At this time of year, the magazines are so full of recommendations for cleansing and protecting our vulnerable, polluted bodies from external and internal contamination that it almost seems like a paranoia.
On one level, sure, we can shift accumulations of stagnant or gummed-up Ki with cleansing foods and juices – another step is combining that with exercise. Even better, cleansing with mindful breathing. Isn’t the mindful part the key here? How about starting with a different mindset? We’re so used to thinking, in our Western way, that the body is basically impure. The philosophy of Ki that permeates our practice shows us a different story.
If we do Shiatsu or another therapy linked to Asian philosophies, we can think differently about cleansing. Our “upright Ki” is innately pure, our Shen is clear and spacious by nature. Qigong connects us with Heaven and Earth, Tai Chi cleans up our movements by taking them into the essential alternation of Yin and Yang. Hara breathing connects our centre with the Ki of the outside world.
Obviously we need to eat food that’s as fresh and un-tampered-with as possible and if we live in a city we need to get into a green space. (It helps to get the cleaner air into our lungs and harmonize with the Ki of nature – as in the Japanese tradition of Shinrin-yoku, “forest-bathing”.) But what I’m saying is that the central core of our Ki, body as well as energy, is pure from the beginning. It’s our connection with the source, the well-springs of life, and we need to trust that and nourish our connection with it.
Cleansing comes from within, our Ki-bodies are self-cleansing mechanisms. That’s not something I read about in the magazines.