Chapter Three Exploration of Harmonious Culture of Movement

As with any culture, our Harmonious Culture of Movement needs more than one participant in order to have functionality and perpetuity. The growing tribe of Qi Dao practitioners is the best proof of its efficacy and guarantee of its survival. Similar to the belief of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama XIV, that the Chinese occupation of Tibet may be perceived as a blessing in disguise that facilitated spreading of the Tibetan spiritual wisdom all over the world, I believe that the worldwide transmission of Qi Dao will ensure its perpetuity through many generations to come.

Qi Dao offers a unique system of practices that are suitable for people, who do not want to be stuck within four walls, who would rather spend more time traveling or exploring the great outdoors. Generations upon generations of Qi Dao practitioners have tested this system in the most challenging conditions in the world, from the tallest mountains of Tibet to the Siberian caves deep underground. I have personally pushed the envelope even further by expanding the range of this practice to the stratosphere above the North Pole when flying from Moscow to New York as I was leaving the old country for good. I even experimented with practicing Qi Dao while diving not too far from the Mariana Trench, thus expanding its practice into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

Many years of personal observation and innovation demonstrated to me that the practice of Qi Dao is particularly suitable for travelers, hikers and outdoor adventurers although anyone can really benefit from it. Unlike most systems of exercise and wellness disciplines, this practice does not require any special equipment, clothing, environment, or music to practice to. You can enjoy it on your own or with your practice partner(s), as well as in larger groups when participating in Qi Dao workshops and retreats If you happen to enjoy and resonate with the energies of like-minded people from our international Qi Dao tribe, you will surely notice that synergizing the energies of a large number of practitioners boosts everyone's awareness and enjoyment of our Harmonious Culture of Movement.

If you spend some time observing people unfamiliar with our Harmonious Culture of Movement, you may notice that they often move with linear, start-stop and jerky motions that require a lot of energy. Constantly stopping and restarting your movements can certainly consume more energy than continuous circular motion, because it usually takes just as much energy to stop a movement as it takes to initiate it. Any exercise routines that include disharmonious movements can easily deplete your energy resources and leave you exhausted and sore. Just imagine trying to travel across the country constantly starting and stalling your car!

In contrast to that, Qi Dao invites you to develop an alternative culture of movement that integrates your entire organism Its Harmonious Culture of Movement is based on smooth, flowing, non-stop motions. Fluid and graceful, these motions are free of rigidity and stuckness. Instead of exercises using the isolation of certain muscles or parts of the body, it suggests to synergize the movements of the whole system in order to animate any particular part of the body. On the basic level of practice, Qi Dao teaches you to explore and enjoy your range of motion by sending waves of energy throughout your body radiating from the Center to the periphery of the organism - your limbs.

You can develop a tension-free culture of movement by opening to the flow of Qi any areas that used to be beyond your old comfort zone and by integrating them into your new identity. You will learn to transcend the limitations imposed by pain and discomfort by shifting your attitude towards those edges - shifting from perceiving them as obstacles to perceiving them as learning opportunities. With practice, you will find yourself enjoying more and more freedom each time you view your limitations as temporary phases of the journey dedicated to living your dreams.

Harmonious Culture of Movement is dedicated to creating a new, more natural energy dynamic in your body, empowering you to experience the fluidity of movement and freedom of expression associated with being in the flow. When you are in the flow, you can be balanced and relaxed, all life challenges notwithstanding. Since this is not an exercise routine but a whole new culture of movement, it systematically approaches every aspect of life. It facilitates being in the flow not just once in a blue moon, but regularly throughout your daily life (e.g., working, healing, fighting, lovemaking, meditating, walking in the park, sleeping and dreaming).

Range of Motion Exploration

Begin these explorations slowly and gently. First, find the center of your comfort zone, the most comfortable and Neutral state of alignment. Second, explore the extent of the comfort zone by experimenting with your range of motion, degrees of tension or amount of pressure. Third, explore the edges of your comfort zone. There is no need to push yourself over the edge of the comfort zone by forcing your body beyond what it is currently capable of. Just being present at the edge of your comfort zone for a while will allow you to expand it. Finally, find your authentic ways to manifest your dreams and aspirations that usually reside beyond the edges of your comfort zone.

If you pay attention to your breath during the exploration of your Culture of Movement, you may learn about the natural synchronization of your breathing with the rhythm of your movements. Take Torso Rotation as an example: many beginners appear to be confused as to the most natural timing for exhaling and inhaling during the rotation of the torso. This confusion must have something to do with misconceptions regarding the mechanism of respiration in general.

How would you answer a question whether your diaphragm (the breathing muscle) should contract or relax when you breathe out? Surprisingly, even health professionals, including physicians, nurses, physical therapists, etc., often admit that they think the diaphragm is supposed to contract on exhalation. This must explain the excessive degrees of tension in their bodies resulting from trying to contract the muscle that they actually need to relax in order to breathe naturally. I invite you to free yourself from any attempts to breathe "correctly." Being natural -

one of our foundational principles - is more essential than the number of repetitions, form or speed of movements when practicing Qi Dao. After all, what could possibly be healthier for you than being natural?

Speaking of repetitions, you will not need to do more than a few repetitions of each type of movement to thoroughly explore your range of motion. Although the following exploration of the range of motion is presented in the order given below, it is not a set regimen to follow, other than beginning with Natural Stance. If some part of your body requires attention first, give it the attention it needs. Stay free from routines; enjoy mixing some spontaneity into your practice and go with the flow.

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