To front-load your Qigong means to do lots of Qigong ahead of time, in the days or weeks before some upcoming need. You may or may not know what this future need is.
Prepare for Anything
There are two ideas here: Prepare for the unexpected and the expected. Practice enough Qigong so that you can handle whatever unexpected splats or splashes may come at you in life. Also prepare for anticipated times of busyness.
Pre-Manage Your Qi
In a conversation about this topic the other day, a student of mine reflected that “a challenge is just Qi to be managed.” This makes sense to me. When you can, manage that Qi ahead of time, that is to the good.
Stay in places with lots of Qi
Prepare for the Unexpected
Qigong can help you deal with the requirements of life, but sometimes life asks much of you. It makes sense to front-load your Qigong: Do more than you usually do so you have plenty of energy for those busier or boggier times that sometimes descend upon you. Front-load your Qigong so you can deal with the stress and activities of your life with strength. If strained, busy or traumatic times come into your life, it is difficult then to step back and do a bunch of Qigong. When heavy events and hefty emotions take up your time and energy and focus, it is best to have a full reserve of Qi—a full tank. But if your tank is empty, strong responses are harder to come by.
Prepare for the Expected
You can plan ahead also. If a big project, busy time, or problem looms in the near future—step up your Qigong practice in advance.
Front-Load Before Traveling
Recently I front-loaded some Qigong before a trip. I was on my way to Florida—an all-day long air journey from Washington State. I didn’t know if I would be able to complete a Qigong practice that I am trying to do every day for a while. Besides various other Qigong, Taiji and Xin Yi exercises I tend to do, I was in the midst of a 100-day practice of three Wild Goose Qigong sequences (Bagua Palms, Soft Palms, and The Second 64.) 100-day practices are a great method for deepening the understanding and ability of the chosen form or exercise, and a good way to ensure the benefits are accrued.
Space Enough, Time, and Courage
These Wild Goose Sequences—especially the long form known as the Second 64—take considerable space to perform. I didn’t know how easy it would be to run through them as I would mostly be in cars, airports and airplanes on the travel day. Maybe I’m a little chicken about practicing such involved, unusual moves in public airport spaces.
A Special Rule
Wanting to continue my 100-days in a row process, I made a new rule for myself: If I could go through my required sequences four additional times the day before the trip, my daily string of success still held. The extra reps would catapult me past the inactive day. Or, to use another metaphor, the one plus four repetitions would be a bridge of Qi that connected the practice days. Or perhaps more of a running jump over a chasm to land on the feet, and keep walking.
Two plus Two is Too Much
I read once that at one point in his life, the famous Aikido master Koichi Tohei disciplined himself to two hours of breathing practice everyday. If he missed a day, he made all of it up the next day, doing four hours of breathing. This is a great idea if you can make it happen.
Front-Load Before Meetings
I once met a British Columbia man at a Qigong retreat who had a business harvesting shellfish. He said that fairly frequently he had stress-inducing meetings with suppliers, governmental authorities, fellow fishermen, and customers. He found that by practicing Qigong breathing practices on the way to these meetings he was able to get through these verbal sparring matches still relaxed.
Three Hours Reading, “Everyday”
Chiropractor and success teacher John Demartini’s most important daily practice is to read non-fiction books for three hours. Sometimes on an especially busy day he doesn’t get his 3 hours in. He finds time for catching up on his requisite reading later, such as when air-traveling. Airports and airplanes are ideal opportunities for reading.
Catching Up Adds Up
These are examples of catching up that display great commitment and discipline. I haven’t had much success with catching up on dropped tasks or late projects. That is one reason I like to get more Qigong done ahead of time.
Always Overestimate Travel Time
My travel time to Florida was longer than expected. One of the flights I was on was delayed one and half hours because of an electrical problem. The heater in one of the cargo bays would not work, which meant that the two pets sitting in that compartment would have gotten very, very cold at 30,000 feet. While that problem was worked out, I read and studied the workbook of the seminar I was going to (I was repeating it.) I touched down in West Palm Beach later than I had anticipated.
A Long Day and a Successful One
After a long day that began at 3:20 a.m.—and the disorientation of settling into a new locale—I could have done my 100-day Qigong practice. I could have found a flat, open space to practice in. But it was dark now, and dinner beckoned. I didn’t know my way around. The little motel area I was staying in didn’t appear to have a big enough area to practice these forms in. I was satisfied though. I felt at ease about it because I had front-loaded the day before. I had managed some breathing and stretching along the airways and planned to get back on track the next day with my full practice . Which I did.
Progress, Not Perfection
Qigong is not about perfection, for there is always more to work on, play with, go for. Qigong is about the process. Progress is made in health and life clarity by engaging in the process in a regular, and (I believe) gentle, disciplined practice. By my special-case front-load rules, I am still making progress on this particular 100-day practice configuration. If I don’t miss any more days, I complete it on June 30. I’m already thinking about and getting excited about what my next 100-day focus will be. Maybe the complex sequence Plum Blossom Stepping.
The path of Qi
The Last Day
Incidentally, on the last evening and morning of my trip there was a magnificent thunderstorm. The skies poured and poured–as they will in some tropical places. I was not able, in this terrific downpour, to go outside and practice in the park on the last morning.
So I moved all of the furniture our of the apartment living room to create enough space to get my Wild Goose Qigong discipline in. The glass table was an especially heavy and awkward piece of furniture. It took some clever manipulating to transport without scratching the floor. With the space open, I managed to get my practice done; though it took some scrunching of steps and intermediate shifting of positioning within the Second 64 form.
A Note on Terminology
The term “front-load” doesn’t seem to be listed as recognized term in any discipline but finance, but I like it for this Qigong usage. “Preload” is a more widespread term, with a wide variety of meanings, including to stretch the heart’s ventricle, to drink booze before going out to drink more booze, and to have already included software in some gizmo. Since I was calming my heart down, doing it soberly, and performing naturally, “pre-load” didn’t fit.