Our basic standpoint is that each one of us is a community. When you start to sense and move the inner organs, they each seem to have personality and have intentions and needs. Each muscle can be seen as a person: some are very stubborn, or sulky, some are lazy couch potatoes. This inner community communicates through movement, posture and voice and each part senses and talks to its neighbours through the nervous system and the elasticity of fascia and muscles.
However, humans are social creatures and we often listen more to how we think we should be (and what other people say we should be) rather than listening to this inner community. This means that we often abuse parts of ourselves by forcing them to go along with something that they can’t cope with because we want to be different to how we are.
Inner Qigong is a system of focused explorations by which you learn to sense and listen to each part of this inner community. In the classes we will use movement, visualisation, voicework, partner work, touch and music to experience these inner people and give them a chance to speak in the first person.
Inner Qigong has been evolving for over 35 years. Some of the influences have been Aikido, Taoist Movement Meditation, Body-Mind Centering, Feldenkrais Method. Japanese Seitai. Wolfson and Roy Hart Voicework. Tibetan Yantra Yoga and Developmental Movement Therapy. It is not a rigid form of movements to learn but a framework of focused experiments through which you can become aware of the inner community and how it connects together.
Over the 1980’s and ’90s I worked with many babies who had problems with their development. This opened out into a decade of research into infant movement development in collaboration with several physios and speech therapists. We were surprised to find that the way in which those early movements evolve followed exactly the pathways described by Oriental Medicine as the ‘meridians’. I am not sure of the energy language in which Chinese medicine is couched, but I believe the meridians to be innate pathways, possibly hard-wired into the motor nervous system. As babies we learn to integrate our bodies by exploring how to join up movements along these paths. The focused explorations of Inner Qigong also contain some of these developmental movements and help you remember archetypal connections in the body.
If you are a physical therapist of some sort, you can teach Inner Qigong to clients, through which they can become aware of what they want to take care of, or energise and support in themselves. Through this awareness they can ask for what they need and the bodywork becomes led and guided by the client rather than determined by diagnosis and theory by the therapist.
I find that by working in this way I also become aware of how I listen to others and live in community. I believe that how we live with each other is reflected and influenced by how we treat ourselves. So if our internal decision maker forces members of our inner community to do things with which they can’t cope then we will tend to do that in our outer groups. If we learn to listen and take care of our inner people then that gives a foundation for how we treat others.
So my hope is that these classes can become a laboratory for practicing how to listen to ourselves AND to others, how to take responsibility for our actions and to take on responsibility for the group and for the outer community. I hope we are encouraging responsibility and responsiveness, both inner and outer.