3 Reasons Qigong Can Be the Perfect Mindfulness Practice for People in Early Recovery

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by Paul Garrigan

Qigong is one of the mindfulness practices that even newcomers to Hope can find easy to engage in. These gentle exercise are a type of moving meditation that not have the potential to transform our body but also our mind. Here are just 3 reasons for why qigong can be the perfect practice for people in early recovery:

It Can Be Easier to Develop Concentration by Focusing on Movement

Concentration is the ability to keep our attention on an object of our choosing. It is a skill we can develop through meditation by picking an anchor (e.g. the breath or a mantra) and maintaining our focus on it over time.

Concentration is the fuel that makes mindfulness possible. If we don’t have a sufficient amount, it not only makes it difficult to meditate but also to listen, learn, and engage with life. Lack of concentration also means we are at the mercy of our thoughts.

One of the side-effects of long-term substance abuse it can create a kind of mind fog that reduces our ability to concentrate. In some cases, this mental numbness can continue for months even after we quit our addiction. This makes sitting meditation a bit of a challenge.

It can be easier for people in early recovery to focus on physical movement rather than a subtler sensation like the breath. Qigong is a type of moving meditation where the anchor we use is the exercises. This practice can swiftly increase our level of concentration in a way that most of us find enjoyable.

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Qigong Reconnects Us to The Body

When we spend most of our time lost in thought, it means we are missing out on real lives. One of the benefits of moving our attention to physical sensations is we get a break from all of that thinking – when we are focused on our body, we are automatically in the here and now.

By reconnecting to our body through qigong practice, we start to find peace away from thought. It is the desire for this type of peace that is one of the reasons people start to enjoy stuff like walking and running so much. We feel more alive when we are focused on bodily sensation, and it means we reconnect with an important aspect of ourselves we have been ignoring.

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Qigong Allows Us to See the Building Blocks of Sense Experiences

One of the things we start to recognize by practicing qigong is the flow of chi in our body. Our normal experience of sensations like pain and itching is that they have a solid quality, but when we give them our full attention, they lose their solidity and become fluid (this fluid quality can be similar to ‘pins and needles’) – it is this subjectively fluid quality we refer to as ‘chi energy’.

Fluid sense experiences are far easier to be with than the solid formations our thinking mind creates. Even something like pain feels far less threatening when it is experienced as wavelike (it can transform to a tingling sensation that we can’t quite pin down) – this explains why mindfulness can be so effective for pain management. We start to notice that all sense experience has this fluid quality, and this understanding leads to great freedom.

Posted in Blog, meditation.