“We are slowed down sound and light waves, a walking bundle of frequencies tuned into the cosmos.”
igong, which means “energy cultivation”, is an ancient 4,000-year-old practice of self-healing. Practitioners utilize varying sets of physical movements together with focused breath work and visualizations to harmonize, circulate and build up the body’s life force, called “chi”. It is most often utilized as a moving meditation and therapeutic exercise, but it is also the core foundation of Tai Chi and all martial arts.
THE QIGONG MASTER
Qigong is an ancient moving meditation technique for cultivating life force “CHI” in and around the body to promote health and happiness
ertified Qigong Master Judi Hason studied with many illustrious Masters, both in the U.S. and at Wudang Mountain in the northwestern part of Hubei Province of China. Wudang Mountain has been considered a spiritual sanctuary for over 2,000 years and is the primary center for Taoist Internal Martial Arts in China.
I had the great privilege and joy of studying weekly with Judi for over six years. I got to experience first-hand the power of these forms and techniques and the philosophies and physiological principles behind them.
I approached Judi with the idea of trying to capture the essence of Qigong through Light Painting. We would attempt to create images that represent what it might look like if we could actually see Chi as trails of light moving throughout and around the body while practicing Qigong.
Visualization is key to unlocking the full power of Qigong
While the movements and breath work have a physical effect on the body, including stimulating blood and lymph fluids and muscle and bone structure, visualization ignites the energy meridians. This action expands our energy field beyond the confines of our bodies, thereby having an effect on and connecting us with all that surrounds us.
t the core of the practice, we are prompted to visualize Chi flowing along the meridians inside the body, as well as around and outside of the body. At the same time, we move our bodies and use the movements of our hands to further direct the Chi to where we want it to go. Depending on the exercise, we can also pull Chi in from the greater source of it in the Universe, or push out stagnant energy within us that might be stuck there as a result of stress, injury, disease or negative emotions.
According to Chinese medicine, Chi is as real as blood and other physical effects, so when we practice Qigong, the more clearly we visualization our Chi, the more effectively we can utilize its movement within us to achieve a harmonious balance of good health and overall well-being. We are taught to use a visualization of Chi that works for us. It can be a brightly colored ball or it can be traveling trails of light.
Light Painting as Teaching Tool
hat stood out to Judi the most in the resulting images was the dimensionality of the light trails. In her advanced Tai Chi classes, after students have memorized the steps and movements — sometimes over the course of years learning and repeating complex forms — emphasis is then placed on energy work, which takes a tremendous amount of concentration and focus, and is the ultimate mastery of these practices.
Chi is worked with during the movements like a 3-dimensional physical element. It is pulled like a silk scarf, pushed like heavy rock, scooped up like water or folded over like dough. The Chi “ball” as Judi sometimes refers to it, is visualized as traveling inside the body along meridian lines, as well as outside of the body as the student moves it around (and around in it) in all directions, back and forth, reaching up and sweeping down in space.
In a few of the images she created, Judi could pick out trails of light where she was using precise form with her arm and hand movements, as well as more subtle turns of her finger tips. Judi was excited to be able to see something that so closely represents the internal visualization work that she finds to be the most difficult aspect of the practice for many of her students to learn to do. But when they do, their experiences with it are profound.
After showing some of these images to Judi’s students, one of them came up to me afterwards. Through tears, she told me that these images were a glimpse into a realm that for her has no words to describe it, but for which she has a strong and very personal connection, love and respect.
“We are souls dressed up in sacred biochemical garments and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.”
Get notified about upcoming exhibits and public light paintings.
© All rights reserved. All images copyright Alina Wilczynski