I’d like to share about the 5 Elements and how to use the framework they provide for achieving greater health and well-being. But first, in order to show you how amazing the 5 Elements are I need to give you a little background about Qigong.
To me, Qigong is about “one thing,” as Curly famously says about life in City Slickers. To me, the one thing that Qigong is about is nothing less than the source of all creation: that from which all things come and to which they return. Many call this one thing God, the Tao, or one of my favorites, the “Divine Ground.” There are just a couple of things that are important to relate about this one thing for the purposes of discussing the 5 Elements.
First, when we talk about the one thing, perhaps its most prominent characteristic is that it is ineffable – it’s very hard to put into words, and thus very hard to talk about! Additionally, God is very personal, and no two people really have the same opinions and beliefs about it.
The one thing is central to the 5 Elements, regardless of its difficulty to be grasped as a concept. Yin and Yang, for example, are born from the one, and are crucial concepts in 5 Element practice.
A Trinity also permeates Qigong philosophy: the body, mind, and spirit; or physical, emotional, and mental. This Trinity makes discussing Qigong, especially as to the reasons we practice Qigong: for physical health and vitality; emotional peace and well-being; and for the stability, clarity, and creativity of our mental abilities.
The 5 Element framework is amazing because it maintains roots in the Tao, Yin and Yang, and the Trinity, but gives a broader spectrum of principles and practices to utilize. “5” provides a much greater pallet for us to work with when we comprehend the cycles inherent in ourselves, nature, and the universe.
The 5 Elements are: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire. Each Element governs one of the major negative emotions: worry, sorrow, fear, anger, and anxiety. Each Element is divided into Yin and Yang and a pair of internal organs in your body. The Metal Element, for example, governs your large intestine and lungs; and has a pair of meridians flowing through your body related to these internal organs.
Here is a graphic showing the primary correlations we work with in 5 Element Qigong. This graphic and tons of additional supporting materials are available if you are a member of my Patreon Website. Many of the videos and audio meditations you find there have supporting documents attached so you gain a fuller understanding of the practices.
So with all the 5 Element Qigong forms and Meditations you’ll find on my website – where do you begin? Well, I’ve included 5 Element Qigong under a broader umbrella of “3-Phase Qigong,” that you can learn more about in my book, The Quadrant and 3 Phases. The book outlines a progression of Qigong practices from Phases 1 to 3. Phase 1 Qigong unites the mind and body (which is the most important first step to make the magic of Qigong happen), and then utilizes methods for cleansing: releasing negative emotion, physical tension, and excess mental activity.
I recommend beginning with 5 Element practices that fall under the Phase 1 intention. 5 Element Body Tapping is a great video to start with; it brings your mind to your body and to the specific internal organs of each element; gets the blood and Qi flowing to your internal organs; helps release stagnant negative emotions; and naturally opens your respiratory system to promote deep breathing.
Another great place to start is with the affirmations I’ve created for the Elements. The audio recordings are easy to follow along with, and they help ingrain the principles of each element into your psyche. The first affirmation releases the negative emotion of each element, and subsequent affirmations help you visualize the meridians of each element; utilize the healing colors; and cultivate the virtues we exhibit when our elemental energy is strong and balanced.
There is no “hard rule” for where to begin your practice, but the tapping and affirmations help you get started with the exercises and experience the benefits most quickly. These techniques also help you build a foundation of understanding of 5 Element theory without having to consult a book or listen to a lecture – you just follow along and naturally absorb the material.
The 5 Element Forms are the next step. Each form is SO simple, and usual is completed in the span of one or two breathes and is repeated any number of times. Each video of the forms on my Patreon Website includes an attached document showing the pathways of the meridians the form stimulates. When you start practicing the forms, don’t worry about any of the intellectual materials. At first, just focusing on learning the movement and then incorporate the breathing.
My Qigong content is for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. If you need help getting started, or have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your practice!