Here too, the similarity to breathing is evident. You cannot keep the air inside. It has to get out for new air to enter. It is the same with qi. It has to exit the body in order for new qi to enter.
In the East, qi that is held inside is described as getting old and bad, sort of stale. Although an inner flow of qi is invigorating and healing, if qi is kept inside it becomes almost hazardous to the health. You feel worse, your body gets weaker, and your ailments increase. If you work up a powerful flow of qi inside of you, but do not let it out, then it becomes frustrating. You get nervous, impatient, and increasingly tense, not unlike any closed container filled to the point of breaking.
Qi should flow out through the body, and not stay inside of it.
The exercise of breathing in a square, above, indicates the same. The air you breathe does not stay in the body, but leaves when it has been used. The qi you awaken inside of you should be used and dispatched. Then new qi enters your body, whether you do a breathing exercise or not.
Really, you always use your qi, whatever you do. That is the nature of the life spirit. But when you stimulate the qi flow and make it grow, there may be an imbalance between in and out. So, you have to stimulate the outward flow of qi to the extent you stimulate the qi emergence inside of you. You have to spend what you gain.
The following exercises, dealing with the extension of qi, have that function. But they also show, in a general way, how you can utilize your qi. This is necessary in order to keep you well-being in the long run. Probably, you want to explore the use of qi anyway, out of curiosity. You should.
You will discover that most things in life become different when you consciously use qi and get increasingly accustomed to it. Different and still the same. What changes is the feeling, the experience.
You will probably notice this, already when you try out the following exercises for the first time.
These exercises should not be done lying down, mainly because that is quite a passive position. Now it is time for you to become active, and to apply the abilities you have gained from previous exercises. So, the best is to sit or stand – maybe even walk about, when that fits the specific exercise.
Your basic attitude in these exercises should be one of moving from learning to doing. That means you should take command of the exercises, instead of sticking slavishly to the instructions. Do not hesitate to invent your own ways of doing them.
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