleen, after a while I realized that the problem is more general and that is the left trusting channel. But it gets better and better 🙂February 8, 2016 at 9:14 am #45915
I don’t have any experience of it, because it is something I don’t do. 🙂February 8, 2016 at 11:37 am #45917
Well, I can’t argue with that!February 9, 2016 at 11:19 am #45919
Yes, I agree there are deeper factors. I haven’t got to the thrusting channels yet. It’s on my list 🙂 What do you mean by “cleaning the spleen”?February 9, 2016 at 11:20 am #45921
Interesting. Thanks Viktor. I’ll experiment with this.February 9, 2016 at 11:22 am #45923
Thanks Steven. Can you suggest any dosage guidelines for Goji and He Shou Wu?February 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm #45925
Just with the healing sounds. Nowadays I kind of developed (it took me 6 months though) a more direct control, but if it somehow gets congested anyway, then only few sounds will do to get the energy moving through it.February 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm #45927
Is it safe to practice IS1 as taught by M.Chia in the book/dvd sold on the UT website or is there some modification to do?
ThanksFebruary 9, 2016 at 5:34 pm #45929
For He Shou Wu, hopefully you are taking Dragon Herbs brand. Not all He Shou Wu is equal. Some is not potent, and some is not safe because it hasn’t been prepared properly to remove the phytotoxins from the He Shou Wu. Dragon Herbs recommended dosage is 3 capsules twice per day. However, my personal recommendation is this: Half of that dosage (i.e. 3 capsules ONCE per day) I feel is safe for anyone to take on a long-term/permanent basis without supervision.
For Goji, I feel that there is more room for personal variance of how much a person takes without potentially imbalancing the body from having taken it in excess.
I recommend taking the 1-2 oz of Goji 100 (Genesis Today brand) every morning. If you feel that your kidneys need a boost, you could take 5-6 oz in one shot for a few days in a row, before returning back to an ongoing 1-2 oz maintenance level.
These are what I consider “over-the-counter” recommendations for anybody’s general supplementation. There are certain cases when higher doses could be justified, but I don’t recommend them without being evaluated individually by a certified herbalist who is prescribing things for you based on careful individual diagnosis.
StevenFebruary 9, 2016 at 5:43 pm #45931
The standing practice ONLY–at a beginning level–is probably OK to learn self-study.
I do NOT recommend the qi packing method that is taught in the course, and this comprises almost half of the book and course material. The qi packing is somewhat dangerous and has some precautions. In particular, there is a different qi packing method in the Tan Tien (Dantian) Qigong course that is perfectly safe that I feel one should use if they want to do qi packing.
So if you are going to try to learn from self-study, focus on the standing postures ONLY. At some point, it would be good to learn IS1 from a qualified instructor, because appropriate posture is not easily self-taught, and you can be doing many things incorrectly. Also, the training on how to root to the ground can only really be done under the guidance of an instructor, as it requires a combination of posture correction and pushing to test your root.
StevenFebruary 9, 2016 at 7:21 pm #45933
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