Some days ago I changed my opinion about Qi sensations (Ba Chu). Since I started practicing Taijiquan and Qi Gong more than a decade ago, I did not want to talk about Qi sensations. Whenever people talked about it, I tried to not listen. I was afraid that if I would listen to other people’s experiences and Qi feelings, I would feel the same. I was afraid that I would kind of “make up” those feelings for myself. As if I would only feel it because I heard someone else talk about it.
But this week, I changed my mind. Now I want to want to know more about Qi sensations. Let me tell you the story.
Three years ago I started learning Taijiquan from my current teacher. Since the beginning, I almost always started to feel warm during the lessons. Sometimes I was even a bit sweaty, but not much. And I always thought, that I felt that warmth and sweat because the heating was on. I usually stand right in front of a window with a heating element underneath it.
During this week’s lesson, I started feeling warm again. But somehow I got the impulse to check how warm the heating actually was. Because I felt warmer and warmer and I wanted to know how much of that came from the heating.
So I touched it. And it was off! The heating was cold! And then I realized: My warm feeling wasn’t coming from an outside source, it was ME. It was actually a sign of my very own Qi activity!
I was actually very happy about that. Because I struggled to have a Qi feeling for a long time.
And this incident made me rethink my opinion about hearing other people’s Qi sensation experiences. Maybe I was feeling already more than I thought? What if I just did not realize, that it was a Qi sensation? Thus I changed my mind and now I wanted to investigate the different Qi sensations.
First, I had a look at my Taijiquan & Qi Gong Dictionary*. Because I remembered that I actually mentioned Qi sensations in it:
As the name Ba Chu (Eight Touches) indicates, there are supposed to be 8 Qi sensations. However, as there are different names for the various senstions, I found more than eight names!
Qi sensations: Bā Chù / 八触 / Eight Touches
Dong – moving
Yang – itching
Liang – cool
Leng – cold
Nuan – warm
Re – hot
Qing – light
Zhong – heavy
Se – harsh
Hua – slippery
Diao – shaking
Yi – rippling
Fu – floating
Chen – sinking
Jian – hard
Ruan – soft
And looking at that list, I actually feel a couple of these Qi sensations myself. I already talked about the warm feeling. Then I know a tingling feeling in my hands. And a feeling like cold lava flowing down my back, especially in the neck area. Sometimes, I feel these during acupuncture, too.
If you want to get deeper into this topic, there is a small section about it in the book The Root of Chinese Qigong*, or have a look at this excerpt.
Now, of course, I would love to hear from you: what kind of Qi sensations do you feel? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments!
Good that you bring up the subject. I attended many qigong workshops, some qigongs would be me sensation, some none at all. I asked the question to a taoist qigong ‘master’ (he doesn’t like the word master) and he answered that a qigong that does provide in return physical sensation is not a good qigong for you. Take it or leave it, there is no ONE qigong fits all, not even the 8 brocades…
With the ones that I feel good with, I get tingling sensations in fingers, outward on thumb and first finger, inward for the other 3. Sensations in the back and neck but going up. Also some stuff around the third eye.
Major physical sensations are when opening Chongmai channel, but this is neigong, no longer qigong. So another time 😉
that is really an interesting thought, that not all Qi Gongs are of the same benefit for everyone. I also think, it is good to find the set that one feels best with.
And now that you mention it, I once had something around the third eye, too, but that was a couple of years ago.