Journey to Qigong

By Matt Vidler

At the age of 29, I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Initially, this was a relief; it explained the turbulent decade of my life from the age of 19-29, the cycling of my mind between periods of ambition and periods of a complete and abject sense of futility. I was given medications to treat the chemical imbalance of my brain organ, and I did nothing else to address the condition. 

In fact, I embraced the diagnosis as my identity, and did nothing more than go to a monthly psychiatric appointment and complain about the side effects of the meds. Combined with poor eating habits, a lack of physical exercise, and an overall lack of attention to the various dimensions of my Self, I gained weight. I peaked in the Summer of 2009 at 283 pounds. Following the death of my father (my mother having already passed away) I was in a deeper depression than ever. 

Then came a day like many others. I was lying on the chesterfield, waiting for the final bell to ring at my son’s school up the street and preparing my mental self to pick him up and try to interact with the other parents. It hit me suddenly: Either I could continue to sink into the abyss, or I could choose to rise from this state. I fundamentally realized that I had to choose to radically accept myself and to begin to show myself compassionate awareness and love.

Over the course of the next year-and-a-half, I began running, exercising, and eating better. I got a job with a call center (a far cry from the custom sheet metal business I had been letting slowly dissolve into nothingness) which had strict requirements on arriving on time and performance expectations. While I knew the job was temporary, it provided discipline and focus. I eventually broke below the 200 pound barrier, but this is where I plateaued for a year. 

On April 6, 2012, I walked into a local yoga studio and experienced my first class. A 60-minute power Vinyasa practice. At the end of the class, I realized I had found a home – within myself. The practice unlocked a sense of the work I had yet to do internally to address anger, sorrow, and self-judgment. Soon after, I began the teacher training program at the studio, and dedicated myself to diving into my practice. I became a certified Zen Yoga & Medical Qigong (pronounced, chi-gong) instructor. The alignment of my internal dimensions allowed me to lose more weight and be more at ease and at peace with myself and my body.

When one’s practice starts as an expression of love and compassionate self-awareness, it is easier to continue to do and actualize as an integral activity or facet of one’s life. The thought is love, the purpose is love, the decision is love, the action is love, the reward is love, the result is love.

Through a regular practice of Qigong (energy cultivation) and Yoga Asana and meditation, my journey continues to reveal discoveries and mysteries, contemplations and delusions. All of which I accept fully and lovingly. I now accept the past and relinquish resentment. I cultivate in each present moment. I allow the future to unfold without holding on to expectations. I now journey with more ease. Namaste.

Matt Vidler 2

Matt Vidler is a Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified Zen Yoga Instructor, Certified 200 hour Master’s Path Medical Qigong Instructor, Paddle Canada Certified Flat Water SUP Paddling Instructor and SUP Yoga Instructor. He teaches yoga and Qigong to both adults and children, in studios, in schools and on water.

@yogamanmatt on Twitter

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