In qigong flows, there is always a moment of peaceful standing, where we focus on our breath and relax. It is the yin phase withing the yang (the flows themselves are yang). Attunement with our body is not only about calming our breath and emptying our mind. It is also about letting our body emptying itself. Too often we grab a snack between meals, or we keep a bottle of water or a cup of tea always within reach. We eat or drink out of boredom or to grant ourselves a break, or even to ignore our own emotions. By doing so, we seldom really experience hunger or thirst. We don’t actually know when our body needs water or food, because our organs are never totally empty, and our digestive system gets little rest during our waking time. Allowing your body to feel hunger is not a negative thing, it is a normal reaction to the fact that your digestive system ended its work and it ready for the next round. When your body needs more liquids, it will also let you know.

When the balance in your body is disturbed, thirst or hunger are often the first two messengers, which let you know that something is off. If you don’t let your body following its normal cycle of filling and emptying, you won’t be aware of these warning signals.  Imagine you wake up and you put music on, so loud that it is the only thing you can hear. When someone rings at your door with an important letter, you won’t hear the bell and you won’t open the door. Maybe the next letter will come when it is too late.

During a TCM anamnesis doctors always ask about a patient’s appetite and thirst, and distinct pattern can point to a certain issue. For example, you are not hungry when you wake up? According to TCM it could be that you have dampness in your body, which creates a fullness sensation in the abdomen and suppresses appetite. Once you get moving, the dampness which stagnated at night, moves as well and after a while your stomach is ready for some food! Now I understand why I am seldom hungry when I wake up in the morning.

Unfortunately removing dampness is a very long process, maybe because it takes a long time to form. Here again, the lack of movement does not help this condition and as far a nutrition goes, regular consumption of large amount of dairy products is also not beneficial. I am glad I am not a cheese fan!