My 1,000+ DAYS of Daily Dayan Qigong Practice

My 1,000+ DAYS of Daily Dayan Qigong Practice

Sid SattlerThe idea of a 100-Day Challenge was introduced to me by my first qigong teacher, Kirstin Lindquist, who gave us an article about it.  I didn't immediately embrace the challenge. It took some time for me to "grow" into it.

With the help of the 1st Set book written by Wen Wu School's Grandmaster Hui Liu and some handouts from Kirstin, I started learning the order of the warm-ups, and I started trying to "get" some of the movements into my body and my mind. I started to practice more. 

As it turns out, practicing feeds itself -- more time practicing seems to make it easier to practice more.

Sid Sattler Qigong one leg standI don't exactly remember the moment that I decided to take or do the 100 Day Challenge. No doubt there was such a moment since I do remember not wanting to miss a day. (The rule with the 100-day challenge is that if you miss a day, you have to go back and start counting again at Day 1.)  I would try to practice in the mornings, although there were times when I couldn't, and there were several times when I almost missed -- which I hear is pretty typical. For example, there were a couple of times when I was getting ready for bed and realized that I hadn't practiced. So no choice but to get up and practice . . . maybe a little shorter practice. Times like these were instructive, possibly part of the practice, really. They required some determination, which is a good quality to cultivate. So I completed the 100-day Challenge. 

Then 100 days seemed to flow naturally into the 1,000-day goal, almost without knowing.  The truth is that I wasn't even aware that I had done 1,000 days until my best qigong friend, Gail Whang, announced that she had completed 1,000 days of practice. I knew that I had been practicing at least as long as she had, so I deduced that I also must have completed 1,000 Days of practice as well.  While I think that this may be regarded as an accomplishment (from the perspective of my original starting point), 1,000 days of practice doesn't seem that unusual or special to me. The everyday practice simply became the new norm. It became something I did for two reasons: 1) I enjoyed it because it made me feel better, and  2) If I didn't practice, things didn't seem to go as well or as easily for me that day. It wasn't a chore to practice anymore. It just became something that I did every day -- kind of like eating.

Terri and SidDaily practice becomes essential. There are many reasons not to do this and all have some validity.  But finding a way or ways to practice daily, although challenging at first, pay big dividends. Now, after practicing every day for more than 3 years, I paradoxically understand the need for a daily practice. So now it occurs to me that you have to do it first before you can understand why you have to do it.

There are basic side benefits such as feeling better, not getting sick as much or as badly -- and, when I did get sick, I got better more quickly. Other benefits: more energy, clearer thinking, finding solutions to daily life activities that often resulted in efficiencies, which in turn resulted in having more time (hence more time to practice).

Some of the things that I had to overcome or resolve my commitment to keep up the daily practice were:

  • Being busy with work
  • Family stuff
  • Traveling
  • Sickness

One thing I learned is that I didn't have to do the whole 1.5 hour practice all at one time (which, in my mind included warm ups, meditation and 1st and 2nd set) or even in the same place. This was nice because, if I didn't have the time or I was somewhere else, I found that I could practice almost anywhere and at any time, and that was okay. I had to learn not to be too self conscious too -- especially while doing the Form by myself in the park or in an airline terminal, a hotel lobby, or hospital emergency waiting room. It might seem a little weird at first,  but as it turns out, it's just fine. People may be curious but generally speaking, everyone seemed so busy living their own lives they never were terribly concerned about me. In public places like the airport, I made a point of choosing a place to practice that would not obstruct others. There are the occasional kids who say "Mommy, what is he doing?" and interestingly many people knew that it was gigong, or assumed taiji. I've also met people while practicing in the park who knew DYQG and practiced with me, and some who have joined our group practice on a regular basis, becoming new friends. And while perhaps not ideal, it's been okay to split up the practice during different times of day when I need to. 

Sid Standing MeditationRegarding practice groups: This has been one key to helping me continue and deepen my experience and practice of Dayan Qigong. It is wonderful to practice alone, but practicing with another person or a group is really helpful -- often leading to stronger qi feelings and many interesting conversations. 

Many thanks to my teachers including Kirstin Lindquist, Grandmaster Hui Liu, and Cynthia Eaton as well as the larger Wen Wu School community. Many thanks also to the other students, advanced and beginning, many of whom I have had the honor of practicing with and learning from. And many thanks to Grandmaster Yang Meijun, her grandfather, and the lineage of grandmasters preceding them who preserved and honed the secrets of Dayan Qigong so we could benefit from it today.

One last comment: While 1,000 days of continual practice may seem like a lot (and it is), it also is not very long at all.  Here's to 10,000 -- day Challenge! 

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