Earlier this season, I talked about how Autumn is alchemy — transforming. This week, I want to talk about my absolute favorite way that Qigong alchemy works — vibrations.
Normally this is where I would share definitions, like that Qigong is a combination of two Chinese words “Qi” (energy) and “gong” (work) so that Qigong means “working with energy.” Or reminding you that your entire being, your thoughts and your emotions, your words and your actions are all energy. And that all energy has a frequency, a vibration. Or theorizing about how your health and wellness is actually dependent not only on whether the energy is flowing, but the state–the frequency and vibration–that your energy is flowing with.
I would introduce concepts like resonance and string theory and explain how you can change and lift your frequency and vibration by introducing other vibrations and frequencies that enhance and intensify the richness, variety and quality of your energy.
I would share science that shows how vibrational resonance helps reduce pain and inflammation; how it heals damaged tissues; how it improves strength and vitality.
And I would probably take a couple paragraphs to share examples of how humans have been using this knowledge through time immemorial.
But today, I would prefer to show you. Or rather, for YOU to show you. So let’s make some noise! (Literally.)
First, take a deep breath in and on the exhale, hum. You can either hum the word “hum” or “om”, but the emphasis is on the “mmmmmmmm” sound. Where does that resonate in your body? How does it feel? How might it help you?
- Personally, I use the “hum” sound when I have headaches, especially sinus headaches.
Now let’s try a different sound. Take a big breath in and exhale while making the “ZZZZZZZZZZZ” sound. Where do you feel the vibration in your body? How does it feel?
- This sound is one of the 6 Healing Sounds practiced by Qigong practitioners. It’s connected with the Metal element, and therefore the Lungs and Large Intestine organ systems.
- This sound is excellent for clearing congestion around the lungs, especially useful during the Autumn when we enter flu and pneumonia season.
There are 5 other Healing Sounds, which correlate to the other Qigong element organ systems + the Pericardium/Triple Burner. You can learn more about and practice these 6 Healing Sounds by clicking on either of the links here:
- A six-minute explanation from my primary teacher, Marisa Cranfil
- A 33-minute practice from the same lineage, taught by Nick Loffree
I personally practice 6 Healing Sounds every night before I go to bed and have found the quality of my sleep has improved tremendously since I started the practice.
But 6 Healing Sounds isn’t why vibration is my absolute favorite Qigong practice of alchemy. It’s because vibration is also music…and I love music above all things of this Earth. Humans are hardwired to respond to musical harmonies, with research even showing the more complex the harmony, the better it is for your mental, physical and spiritual health.
To better understand the wealth of science on this topic, I encourage you to check out This Is Your Brain on Music by neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin or Musicophilia by neuroscientist Oliver Sacks. In the meantime, I invite you to experience it yourself.
Find a spot where you won’t be disturbed or disturb others by listening. Sit or stand with your body relaxed and your spine straight. Take several deep breaths to settle and center. Then click a link below, close your eyes and FEEL the vibrations in your body. The links below will take you to a few of my favorite vocal performances —and I mean ALL vocal (these are acapella—except the first one does have a little piano).
- Oh Happy Day
- When You Believe
- How Great Thou Art
- Let My Love Be Heard
- Man In The Mirror
- Let There Be Peace on Earth
- Just Sing
For extra credit, or some advanced practices…
- Play the music from a speaker placed on a hardwood floor and put your bare feet near the speaker on the floor. Can you feel the vibrations through your feet? Where do they go? Does it get stuck anywhere? If so, where and how can you relax so it becomes unstuck?
- If you know the words, sing along with the music. NOW how do you feel the vibration? Where do you feel it? Does it feel different than just listening?
Personally, singing is when I feel the most Qi, most strongly, and most fully. It’s as if singing brings Qi from all around me up through me, as if I’m electrically charged, literally lit and lifted up, alive and full of vital energy. Singing is my meditation and the most important part of my daily Qigong practice.
What lights and lifts you up? What activity makes you feel most alive? Perhaps you can make that part of your daily Qigong practice.