It’s Day 5 of Virtual Groundwork – and the final activity in our series is Tree Chi!
Tree Chi is a method of interacting energetically with trees & plants.
Martha Doyle developed Tree Chi from her work in bioenergy with people and animals. She is a mother, teacher and bio-energist living in East Cork who has a passion for the environment and interacting with it on a deep level.
Download this PDF (or keep scrolling) for full instructions on how to practice Tree Chi –
You can follow the steps in the slides below to learn how to sense your own bio-energy field!
Martha Doyle, 2020
The below instructions are also available as a PDF here.
Between intuition and the intellect, lies the third way All living things, by the nature of being alive, with their physical, chemical, biological processes and constant interaction with the earth’s atmosphere, minerals and magnetism, emit a delicate energetic field known as bioenergy, prana or chi. The enhancement of this bioenergy field through various energy practises can improve overall health functioning but like the bioenergy field itself, it is subtle in nature and should be used in conjunction with chemical and physical medicine rather than as a replacement. Tree Chi is specifically a method of developing an energetic relationship with trees and plants. It is loosely based on bioenergy therapy for humans and other animals. The bioenergetic field interacts with other bioenergy fields and manifests its presence in our parasympathetic nervous system in different ways. How it is sensed is unique to the individual but typically it can manifest as heat, coolness, a magnetic feeling, tingling, small body movements, pulsing sensation, or visually in colours.
The first exercise is how to sense your own bioenergy field.
1. Place your two hands opposite each other, palms facing.
2. Relax your hands and mentally relinquish control over to your nervous system.
3. Bring your finger tips and palms slowly together and pay attention to any slight sensations you feel between your hands or in your body.
4. When you feel the sensations, move your hands back and forth in small movements, as if bouncing the sensation between you hands.
5. Gauge visually the rough distance that the hands were from each other when you felt the sensations. On your first bioenergy scan, this is roughly the distance that you should hold your hands when trying to feel a bioenergy field of a living thing. Take note of the sensations you felt. Practice feeling the bioenergy field in different parts of your body. Test to see can you feel sensations further or nearer when scanning a living thing.
Tree Chi It has been noted by many that when we enter a woodland or nature in general, or even sit under a single tree, the body begins to relax immediately and the therapeutic value of nature has been espoused for years. Obviously the visual beauty, clean air and peaceful atmosphere help create this relaxed feeling but I contend that there is more taking place. The moment we enter a woods we are literally “bathing” in the bioenergetic fields of the trees around us and our own bioenergy field, which may be out of sync, immediately comes under the positive influence of the trees, which in turn creates the positive benefits in our body. Tree Chi simply makes this interaction conscious and very much like wine tasting or art appreciation, when we focus our mind on one sense alone, that sense and its abilities are greatly augmented. By focusing on how your own bioenergy field and your nervous system react to trees’ bioenergy fields, you will soon find it very easy to “feel” the subtle fields of these amazing organisms. Remember: Where the mind focuses, the energy flows.
To begin interacting with Tree Chi practice the 3 G’s: Ground, Greet and Gauge.
Ground: This exercise will help you ground your own bioenergy field. Because our modern lives are so cerebral, our bioenergy field can often have moved high above our heads and not be connected to the earth or ground, which makes for a poor bioenergy circuit. 1. Picture a blue light, somewhat like a waterfall over your head, flowing down through your body, through the ground, right down to the core of the Earth. (This exercise brings your energy field down to the correct level around you and connects you to outside energy) 2. As the blue “waterfall” flows down, picture a red light coming from the centre of the Earth, up through the ground, into your feet and up through your body, travelling out through the top of your head. You may feel sensations at this point, or feel inexplicably “ better ”. This is because your circuit has been “plugged in” properly and you have received a bioenergy boost. Do not let your brain over analyse the situation. Let your body sense and react the way it wants and take time to let it respond.
Greet: Using your energy sensations, select a tree you are drawn to. Perhaps it looks brighter, feels more welcoming or is just interesting. Perhaps you only have access to a single tree. Approach the tree and request an interaction with it, with or without words. Your words are not talking to the tree. It cannot “hear” you, but bio energetically there is an interaction going on. With your focus, either verbally or otherwise, subconsciously your bioenergy field has entered the outer edge of the tree’s bioenergy field. By respecting and requesting, your bioenergy will seem less invasive and the tree’s bioenergy field will interact more readily with your own. If you get a positive sensation, move closer to the tree.
Gauge: Now you must gauge the physical and the chemical world. It is very easy to get what I refer to as “energy tipsy” in the woods and the wonderful, relaxed heady feeling may supersede common sense. Remain practical in the woodland or under any large tree.
1. Is the ground level around this tree and is there a height hazard? 2. Is there any physical (eg. wire) or chemical (eg. pesticide) reason why I should choose another tree? Is the tree unstable? 3. Is there a possibility of falling branches? Beech trees for instance, lose limbs easily. 4. Would my presence disturb the creatures living in the tree?
If you feel comfortable with the situation approach the tree with respect. Picture a bubble of energy around your body and move one hand over the other up to your elbows, as if putting on energy “gloves”. This protects your bioenergy field.
Then slowly move your hands towards the sides of the trunk until you feel or experience a sensation somewhat similar to when you were working with your own energy. It will be slightly different because it is a tree but your reaction will be similar. In my own reactions, I feel a sensation like a repelling magnet which means I have made contact with the bioenergy field of a tree. Stay for a few moments, connecting with the tree. It can be a wonderful experience. (From my own practice I have found that a tree’s closest layer of bioenergy field is not huge, but runs up the trunk and arches “out” with the branches.)
The Tree Chi session following has been created with the 7 processes of life in mind. 1. Movement 2. Nutrition 3. Sensitivity 4. Respiration 5. Growth 6. Reproduction 7. Excretion
Tree Chi session The Tree Chi session is an outline of a bioenergy session with a tree based loosely on the format of a bioenergy session with a human, but feel free to add in your own movements and bioenergy interpretations.
Movements There are eight basic movements 1. Water-Chi Life process: Movement and nutrition Physical process: Following the movement of water up the tree trunk, in it’s xylem or heartwood, via osmosis and low air pressure in the tree, from the bottom to the top.
Energy process: Drawing energy up from below and scanning the tree from its base.
With knees slightly bent and moving into a straight position, gather the energy at the base of the tree, then put your arms, with palms facing up, towards the centre and bottom of the trunk. Picture energy sitting cupped in your hands, connecting to the tree and slowly draw the energy up the trunk, stretching the arms up and visualising the energy reaching the top of the tree. Then slowly bring your arms down to your side.
Try to do this in a flowing motion and try to feel the energy moving. The sensations will increase over time. You do not have to stretch up high, the energy will flow where your intention sends it. Take note of any areas of clumpy stagnation or coolness in the tree’s bioenergy field as you scan. These may be areas where the tree needs some specific energy work later in the session. Clear gathered energy off the palm of the left hand using the right hand. Do at least 5 repetitions or as many as you intuitively feel.
2. Sap-Chi Life process: Movement and Nutrition Physical process: Following sap coming down from the leaves in the phloem layer just under the bark. Bark is simply old phloem layer.
Energy process: Drawing energy down from the top of the tree and balancing out the energy field.Stretch your arms up high, focusing on the top of the tree and slowly gather the energy, then draw the energy, with hands on either side of the trunk, down the phloem or bark, down to the base of the tree. Scan for any deviations in the biofield as before. C lear the energy off your left hand. Repeat 5 times or as you intuit.
3. Sun Chi Life process: Movement, nutrition, sensitivity Physical process: The sun interacting with the leaves, creates food for the tree. It also controls transpiration from the leaves, which affects water movement and pressure within the tree.
Energy process: Drawing energy in from the outside, into the tree, similar to our own “waterfall” energy exercise. The sun and the outside Chi energy is the power behind life processes.
Stand with arms up and outstretched wide. Make a gathering motion with your arms and gather the energy until it feels like a large ball or clump of energy. Visualize gathering it over the top of the tree. Slowly bring the orb of energy down the tree to its base. Repeat at least 4 times.
4. Leaf Chi Life process: Nutrition, sensitivity, respiration, excretion Physical process: The leaves are like individual solar cells that respond to light and through photosynthesis, take in carbon dioxide and create food and oxygen. Each leaf contains chloroplasts, with chlorophyll in them that move towards light.
This cellular organelle evolved when an ancient cyanobacteria was engulfed by another organism, but instead of being ingested, formed a symbiotic relationship and made food for the larger organism. Every leaf is a container of this symbiosis.
Energy process: Leaves are an energy focal point on the tree and the means by which the tree exchanges light, gases and water with the atmosphere.
Pause and with arms outstretched to your shoulder height, feel the energy gather and flow in and out of the leaves. Remain still with the energy until you feel it has changed or moved. Stay still for a few minutes. Bask in the energy, like the leaf.
5. Breath Chi Life process: Respiration Physical process: Respiration is common both to trees and animals. The tree takes in oxygen, uses food to give energy to its cells and gives out carbon dioxide in the process, just as we do. This is the breath of the tree.
Energy Process: Respiration is how living things use outside inputs to continue life and power themselves. This is the amazing temporary reverse of entropy that is life . Your energy can move in sync with the tree as you both breathe and respire together.
Move your palms towards the tree trunk and then move them to either side laterally, breathing out then moving them in, thumbs together and return them to you chest to breathe in. Feel the energy in your hands, in sync with the tree. Focus on sharing this moment with the tree, the two of you alive together, made of the same basic elements. Repeat 3 times or as you intuition suggests.
6. Growth Chi Life process: Growth Physical process: The tree uses all this energy and food to grow, the thin cambium layer adding a new xylem and phloem layer every year to the trunk, making the tree rings. New leaves grow, work and wither back. Branches and roots spread. There is constant change.
Energy Process: As things grow, the tree’s bioenergy field expands and becomes more complex. Also the bioenergy field often protrudes first from the tree and the new shoot grows in to it. There is constant change and constant flux. The growth mirrors the environment and experience of the trees. The branch layout pattern is a literal reflection of the light that reaches it. The growth pattern is a response to everything that surrounds it.
Move your arms up the tree trunk and push the energy out to the tree branches. Then completing a circular motion, bring the arms down towards the roots and spread the bioenergy slightly downwards. Bring the arms back to centre and begin again. Repeat 5 times.
7. Seed Chi Life process: Reproduction Physical process: The flower buds, blooms, catkins, fruit and seeds are all the process of continuing on the wonderful biological reaction we call life . The Tree devotes many resources to this process.
Energy process: The bioenergy field above blossoms extends further upwards and outwards than other parts of the tree. It is the tree’s intention to send it’s reproductive energy outwards to create new life.
Move the bioenergy delicately, moving your hands up the trunk and flicking your fingers gently towards the branches as if moving the bioenergy through the delicate blossoms. Complete this movement with a light action and a positive attitude of up lifting energy. Repeat 7 times at least
If you wish to heal or channel bioenergy into a specific area, or if you wish to try out other movements with the tree then this is a good time during the session.
8. Root Chi Life process: Nutrition, sensitivity Physical process: The roots provide stability and structure, absorb water and nutrients, sometimes shoot out saplings and share nutrients with other trees, most particularly their offspring.
Energy Process: This is where you ground the bioenergy, bringing it down into the roots and ending the session. You ground the tree for the same reasons you ground yourself. You can run the bioenergy along the roots and if you are feeling the bioenergy well, you may even be able to follow the bioenergy trail where the tree is sharing nutrients and energy with another tree.
Picture an egg shape surrounding the tree and gather all excess energy, then draw it down the tree and with a sweeping motion, pull it along the roots. Share some with another root system if there is excess energy. End the session: Move your hands between you and the tree to break the energy connection. Thank the tree or bow to it and take a moment to really appreciate the connection you have just made. Give the tree a name if you so wish as this will help you bond with the tree. It can also be nice to return to the same tree a number of times and “befriend it”.
One does not have to follow these guidelines to interact energetically with trees and plants. The wonderful feeling and sensations of bioenergy are accessible to all. Tree Chi is for everyone and can be achieved by anyone. There is only one proviso. Only “Tree Huggers” need apply! Martha Doyle April 2020