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This pattern is one of the simplest Tai Chi movements, as it involves no torso movement or weight shifting. It is completely done with the arms. Because this pattern is done with just the arms, it is sometimes called Raise Hands or Lift Arms. It's also sometimes called Tai Chi Commencement, as it usually is the first pattern found in longer Tai Chi sets. We prefer the name Lifting Water, which has been said to be the original Shaolin Kung-fu name for the movement. We've heard that in the Shaolin Temple, this arm-lifting exercise was practiced holding jugs of water as an early form of strength training. In "kinesthetic" Tai Chi, however, the emphasis is not on strength per se, but on relaxed movement using deeper layer muscles.
Tai Chi's Lifting Water - The Visual Approach
First, here are some simple visual instructions on how to perform this movement. Lifting Water uses continuous movement. Use the step-by-step photos to help you understand the basics, but realize that the still photos are not stopping points in the motion, since the motion should be continuous and "flow".
Step 1: Stand in a comfortable stance with some distance between your feet. Your arms should be at your sides, with your elbows turned out slightly.
Step 2: Inhale and lift up your arms slowly, until your hands are somewhere between chest and shoulder height.
Step 3: Now exhale and begin lowering your arms slowly from the shoulders.
Step 4: Continue exhaling and lowering your arms back to the starting position.
Before you continue on with this article, I'd like you to get out of your chair - right now! - and start learning this Tai Chi movement. Get up and try to learn this exercise from the above photos. The only way you are going to understand what I'm talking about in the rest of this article is if you try it. You have to experience the "visual" approach that I've just used above, and then experience the "kinesthetic" approach below. Just sitting in your chair and reading about it does not count!
"Monkey-See, Monkey-Do" - And You're The Monkey!
OK, from this point on, I'll assume you've learned Lifting Water using the above description and photos. If that's the case, what you've just experienced is how Tai Chi is taught "visually." Whether it's a book, a video, or an in-person class, you watch the instructor, and then try to copy her movements. The goal of this instruction is to try to make your movements look like your instructor's. We often call this "monkey-see, monkey-do" instruction. The teacher, book, or video may include some "verbal" instructions to supplement the visual "monkey-see, monkey-do" teaching. Beyond simple instructions like those I wrote above, some teachers will tell you to "stay relaxed" as you do Lifting Water. They will tell you that Tai Chi should be done "flowingly" with all your movements "smooth" and "graceful." And they may emphasize over and over - "relax, relax, relax" as you move.
How "NOT" To Teach Relaxation
I have a rather strong opinion on this next point: I personally think that just telling students to "stay relaxed" is a sign of incompetent teaching. Just saying those words is worthless - it's a sure sign of a poorly trained teacher, an inefficient teaching method, or both. After all, if you already knew how to "stay relaxed" while you moved, you wouldn't be going to the trouble to learn
Tai Chi! And it's also pointless to "demonstrate" how to stay relaxed. After all, relaxation is a feeling, and no amount of watching someone do the movements will ever teach you how it feels. However, with a kinesthetic approach to Lifting Water, you never have to be "told" to stay relaxed. It will automatically happen when you are given the proper kinesthetic instructions. As a matter of fact, a kinesthetic approach opens up an entire new "world" of experience and understanding in Tai Chi and Qigong. You'll find an immense complexity of details and feelings in any Tai Chi or Qigong movement, even so "simple" a movement as Lifting Water. As a matter of fact, kinesthetic students learn more about Lifting Water (and indeed Tai Chi) in just a few weeks than many "visual" instructors know after decades! But even more importantly, you'll see that these kinesthetic details increase the power of Lifting Water. Kinesthetic details "pump up" the level of benefits you'll receive from this so-called "simple" Tai Chi movement. You'll come away with a greater appreciation of how a kinesthetic approach makes Tai Chi one of the most powerful and beneficial types of Qigong there is. So let's take a look at just one kinesthetic detail that adds some "feeling" to this movement. This detail is what we teach instead of pointlessly telling our students to "stay relaxed!" And trust me - it will only take one detail to convince you of the power of the kinesthetic approach. Here's an excerpt directly from our ChiFusion™ Level 2 program.
Excerpt from ChiFusion™ Level 2
Pushing The Wall - A Kinesthetic Experiment in Relaxed Movement
We often start many of our ChiFusion™ workshops and classes by telling our students: "When we do a Tai Chi or Qigong movement, it often feels quite differently to us, and to Tai Chi and Qigong masters and senior instructors, than the movement will feel to you. One of our most important goals in the ChiFusion™ program is to make the movements feel a certain way to you. We want the movements to feel to you the same way they feel to us when we do them. In other words, we want you to feel the same way doing the movement that Tai Chi and Qigong masters and instructors feel when they do it."
You've now learned the basic arm movements for Lifting Water. While it may have been simple for you to learn, for us to give you the "correct" feeling is a bit more difficult. However, we have an experiment we teach in our classes that, when done properly, will "trick" your body into making the movement feel the same way that it feels to us. We call this experiment Pushing the Wall.
Note: You will need to follow these directions precisely. If you don't, you won't get the proper feeling that we want you to experience. And reading about this experiment is not enough. You have to actually try the exercise to fully understand and experience it. Don't be an "arm-chair" Tai Chi student! Try this experiment out for the full kinesthetic experience!
Note: If you have any health concerns, you might want to take it easy with this Pushing the Wall experiment. Especially if this is your first time doing anything like this, respect your body's limits and don't over do it. But if you are relatively healthy, GO FOR IT!
Here are the instructions for Pushing the Wall. 1. For this experiment, first perform Lifting Water about 5 to 10 times. Pay special attention to how your arms feel each time you lift them into the air. 2. Now you will need to stand facing a sturdy, blank wall. Stand as close to the wall as possible, and place the backs of your wrists against the wall. 3. Now, push as hard as possible against the wall with the back of your wrists. You should push VERY HARD! The harder, the better. Use every bit of strength you have to push against the wall with your wrists. You should push harder and harder for about 10 to 15 seconds. 4. Now take a 5 second break, then push against the wall a second time. PUSH REALLY HARD! Push even harder this time, for 10 to 15 more seconds. The harder you can push, the more successful this experiment will be. Push, push,
push, and push more! 5. Now take another 5 second break, then begin pushing again. If your arms are getting tired, don't stop! We want to push as hard as you can for 20 to 30 seconds this time. KEEP PUSHING AND PUSHING - DON'T STOP! The harder you push, the better this experiment will work. Keep pushing, keep pushing. 6. After about 20 to 30 seconds, step away from the wall. Now perform Lifting Water again, paying attention to how your arms feel. Do they feel differently this time? Try to describe to yourself the difference between how your arms felt in step 1 above, and how they feel now.
Excerpt from ChiFusion™ Level 2 (continued)
Pushing the Wall: How Deeper Layer Muscles Produce Relaxed Movement
If you performed the Pushing the Wall experiment and followed our directions precisely, your second set of Lifting Water should feel quite differently than your first set did. Your arms will feel more like they are "floating" or "rising" by themselves. The movement will feel more effortless and relaxed. How did this exercise work? Well, basically we tricked your body into using deeper layer muscles to perform the movements. By pushing against the wall, you "tired out" your surface layer muscles - the muscles most people use for normal movement. By tiring them out, your deeper layer muscles "kicked in" to help
with the pushing against the wall. By the time you stepped away from the wall, your deeper layer muscles were fully engaged and ready to help you with Lifting Water. Now that you've experienced how this movement should feel, take a look at the video from our ChiFusion Level 2 course for this movement. You can view the video by clicking on the "video" window below.
Video: Watch "Lifting Water - Basic Movement" Download WMV
When you see instructor Carole Taylor demonstrate the movement in the video, you'll now know not just how the movement looks, but how it feels to her. You'll know that the smooth relaxed movement you see her performing comes from using these deeper layer muscles.
While we used a trick to give you this feeling, advanced Tai Chi and Qigong instructors and masters don't need to use tricks. They can engage these deeper layer muscles under conscious command without having to "push the wall" first. They can not only use the deeper layer muscles with arm movements, but with torso and leg movements as well. That may seem fantastic to you at this point, but the Pushing the Wall exercise shows you can do it too - just like a Tai Chi master! As you progress in the ChiFusion™ program, your body will eventually learn to use these deeper physical structures automatically.
End of excerpt
As I said before, you have to get out of your chair and try Pushing the Wall. If all you've done is read about the exercise and about deeper layer muscles, you've missed the entire point of this article! You are no better off than if you were a student or a teacher in a "visual" Tai Chi or Qigong program. (As a matter of fact, you are worse off - at least they are trying!) However, if you did try the exercises in this article, you now have first-hand experience in both the "visual" and "kinesthetic" approaches to Tai Chi and Qigong. And I don't have to say another word about it! I'm confident you now have an appreciation of the power of a kinesthetic approach to Tai Chi
and Qigong - all from just one kinesthetic detail - and a simple one at that! I'm certain you now see how these details can increase your level of physical and energetic awareness, and how this approach will help you reach your goals of improving your health, relieving stress, and developing energy and vitality. And best of all you've seen that with a kinesthetic approach, you can learn to "feel" like a Tai Chi and Qigong master - right from your very first lesson!
Opening Your Body
In this lesson, we're going to learn our first Qigong exercise, called "Hold The Sky With Both Palms". This practice is taken directly from Level 1 of our Complete ChiFusion™ Course. The theme of Level 1 is Opening Body and Mind, and our Level 1 "body" exercises work primarily on flexibility and range of motion. When you get the Level 1 course as part of your Complete ChiFusion Course, you'll learn eight simple exercises from a style of Qigong called The Eight Brocades. This Qigong style has been around in some form for over 800 years. Despite its ancient origins, it works on exactly the problems many people face today: lost flexibility, stress, tension, inhibited movement, tight physical structures, and even problems such as bad backs, weak joints, and low energy. Best of all, the eight simple movements that comprise the Eight Brocades can be practiced in as little as 10 minutes a day, so anyone can fit them into a busy schedule. So let's get started right!
To help you open your body, we'll cover two important topics in this lesson: A. The Wuji Stance The way we stand while practicing Tai Chi and Qigong is important, because our stance can either help or hinder us as we learn to open our bodies. So we start our study by learning the proper way to stand. The Wuji stance is one of the most fundamental stances used in Tai Chi and Qigong. Nearly every style of Tai Chi and Qigong starts with this standing posture. B. Hold The Sky With Both Palms We'll finish our first lesson with an extremely beneficial Eight Brocades pattern called "Hold The Sky with Both Palms." This pattern also incorporates both the Wuji Stance you'll learn in the first part of the lesson. Before we get started with this lesson though, we need to cover some important practice tips.
Four Easy Principles to Success in our Program
We've taught Tai Chi and Qigong to hundreds of students over the past 15 years of our combined teaching experience. In this time, we've seen the entire spectrum of students: fast learners, slow learners, natural talents, "klutzes", athletes, "couch-potatoes", the physically fit, those with injuries and handicaps, and just about every body type imaginable! With the ChiFusion™ approach, you do not need to be a fast learner, the most talented, or the most athletic to succeed. As a matter of fact, our most successful students tend to be slow, methodical learners who recognize their current physical, mental, and emotional limitations, and they practice within those limits.
From working with our students, we've learned that if you do just four simple things, you'll greatly increase the benefits and enjoyment you'll get from the ChiFusion™ program: 1. Take your time, and learn slowly and methodically. Work through the lessons at a measured pace and take your time in understanding the ChiFusion™ details. It's better to learn a few exercises well than lots of them carelessly. 2. Practice a little each day consistently. Ten minutes of practice each day will bring you faster results than practicing in large bursts of an hour or more a few times a week. 3. Stay within your limits. Practice at a level that allows you to enjoy the exercises but still see benefits. (We'll talk more about practicing within your limits in the "Important Practice Points" section below.) 4. Review what you've learned frequently. Read and reread the lessons, watch the videos numerous times, and use the still images to help you review what you've learned. If you follow these four simple steps, you too can get the most out of the ChiFusion™ approach and start seeing physical, mental, and emotional benefits almost immediately!
Important Practice Points!
Here are some important points to keep in mind while practicing. 1. Safety first! When working through our lessons, you are responsible for your own safety. Please keep in mind your own
limitations and skill level. Do not do anything that in your estimation is physically unsafe or emotionally uncomfortable. In other words, if it feels good, then do it. If it doesn't feel good, then stop! 2. The 70% rule Here's a rule-of-thumb to use when training. Estimate your greatest ability to perform any given exercise, then practice at only 70% of that maximum level. For example, if we ask you to bend over and reach towards your toes, and you know that you can only reach as far as your ankles, well, your ankles would be your 100%. So you should only reach down to your knees or shins. Apply this 70% rule to everything: how far you stretch; how many repetitions you do; how long you practice in a given session. Any type of straining represents 100% or more, wasting energy and causing injury. And if you are injured or hurt, go only 40% or less. Practicing at the 40% or less level will give your injury the time and energy to heal without aggravating it. 3. Frequent Breaks Take breaks frequently. Qigong and Tai Chi can be more challenging - both physically and emotionally - than it looks. If you feel you need a break, take one immediately.
Important Note About the Video and Photos in This Lesson
All of the still images and videos in this lesson are done in mirror-image. You should follow along with the movements as if you were looking in a mirror. As an example, look at the photo at right. If you were doing this movement, you would reach up with your right hand and press down with your left hand.
Now that you understand these important practice points, let's get started.
The Wuji Stance
Since many of the Qigong exercises you'll learn are done standing, let's first take a look at a basic Tai Chi and Qigong stance. This stance is called the "Wuji" stance. "Wuji" loosely translated means "unlimited, formless, or without extremes." This refers to the fact that this stance is a balanced, stable, comfortable stance without extremes of any kind. The way we stand while practicing Tai Chi and Qigong is important, because our stance can either help or hinder us as we learn to open our bodies. By practicing with proper stance, we can increase the levels of relaxation we'll feel while doing Qigong.
It Starts with the Feet!
To stand in the Wuji stance, you'll need to place your feet directly under hip sockets. The hip socket is where your leg connects into your torso inside your hip. Since this is not the same as the outside of your hips, your stance will be slightly narrower than hip width. Notice in the photo the difference between the outside of the hip and the location of the hip socket.
As much as possible, place your feet so that they are parallel, with the second toe (next to big toe) pointing forward. This is not the same as the splayed-out foot position, which is the way most people stand. The first photo at right shows a splayed-out position. The second photo shows the proper position. The correct foot position may feel uncomfortable at first, but this may be due to the fact that 1) the deeper physical structures in your legs (ligaments, tendons, and bones) may have atrophied a bit, and 2) you've compensated for the atrophy by tensing the surface muscles. Over time, if you work towards the correct foot position, you'll find you'll be able release this surface tension while allowing the deeper structures to do the work for which they were designed. Your weight should be equally distributed over your foot, with the foot flat on the ground except of course for the arch. Don’t rock
back on your heels or rock forward on balls of feet. Your ankles should be directly over your heels. Do not let your ankles roll in, collapsing your arches, and do not let them roll out, putting stress on the ankles.
Stand with a slight bend to your knees. Do not lock your knees (as in the first photo at right), but do not bend them excessively (as in the second photo). A slight, relaxed, comfortable bend is what we're looking for. This slight bend will help you feel more balanced and stable.
Legs, Hips, and Torso in Wuji Stance
In Wuji stance, you should stand with your lower back and hips relaxed downward. The buttocks should be relaxed downward as well and not sticking out. For the proper position, think about how you would start to sit down in a chair, but only go the first inch or so. This "sitting down" feeling will position your lower back and hips properly. For the torso, first think of "military" posture: chest out, stomach in, shoulder’s held back, lower back arched. This is exactly the opposite of what we want! When we thrust out the chest and arch the lower back in military posture, we are increasing the amount of muscular tension in our upper body, and we're in danger of becoming "top-heavy." For maximum relaxation in Wuji stance, we let the chest relax downward, relax the stomach outward, allow the shoulders to drop, and keep the lower back open and flat. This allows the weight of our upper body to sink to our legs and feet. Feel how much more relaxed and tension-free this feels when compared to military posture.
Shoulders, Arms, and Head
In the Wuji stance, allow your arms to relax and hang comfortably at your side. Keep your shoulders in a neutral position, not pulled back or wrapped forward. The head should rest on top of neck, with the ear centered over the middle of your shoulder. Do not thrust your head forward or tilt it back.
A Relaxed Harmony of Body Structure and Gravity
In the Wuji stance, you are allowing the structure of your body (bones, ligaments, and tendons) to hold you upright, instead of using your muscles to fight gravity. The Wuji stance uses your body in the way it was designed for standing up-right. Note, however, that most of us are used to standing improperly and using tension to hold us upright. We're so used to this tension that at first a correct, tension-free stance may feel unnatural! Just be aware that your current tension-filled stance is "habitual" not "natural." It's a habit you've learned, and as you start
opening your body in Level 1, you'll be able to release this habit and learn to relax naturally into the proper stance.
Practice the Wuji Stance
Now take a few moments and practice the Wuji stance. Keep these important points in mind: • Feet under the hip sockets • Feet parallel - second toe points forward • Weight equally distributed over both feet • Knees slightly bent - not locked, not bent too much • Lower back open - hips and buttocks relaxed down • Arms relaxed, shoulders neutral, and head centered over shoulders
Improve Your Health with "Secret" NeverPublished Details!
Now that you've learned the Wuji Stance, it's time to use it in a Qigong movement. The next Qigong movement is Hold the Sky with Both Palms from ChiFusion Level 1. There are many books and videos that teach this exercise, but only our course includes all of the kinesthetic ChiFusion details that we teach you below.
So even if you already know this exercise, check out these details, especially Detail # 5. To our knowledge, this "secret" detail for Hold the Sky has never been published in any other book or video! How important are these kinesthetic details? Just read what one of our students told us:
"Your Courses Are Unbeatable" says Instructor
"Thank you for your Complete Course. Such valuable information and it is so easy to understand. I have been practicing, researching, studying Tai Chi and Qigong for 5 years. I was attracted to your program because of all the information and details you give.Thank you for all the research you have done. "I am so glad I finally bought the course. Being able to access it on the Internet is so easy. I was thrilled to get your program and experience the kinesthetic details and see the anatomy and the video and all the explaining on how to do this correctly. I have tried many programs and classes. I have read many books and practiced from video's from some of our best peers. Your ChiFusion Courses are unbeatable and very reasonable in price." -- Deborah Moen, Tai Chi Qigong Instructor, Certified Relaxation Therapist, Reiki Master/Teacher, Whittier, CA
Click here to read more success stories!
Hold The Sky With Both Palms
Each Qigong or Tai Chi movement lesson in your full ChiFusion™ Complete course starts by telling you the direct and immediate benefits you'll get from the lesson. There's no guessing about why you are doing a particular movement, as you have to do in some programs. We'll tell you exactly how each exercise helps you on your way to health, stress relief, and vitality!
The Benefits of Hold The Sky
The next pattern we'll learn is called Hold the Sky With Both Palms. On a physical level, Hold the Sky is great for: • opening up the body. • increasing flexibility and range of motion. • activating the immune system via the lymph nodes in the shoulder/armpit area. • waist and back problems. • improved respiration and breathing. • better digestion and elimination. • improving balance and coordination. On an energetic level, Hold The Sky benefits the "Triple Burners." In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Triple Burners refer to the respiration, digestion, and elimination processes of the body. The idea of "burners" symbolizes energy being produced in the body through the "combustion" of the raw materials of oxygen and food. This pattern is excellent for stimulating the chi energy meridians that are associated with these combustive processes. This pattern also allows you to connect yourself with both the sky and the earth, and to activate chi meridians (the energy pathways that flow through your body) in the arms, torso, and legs. And finally, the arm movements in this exercise stimulate the circulation of lymph from the lymph nodes in the armpits. Lymph is a critical component of the immune system, but in general, our body requires movement to actively circulate it. The circulation of lymph through movement may be one reason why active people are healthier and more resistant to disease than inactive people.
After the benefits section in each lesson, you'll then find a step-by-step explanation of the Qigong pattern. The explanation is written in an easy-to-follow style and includes large, clear photos to help you get the most health, stress relief, and energetic benefits. Your lessons also include full motion video and near CD-quality audio, so that you can see exactly how the movements "flow." Just like the photos, the videos are mirrorimaged to make them easy to follow!
Video: Watch "Hold the Sky with Both Palms" Download WMV
How to Hold The Sky
As you practice Hold the Sky or any of the Qigong movements in the course, please remember to move slowly and stay relaxed. The movements should be accompanied by slow and deep breathing. Remember that all of the still images and videos are done in mirror-image. You should follow along with the movements as if you were looking in a mirror.
Step 1: Stand in Wuji Stance.
Step 2: Bring your hands together in front of your body, near your lower abdomen/navel area. Interlace the fingers and inhale as you lift your hands, with the palms facing up, to chest level.
Step 3: Now exhale, flip the hands over, and push them to the sky. Your elbows should be straight, but not locked. At the same time, rock forward onto the balls of your feet, and lift the heels off the ground. The movements of pushing to the sky and of rocking forward on the feet happen at the same time.
Step 4: Inhale and lower the heels back to the ground.
Step 5: Exhale as you bend from the waist to your left. (Remember, photos are mirror-imaged. Bend to your left.)
Step 6: Inhale and straighten up.
Step 7: Exhale as you bend from the waist now to your right
Step 8: Inhale and straighten up.
Step 9: Exhale and unlace the fingers, then lower your hands, with palms facing up, to shoulder height.
Step 10: Now turn the palms down, continue exhaling, and lower arms to the sides. Repeat this exercise a number of times slowly before continuing with this lesson.
An Important Reminder!
As we mentioned in the introductory material, we're not concerned with making your movements look like your
instructor's. We're more concerned with making your movements feel the right way. As you look at the above video and photos, keep in mind that instructor Carole Taylor is showing you the "textbook" ideal movement. You do not need to rise as high or bend as far as Carole does. Your movements should be within 70% of your range of motion, even if that means you rise or bend only an inch or two. That is your ideal movement. We can't emphasize this enough. Do not copy Carole's movements, but adapt them to fit your own physical strengths and limitations. It's better to do a smaller movement that is structurally correct than to do a larger movement that ignores the principles of good body structure. Concentrate on how the movement feels, not how it looks compared to Carole's. The ChiFusion™ Details section below will help you concentrate on getting the right feeling. Remember to apply this "feeling" approach to all the movements in this course! From our experience in teaching hundreds of students, we've learned that a movement that "feels" the right way will give you more benefits than one that merely looks a certain way. This concept is the basic principle of the entire ChiFusion™ approach.
What makes our program so successful? It's our special ChiFusion™ Details! They outline hidden "kinesthetic" details that give you physical and energetic benefits you wouldn't get just by watching and copying your instructor. We have never published these details publicly before. Up until this point,
they've been available only to students in our private classes. As a matter of fact, a number of these details have been available only to those who have studied directly with masters and senior instructors in Tai Chi and Qigong.
ChiFusion™ Details for Hold The Sky
Here are some important details for this pattern. For now, practice each of these details one at a time, rather than trying to combine them. For example, read detail 1, then practice the pattern five to ten times just concentrating on this detail. Then move on to detail 2, and practice five to ten times just concentrating on detail 2. Continue this way through all the details. By practicing them individually, you'll find that you learn the details better, and will eventually be able to do all of them simultaneously much sooner than if you try to mix them together from the start.
1. Hands Come Up Centerline
2. Imagine a line that runs right down the center of your body, dividing your body into a left and right half. This imaginary centerline runs from the top of the head, down the forehead, nose, chin, center of the chest, the navel, and into the groin. We sometimes shorten this to say that the centerline connects the "nose, navel, and groin" on a single line. In this pattern, make sure your interlaced hands come up your centerline and are directly overhead of the centerline when they reach their highest point. Depending on your level of flexibility, your hands may not be directly overhead, but may be slightly in front of your head. Any height of your hands overhead is OK as long as they are on the centerline.
3. Hands and Head Stay Centered
4. During Bend Make sure your hands and head stay centered as you bend left and right. Notice in the first photo how instructor Carole Taylor has let her head dip to the side. Do not allow your head to tip or tilt to the side, and do not let your arms stretch farther than your head. Instead, keep your hands and head in line with the centerline, as shown in the second photo. Remember: it's better to do a small movement that keeps your hands and head in line than a larger movement that doesn't. Don't copy how far Carole bends. Bend only as far as you comfortably can while keeping your hands and head on your centerline.
5. Hips over Feet, and Feet Stay on Ground
6. Keep your hips over your feet as you bend. Do not allow your hips to shift to the right when you bend to the left, or to the left when you bend to the right. Notice in the first photo how Carole's feet are no longer in line with the hip socket. In fact, one foot is actually in line with her groin! Instead, the hips should stay positioned in the same place during the entire exercise, as Carole shows in the second photo. To do this, bend from the waist area (around your beltline) rather than shifting your hips. As you bend, keep both of your feet flat on the ground. One hint for doing this: Think about keeping weight on your right foot when you bend to the left, and on your left foot when you bend to the right.
7. Three Palm Positions 8. After bending and unlacing fingers at the end of the bends, the palms go through three positions on the way down. They are: 1. Palms face each other when they are overhead. 2. Palms face the sky as they are lowered to shoulder height. 3. At shoulder height, rotate the palms so that they face down and return arms to side. 9. Make sure you keep your palms facing the sky all the way
from over head to shoulder height, in order to open up your shoulders and shoulder blades. Do not rotate the palms down until they are at shoulder height. 10. Bend by Extending
11. Probably the most important detail for Hold The Sky is bending properly. When you bend to the side, do not collapse your midriff or the sides of your torso. This will cut off energy and circulation, reducing the body-opening value of this exercise. Look at the first photo at right. You'll see that Carole has bent by collapsing her midriff, which causes a sharp angle in the upper body. One tell-tale sign that this has happened is that her blouse actually hangs rather loosely away from her
body on the side that is bending. In the second photo, Carole shows you the proper way to bend. She bends by extending up and out with her entire torso during the bend. This keeps her from collapsing her midriff, giving her the added benefit of opening the torso and spine. To bend properly, imagine reaching up and out with your arms, head, and torso continuously while you are bending. This will help open up your spine and upper body, giving you the proper feeling needed in this movement. 12.
Engaging Your Mind in Hold The Sky
As we said in the introduction, Qigong combines movement, breathing, and mental concentration. The above steps and details describe the movement and breathing. Practice the steps and details until you are familiar with them, then add this visualization to help engage your mind for mental concentration:
Imagine or visualize standing on an ocean beach. As you lift your hands overhead, you are reaching up and expanding all the way to the sky and into the clouds. As you bend to the sides, your hands actually run along the clouds. As you lower your hands, imagine pulling energy from the sun and sky, then connecting it to the sand below your feet. This visualization will help open your body and stimulate the appropriate chi energy meridians as you practice this exercise.
Practicing Hold The Sky
Please keep in mind the 70% rule when you practice. Use this rule for the amount of time that you practice, how far you stretch your hands over your head, how high you raise on your heels, and how far you bend from side to side. Also remember to keep to 40% or less if you are injured, especially with a back injury. Now take a few moments and practice the Hold The Sky pattern. Keep these important points in mind: • Move smoothly during the entire exercise, with no abrupt or jerky movements. • Breathe gently and easily in unison with your movement. • Review the details outlined above.
Tips for Practicing ============================== A few people have asked me the best way to learn from an online Tai Chi course. Here's what I suggest ... 1. When you get a new lesson from me, go to your computer and log into the online course. 2. Watch the introductory video, then click on the orange button to go to the lesson. 3. Read through the new lesson, paying attention to the benefits, any step-by-step instruction, and any details. 4. PRINT the lesson on you printer if you don't have a laptop computer that you can move around and if you don't have space to practice in your computer room. 5. Take your laptop or printouts to your practice area. Start trying to practice the movements, from the printouts or from your laptop. 6. If you are practicing in front of your laptop or computer, I strongly urge you NOT to get into the habit of following along with the videos or the online course.
Following along a few times is OK, but make sure practice the movements WITHOUT the video and the course, so you really learn them. 7. Keep an eye on the clock or set a timer, and after 10 minutes, stop your learning session. No matter how far you are into the lesson, just stop. You can pick up at this place the next time you practice.
Of course, these are just suggestions. The greatest benefit of our ChiFusion courses is that you can organize your learning and practice the way that works BEST FOR YOU!
Tracing, Pulling, and Locking - Three "Meridian" Techniques to Improve Chi Flow
By: Al Simon
Greetings The phrase "a game of inches" is usually associated with horseshoes. But as many of you are noticing, Chi Development is a game of inches as well. By that, we mean that you Chi Development requires precise movements. For example, if you are required to move your hand, being just an inch or a few centimeters off in the movement can seriously prevent you from improving your chi flow. So if you practice without this level of precision, your Tai Chi and Qigong practice is a pleasant exercise, with a few good benefits. But with this level of precision, your Tai Chi and Qigong practice
allows you to reach your full Chi potential to improve your health, relieve stress, and gain energy and vitality.
Meridian Tiao Shen
Precision really comes into play when we are talking about developing chi flow using "meridian tiao shen" movements. "Tiao shen" means "tuning the body", and it refers to precise skills and movements that teach you body structure. And "meridian" tiao shen are physical "tuning skills" that we use to improve the efficiency of our meridian system and encourage chi flow. Let's take a look at three of these "meridian tiao shen" skills from Level 1 of our ChiFusion Complete Course. Exercises from Level 1 make good examples, because they focus almost exclusively on chi flow, as opposed to the chi storage practices we explore in higher levels. In addition, the Level 1 exercises appear simple, but underneath the surface hide complex interactions in your chi energy systems. In Level 1, you'll find an exercise called "Touch Heaven and Earth" that is an excellent example. The "single handed" version of Touch Heaven and Earth is a simple exercise, involving only hand and arm movement. But despite its simplicity, you'll find a number of high-level precision details and instructions for Touch Heaven and Earth designed to encourage chi flow. If you are already one of our advanced training students, I'd suggest that you follow along with the discussion below using your Complete Course. So right now, please open another browser window and log in to the Complete Course. Go to Level 1, and click on Lesson 2. Then click on "Next Page" to get to Lesson 2B: Touch Heaven and Earth.
Let's start with Detail #2 in the "single handed" version of Touch Heaven and Earth, entitled "Correct Path of Hand Downward". As your hand performs its downward movement, notice how it falls down to the navel then sweeps to the side diagonally to the side of the hip. Those of you who have received personal coaching from me in our coaching course know that I insist on making sure this "sweep to the hip" is performed with as much precision as possible. That's because this movement is one of many "channel tracing" techniques you'll find in the ChiFusion course. Channel tracing involves tracing chi meridians or vessels with our hand movements. This is a way of encouraging circulation and/or storage using the chi surrounding the hands as a guide. The theory here is that the hands are a large source of both emitted and surrounding chi. By moving the hands in a path that is close to or parallel to a given meridian or vessel, you
encourage energy to circulate in the chi meridian or to collect in the vessel. (Not certain of the difference between a meridian or a vessel? See the "Energy Pathways" introduction to Level 2 in the Complete Course.) In Touch Heaven and Earth, as the hand sweeps to the side, it roughly traces the front part of the Dai Mai ("Belt Vessel"). The Dai Mai is a chi vessel that encircles the body near the waist and intersects the Gall Bladder meridian. While most energy pathways traverse the body vertically, the Dai Mai encircles the waist horizontally. It is an important chi storage vessel that stores and feeds chi to the organs in this part of the body. As your hand sweeps to the side in Touch Heaven and Earth, it traces the front part of the Dai Mai and finishes near one of the following acupuncture points that lie on the Dai Mai - the Gall Bladder #27 point, Gall Bladder #28, or the Dai Mai #2. This movement of the hand is meant to draw the "attention" of your energy system on the Dai Mai to help draw chi to that vessel. Note that as you perform Touch Heaven and Earth, your hand movement does not need to be right over the top of the Dai Mai. While that is ideal, your movement actually depends on the length of the arm. For example, instructor Carole Taylor and I have long arms in relation to our torso, so our trace is much lower. When we perform the movement are hands are somewhat below the Dai Mai. However, that doesn't matter. What is important here that the hand movement should at least be parallel and in the same direction as the Dai Mai. As you become more energetically aware, you will feel the chi movement in your Dai Mai when you perform this hand sweep.
Now let's look at Detail #1 in the "single handed" version of Touch Heaven and Earth, entitled "Correct Path of Hand Upward". As you lift your hand, notice how we ask you to keep your hand on your centerline as you press it over head. At the crown of the head, on the centerline, is a point known as the the Bai Hui. Bai Hui roughly means "Meeting of the 100" in reference to the large number of chi meridians that meet at this point at the top of the head. The Bai Hui is known to acupuncturists as GV20, or the 20th point on the Governing Vessel. The Governing Vessel is on the centerline of the body. The Bai Hui is an important point for collecting and emitting chi through the top of the head. In Chi theory, one purpose of points like the Bai Hui is to help push "stagnant chi" - chi that has become unmoving - out through the point to the surrounding chi field for "re-processing". By pushing out this stagnant chi, your body can improve the flow of chi through the meridians that intersect with the Bai Hui.
As you press your hand overhead in Touch Heaven and Earth, you'll use a "pulling" technique that will assist the "pushing" out being done naturally by your energy system. You'll use the chi from your hand to help "pull" stagnant chi out of the meridians that meet at the Bai Hui. As you become more in tune with your energy system, you may actually feel a pulling sensation at the top of your hand as you perform this movement, much as if you were a puppet or marionette being pulled by a string on top of your head. Once again, the exact position of your hand as you pull stagnant chi will depend on your arm length. Being exactly over the Bai Hui is ideal, but not completely necessary. What is necessary though is that you be right on the Governing Vessel, the energy pathway on the centerline of the body that includes the Bai Hui. This Governing Vessel alignment will help pull the stagnant chi out through the Bai Hui.
Finally, let's look at Detail #3 in the "single handed" version of Touch Heaven and Earth, entitled "Direction of Fingers During Movement". In this detail, we instruct you to keep your fingers pointing to the opposite side as you lift your hand and press overhead. In other words, when pressing the right hand overhead, your fingers should point left. When pressing the left hand, the fingers should point right. This detail means that as you lift your hand overhead, you will be rotating your palm outward and away from the body. This creates a twisting movement localized to the wrist and forearm, though you might actually feel it all the way down to your shoulder. Those of you who've studied martial arts recognize this as an "Adductive Wristlock" in which the back of the wrist is being rotated inward. In martial arts, we often perform these wristlocks on the wrist of our opponent. In Touch Heaven and Earth, we are applying the wristlock to our own wrist. Energetically, localized twisting movements like this cause "chi pressurization" in the meridians of the arm. In other words, the movement builds chi in the arms before releasing and
redirecting it throughout the rest of the body. The imagery often used is that of water flowing through a garden hose. As you step on the hose, water stops and builds up pressure, and when you release the pressure, the water spurts through the hose and will clean out anything blocking its path. Likewise, as you twist, you build up chi in the meridians of the arms, which then spurts through the meridians cleaning any blockages when the twist is released. In Touch Heaven and Earth, to enhance this "spurt-on-release", we instruct you to flip the hand over while it is still overhead BEFORE you allow it to drop. This is important: Do not simply perform the lowering of the hand as a "mirror image" of the rising. During the rising, we apply a gradual twist. But we don't want a gradual release as you lower the hand. We want a sudden release. That's why you should flip the hand over, while it's still overhead, before lowering your hand. Flipping over the hand while it is still in the air will heighten the sensation of released chi in the arm, especially as it starts to descend to the Dai Mai for the sweep to the side.
Precise Techniques for Health, Stress Relief, and Chi Development
While the techniques of "Channel Tracing" and "Point Pulling" are subtle, there's nothing subtle about "Locking". Twisting to lock chi, then releasing to push out blockages is a primary technique we use throughout the ChiFusion course, especially in Level 2's Spiraling Qigong, what I consider one of our most important practices. Locking techniques often result in dramatic experiences of chi.
As you can see, even an exercise as simple as the "single handed" version of Touch Heaven and Earth is filled with many opportunities for precision. Techniques such as channel tracing, point pulling, and locking will help your practice become "chi filled". This will allow you to reach your full "Chi potential" to improve your health, relieve stress, and gain energy and vitality. So until next time, keep practicing, and especially - keep practicing those ChiFusion details!
Touch Heaven and Earth - Physical Precision, Circulation Mirroring, and the Microcosmic Orbit
By: Al Simon
In my last blog posting, we talked about tracing, pulling, and locking. These three precision hand techniques can help us become aware of and enhance chi flow in the body in even the simplest Tai Chi and Qigong movements. Precision is an important part of Chi Development, and as you work your way through the ChiFusion Complete Course, you'll find many kinesthetic details in our movements you don't find in most Tai Chi courses. These details are where we apply the precision needed to get the health, stress relief, and Chi Development benefits from practice. Sometimes, these ChiFusion details focus on "physical" precision aligning the physical body to prevent injury and to increase the effectiveness of the physical technique. But for the most part, these details focus on "energetic" precision - making sure that the energy system is properly "aligned" for maximum chi flow. And sometimes just a single detail in the course will focus both on "physical" and "energetic" precision at the same time! In that last blog posting, we used as our example the "single handed", alternating-arms version of the Touch Heaven and Earth movement. In the ChiFusion course, once you are comfortable with the "singled handed" version, we then move on to the "twohanded" full version of Touch Heaven and Earth. And this full version demonstrates how a single detail can enhance both "physical" and "energetic" precision at the same time. If you are already one of our advanced training students, I'd suggest that you follow along with the discussion below using your Complete Course. So right now, please another browser window and log in to the Complete Course. Go to Level 1, and click on Lesson 2. Then click on "Next Page" to get to Lesson 2B: Touch Heaven and Earth.
Physical Effectiveness and Energetic Precision
Look at Detail #2 in the full version of Touch Heaven and Earth, entitled "Falling Hand on the Inside". In this detail, you are instructed to keep the falling hand in Touch Heaven and Earth closest to the body. The rising hand should be on the outside, away from the body. When it comes to precision, this seemingly simple detail enhances both the physical and energetic aspects of the entire Touch Heaven and Earth movement.
1. Physical Expansion 2. On a physical level, one of the main goals of all of the ChiFusion Level 1 movements is opening the body. The movements should have an "expansive" feeling, almost like you are filling and increasing your personal space with the movements. You'll want to aim for the feeling of "stretching" into the
movements - without of course the muscle tightening and joint locking that is used in Western stretching. Since the rising arm in Touch Heaven and Earth specifically helps to open the arm and upper body, we want it on the outside to enhance this expansive feel. As an experiment, try this movement both ways - rising arm on the inside vs. rising arm on the outside - and pay attention to how it feels in the arm, shoulder and upper back of the rising hand. I think you'll feel a greater sense of expansion in the arm and upper body when the rising hand is on the outside. 3. Channel Tracing of the Conception Vessel In addition to increasing the physical aspect of Touch Heaven and Earth, keeping the falling hand on the inside also has important energetic effects. Energetically, the falling hand in this movement performs channel tracing. You may remember that we mentioned channel tracing in the my last blog post. Channel tracing involves tracing chi meridians or vessels with our hand movements. This is a way of encouraging circulation and/or storage using the chi surrounding the hands as a guide. In this case, we are tracing down the Ren Mai, known in English as the "Conception Vessel". The Conception Vessel runs down the front of the body. In Touch Heaven and Earth, we are tracing down the Conception Vessel until we reach the Dai Mai Belt meridian that we mentioned in the last blog posting. Keeping the falling hand on the inside enhances this downward flow of chi in the Conception Vessel. Also, because rising movements have a tendency to "grab our attention" much more so than falling movements, keeping the falling hand on the inside counter-balances the upward-
moving hand. The falling hand encourages a strong downward flow of chi in the Conception Vessel to balance out strong rising chi from the rising hand's movement. 4. Circulation Mirroring of the Microcosmic Orbit
5. In addition to simple channel tracing, the falling hand also takes part in a more intricate energetic technique. This intricate technique involves the coordination of the hands in what is know as "circulation mirroring". Circulation mirroring involves moving one or both two hands in a "mirror-image" of a chi circulation that is happening in the body. In this case, the two hands are moving in a way that mirrors part of the "microcosmic orbit". The microcosmic orbit, also sometimes called the "small chi circulation", involves the flow of chi in a roughly elliptical path through the torso and
head. Specifically, it connects the Conception Vessel mentioned above with the Du Mai or "Governing Vessel" that runs along the back of the torso. This creates an "orbit" of circulating chi through the two vessels. In this case, we are trying to encourage a rising chi through the Governing Vessel in the back of the torso, and a falling chi through the Conception Vessel in the front of the torso. This up-the-back, down-the front orbit generally has a calming and settling effect appropriate for improving health and relieving stress. In Touch Heaven and Earth, the falling hand is imitating the downward flow through the Conception Vessel, while the rising hand is imitating the rising flow through the Governing Vessel. Notice that the hands are a "mirror image" of this circulation, as if you were looking at the circulation in a mirror. In order to mirror the correct circulation we are attempting in this movement, it is imperative that the falling hand be on the inside.
Reaching Your Full "Chi Potential" with Precision Techniques
Touch Heaven and Earth makes an excellent exercise for practicing precision hand techniques such as circulation mirroring. Since it is a simple exercise involving only hand and arm movement, it's easy to learn these techniques without the distraction of torso or leg movements found in other movements in ChiFusion Tai Chi and Qigong. As you can see, just one ChiFusion detail in Touch Heaven and Earth can help you on both the physical and energetic level. This
one detail is a good example of "meridian tiao shen" - body tuning skills that help encourage chi flow throuw the meridians.
Basic Qigong Yogic Breathing Exercise
A chi kung/qigong yogic breathing exercise that will generate and circulate the chi energy for vibrant health, energy and longevity? Also known as slow breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, deep breathing, or inaccurately, belly breathing, these yogic breathing techniques make efficient use of oxygen. Since the brain uses up to eighty percent of the oxygen we breathe in, chi kung/qigong yogic breathing exercises not only supply oxygen to the body for energy, but also nourishes the brain with oxygen, resulting in mental clarity and alertness (see Qigong Health Benefits). When we breathe improperly, not enough oxygen goes to the brain and we become sluggish and unable to concentrate. If you have never done chi kung/qigong yogic breathing or diaphragmatic breathing before, you need to first establish a baseline by breathing normally and counting your breaths per minute. Most people take quick shallow breaths when they breathe. When they breathe from the top half of their chest they are actually wasting more than half of their lung capacity. To compensate, they tend to breathe more rapidly, as much as twenty or more breaths per minute. The breathing exercise I'm about to show you is a general chi kung/qigong exercise that follows the principles of all diaphragmatic breathing techniques. (See Qigong/Chi Kung Breathing Techniques).
After establishing a baseline of your usual breathing pattern, you need to follow these steps:
1. You can do this breathing exercise sitting or lying down. If you are sitting, make sure you're not slouching, but you should still be relaxed. If you find this difficult to do, the easiest position is to lie down on your back with your hands relaxed at your sides and a book on your stomach. The book is an optional visual aid so that you can see better how your lower abdomen expands and collapses as you breathe. 2. Inhale slowly, visualizing filling your belly with air. This is why yogic breathing is sometimes inaccurately called "belly breathing". What actually happens is that when you expand your lower abdomen, you automatically pull down the diaphragm, a muscular membrane located in the solar plexus.
Pulling down the diaphragm allows the lungs to expand and fill up with air to their maximum capacity. 4. Pause briefly for about half a second before exhaling. As you breathe out, see your lower abdomen collapse within itself, releasing all the air. Of course, air does not really come in and out of the abdomen, but for the sake of visualization, it makes the yogic breathing easier to practice, especially for beginners. 5. Remember to pause again briefly before taking the next inhalation. 6. Try this breathing exercise for a few minutes until you begin to fall into a natural rhythm: breathe in slowly, pause, breathe out slowly, pause. Then begin timing yourself for one minute: an inhalation and exhalation count together as one breath. You should find that yogic breathing is much slower than your usual breathing pattern. If you are like most beginners, when you practice this breathing exercise, you should be breathing about eight breaths per minute. As you get better, you will find your breathing will begin to slow down even more perceptibly to two to four breaths per minute. We call this tortoise breathing, because a tortoise breathes very slowly. It uses oxygen very efficiently, and thus is able to live a very long life. When you are able to do this breathing exercise on a regular basis until it becomes unconscious and you can do it in your sleep, not only will you feel more relaxed, but you will experience a whole multitude of health benefits, including: mental clarity, better concentration, a stronger immune system and longevity.
When your breathing is habitually slow, you begin to gain control of normally involuntary body functions, such as heart beat, body temperature and blood pressure. Control of these functions is known as biofeedback. Why is this important? Because it gives you control over your health, your autoimmune system and even how long you live.
If you can slow down your heart, you can extend your life span! Take a look at all living creatures around you: the faster their heartbeat, the faster they age and the shorter their life span. Children grow up very quickly because they have faster heartbeats than adults. As they grow older, their hearts start to slow down and their growth rate also slows down. On the other hand, most babies and toddlers, even though they may have faster heartbeats, are also belly breathers. In other words, they are natural chi kung/qigong practitioners! If you have ever looked at these children breathe, you would see how their bellies pump in and out like bellows. Little wonder they have so much energy, sleep so soundly, and we adults can barely keep up with them! (See Qigong Health Benefits). Want to experience their energy and youth? Practice the yogic breathing exercise outlined in the steps above. Just ten minutes a day will make a big difference to your health and well being. In contrast, if you ever look at dying people taking their last few breaths in life, you will see how shallow their breathing is.
Healthy people practice slow breathing all the time. That is what gives them life. When you breathe from the chest up, you are cutting your breathing capacity in half and thus, your energy. Worse, if you ever start to breathe from your upper half of your chest and throat, then you will find yourself on your last legs of life! What does chi kung or qigong actually mean? Qi, also phonetically spelled chi, means breath, and gong, or kung, means skill, practice, or art. In other words chi kung or qigong is literally, the yogic art of slow breathing. Its main purpose is to promote health and longevity. The breathing exercise outlined above is just one of many chi kung/qigong breathing techniques available on this website, some of them with specific health purposes. This particular breathing exercise will help with relaxation and mental clarity, as well as set a foundation for all other chi kung/ qigong breathing exercises. Practice it and see for yourself how chi kung/qigong breathing techniques can help you in a multitude of ways.
A Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise
Want a diaphragmatic breathing exercise for energy, alertness and clear thinking? This exercise is not only calming and relaxing but easy to learn and takes only a few minutes of your time. It's even helpful on headaches! As with all qigong/chi kung meditations, this one is also a brain exercise, because it promotes the creation of neural pathways —
good for brain health, intelligence, creativity and general cognitive ability. It's especially good for whole-brain functioning or whole-brain synchrony and hemispheric balance by thickening and strengthening the corpus callosum. This corpus callosum is a broad thick band of brain tissue made of massive nerve fibers that acts as a bridge between the left and right hemispheres of your brain. It's what allows your hemispheres to communicate in whole-brain thinking. Most of us tend to be predominantly left- or right-brain thinkers, creating an imbalance in hemispheric brain activity and development. Want a healthy brain? You have to develop wholebrain health, which translates into hemispheric balance. Alternate Nostril Breathing is a technique that specifically promotes whole-brain development and hemispheric balance. When you breathe in through the left nostril, you are actually promoting right brain activity. Likewise, breathing in through the right nostril will activate the left hemisphere. By alternating your breathing between left and right nostrils, you are creating healthy brain development. This brain exercise will help with mental clarity and alertness, giving you energy and vitality. Suffering from a headache? Breathe it away with this simple breathing exercise. Alternate Nostril Breathing like all qigong/chi kung yogic breathing increases oxygen in the brain. Since our brain utilizes more than eighty percent of all the oxygen we breathe in, the best way to treat a headache is to feed the oxygen-starved brain. Like all qigong/chi kung techniques, Alternate Nostril Breathing cleanses your body of toxins and contaminants and frees you of debilitating ailments that result from toxicity in your body. If you
have a lot of toxicity in your body, practice this breathing exercise for short periods of time. All qigong/chi kung exercises are very powerful in their effects, and this diaphragmatic breathing exercise is no different. You don't want to overdo the exercise and suffer from too many toxins being released from your system at once. And please, read the Disclaimer before attempting any exercise on this website!
Steps For Alternate Nostril Breathing
1. Assume a meditation posture, (see Standing Postures, Sitting Postures and Lying Down or Recumbent Postures) 2. Use your thumb and index finger to press down on one nostril as you alternate breathing through one nostril: Start with pressing down on the right nostril as you breathe in through the left nostril. 3. Switch and press down on the left nostril as you breathe out through the right. Continue with an inhalation through the right nostril. 4. Switch by pressing down once more on the right nostril as you breathe out through the left nostril. Then inhale again through the same left nostril. 5. Practice basic diaphragmatic breathing (also called abdominal breathing) with your single nostril inhalations and exhalations.
6. Also, make sure your lips are pressed gently closed, tongue resting against the ridge of your upper teeth and palate. (See Getting the Most Out of Qigong/Chi Kung). 7. Repeat these steps for anywhere from ten to 30 minutes per sitting. If you are a beginner in qigong/chi kung or yogic breathing, or if you have a lot of toxicity in you, five minutes of practice should be enough. That's it — both a diaphragmatic breathing exercise and brain exercise in one, Alternate Nostril Breathing is a simple exercise to learn and practice every day with excellent benefits.
Diaphragmatic Breathing & Other Methods
Diaphragmatic breathing exercises and other yogic breathing techniques are probably one of the most important aspects of qigong/chi kung training you will ever encounter. Whether you are practicing qigong/chi kung for the purpose of health, martial arts, spiritual development, healing, or other benefits you need to learn these breathing techniques to promote blood circulation, relaxation, energy, oxygen to the brain and cultivation of vital chi energy. Most practitioners breathe from the diaphragm, a method also known as abdominal breathing or more accurately, diaphragmatic breathing. In fact, all beginners should start with the basic abdominal breathing technique before trying any other breathing exercise. When practicing these breathing exercises, including abdominal breathing, always pause between inhalation and exhalation, to give the chi energy time to collect itself when you are
manipulating its strength or force, or to make any necessary changes in direction during circulation. Though there are certain exceptions, generally, you should always breathe through the nose, with your tongue placed in a natural resting position against the upper teeth and palate, and your lips pressed lightly together. The tongue is always against the palate, because it acts as a bridge for the chi energy to pass through from the top of the head down through the esophagus. (See Getting the Most Out of Qigong/Chi Kung Training). This creates two major types of chi circulation known as xiao zhoutian or microcosmic orbit, and da zhoutian or macrocosmic orbit. There are other types of chi circulations, but they are outside of this topic of discussion. Why are diaphragmatic breathing and other breathing techniques so important in chi kung/qigong? They not only promote health and energy by improving your oxygen intake, but also increase your strength, especially internal strength by generating large amounts of vital chi energy. When my brother first started training in martial arts, my master made him practice at least two hours of chi kung/qigong breathing exercises every day. Every morning, my brother would do various diaphragmatic breathing and meditation exercises that were primarily responsible for his ability to build enormous amounts of chi energy, strength and resilience. My brother was only a young teenager when he first started learning chi kung/qigong. He was overweight and weak in health. A chronic nose bleed and severe allergies kept him weak for most of his school years.
However, several months after training in chi kung/qigong, he no longer suffered from profuse nose bleeding or severe allergies. More than two years later, his chi energy was so strong, he was able to channel it through three fingers to effectively push opponents twice his size so that they would fly a distance of thirty feet! He was also able to concentrate his repulse chi to protect vulnerable areas of his body, such as at the base of the throat: one thrust of a chopstick at that location, and the chopstick would break without leaving any mark or injury. All these accomplishments within a few years of training and even before he finished high school! Besides abdominal breathing, there are also many other yogic breathing techniques, especially at the very advanced levels. One of them is known as Daliang Cun Qi Fa ("Amassing Chi") or Stopped Breath chi kung/qigong where practitioners will literally stop breathing for prolonged periods. This type of chi kung/ qigong will promote intense generation of concentrated chi in a very short period of time. Stopped Breath chi kung/qigong involves some risks and therefore, should be practiced only by very advanced or experienced practitioners who know how to control their chi. If you are in doubt as to your ability or level of expertise and still wish to try this method, make sure you practice under the supervision of an experienced master. Other advanced forms of chi kung/qigong will also employ reverse, prenatal, embryonic or fetal yogic breathing, so called because fetuses practice this before they are born. This method promotes youth, longevity, as well as rapid chi development. Another type of qigong breathing is the Huxi Liao Fa or Three Breath Qigong Therapy. This powerful qigong three-in-one breathing technique covers three different types of yogic
breathing for tonifying and detoxifying the body. A logical sequel to the basic diaphragmatic breathing lesson. While all of these exercises are meant to promote health, strength, resilience and spiritual development, keep in mind there are always some inherent risks. Before practicing diaphragmatic breathing or any other breathing exercises, please read the Disclaimer and instructions carefully.
Meditation Techniques, Postures & Focus
Tai chi qigong meditation techniques include mantra meditation, breathing techniques, chakra meditation, guided meditation, mindfulness and much more. In itself, tai chi qigong is a form of meditation, practiced for health, healing and longevity, focused concentration, creative insight, increased cognition, personal development, selfrealization, inner peace and spiritual development. Postures, breathing, mantras and many other techniques to focus concentration all need to be considered when learning how to meditate. Generally there are two basic types of meditative practice: • • Concentrative, requiring focus on specific objects such as mantras, breathing, imagery or colors; Mindfulness, which does not focus on any specific purpose, nor does it attempt to manipulate or exert control over any stimuli. In mindfulness, the meditator may still use breathing or music as aids to focus the mind, but concentration precludes judgment: it involves mere nonjudging awareness or acceptance of the experience as just a
matter of being. Both concentrative and mindfulness are about developing consciousness: that is, spiritual growth, self-realization and enlightenment through yoga, meditative practice and mind control. Qigong/chi kung gives you a choice of either type of meditative practice. Tai chi qigong involves both jinggong or quiescent (i.e. not moving) and donggong or dynamic (i.e. moving) forms. To better understand the different meditation techniques and features, you can read more about the following categories. However, before attempting any of the exercises on this page and anywhere else on this website, please carefully read over the Disclaimer.
1. Why meditate? For martial arts, health & healing, creative insight, personal & spiritual advancement 2. Postures, meditative positions and body poses, including both still and dynamic forms. ◦ standing postures and body poses ◦ sitting postures and body poses ◦ recumbent postures and body poses ◦ postural alignment, stances & rooting the chi 3. 4. Breathing Techniques, both the more well known diaphragmatic breathing techniques, as well as other more advanced but lesser known techniques of yogic breathing. Though contemporary qigong, including medical qigong may or may not include breathing and quiescent meditation techniques, almost all traditional qigong incorporates both
yogic breathing and jinggong as two of its essential components. For more information on yogic breathing techniques, see also Free Qigong Lessons. Also, How Yogic Breathing Fuels the Chi. 5. Meditation Techniques to Focus Concentration: a. Visualization: i. guided imagery, candles, incense and other paraphernalia ii. chakras iii. pressure points iv. chi circulation v. healing energy vi. eye positioning vii. colors b. Auditory a. mantra meditation, chants, etc. b. drumming, environmental sounds and music c. counting c. Brainwave Journeys: A site for exploring how brain wave technology can help make you smarter, happier, more aware and more creative. This site features informative and easy-to-follow explanations about brain waves, meditative exercise, hypnosis and binaural beats. A great supplemental aid to any meditative practice! d. Holosync Breakthrough Technology for Faster Results & More Effective Meditation Of course, chi kung/qigong is only one of many kinds of meditative practices, most of them incorporating religious beliefs. All meditative practices provide substantial benefits. Hundreds of scientific studies have revealed their impact on the brain as well as on the body, affecting physiological and psychological functions and resulting in profound short and
long-term changes. You can learn more about these effects and associated research data under Health and Other Benefits. If you are new to meditation and would like to learn more about different meditation techniques and schools in addition to tai chi qigong, check out meditation-all-you-need.com which provides an excellent introduction to the history, types, benefits, sample lessons, classes and tools.
Energy Healing: Some Considerations
Qigong energy healing can be used to heal oneself, and in the advance levels, to heal others through psychic or distant healing. Most commercialized schools that offer qigong today are only interested in the profits they reap in. Some will indeed offer medical qigong and other types of basic knowledge, but many will charge exorbitant prices and pull in students attracted to the idea of "new age healing" or the "qigong for the ultimate experience!" I have seen too many students who are too eager to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a weekend qigong session, with the promise that they can do healing immediately after they finish the course. If the instructor were honest enough, he/she might teach the real technique, but even with that knowledge, a beginner will not have sufficiently developed healing energy and the ability to control it. Forget the weekend workshops and the DVD of ten or twenty lessons guaranteed to turn you into a master. There is no quick fix with qigong. It must be practiced regularly, with the commitment to incorporate it long term in one's lifestyle. That is the essential difference between the traditional approach and the contemporary commercialized approach.
To transform the lifeforce energy that we call chi into healing energy is not something that can be done in a matter of days, weeks or even months. It takes years of patient and unrelenting practice and only the traditional training of committed regular practice can provide that. Anyone who tells you differently is not following the principles of wude meant to uphold honesty and qigong integrity with the intention of causing no harm to people. However, that is not to say that you won't see healing take place in a matter of days or weeks when practicing qigong in the proper traditional manner. When practiced properly, the exercises are meant to realign body posture; that itself can remove many imbalances in the body, thereby initiating preliminary healing in the practitioner. Developing the healing chi energy also activates the body's defence system to begin detoxifying the body and healing itself. On the other hand, to deliberately channel the chi energy to heal a specific injury or pain, either for oneself or for others, should not be done except at the advance levels when the healing energy and the yi consciousness are fully developed, and the qualified practitioner is specifically trained in energy healing. Why is that, you might ask. Because of six essential reasons:
1. When the chi is still young and undeveloped in the early stages, you can actually drain and even possibly injure it when you attempt to use it prematurely for energy healing. A beginner must first build a solid foundation to develop the healing energy. How do you know when the chi is developed enough to be channeled for healing? The chi is collected in the dantian where it is generated and nurtured. At first, you might not feel anything there. Then slowly, as
the energy begins to accumulate, you might feel a tingly or warm sensation. After a while, it will become hotter and more tangible, moving around as a separate live entity. Once the chi becomes overwhelming and begins to flow out of the dantian, it begins the xiaozhoutian or so-called microcosmic orbit, which is a circulation of the energy along the major meridians from dantian to the back, up the vertebrae to the head and down the front, back to the dantian again. It will take many, many orbits of this to further refine and mature the chi. How many orbits? Perhaps hundreds to transform the raw energy to something much more refined and powerful. Only then can the now refined essence called jing be safely channeled for energy healing. 2. But developing the chi also has another purpose: detoxification and purification of the mind and body. The healer must be cleansed of toxins in order to channel uncontaminated healing energy. If the healer is ill, then not only would his/her energy be weak, but it would also be easy for the illness or other toxins to be transmitted during the healing process. Besides myself, my mother has an even greater gift for energy healing. Though she has never received any formal training in tai chi qigong, after only a few casual lessons from my master, she has become extremely skilled in the art of healing, both in energy healing and in herbalism. Though her healing energy is far greater than mine, before any healing, she will purify herself through meditation and by fasting or limiting her diet to only fruits and vegetables to guarantee a more successful and uncontaminated healing. The stronger the chi the more the mind and body will purge and cleanse themselves of impurities. The more the mind and body are cleansed, the more powerful the healing energy. Both play off of each other. Diet and fasting purifies the body. Meditation purifies the mind. The mind plays an important part, because it houses the yi consciousness. If the mind is contaminated with
negative thinking and other impure thoughts and/or attitude, the energy healing will be less than successful. While I know there are other forms of healing, such as reiki and the laying of hands, I do not understand how it is possible for any healer to take a nonchalant attitude of their own health. How could healers who are not well themselves, possibly evoke an effective healing and not risk transmitting their own illness during the healing? Or to siphon the other person's illness into themselves? It is like having a surgeon perform surgery with contaminated instruments that have not been properly sterilized! Even my master, whose chi is the most powerful that I know, refuses to do healing, when he feels unwell. Therefore, energy healing should only take place when the healer has undergone purification to effect a clean, uncontaminated healing. 3. Besides developing the chi energy, advanced practitioners must also develop yi mind power. Without well-developed yinian, a healer is unable to control the powerful chi to channel for healing or for other purposes. On the other hand, neither can the healer forcibly channel the healing energy to heal its intended target. If the energy is forced, the vital chi can be easily injured. Instead, it must be gently guided. That is why it is so essential that the yi consciousness evolves proportionately with the chi in order to develop the sensitive control of handling the chi. 4. It is only over time, that the practitioner is able to develop the healing energy and the yinian to channel it. However, well-trained healers are very careful not to use their own healing energy to heal themselves or others. If the illness, trauma or injury is severe, channeling one's own lifeforce for the purpose of energy healing would not be wise, as this would only drain the vital force unnecessarily. For minor energy healing transfers, such as for bruising,
closing energy gates and reducing small pain, using one's own healing energy is not a problem, as the drain is minimal. However, for major energy healing, that is a different matter entirely. Stories are told in China of ancient times when healers would literally sacrifice their own lives to dedicate themselves to healing, because the only qigong they knew was to tap into their own lifeforce to heal others. This was why most of them would age prematurely, and very few would live past the age of 30. When my master was young, he seldom engaged in energy healing for the same reason. At the time, he had a goddaughter who suffered from severe epilepsy. When she was six years old, her parents brought her to see him in the dead of night, pleading with him to save her life. In the past several days, the child had suffered many grand mal seizures, each one becoming more severe than the next. She was taken to the children's hospital and placed on an assortment of different drugs, but to no avail. When she slipped into a coma, her parents brought her home, then turned to my master in desperation. My master took her into his bedroom and worked on her for several hours into the night, transferring his own lifeforce into her. The next morning she revived and even came skipping out of the bedroom, vibrant with energy and demanding her breakfast! My master, on the other hand, looked pale and drained. So exhausted was he that he had to retire into deep jinggong meditation to replenish his depleted healing energy. It wasn't until years later, he improved his energy healing technique so as not to drain his own lifeforce during the healing. Well-trained healers know how to tap into Nature's energy. The energy from our natural environment is plentiful and freely available for us to use. Ever been to the mountains or to the forests and note how fresh and revitalizing the air feels, especially after a thunderstorm? That is because of the bountiful chi in the air.
Negative ions clean the air leaving it fresh and revitalizing. The air feels alive because of the healing energy in Nature. When we engage in energy healing, we tap from the bountiful reserves of Nature. This not only conserves our own lifeforce but allows us to replenish our own limited supply, as we heal others with the energy from the environment! How is this possible? Because we are mere conduits from which the healing energy passes through from Nature to our intended target. Our yi consciousness is the key to channeling this energy, but our own chi energy also plays a vital role in pulling this healing energy through us as well. Think of a hose that acts as siphon for water to travel from one end to another. Without water at one end, it would not have the atmospheric pressure to siphon the water to the other end. Without our own developed chi, we cannot tap the healing energy from Nature to transmit to our intended target. In a sense, our bodies are instruments 5. of the healing that comes from without. 6. Even though we tap the healing energy from Nature, we must also be sure that our own vital lifeforce is strong enough to withstand negative influences during the energyhealing. It is not unusual for healers to inadvertently absorb the illness of the patient back upon themselves when their own chi is weak to begin with. Therefore, before any healing can take place, the healer must ensure that his own lifeforce is strong enough to resist the negative influence of his/her intended target. Otherwise what good will it do if the healer is able to help the one healed only to result in his/her own poor health? So after every energy healing, it is important to drain out any excess negative energy that might linger during the transfer — as it so often happens.
7. Lastly, the healer must remember to close the energy gates of both his/her own, as well as the person being healed. If the energy gates are not closed, the energy will continue to drain, resulting in chronic fatigue, increased weakness and lack of energy. For the same reason, beginners and practitioners whose yi consciousness is not fully developed, should not attempt any energy healing, as often, they are also unable to close the energy gates sufficiently to prevent this energy drain. Usually, the healer will open the energy gates to increase the reception of the one being healed. However, after every energy healing, the healer must always be reminded to close those gates again. Sometimes, the practitioner closes the gates, only to have them open again later, because the healer's yi mind was not strong enough to close them sufficiently. The yi consciousness must therefore be developed strongly enough to withstand the force of the circulating energy that may inadvertently push the gates open again. Qigong healing is not as simple as most people think. It is a mental discipline that requires many years of intensive training to develop the vital chi and the yi consciousness to their fullest potential. Therefore, anyone who tells you there is a quick safe way to become proficient in energy healing would meet with my deepest skepticism. Let me emphasize again, there are no quick fixes in qigong.
Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief
The secret to stress management is in the shoulders and how you breathe. If you are suffering from tension pain and need instant
and long-term stress relief, try the following qigong relaxation techniques. Qigong (also phonetically spelled "chi kung") is all about relaxation. When beginning students have problems relaxing, I teach them this exercise. Easy to learn and even easier to master, just five minutes of practice every day will provide immediate relief. Here's how: Before practicing these relaxation techniques, you should have already mastered qigong diaphragmatic breathing. You should also have read the Disclaimer before attempting any of the exercises on this website. The following relaxation exercise is the first of a set of qigong exercises best practiced together.
1. For our purpose, you can sit or stand for this exercise. If you are standing, you need to know how to do the qigong horse stance properly, because you need to know how to "relax" into the stance. If you are a beginning student or new to qigong relaxation techniques, it would be easier to sit. If you are sitting, do not lean or slouch, but neither should you keep your spine ramrod rigid. (See Sitting Postures for more information). The idea is to keep your back straight without being stiff. Think song — relax! 2. Inhale using qigong diaphragmatic breathing. As you inhale, bring your shoulders up, tensing as much as possible. This is important if you are to know true relaxation. 3. Next, pause in your breathing before exhaling. As you release your breath slowly, begin to lower your shoulders
again until they are totally relaxed. 4. Pause in your breathing, then inhale and begin the cycle again. 5. Practice this exercise for a total of eight breaths: inhale and tense the shoulders, pause, exhale and relax the shoulders, pause. And there you have it — a very simple relaxation exercise.
Ever notice when people experience stress, the first thing they tense are the jaws? The second thing? Their shoulders. Learn to relax these two and the rest of your body will relax almost automatically. Some of my beginning students are so used to having tense shoulders they have trouble relaxing them, and don't even know when their shoulders are tense. Problem: How can you relax your shoulders when you don't even know when they are not? If you are one of these people, and find yourself tensing automatically, try doing this: Tense your shoulders as hard as you can and hold them in this position for about several seconds until they begin to tire, then hold them a little bit longer. When you finally release them feel how relaxed they are now. To know relaxation, you must know the opposite. That is why these qigong relaxation techniques are so effective. By tensing your shoulders, you become much more aware of the opposite. Try these two qigong relaxation exercises. They are short and simple and take little effort. Yet they are so effective. No other relaxation exercise work so quickly. Practice these exercises regularly and you should encounter fewer problems with stress.
Qigong Back Exercise For Back Problems
Qigong back exercise is perfect for relieving back pain by realigning the vertebrae, thereby relieving pressure, correcting posture, and allowing the chi energy to flow smoothly through the spinal column, thus healing scoliosis and a host of other back problems. The qigong horse stance provides the needed support and good posture that realigns the spine and removes pressure from painful trigger points. I have helped many students with chronic back problems, even some who have suffered pain for over twenty years. One woman who stood little more than four feet tall (a little over a meter) had a severely crooked back and was in constant pain. After six months of practicing the qigong back exercises, she was free of most of the back pain. To her surprise, she discovered her scoliosis was not as severe as before, and she gained three inches in height! I have no doubt that with longer practice, she will continue to gain "inches" in progress. However, do not expect instant miracles from qigong. Chronic back pain is difficult to remedy: it took years for you to acquire chronic back pain and it will take time to fix it. Fortunately, however, regular practice of qigong back exercise will take less time to relieve you of that pain than the time for you to develop the causes. If you don't have chronic back pain, that's okay: Practice this qigong horse stance and you can still benefit and prevent future back problems. There are two basic stances practiced in all martial arts: the Horse Stance and the Bow Stance. Unlike external arts, qigong
stances require more relaxed postures and are therefore more difficult for some people to master. However, with regular practice of these ideal back exercises, you will find the benefits well worth the effort.
Before attempting any of the exercises given on this website, please read the Disclaimer.
Qigong Horse Stance The Perfect Back Exercise for Realigning Posture & Correcting Back Problems
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart, measuring from your inside heels. Your toes should be pointed slightly inwards or parallel to each other. 2. Knees should always be slightly bent and leaning out slightly. 3. There is part of a groin area know in Chinese as Kua, where your hip and thighs form a crease. The kua must always be indented. 4. The spine should be straight, the tailbone tucked in. Visualize hanging from a piece of thread from the top of your head, the rest of your trunk sinking down, just as if you were about to sit down on an imaginary chair. If you are standing properly, the back of your thighs and buttocks should be totally relaxed. They should shake like jelly when you pat them. If you are doing this stance
properly, you should feel immediate relief from back pain.
5. If you have trouble with this stance, start off practicing the back exercise by sitting on the edge of a chair. Only your buttocks should be on the seat, not your thighs. 6. Your feet should be planted flat on the ground, again shoulder-width apart, toes pointed forward, parallel to each other. Your knees should be bent ninety degrees, your back straight, but not rigid, and your shoulders relaxed. Feel the back of your thighs. They should not be tense. If you pat them, they should shake like jelly. 7. Now raise your trunk slowly so that you are now standing in a horse stance position. The back of your thighs should still be relaxed. Don't worry if you don't succeed with the qigong horse stance right away. It's actually better for your back to practice sitting and rising in this manner several times, so consider this as part of the back pain exercise. Each time when you rise, feel the back of your thighs and buttocks. If they are still tense, repeat the back exercise from a sitting position on the edge of a chair.
8. If you still have trouble getting into a correct standing position, try standing and using the back of a wall for support. Stand about six inches (15 cm.) away with your back to the wall. Then lean your back to the wall and slide a few inches downward to bend the knees and straighten out your vertebrae, as if you are about to sit down. Lean into the wall to take some of the pressure off your legs. Now feel the back of your thighs. It should be much easier to relax those muscles in this position. Major points to remember: • • • • The kua should be indented, knees slightly bent. Your back is straight, tail bone tucked in. Visualize hanging by a thread from the top of the head, trunk sinking down. The back of the thighs should wobble like jelly.
Congratulations. You have just learned the qigong horse stance, a perfect back exercise to relieve any back problems. Practice this back pain exercise daily to realign vertebrae and correct your posture. If you have scoliosis or back injuries, qigong stances will relieve these back problems too, but you need to practice regularly before seeing results.
Back Exercise #2: Qigong Bow Stance
Regular qigong (a.k.a. chi kung) back exercise will realign the vertebrae, promote good posture, stimulate flow of healing chi energy and gradually correct scoliosis and other back problems that cause discomfort and chronic pain.
Back pain is usually caused by poor back alignment due to poor posture and little support, but you don't have to go to a masseuse or chiropractor to fix your back problems. The two back pain exercises introduced on this website are simple to learn and can be practiced anywhere at home and at work. Get used to standing properly by practicing the following qigong bow stance and the qigong horse stance. Just ten to fifteen minutes of practice every day should relieve and keep scoliosis and other back problems away. This back exercise appears simple, but takes time to master, especially when combined with tai chi qigong movements. If you have not mastered the qigong horse stance you need to practice that one first. It is the easier of the two stances. You should also read the Disclaimer before attempting any of the exercises on this website.
This stance is called the Bow Stance because it is a stance that Chinese archers traditionally assume when they draw their bows. 1. Stand with your feet together, the toes of your right foot pointing forward, and the toes of your left foot pointing out forty-five degrees away from the right. 2. Slide the right foot forward so that the heels are shoulderwidth apart.
Steps to Qigong Bow Stance
3. 4. Then take a single step with the right foot several inches to the right to put space between your left and right feet. This should create a wide enough distance that will give you stability in your stance. The distance measuring between the two heels should be roughly about the breadth of your shoulders. 5. Square your shoulders to face in the direction where the toes of your forward foot (i.e. your right foot) are pointing.
6. 7. The weight of your torso should be evenly distributed between both legs, knees slightly bent.
8. The kua — part of the groin area defined by the crease between your hips and your thighs — must be indented. 9. Your posture should be straight, not arched, the tail bone tucked in, shoulders relaxed. Visualize hanging from a piece of thread from the top of your head, your trunk sinking down, creating a plumb line. If you are doing this stance properly, you should find the back of your thighs are relaxed: when you pat them, they will shake. (See Qigong Horse Stance for more details). 10. When you have mastered these steps move back into beginning position. Then slide your left foot out and begin the bow stance again, this time with your left foot forward. Key Points to Remember: • • • The kua is indented, knees are bent, weight evenly distributed. Visualize hanging from a piece of thread from the top of the head, rest of torso sinking down. The back of the thighs should feel like jelly.
So there you have it: practice this back exercise for ten to fifteen minutes a day to say goodbye to scoliosis, chronic back pain and other back problems.
Qigong Back Exercise: The Empty Stance
Another simple back exercise is the qigong empty stance. A few minutes of this stance can help relieve chronic backpain and other back problems. Xu bu or empty stance is another basic qigong/chi
kung stance that when practiced regularly will help realign vertebrae and remedy back problems. Most common to the practice of tai chi chuan, it is also known as the cat stance. It requires most of the weight to be transferred onto one leg, with the other foot resting lightly on the floor for support or in readiness to raise for a kick or a leg block. Follow these basic steps for the qigong (a.k.a chi kung) empty stance:
1. Bend both knees even when legs are fully extended. 2. Indent the kua, the crease that divides waist and legs at the groin 3. Keep the vertebrae straight, tailbone slightly tucked in. The trick to aligning your vertebrae properly is to visualize your
head hanging from a piece of string from above and the rest of your torso sinking down. 4. Pull the chin in slightly to align your head with the rest of your vertebrae. 5. The toes of one foot should be pointing 45 degrees away from the toes of the other foot. 6. Let almost the entire weight fall on one leg as the other leg supports its position mainly on the toes with the heel drawn up away from the floor. Sometimes the empty stance is practiced with other hand/arm movements or positions as depicted in the image above. Otherwise, your arms can hang loosely at your sides. Practice this simple back exercise for five minutes at a time upwards to half an hour in standing qigong meditation. When done properly, just a few minutes every day should relieve your chronic backpain and keep most back problems at bay.
Free Eye Exercises to Improve Vision
These eye exercises are a part of a qigong (also spelled chi kung) vision therapy that I teach my students. Most if not all of them report seeing an immediate improvement after just a few minutes of exercise. If you don’t believe me, try them yourself. You have nothing to lose, except perhaps your eyeglasses! It’s unfortunate that the eyeglasses are such a multi-billion dollar industry in the West, because they have so much influence over our way of thinking.
Eyeglasses do not improve eye health. They may help you see better, but when you take them off, you’re worse off than before you wore them. That’s because they act like crutches for your eyes. When your eyes start to rely on them, the eye muscles weaken and become lazy. I prove this to my students by giving them a pair of pinpoint eye wear to try on. They can read the eye chart perfectly without eyeglasses! It's not that they have changed anything in their eyes, only in the way they use their eye muscles:
Remember, they aren't wearing eyeglasses, just eye wear frames with cardboard holes, but the pinpoint holes in the eye wear force their eyes to use certain muscles and to relax other muscles in order to focus properly. When they take off the eye wear, they are back to practicing their old habit of not focusing properly. Therefore, if you want to improve vision, the solution is to throw away the eyeglasses you have become so dependent on and practice eye exercises that will train your eye muscles to function properly.
Of course, if you cannot see clearly to function in an otherwise safe environment, then by all means, wear them. But while you are practicing qigong or qigong eye exercises, you should not wear your eyeglasses. In fact, you should try to minimize your wearing time to as little as possible. Let me say this one more time: Eyeglasses not only do NOT improve vision but make your eyesight WORSE over time! Think about it: once you start wearing prescription glasses, with time, you find that you have to get stronger and stronger prescription glasses. That means your eyesight is weaker than it was previously. However, with qigong eye exercises, you can improve your vision and maintain good eye health. There are a number of books on natural eye care. The Bates Method is probably the most well-known and involves similar eye exercises like this one. I have tried a combination of both qigong vision therapy and the Bates Method. Personally, I prefer the qigong vision therapy, because I find the results more effective long-term. These are the basic eye exercises that anyone can practice, alone or in combination with other qigong exercises:
1. Get a hold of an eyechart and test your sight without eyeglasses. Having 20/20 vision means you can see clearly without eyeglasses at twenty feet away. If you are nearsighted, you will not be able to see far. If you are farsighted, you will not be able to see clearly at closer distances. Testing your eyesight before doing the eye exercises will
help you establish a baseline and see the extent of your improvement. 2. When doing these exercises, make sure you are not moving your head, only your eyes. You may want to use your finger and let your eyes follow your finger as you do the eye exercises. The red dots in the following diagrams are where your eyes should target. The first exercise is to look to the right as far as your eyes can move. You should feel the pull of the eye muscles as you hold them in this position and inhale and exhale one time using diaphragmatic breathing for a count of three or four seconds. Then move your eyes to the left, again feeling the pull of the eye muscles as you move them as far left as possible. Inhale and exhale as you hold the position for another count of three seconds to four seconds. Continue stretching the eye muscles, right and left for a total of four times in sync with your diaphragmatic breathing.
3. Next, look up as far as possible, feeling the pull of the eye muscles. Hold as you inhale and exhale using slow diaphragmatic breathing. Then look down and hold that position, as you continue to use belly breathing for another count of three or four seconds. Again, you should feel the pull of the eye muscles. Repeat for a total of four breath
4. For this next exercise, bring your finger close to your nose. Follow your finger with your eyes until you are looking crosseyed. When you start to feel the pull of the eye muscles, hold for a count of three to four seconds, synchronized with one inhalation and exhalation.For the next breath, close your eyes and let them stay as relaxed as possible for a count of one three- to four-second breath. Repeat the stretching and relaxation for a total of four sets.
5. Now, close your eyes as tightly as possible, and hold for a count of three to four seconds, again synchronized with diaphragmatic breathing.For the next breath, open your eyes as wide as possible for another count of three to four seconds. Do a total of four sets in sync with your breathing. 6. Lastly, close your eyes again as tightly as possible. As you are doing this, rub your hands together until they are very
hot. You are stimulating the external chi energy for healing.
7. 8. Keeping your eyes closed, relax them completely and place your palms lightly over your eyelids. You should feel the warm chi flowing comfortably over your eyes from your palms and relaxing the eyes even more, so that you see complete darkness. Continue palming for about a minute or two. Always rub the hands before you palm. 9. When you have finished palming, test your eyesight again with the eyechart. You should find that you can see much more clearly than before. If not, it means you are tensing the eye muscles unnecessarily again, and you will have to continue with the palming until your eyes are relaxed enough to see clearly. When palming, do not press against the eyeballs or you will see stars. 10. When you have finished testing your eyes on the eyechart, finish off the eye exercises with qigong acupressure to stimulate the healing chi energy and help relax the eye muscles. 11. Continue to practice these eye exercises regularly but be careful not to overdo it: eye muscles are like any other part of your body; if you over exercise them, you can over-strain them.
One of my students was legally blind for the past fifty years but was so diligent in doing the qigong vision therapy (of which these exercises are a part) that after two or three months of the practice he began to complain of headaches. I told him to see an eye doctor. His optometrist told him he had the wrong prescription and gave him a lighter pair of eyeglasses. A few more months went by, and he again complained of headaches. He got himself an even lighter pair of prescription glasses. The third time he complained of headaches, he didn’t even bother seeing his optometrist. He has been seeing clearly without glasses ever since. Although these qigong eye exercises can produce results that you can see immediately (no pun intended!), those results will disappear quickly without regular practice.
IMPORTANT: Vision therapy will improve vision ONLY if you continue to practice them regularly in conjunction with other qigong exercises. What does this mean? In order for these eye exercises to work, two things MUST occur: 1. You must practice them regularly, every day like clockwork. Just like brushing your teeth, you must develop a daily routine that habituates you into using your eye muscles properly.
2. They must be practiced with other qigong routines. Qigong vision therapy cannot work in isolation. You cannot choose to practice only one set of eye exercises and expect longterm results. For more information on optimizing your progress, read The Do's & Don'ts of Qigong Vision Therapy. Yes, you will see dramatic and immediate results, but those results are only temporary and limited to just that. One set of eye exercises can only bring you so far, and though you may practice them diligently every day, the improvements will be limited to just the improvements the one set was designed to do. That is why the qigong vision therapy programs range from six to twenty sets of exercises depending on the severity of your eye condition.
Tom Morey, (inventor of the Morey Boogie) San Clemente, U.S.A.
... I'm just now starting the exercises having finally reached a crisis point where, at age 72, coming up on my driver's license renewal, and not being able to pass the eye test, even with my very thick glasses, I need to do something and don't really want to have my eyes operated on, you know. So I'm writing to say, thank you SO MUCH for posting all the excellent free advice. I will diligently do the exercises. Love… Tom
Now, thanks to the support and requests from many of my readers, I have finally finished writing the vision therapy programs that are designed to meet all your vision needs. If you have found the above eye exercises helpful, why not try the entire program that addresses your specific need? Give qigong vision therapy a try and literally see what it can do for you!
Chinese Pressure Point Eye Exercises
Qigong (a.k.a. chi kung) pressure point exercises are part of a nation-wide program implemented by China's Ministry of Health to help prevent myopia and eyestrain. Called Yan Bao Jian Cao or roughly translated as "Eye Care Gymnastic Exercises", these exercises are routinely practiced everywhere in China, both in the school and workplace. Myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and other eye conditions stemming from eyestrain can result from focusing and using the same eye muscles in one position for too prolonged a period of time. To prevent eyestrain, take a break every hour or two hours from whatever you are doing and practice some simple qigong eye exercises.
To prevent any possible infections, you should first wash your hands with soap and water before massaging these acupressure points. Massage in a circular direction for both left and right eyes at the same time, as illustrated in the diagram. The red points show the location of the points. The diagram shows the second pair of pressure points in a set of four. These two points are called Qingming or "Clear Bright" points. You may have instinctively squeezed on them before, when you felt eyestrain or fatigued. These are also good for moistening and detoxifying the eyes, while dispelling negative chi energies called "wind" and "heat". Squeeze and massage these two points with forefinger and thumb for a count of sixteen. Follow the procedure above if you are limited by time constraints. However, optimally, at least once a day, you should do a full set of these exercises including three other sets of pressure points: instead of a count of sixteen, massage each point for a count of eight times eight (totaling sixty-four counts) for each of the four exercises. Everyone in China knows these pressure point exercises, since they are taught and practiced in schools as part of a regular exercise routine. I have practiced these exercises myself and have been able to maintain my eye health for the past thirty years. Since a child, I suffered from myopia, but I stopped wearing glasses after learning the qigong vision therapy. My eyesight had improved sufficiently that I could read without them. Then, when I got my driver’s license I found I was still slightly myopic, and I wore glasses only for driving. I continued to wear the same prescription glasses for the next 25 years! That meant
my eyes had not gotten worse, thanks to the vision therapy and qigong I practiced. I confess, that I will become lazy when it comes to regular practice. However, probably because I practice qigong meditation and other exercises, I have been able to continue maintaining good eye health, and my eyesight has not deteriorated. More than likely, had I been more persistent I would have been able to improve them to 20/20 vision. Be that as it may, the pressure point exercises in combination with other qigong exercises do work and I have my eyesight as well as my students' to prove it. A further important note: these pressure point eye exercises will help maintain eye health and prevent many eye conditions that result from eyestrain. However, if you already suffer from myopia, although massaging these points will prevent it from deteriorating any further, they will not reverse it. To do that, you would need to practice the entire qigong vision therapy, or if you are lazy like I am, resort to Ortho C that Canadian optometrist and police officer John William Yee has developed as an easy and permanent remedy for myopia.
Tai Chi Chuan: Martial Art & Meditation
Tai chi chuan, (a.k.a. taijiquan), the most widely practiced of all qigong martial arts and moving meditation, follows Taoist principles of Nature and Universe. Taichi is truly an intrinsically beautiful art form in motion that engages both mind, body and spirit. Often truncated in English as simply "tai chi," taijiquan is the official phonetic name and is usually called by its full name in Chinese.
Taichi, (phonetically pronounced taiji), means Supreme Ultimate. It signifies the cosmological manifestation of yin and yang, dual interacting dynamic forces in Nature that blend together, resulting in the ultimate whole. Chuan (also phonetically written as quan) means "fist" and refers to barehanded martial arts. Thus, taijiquan or tai chi chuan signifies a sophisticated form of martial art originally created for self-defense. However, because of its many other benefits, taijiquan has withstood the test of time, offering its practitioners both health and spiritual benefits, not to mention a natural moving work of art. How is it different from other qigong (a.k.a chi kung) practices? Tai chi chuan is just one of many categories of qigong, but its chief distinction lies in its martial art application. At the heart of this unique combination of relaxing grace and beauty is a lethal set of movements ultimately designed to overcome the opponent in combat, based on the principle of "soft overcoming hard". Little wonder that this 300-year-old martial art was also once known as mian quan or "cotton fist." Tai chi chuan is made up of precisely executed movements ordered in a sequence called the taichi form. The tai chi form can range in length from just a few sets of movements that take just a few minutes to complete, to long complex sequences that might take upwards to half an hour to perform in their entirety. Most beginning students like to start with short sequences. As practitioners become more familiar with individual movements common to most tai chi forms, most prefer to practice the more complex forms. Admittedly, the longer and more complex the tai chi form, the more beautiful. The extended length of the longer sequences also
give the practitioner more time to generate more powerful intrinsic chi energy. After all, tai chi is a study of health, balance and longevity, using yinian to generate and manipulate the chi energy. Since chi is integral to health, longevity, healing and personal, spiritual growth, the longer one practices the tai chi form, the more effective the practitioner becomes at generating chi and benefitting from it. Because of its complexity as both martial art and meditation, and its subsequent development independent of other qigong forms, tai chi chuan deserves its own discourse and closer study:
1. History and Development 2. Martial Arts and the Dance Form 3. The Many Styles and Taichi Forms Chinese-Swords-Guide.com: Interested in Chinese swords and tai chi sword forms? This website offers all kinds of information on Chinese swords, swordfighting, martial arts and swordsmanship — just about everything you ever wanted to know about Chinese swords. 4. Names of Taichi Forms 5. Principles of Combat and Self Defense 6. Crucial Principles of Practice 7. Individual Tai Chi Exercises ◦ Key Points to Remember When Practicing Tai Chi ◦ Loosening Exercise for Hypertension ◦ Lan Que Wei (Grasp Sparrow's Tail) ◦ Yun Shou (Wave Hands in the Clouds) ◦ Dan Bian (Single Whip) ◦ Xia Shi Dan Bian (Squatting Single Whip) ◦ Shizi Bai Lian (Cross Lotus Kick) ◦ Mei Ren Zhao Jing (Fair Lady Looks Into the Mirror) ◦ Bai She Tu Xin (Snake Sticks Out Its Tongue) 8. Tai Chi Classics
9. Lineage Transmission and Instruction of Tai Chi Chuan
Some things to remember when practicing these exercises:
Avoid overeating just before exercise. Also, avoid exercising immediately after a meal. A full stomach interferes with chi circulation. Avoid drinking cold fluids during or immediately after practice for the same reason. Avoid taking a shower immediately after practice for the same reason. To realize full benefits of qigong exercise, you should practice regularly for a minimum of ten minutes each day. Try to practice the same time each day to establish a habit. The best time for the circulation of chi is between five and seven o'clock in the morning and between eleven and one o'clock at night. Do not rush the lessons. Listen to your body: do only as much as your body feels comfortable. If you experience too much fatigue or physical pain due to weak muscles, stop and rest. Like all physical exercise, you should not overdo. It takes time to make improvements. Most importantly, remember to go slow: one new exercise per week is enough for you to benefit and progress quickly. Be aware, if you overdo and progress too quickly, there are potential side effects that can be dangerous to your health. Therefore, take your time in practicing these exercises, and do
• • •
not continue to the next lesson until you feel you have fully mastered the first one.
Classic Tai Chi Qigong: 7 Key Components
Unlike contemporary tai chi qigong practice, conventional training is more intense, but offers far greater rewards to higher levels of achievement. Contemporary styles offered in commercialized schools is mainly about profit. Instructors of these schools cater to the demands of the students: get them to master qigong quickly, something that is outwardly impressive that will inspire and awe them, preferably accompanied by fancy papers of certification, colored belts and degrees that mark their levels of progress. The traditional approach, however, is not business oriented, and therefore, a lesser known and dying art form. On the other hand, it offers far greater benefits than students of the contemporary school could ever imagine: martial arts and self-defence, health, healing and longevity, elegance, grace and beauty, spiritual and personal development, mental discipline, concentration and psychic development. Key differences lie in the training. Chinese governmentsanctioned medical qigong relies on simplicity: cut out the spiritualism and religious dogma. Place little emphasis on the yogic breathing, other than keeping the breathing slow and natural. Stress on physical exercise and relaxed movements. Contemporary tai chi also emphasizes physical movements. Ironically, commercialized schools call it "moving meditation" when there is little, if any, meditation involved in the practice.
And because there is little training, if any, in the practical applications of self-defence, the movements are, often as not, inaccurate. Though graceful, they are not anatomically correct or precise, but much more superficial. Little wonder traditional masters derisively dub contemporary tai chi as balei wu or "tai chi dance", because they see it as little more than that. So how is traditional tai chi qigong different? Training involves several key components:
• • • • • • •
Chi development and refinement; Yogic breathing to increase oxygen and circulation and to nourish the vital chi energy; Relaxation and looseness to facilitate circulation and channeling of the chi; Postural alignment, stances and rooting or grounding the chi; Humility to facilitate development of chi and yinian development and to draw on the higher consciousness; Yi development for manipulation of the chi for various purposes of self-defence, health, healing and psychic and personal development; and Meditation to promote development of chi and the yi consciousness, mental health and healing, concentration, and higher levels of consciousness for psychic, spiritual and personal development
If you are only interested in medical qigong, tai chi calisthenics and other types of contemporary qigong that emphasize mere physical movements, then you need not worry about these constituents, as they form the basis of a mental discipline in which contemporary qigong has no part.
My master has taught thousands of students, and though he has always taught with the traditional approach in mind, I can literally count on one hand, the few who have continued to train at the higher levels of mental discipline. Since the beginning levels emphasize mainly physical, most students have little difficulty training at these levels. But once they begin to transition from physical to mental, the complexity of the training becomes more obvious. No longer is the qigong merely superficial physical movements but on a much deeper level that includes visualization, intent, and deep concentration with subtle changes in energy development. Medical qigong? Tai chi dance and calisthenics? Contemporary new age qigong? These are nothing compared to the traditional practice which offers far greater rewards than most students could ever possibly fathom. And this is where the five key components come into play: Therein, lies the vastly different approach to tai chi qigong between contemporary and traditional schools of training.
Tai Chi Qigong The Most Effective Way
While the traditional way of learning tai chi qigong seems slow and tedious, it is ironically, the fastest and most effective way to mastering any martial art. Unfortunately, today's commercialized classes just don't measure up. When I was young, my master used to tell me many stories of famous qigong/chikung and other martial arts masters and how they trained their students. Many of these masters would test their students to see if they were truly committed to learning the martial art.
Many of these tests would last for many months, even years without the student ever knowing he or she was being tested! Truly, they were tests on patience, commitment, loyalty, and endurance, because all of these virtues are essential to becoming a skilled martial artist. When my master first trained in tai chi chuan, (one kind of qigong/chikung), he was very young, but already known for his unusual skill in several martial art forms. Yet his tai chi master said he was not ready to learn tai chi chuan until he completed the foundation of warm up exercises that consisted of swinging the arms from side to side. Sounds simple doesn't it? He and three other pupils would practice arm-swinging several hours every day at their master's home. Sometimes their master would disappear for months at a time before suddenly returning home to see how his students fared. The master would walk up quietly behind them as they were training, then suddenly push a student from behind. If the student resisted the push, as would be the natural inclination, the master would shake his head and tell the student to carry on. Six months later, the students were still practicing this tai chi qigong/chikung exercise when my master was suddenly pushed from behind. My master yielded immediately in response, so that there was nothing to push. Aah! My master had learned how to yield before an attack! Now, he was ready to learn the next step in tai chi chuan! This was the traditional way of training students in martial arts and tai chi qigong: practicing for long hours, months and even years on one seemingly meaningless exercise. Unfortunately, commercial schools cannot teach students in this manner. What? Pay a teacher to make me practice several months like this? I might as well learn it without his help! What students don't
realize is that this is actually the fastest and most effective way to reaching the top! The usual practice of commercialized schools now is to cram students with as much information as they can take in. Students want their money's worth and they better have something to show for it at the end of the day. Faster, better, cheaper, is the slogan of the business-oriented West. Unfortunately, this does not work well with tai chi qigong and other martial arts. When I first began learning martial arts with my master, I did not have any say in what I wanted to learn—that is up to the master to decide. And my master decided I was best suited to learn tai chi qigong, even though I was so convinced that I would be better at the more fast-paced, action packed martial arts like the praying mantis or sword at which my master was so skilled. (See My Personal Profile). Tai chi chuan? What was that, but an old man's exercise. That was my typical teenage thinking. Both my brother and I practiced qigong/chikung, my brother to develop his wai dan chi or external lifeforce energy, and myself to develop nei dan chi or internal lifeforce energy. But when I was supposed to be practicing the "gentle" art of tai chi chuan, I enviously watched my brother train in praying mantis staff and bare fist sparring. My first lesson in tai chi chuan was not the well-known slowmoving form that everyone sees people practicing in the parks. Oh no, that was too advanced for someone like me! Instead my master taught me how to relax. Every day for one whole week, he made me practice raising my right arm extended
in front of me, and then lowering it down again, assuming the hand position known as Mei Ren Shou or the Fair Lady's Hand. Every day, the same thing: raise it up, lower it down, all the time, while he watched on, chanting "Song! Fang song, fang song!" — "Relax! you are not relaxed enough!" or "Practice more!" or "Keep practicing!" Finally, the second week, he said I was ready for the next lesson: do the same with the left arm! And so again, I practiced for a tedious half an hour, an hour or two hours, over and over and over again. By the end of the month, I was just starting out on the first step in the tai chi chuan form, and about a year later, after completing about thirty sets of movements, he decided I was ready to join the rest of his students. To my surprise, in the class, he taught several sets of movements all in one three-hour sitting! After what he had put me through, I thought we were racing! Years later, when I opened my own tai chi qigong classes, I realized how fortunate I was that he gave me such special attention. Compared to the other students in his qigong/chikung class, I made more progress that first month than they ever did in ten years of training!
Making the Most of Tai Chi Qigong
Stressful demands of today's busy society makes it difficult to practice tai chi qigong/chi kung the way it was practiced traditionally. Ancient masters viewed it not merely as a meditative exercise routinely practiced, only to be set aside and forgotten until the
next session. Rather, it was a way of life, that they followed every minute of every day. That meant living and breathing qigong/chi kung every moment of consciousness. This was the life I was raised, following in my master's footsteps, training several hours a day in yogic breathing, qigong/chi kung exercises, and tai chi sparring, rising at five in the morning to meditate, and even practicing qigong/chi kung meditation in my sleep. I thought it a matter of course and didn't know any other way of learning. Every day my master waited for me to come home from school to begin our day together. I followed him everywhere he went, listening to his lectures, practicing tai chi qigong under his supervision, watching him when he worked with other students, eating with him, and listening to his stories and lessons. (See My Personal Profile). This went on for many years until I graduated from university and moved away from home, but even then, my master encouraged me to continue my training with other masters in China and Taiwan, and eventually on my own. Of course, for most people, this kind of traditional tai chi qigong/ chi kung lifestyle is not possible. The demands of work, school and family prevent us from devoting more than a tiny portion of our day to exercise, whether it be ten minutes or two hours. So how can we make the most of tai chi qigong/chi kung meditation and exercise without compromising our training in the limited time we have? Here are some suggestions to which I advise students to adhere:
The best time to practice tai chi qigong is a half hour after rising in the morning, between five and seven o'clock in the
morning and between eleven and one o'clock at night. If the exercise is a dynamic one, such as tai chi chuan or Eighteen Postures of Tai Chi Qigong, you should not practice within the last couple hours before going to bed. • Establish a daily routine that is consistent with your habits: Practice tai chi qigong/chi kung the same time and at the same location every day. Make sure when you practice that you are well rested and that your mind is free from all worries and needless distractions. Choose an open space, preferably with fresh air but no strong winds. The place should be quiet so that you will not be easily disturbed or distracted. Do not eat a heavy meal before practice. This will inhibit the vital chi energy from flowing. If you are hungry, eat a light meal or snack a half hour before practice, but if possible, abstain from eating. Wear loose comfortable clothing. Tight clothing restricts movement, blood circulation and the flow of vital chi energy. Also wear your clothing in layers. It is important to keep warm during practice, as the cold inhibits the flow of vital chi energy. As you begin to warm up, you can discard the extra layers of clothing. If the tai chi qigong/chi kung exercise requires a standing posture, lower your center of gravity. Do not shift or otherwise lose your balance. Practice rooting into your posture. Keep your head and trunk straight, your shoulders relaxed, chest slightly caved in, the knees not extending past your toes. Practice yogic breathing, resting your tongue at the roof of your mouth, against the frontal palate and ridge of your upper teeth. The tongue acts as a bridge for the vital chi energy to flow freely.
In time, your glands will secrete more saliva and you will find it sweet tasting. This is because the vital chi is also contained in your saliva. Do not spit it out, but swallow it gently. • Calm the mind and relax the body. Visualize the tension easing out of your muscles. Empty your mind of all extraneous thoughts, (see Meditation Techniques for more suggestions on ways to focus your concentration). As you empty your mind of thoughts, so should you empty your heart of desires and emotions. Emotions and excess desires injure the organs, • cloud the mind and impede the flow of chi. • Therefore, visualize yourself as an empty vessel • that you fill with Tao, (Lao Tzu), …as manifested in vital chi energy, the intrinsic lifeforce. • Unless otherwise indicated, breathe deeply and slowly, using your abdominal muscles, rather than your chest, making sure to visualize the chi circulating along the meridians or pathways throughout your body. Visualization, intent and goal setting are components integral to developing the yiconsciousness, an essential element to tai chi qigong and other meditative practices, so much so, that without them, a student would never be able to attain mastery of tai chi qigong/chi kung. Yet very few books or commercialized schools in the Western Hemisphere make mention of this fact. Below is a brief elucidation of the importance of visualization from my master's book, The Secrets to Eternal Life: Tao Teh Chieng: Visualization is the method or Agent used to convert a thought into material or tangible equivalent. Let the motivation of our thoughts be always constructive instead of
destructive. Why? Because destructive thoughts come back to us like a boomerang. Thoughts and conscience are closely allied or related. An ulterior thought tortures our conscience… In meditation, the practitioner tries to focus his thought in a single streamlined concentration. Thus, after long years of meditation, the Yogi, Tai Chi or Chi Kung Masters can perform astounding feats that normal people cannot do. Yet all feats and miracles are not beyond the abilities of ordinary men if only they are willing to try.*
Keep in mind that your movements should be slow and even. Tense jerky movements will prevent the chi energy from flowing smoothly and efficiently. Unless otherwise indicated, do not lock your joints. The joints are like gates that regulate the flow of chi energy. Locking the joints will slow down or inhibit its flow. Always practice the same tai chi qigong movements over and over again until you master them before continuing on with a new lesson. You will learn more quickly and master the movements more effectively, if you take the time to establish a strong foundation. (See Additional Learning Tips & Strategies). After meditation, practice the Twelve Treasures or other tai chi qigong daoyin exercises to stimulate muscle tone, detoxification, and further blood and chi circulation. Massage the organs, limbs and extremities and apply the acupressure points. After practice, rest for a while before taking a shower, eating, or retiring to bed. Abstain from drinking cold drinks or taking a cold shower before or after practice. These can be injurious to the heart
and inhibitive, even injurious to vital chi circulation. Since tai chi qigong, particularly dynamic exercises such as tai chi chuan, invigorates both mind and body, it is also advisable to practice jinggong or quiescent meditation and/ or Chi Calming Qigong, or rest a while before retiring to bed. Perform eye exercises to keep the eye muscles in shape and to teach them to relax. These exercises will improve your eyesight. • Always supplement your qigong/chi kung exercises with a healthy lifestyle. Consume nutritious foods, supplemented by herbs and Chinese medicine, drink lots of fluids, practice qigong/chi kung massage and acupressure, get adequate sleep and try to practice equal amounts of jinggong or quiescent (i.e. still), as well as donggong or dynamic tai chi qigong meditation forms. If you have a cold, influenza, fever or similar debilitating disease, abstain from practicing tonifying qigong. In general, the purpose behind qigong exercises are either tonifying or detoxifying. Most will provide some of both benefits but when you are ill, you should avoid the exercises that target tonification. Tonifying qigong tonifies the chi, blood, and organs. However, if you are flush with fever or other debilitating disease, your main interest should be to detoxify and remove toxins from your body. If you are ill, your body is focused on cleansing; tonifying exercises interfere with the detoxification process and will only serve to drain your body of needed energy that should be reserved for detoxification. Like all other learning situations, it is important that you practice what you have learned inside and outside of the classroom. Depending on your medical condition and aptitude for learning, a minimum of twenty minutes of daily practice is
required to see any significant improvement over time. As you progress, it is expected that you will gradually increase the amount of practice time spent daily. Like everything else, tai chi qigong/chi kung cannot be mastered in one short session. Taking notes and videotaping can help to jog your memory of essential details. However you do it, it is always best to review the essentials of what you've recently learned in preparation for the next lesson. • If you are learning from a master or instructor, it lies in your best interests to follow any orders or advice given. If you are in doubt, you should seek clarification. When monitored by a qualified instructor on a regular basis, tai chi qigong/chi kung is a very safe and healthy exercise to follow. However, when taught or practiced incorrectly, some exercises, especially at the advanced level, can be very harmful, dangerous and even potentially fatal. You should always take the necessary precautions against unauthorized instruction and demonstration. Instruction should take place only with a qualified instructor. See Finding the Right Instructor or Master for more information about finding a qualified instructor offline. Most of the lessons I offer on this website are quite safe to practice without the help of a teacher to monitor your progress. However, there are a stipulated few that should be practiced under supervision. Please practice the exercises with qualified supervision where I have suggested, and read the Disclaimer before attempting any of the exercises on this website. These warnings are placed there for a reason! Remember, only a qualified instructor can transmit the essence of tai chi qigong/chi kung and impart to the student a proper foundation through correct instruction. Choose wisely and practice with care. Should you have any questions or require guidance in your training, I provide free online support and advice.
Keep a daily or weekly journal, recording your learning experiences. At times, you may experience learning plateaus or feel that you have not made sufficient progress in your learning. By reviewing what you have learned, you are not only able to keep track of vital information, but also see how far you have come since your first attempts, and to learn from your mistakes, as well as your successes. Share ideas with other fellow students and offer each other mutual support and help. Personal development through any discipline can be a very lonely journey. By being supportive of each other's progress, everyone contributes to each individual's success. Since the chi energy is more easily generated in large student numbers, tai ci qigong/chi kung meditation and exercises are best practiced in groups, (especially if students' chi is cultivated at advanced levels), the larger the better. As I have said before, it is difficult to find the right instructor, so if you don't have a support system in place, contact me and I will do my best to answer all your questions. Work with other students, but avoid unfair comparisons. Since every student progresses at his/her own individual rate, depending on many factors such as medical condition, aptitude, degree of effort and investment in practice time, it would be very unfair for any student to attempt to compare his/her own progress to that of others. Keep track of your own individual progress and learning, but don't be discouraged if someone else you know is progressing faster, or getting "more results" than you. I still recall when I was only an adolescent among middleaged students in a senior class and the slowest progressing student. Yet despite my immaturity, my master saw something in me that no one else did. In the end, out of about 30 senior students only about five
of us of continued to train regularly and teach tai chi qigong/ chi kung. Progress is not measured in results, but how you persist over time. The more I train, the less I feel I know, and the farther I feel I still have to go. Most would agree that the senior students in our class probably know far more than most so-called "masters" in the Western Hemisphere; however, in my master and his peers' eyes, we still have a long way to go. By standards measured by traditional masters, we are nothing to boast about. Who am I compared to the real masters of old? That is why I find it amusing that commercialized schools often boast of self-styled martial arts "masters" and "senseis" that impress only those who truly know little of the traditional arts. (See The Martial Arts Business Industry, My Personal Experience with the Controversial Falun Gong, Training the Traditional Way, Master-Disciple Relationship and Choosing the Right Master/Instructor). In every class, including mine and my master's, there are always students who, after only a few months or so of training exclaim how great their chi is or how advanced they have become. Out of these are also those who join the ranks of selfproclaimed teachers, gurus and "experts", each one competing to outbid the other in so-called abilities. Tai chi qigong/chi kung masters are admittedly able to perform phenomenal feats of strength and psychic power. But these are merely side effects and not the end goal, if there is truly any. Do not be tempted to stray from the path by fame, money or ambition. Keep to your tai chi qigong practice and do not measure your progress with "observable results." Forget those who seek to compete for these material results, and you will make more progress in tai chi qigong than they can accomplish in a lifetime.
Footnotes:*Victor Shim, The Secrets of Eternal Life: Tao Teh Chieng, (Edmonton: Aurora Printing & Graphics, 1985, second edition), p. 130-13
Major and Minor Cycle of the Universe (Macro
and Micro Cosmic), da xiao zhou tian
by: Joe Hing kwok Chu
The basic foundation training of dao jia (Daoist philosophers) is the minor cycle of the universe and the major cycle of the universe. It is difficult for the general public to read the old Chinese writing on these training. The same physiological location of the body can be called several different names in the same article to confuse the outsiders. For example dan tian in the same article can be called he dong, huang tin etc. Today the different qigong book writers each of them has his or her own version of what the trainings are. It is like the Chinese saying "It is easier to draw ghosts than to draw people." because nobody has seen a ghost or very small number of people had had these trainings until the Red Chinese Government started to promote qigong in the late fifties or early sixties.
Minor Cycle of the Universe (micro cosmic cycle)
Moving the qi downward along ren mai to the perinium and up the tu mai at the back to complete a cycle is called the minor cycle of the universe. it is important to note that this practice is not suitable for every body.
Major Cycle of the Universe (macro cosmic cycle)
Moving the qi to all the jin luo (meridians) of the body are back is call major cycle.
Eight Sections of Silk (Eight Sections of
Brocade, Eight Pieces of Brocade)
Taught by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu Recorded by: Vera Eby Retyped and reformatted by: Arnie Miller ( Vera Eby is an English teacher in San Francisco. Arnie Miller is an engineer, a corporate data base supervisor.)
These are mainly stretching exercises coming from the Shaolin Monastery which is well known for its martial arts. They are the preliminary exercises of the martial arts, including eye exercises, massaging points, stretching, and punching. Traditionally these are not classified as neigong exercise. (Neigong was the term before the term qigong became popular). The name "eight sections of silk," also translated as "eight pieces of brocade," is a misnomer. The correct name is "pull and break tendons." Eight Sections of Silk has nothing to do with the number "eight." In Chinese, the names sound almost the same. The former is written as: (eight sections of silk)
The latter is written as: (pull and break tendons) Today the name "eight sections of silk" is commonly used. Most books describe the exercise as consisting of eight postures (movements). The first author made the first mistake. Almost all of the subsequent books followed the same mistakes. Today, you can buy books or charts , written by wise men of the Orient, on "twelve sections of silk," "fourteen sections of silk," etc, much more impressive than just "eight sections." Traditionally Chinese authors prided themselves in doing "research" in ancient texts. If there were mistakes in the ancient texts, the mistakes might perpetuate. Some "scholars" even did questionable research by fabricating ancient texts. Many books on "eight sections of silk" describe the exercises as consisting of what they called the scholars' eight sections and martial artists' eight sections. The former exercises are performed sitting on the floor and the latter exercises are performed standing up. Actually the "pull and break tendons" exercises are performed in standing positions and in sitting positions and also in lying down positions. In the class we focus on the more important exercises. The Exercises Click here to see some of the warm up picture. The Outlines (1) Roll the Eyes 36 times (2) Tap the Teeth 36 times
(3) Roll the Tongue 36 times (4) Self-Applied Acupressure :Head ,Chest and Arms ,Butt and Legs (5) Movements (6) Stretches * Detail Descriptions Rolling the eyes
With the eyes closed, roll the eyes 36 times to the left and 36 times to the right. * Tapping the teeth With the mouth closed, tap the teeth together lightly 36 times. * Tapping the bones behind the ears
Tap the bones lightly 36 times with your index fingers. Self-Applied Acupressure * Massaging the body Massage the temples. Massage the jaw muscles. Massage the neck muscles, both sides. Massage behind the neck, both sides. Massage the points at the beginning of each eyebrow. Massage each arm, starting on the inside of the arm: the shoulder the upper arm the lower arm the hand
Pass one palm over the other, slowly, a few times. Massage the outside of each arm, moving up: the hand the lower arm the upper arm the shoulder W Washing the legs Massage the lower back in the area right above the buttocks; find the sore spot on both sides; press & rub. Massage each side of the hips, where the trunk of the body joins the legs. Massage each leg/foot: the middle of the thigh the knee the lower calf the side of the ankle, four
fingers above the bone
Click on the thumb nail picture for a larger and detailed picture for the acupoints.
To Maintain Spleen Channel and Stomach Raise One Arm 調理 脾胃單舉手 Stationary (click here to see movie here) Turning the Body (click here to see movie here) Two Hands Supporting the Sky to Maintain Triple Fire Channel 雙手擎天理三焦(click here to see movie here) Spreading The Bow Left and Right as if Shooting the Eagle 左右開弓似射鵰 Stationary With moving stances Peacock Spreading its Screen 孔雀開屏溫命門 The Giant Eagle Spreading its Wings 雄鷹展翅健腰背 Seven Rocks and Eight Rolls to Get Rid of Hundreds of Illnesses 七傾八 顛百病消 Moving the Head and Swaying the Tail to Get Rid of Fire in Heart Channel 搖頭擺尾去心火 Look to the Side and Back To Get Rid of Chronic Problems 左右回首去固疾 Two Hands Holding the Feet To Strengthen the Waist and Kidney Channel 兩手攀足固腰腎 Twist out the Punches with Angry Look 怒目攥拳增氣力 Stretches First warm up the body by loosening from toes to the neck. 1. With hands resting on the waist, men step forward with the left, women step forward with the right. Place more weight on the front and less weight at the back. Rotate the
foot at the back in circle to left and right directions while the balls of the foot contacting the ground. Do about 16 circles on each foot. 2. With hands resting on the waist, spread the feet to the left and right about shoulder's width. Rotate the hip in both directions about 16 times. 3. Place the feet together and hands on top of the knees with fingers pointing inward. Rotate the knees about 16 times in both directions to loosen the back. 4. Spread the feet to one leg's length and place the hands on top of the legs a little behind the knees with fingers pointing inward. Look back to the left and to the right and stretch the shoulders one at a time while pressing the shoulder downward and look back. 5. Straight the legs while still holding the legs to rest the body weight partly on the arms and look back to the left and to the right to loosen the back. 6. Stand straight up and stretch the left hand down while stretch the neck up and to the right. Repeat on the other side. Do this a few times. 7. Stretch both hands down and stretch the head up. Do this a few times. The following #8 stretches were recorded by Peter Croke. 8. Place one hand on opposite shoulder. Place other hand under the elbow of the hand on the shoulder. Pull the elbow across the chest to stretch the triceps of the arm with the hand on the
shoulder. Repeat on the other side. Place the palm of one hand between shoulder blades with the elbow facing up. Place the other hand on the elbow of the same hand. Grab the elbow from the back making sure the forearm is behind the head. Stretch by pulling on the elbow to stretch the triceps. Stretch by pulling towards the rear of the head. Reverse the arms.
Place one arm behind the back at the waist, parallel to the floor and with the palm out and at the mid back level. Grab the wrist (from the inside) with the other hand. Pull gently on wrist to stretch the arm behind the body. Then switch arms. Interlace the fingers and stretch the hands over the head. The elbows are gently straight and the palms are facing upward. Sway the arms and hands from side to side while breathing in and out. Feel the stretch.
Feet are placed in the bow and arrow stance*. Hands are placed on both hips. Stretch by bringing shoulders back and puffing out the chest. The face looks forward and the tongue is stuck out for a good stretch. * Bow and arrow stance: spread feet one legs length apart. Turn one foot so it is facing sideways. Bend the same knee until you cannot see your foot. Rotate the torso so the upper body is facing the same direction. The other leg is straight on an angle. The foot of this leg does not move and remains facing the same direction.
(standing or lying down) Standing: Pull one heel up to buttocks. Hold the leg to buttocks with the other hand holding that leg by the ankle. Balance on the other leg. Lying: While on your side keep the top leg gently straight. Pull the bottom heel, with your upper hand, up to the buttocks. To pull the heel to grab the ankle. Stretch. Repeat on the other side. Lie down on the floor.
Lie on your back. Extend the arms to the sides, so the
elbows are gently straight. The arms are at a 90 degree angle to the body Bend the knees so the feet are flat on the floor. Take one heel and bring it over the other knee and pull the knee toward the floor. While doing this rotate the upper torso in the opposite direction. Stretch and repeat on the other side.
Lie on your back. Extend the arms to the sides, so the elbows are gently straight. The arms are at a 90 degree angle to the body Bend the knees so the feet are flat on the floor. Take one heel and bring it to the other knee. Place it foot against the inside of the other knee and push the knee toward the floor. While doing this rotate the upper torso in the opposite direction. Stretch and repeat on the other side.
Lie on your stomach. Rise up so your upper torso is resting on your palms with the arms straight. Knees are bent so they are supporting the legs and touching the floor. The body is on an angle. Turn the face upward and stretch the body.
Stay on the floor and get in a sitting position. keep one leg straight and bend the other leg at the knee. Place the foot of the bent leg flat on the floor. Place it on the outside of the other leg (at the knee level). Bend the arm of the straight leg and place the elbow against the outside of the opposite knee. Push the knee toward the floor. Turn the head and upper torso in the opposite direction. Stretch and repeat on the opposite side.
Stretching – Seated on the floor 1. Spread the legs & lean forward. 2. Bend one knee & move the leg so the foot is positioned at the crotch; lean towards the straight leg; put your hands behind your back, twist, and turn, looking out to stretch the shoulder. At the same time, with the elbow on the inside of the knee, grip the ankle with your hand. 3. Bend the left leg with the foot positioned at the crotch; bend the right leg with the foot facing out. Lean to the right & massage the right hip joint. Reverse and do the other leg. 4. In a sitting position with your feet together and touching at the bottom,
roll forward & back, gripping the ankles or feet. 5. Lie on the floor with the arms extended and palms out. Bending the knee & keeping the foot flat on the floor, raise the right leg. Cross the left leg over the right with the ankle on the right thigh, just above the knee. Stretch the neck and look back. Reverse & do the other leg. 6. With the arms extended and the knees up, turn toward the right and look to the left; then turn toward the left & look to the right. 7. With the right knee up, grasp it with the left hand and pull it to the left & then back to the right. Then reverse and bring up the left knee, pulling it with your right hand. 8. Bring both knees up toward the chest; first, grip the left with your hand, pulling down and toward you; then do the same with the right. 9. Cross the right knee over the left. Then do the opposite. 10. Raise the legs up high and do the windmill (walking on a cloud). 11. With knees bent and feet flat on the ground, raise the buttocks slowly, straightening the spine, one vertebra at a time. Now gradually lower the buttocks & flatten the back, one vertebra at a time. 12. Lower the legs, so they are extended straight out. Exhale deeply. Begin to loosen the body, starting
with the toes and loosening the parts of the body in the following sequence: the toes the ankles the knees the legs the hips the perineum the dan tian the belly button area the upper belly the chest the shoulders the elbows the wrists the hands the neck the head the face the throat eventually the whole body Closing: With eyes remaining closed, roll them in big circles. Then open the eyes, looking far in the distance, then closer and closer, and finally blinking, looking around you.
Five Animal Chart Play qigong
Taught by : Joe Hing Kwok Chu Recorded by : Peter Croke and Linda and Karen
(Peter Croke of San Francisco is a registered nurse. Linda of San Francisco is a interior designer. Karen of San Francisco is a physical therapist.) This qigong exercise was designed by a famous doctor, Hua Tuo, during the Han dynasty, about two thousand years ago. It is an excellent qigong exercise for stress management and rehabilitation after sicknesses. There are hundreds of different version of "Five Animal Play" exercises. Avery one claims they are from the doctor, Hua Tuo. This version was discovered in a famous grave, Ma Wang Dui, of the Han dynasty period. It was recorded with a chart of pictures, so it is now call "Five Animal Chart Play".
Ape: (1) Place hands below the dan tian area, with palms facing up and fingertips touching and breathe once. (2) Raise the hands to chest level with the palms facing up and fingertips touching and do a second breathing. (3) Lower the hands back to the dan tian and then raise them in an arc over the head. Keep the fingertips touching and breathe a third time. Bring the hands to the sides. Bend the elbows and place hands (palms down) and fingers facing forward and together . Breathe 4 times. Bring the hands together with tops touching each other and fully extended the arms forward. Rotate the feet (toes and then the heels) until you are standing with your feet a little more than shoulder length apart. Bend the knees until you cannot see your toes. Bend the elbows and bring the hands to the side of the body with palms facing up and making two fists. Breathe 12 times. Rotate the feet back under the body and bring the arms to the side. **
(4) Rub the stomach above the belly button. Interlock fingers of hands and rub back and forth with the palms. Rub in a semi-circular movement (the top half of a circle). Do this while breathing, then gently tap the same area with the tips of the fingers of the right hand (back and forth) while breathing.
Deer: (1) Place hands, with palms facing up and fingertips touching, at the dan tian level. Breathe once (in and out). Raise the hands to the chest keeping the same position. Breathe once. Place hands together in a prayer position in front of the chest then raise the hands above the head and open them up with the palms facing out. Rotate them in a circular motion until you reach the shoulders and hold them in front of the shoulders. Breathe 5 times. The palms should be facing outward with the elbows bent. Stretch the arms out so they are level with the shoulders (to the side of the body) and palms are facing down. Breathe once. Bring the hands out in front of you with two fists one on top of the other. Make sure the arms are extended all the way and breathe. Place the hands on the middle back with one hand above the other and the upper side against the back keeping the fists. Breath 9 times. Return the hands to the side. ** (2) Rub the stomach below the belly button. Interlock fingers of hands and rub back and forth with the palms facing inward. Rub in a semi-circular movement ( the bottom half of a circle). Do this while breathing. Gently tap the same area with the tips of
the fingers of the right hand (back and forth) while breathing.
Tiger: (1)Place hands at the dan tian level with palms facing up and fingers interlocked. Raise hands to chest level and breathe. (2)Flip the hands keeping them interlocked and extend the arms to the right side and up as far as you can. The palms should be facing upward. Breathe out as you do this. Rotate the arms to the left while keeping the hands interlocked and breathe in. When you stop, breathe out and lower the arms and hands to shoulder level. Keep them on the left side. Rotate again to the right side to the count of 4 and breathe in. When you stop, breathe out and lower the hands again to waist level. Rotate the arms and hands again twice as fast to the left and then back to the right while breathing in. When you stop, breathe out. Raise the left arm and hand to the level of the shoulder (fully extended), angled and perpendicular to the body. Breathe 6 times. Bring the other arm so it is right below it with palms are facing each other. Breathe once. Bring the arms to the side.** Repeat from the beginning on the other side. During this exercise, focus the chi to the side of the torso under each arm as it is raised.
(1) Start with hands in front of the dan tian with the palms facing up and the fingers interlocked. Take 1 breath. Raise the hands to the chest level and take 1 breath. Rotate the hands while keeping them interlocked and raise them to the sky. This should place the hands above the head. When you extend the hands, palms should be facing the sky. Take 1 breath. Rotate the hands again but keep the arms raised over the head. Touch the palms together and the external palace of labor should be on the outside. Take 1 breath. Lower the arms so they are perpendicular to the body while keeping them fully extended. The palms should not touch, but face each other with very little space between them. Keep the arms on the left side while taking 4 breaths. Lower the arms to the side. Raise the left hand with elbow extended fully above the head and the palm facing outward. The arm and hand should be parallel to the body. Take 5 breaths. Lower the arm and make 2 fists. Take a breath. Release the fists.** Repeat on the other side. THE CRANE Legs in stance position. Arm movements: 1) fingers intertwined, palms up, hands resting on lower belly (take one breath) 2) keeping the same hand position, bring hands up to chest (take one breath) 3) turn palms foward, push arms straight out front and raise above head (take one breath) 4) keeping arms in the same position (take five breaths)
5) release hands make a soft fist and bring hands straight down to shoulder height (take one breath) 6) keeping the same positon (take nine breaths) Legs in narrow stance position 7) As you narrow the stance position, release fists, palms up, and staighten arms out to shoulder height (take one breath) 8) bring arms straight out foward, chest level, fist over fist (take four breaths) 9) bring hand around to the center of the back, place one hand above the other (take one breath) Feet shoulder width apart 10) closing: swing arms to the front, fists togther, palms facing out, chest level (take one breath) end with bringing fists around to the back one hand above the other. TOTAL BREATHS 25 * Note: The chi on these exercises should start from the belly, fill it up and move to the chest unless otherwise detailed. **The closing on all of the animal exercises is the same and is as follows: Return the hands to the front of the body, arms forming a circle. Hands are in a fist, thumbs down, palms facing forward and lightly touch fists. Arms are perpendicular to the body. Breathe once. Bring the hands to the middle of the back (across from the belly button) one hand over the other (palms open) and breathe.
Fragrant Qigong (Xiang Gong)
Level I and Level II
Taught by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu Recorded by: Peter Croke Edited by: Vera Eby Starting: feet shoulder width apart, breathe normally. These exercises should be done standing and may be done while watching TV. All exercises should be done 36 times.
Place the hands in front of the body at the chest level. Palms should face each other. The hands should never touch but remain about 8 inches apart. Both hands should move away and then toward each other. Repeat.
Beginner's Gong (training)
1. The golden dragon wagging its tail. 金 龍 擺 尾 Place the hands in front of the body at the chest level. Place the hands together with the palms touching. Fingers should point straight outward. Rotate the hands from one side to the other keeping the hands together and at the level of the chest. Breathe normally.
2. The jade phoenix nodding its head. 玉 鳳 點 頭 Place the hands in front of the body at the chest level. Place the hands together with the palms and fingers touching. Fingers should point straight outward. Rotate the arms up and down while keeping the hands together, (arc like rotation). Keep the body straight. 3. The character eight dividing gold 八 字 分 金 Place the hands in front of the body at the chest level. Palms should face each other (on a slight angle with the topside of the hands turned slightly inward) close together but not touching. Both hands should rotate in an arc movement, coming closer at the top and wider at the bottom. The hands should never touch. Repeat up and down. 4. Playing the stringed instrument 雙 手 杌 琴 Place the hands in front of the body at the chest level. Palms should face down and hands shoulder width apart. Move the hands back and forth keeping them on the same level, (like playing a flat stringed instrument). The hands should move inward and touch and then move outward in opposite directions. Repeat back and forth. 5. Separating the begging bowl and the wooden fish 砵
Place the hands in front of the body at the chest level. Palms should face up. Move the hands back and forth keeping them on the same level, (like holding two bowls in the hands). The hands should move inward and touch and then move outward in opposite directions. Repeat back and forth.
6. The lotus leaf blowing in the wind 風 擺 荷 葉 Place the hands in front of the body at the chest level. Palms should face each other, but be shoulder width apart. Rotate the hands from one side to the other keeping the hands the same distance apart. Repeat this movement back and forth. 7. Turning the universe to the left 左 轉 乾 坤 Place hands at the bellybutton level with the palms facing each other but not touching, (several inches apart). Rotate the hands together in a circular motion. Do this counterclockwise or to the left and repeat. 8. Turning the universe to the right 右 轉 乾 坤 Place hands at the bellybutton level with the palms facing each other but not touching, (several inches apart). Rotate the hands together in a circular motion. Do this clockwise or to the right and repeat. 9. Rowing the boat 搖 櫓 渡 海
Place hands in front of the body. Place them several inches apart on the same level. Palms should be facing down. The hands move forward, down and then back toward the body, before moving up again. Curl the fingers as if holding the oars of a boat. Pretend you are rowing a boat and repeat this movement. 10. Turning the dharma wheel 法 輪 常 轉 Place hands in front of the body at the mid torso level, with the elbows pointing out and palms facing down. Place the hands right over left directly on top of each other. Rotate the hands in a circular motion toward the body, replacing left on top, followed by right hand on top. 11. Bodhi Dharma sailing the boat 達 摩 渡 舟 Place hands right over left with palms up. Right hand should be directly over the left hand. Leave space between hands. Elbows are bent and rock the arms back and forth as if rocking a baby. 12. The wind filling the ears 雙 風 貫 耳 Start with the hands at your sides. Bring the hands up to the ears using a swinging motion. Curl the fingers when you swing. Keep the hands several inches from the ears. Swing them back down to your sides and repeat. 13. The golden light shining to the eyes 金 光 耀 眼 Start with the hands at your sides. Bring the hands up to the eyes using a swinging motion. Curl the fingers when
you swing. Keep the hands several inches from the eyes. Swing them back down to your sides and repeat. 14. Crossing the hands 交
Start with the hands at your sides. Swing the hands and cross them right over the left keeping several inches between them. Cross the hands below the belly button and then repeat the same. 15. Palms together 雙 手 合 十 Start with the hands at the chest level in the prayer position. Hold in this position for 1 minute. Lower the hands and spread them apart in an arc like motion. Do this only once. Closing exercise: 收 功 Bring the hands up to the throat level with palms facing away from the body. Curl the fingers and lower the hands down to the waist level making sure the hands are away from the body. Do this exercise only once. Rub the palms together to make them warm. Then place them over the face but not touching. Bring the hands up to the forehead, together with the palms facing the face. Pull the palms down and over the face from the forehead to the chin. Repeat this exercise several times.
Fragrant Qigong (Xiang Gong)
Part II (level II)
Taught by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu Recorded by: Peter Croke Edited by: Vera Eby
Intermediate gong (training)
Hip motion: Sway the hips. Hips should make a circular motion front-side-back-side on the same side that the hands are making their motion. This hip motion is used on all of the exercises. 1. Palms down and swaying of the hips Place the hands, palms down, directly in front of the body. Point the fingers towards each other while keeping them on the same level. Sway the hands side to side while swaying the hips at the same time. 2. Pushing hands and swaying of the hips Place the hands, palms down, directly in front of the body. Point the fingers outward and place hands next to each other. Move the hands outward and back towards the body while swaying the hips. Hands should move in a slight circular motion 3. Both hands moving things Place hands in front of the body. Imagine you are holding a small box about 10 inches wide. Keeping the box in your
hands, imagine you are placing the box to the left of your body. Pick up the box and move it to the right side of your body. Repeat. Imagine the box always stays in your hands. 4. Both hands drawing squash Place the hands, palms down, directly in front of the body parallel to the floor. Point the fingers outward next to each other while keeping them on the same level. Sway the right hand back and forth to the right, one side in a circular motion. Sway the hips at the same time. 5. Jade lady threading silk Place the hands in front of the body with the fingers separated, chest level. Turn the hands one over the other in a circular motion. Turn the hands toward the body. This motion should be like turning a wheel. Palms should face outward when away from the body. Repeat. 1. Dragon lady picking lotus Place the hands in front of the body, palms down (parallel to the floor). Place them at the hip level and point the fingers away from the body. Place hands to the left of the body keeping the same position at hip level. Press the palms toward the floor. Turn to the right side and repeat. 2. Sprawling tiger moving qi Place the hands in front of the body at the chest level. Curl the fingers of the hands, like claws, and face the palms outward. Place the hands to the left of the body while keeping the fingers curled. Turn to the right and repeat.
3. Moving staff Place hands at the chest level and face palms outward. Curl the fingers as if you are holding an imaginary stick, with one hand next to the other. Hands should be on the same level but not touching. Move the hands from left to right and back to the left. Keep the hands in the same position. 4. Poking the hands Place the hands in front of the body between the belly button and the last rib. Turn to the left and poke hands downward with the fingers together. Palms should face each other but not touch. Keep hands several inches apart. Turn to the right side and repeat. 5. Old person swaying Place hands in front of abdomen palms facing inward. Men right palm over left and women left palm over right. Palms should not touch. Sway back and forth keeping the palms over each other and at the chest level. Move the hands back and forth as needed to the left and right. 1. Folding hands and drawing curves Fold the hands with the fingers interlocked in front of the body at the stomach/chest level. Back of the hands should be facing outward. Rotate the hands in an arc like movement up and down, bending at the elbows. 2. Heavenly girl presenting flowers
Raise both hands in the air above the head. Sway the hands and arms back and forth, from the left to the right, while they are above the head. Palms facing each other and shoulder width apart. 3. Heavenly girl spreading flowers Place the hands directly in front of the body at the stomach level. Sway the hands back and forth, left to right; hands should not touch. Palms should face down. 4. Empty hands moving the Qi Place the hands directly in front of the body at the stomach level. Sway the hands back and forth, left to right, keeping the hands apart. Palms should face each other. 5. Three sages doing sitting meditation Imagine you have a small box between your hands. Start in the center of the body at the stomach/chest level. Place this box on your left, then your right, then bring it to the center. Hold for 20 seconds and drop the hands. Post exercise: Bring the hands up to the throat level with palms facing away from the body. Curl the fingers like claws and lower the hands down to the waist level making sure the hands are away from the body. Do this exercise only once. Rub the palms together to make them warm. Then place them over the face but not touching the face. The palms should face inward. Bring the hands up to the forehead moving up the outside of the face, bring the palms together at the forehead and drag the hands down to the
chin without touching the face. Repeat this exercise several times. Back to Part I Epilogue The creator of Fragrant Qigong, Tian Ruisheng (田瑞生) claimed that this exercise was a classical Buddhist exercise. From the names of the movements of Fragrant Qigong, and it's movements, it seems that they are created by a person who are not familiar with Buddhist philosophy or Buddhist scriptures. Many qigong exercises are created recently and are attributed to Buddha to draw attention or as a advertising gimmick. Mr. Tian said that Xiang Gong (Fragrant Qigong) has 3 parts and the 3rd part is advanced part and you can only learn it from the grandmaster, (him) but he died . He died in September 30, 1995 of liver cancer. We do not know who has been appointed by him as the next grandmaster to teach the 3rd part of Xiang Gong. Fragrant qigong is suitable for older people to use as a physical exercises but in a strict sense it should not be classified as qigong.
The Detailed Outline of Guo lin Qigong
by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu I. Three breathing and three openings and closings
Stand straight with arms relaxed. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth three times. Then imagine there is an energy field between the hands. When inhaling, imagine the energy field expands and pushes the hands apart. When exhaling, imagine the energy field collapses and the hands go back to the original position. Do this three times. II. Rising and lowering with openings and closings Stand with feet about one leg's length apart with arms hanging down on both sides. Then hold hands up in front of your chest. Hold them apart about shoulders' width. When inhaling, imagine there is an energy field between the hands and the energy pushes the hands apart. Bend the knees to lower the stance. When exhaling, imagine that the energy field collapses. The hands go back to the original position (down on the sides). Straighten the legs. Repeat three times. Next take one step forward. Hold the hands up in front of your chest a shoulders' width apart. When inhaling, imagine there is an energy field between the hands and the energy pushes the hands apart. When exhaling, imagine that the energy field collapses; drop the hands and bend the knees. Repeat three times. III. Loosening the waist a. Moving the arms and waist Stand with feet apart about shoulders' width. Place the right hand over the point (Sea of Qi) at one and one-half inches below the navel. Place the left
hand at the back with the back of the hand resting on the acupoint shenshu. (Shenshu points are one and one-half inches on the left and the right from the acupoint mingmen . The mingmen is an acupoint on the spine opposite the navel.) When inhaling, raise the front arm (right arm) in the front of the body all the way over your head. Then exhale and lower the arm by continuing to move in a large curve to the back and end up at the right shenshu. Repeat with the other arm. Repeat three times. b. Turning with bow-arrow stance Place both hands on your back with the backs of your hands resting on Shenshu points. Step forward with your left leg and bend your left knee until you cannot see your toes. The right leg is straight. The width of the stance is about one leg's length. Hold the position for the duration of six or nine counts. Repeat with the other side. Repeat six times. c. Tilting forward Place both hands on your back with the back of your hands resting on Shenshu points. Stand with both feet apart about shoulders' width. Tilt forward about 15-20 degrees. Repeat tilting forward three times. IV. Walking with breath control Usually practice this at least 2 hours a day. (to be uploaded soon)
Free training in guolin qigong walk in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California. V. Massaging acupoints (to be uploaded soon) VI. Closing with three openings and closings and three breathing (closing means end of the practice and exit the program) Stand straight with arms relaxed. Then imagine there is an energy field between the hands. When inhaling, imagine the energy field expands and pushes the hands apart. When exhaling, imagine the energy field collapses and the hands go back to the original position. Then inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth three times.
Taught by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu Recorded by Joanna Weichert As in all guo lin exercises, women start with the right side and men start with the left. These directions are for women. Men use the opposite leg and arm. 1. INHALE TWICE WITH TWO HALF-STEPS, PALM IN FRONT OF SEA OF QI Women place their right leg in back. With the left palm (Palace of Labor) facing the Sea of Qi , a point 1 1/2 inches below the navel,
move your right leg even with the left and pause, resting on the ball of the foot. As you do this, inhale halfway and pause the breath brieﬂy. Then take another half-step forward with the right leg, ﬁlling the lungs as you do. Pause and hold your breath. Keep your left palm in front of your belly. 2. EXHALE WITH ONE FULL STEP AND SWITCH ARMS Now take the next step, a full step, with the other leg, landing ahead of the ﬁrst leg. Exhale as you step. As you move your leg, switch your arms easily and normally, placing your other hand in front of your belly, and the ﬁrst arm by your side. Continue this in a gentle easy rhythm. You will ﬁnd it easier as you practice. You may walk in a slow, medium or fast speed. You may walk for some time--hours even. 3. SWITCH LEGS After you have been doing this for some time and if you feel tired, you may stop and change sides, doing the half-step with the other leg. Practice this for about 2 hours a day.
Gathering and Dispersing Qigong 集散功
Taught by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu
Recorded by: Joe Broda (Joe Broda of San Jose, California is a special education teacher) Stand straight with feet apart, about shoulders' width. Find a perfectly balanced posture. Breathe in slowly, gathering the qi in the general Dan Tian, an area three inches below the navel. On the exhale, send the qi to the Gate of Life, which is a point on the spine across from the navel, and from there out to the arms, hands, legs and feet. Practise for about thirty six breath at about six breaths per minute. You can also do this qigong while lying down and facing up. This exercise can be used for calming down.
Taught by : Joe Hing Kwok Chu Recorded by : Peter Croke
(Peter Croke of San Francisco is a registered nurse.)
Loosen up by stretching the body. Breathe and calm the body down. Prepare the body for qigong. Breathe as indicated. Practice these exercises slowly. Send the chi up and down the front of the body. Send the chi up and down
the middle and to the upper chest. When you breathe out, send the chi to the perineum. 1. Place your hands by your sides. Raise both arms in front of you until they are parallel to the ﬂoor. Bring your hands towards your shoulders in an arc like motion while keeping the arms above the elbow still. When raising the forearms, keep them even with the sides of the body. Raise up about 90 degrees or less. Raise and lower while breathing in and out. Breathe in on the up and breathe out on the down. (click here for movie). 2. Place the hands in front of the body at the middle chest level. Palms should face upwards. Swing the arms back and forth in an arc motion. Keep the hands perpendicular to the body. Breathe in when the hands go out and breathe out when you bring the hands inward. When the hands come in, they should be parallel and almost touch. This movement is like conducting a symphony. (click here for movie).
3. Practice the same movement but turn the palms (palace of labor) downward. (click here for movie). 4. Bend the knees as far as you can, but not farther than parallel to the ﬂoor. Keep the elbows close to the body, with your hands reaching away from the body as far as possible. Pull the hands toward the body, keeping them perpendicular to the ﬂoor and mid torso. Palms should be rotated so they are facing each other when pulled in and facing outward when reaching away from the body. Breathe in when the arms are pulled to the body and out when the arms are stretched away from the body. 5. Raise the arms so they are parallel to the ﬂoor and stretched out to the sides. Stretch them all the way so the elbows are not bent. This is like a cross position. Bend the torso at the waist. Let the right arm lower to the right knee, and the left arm point straight up in the air. The right leg should bend at the knee while the left leg should remain straight but on a slant. Repeat this on the other side. When coming up to switch sides, the
arms will again be parallel to the ﬂoor. Breathe in when the arms are raised, and out when the torso is bent. (Click here for movie) 6. Rotate the hands around each other in front of the body at the mid torso level -- one hand over the other toward the body and then the opposite way away from the body. This is a circular motion. (Click here for movie) Then shake the arms and hands, and then shake the legs and feet. (Click here for movie). The
Three Dan Tian in One Exercise 三田合一
Taught by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu
Recorded by: Joe Broda (Joe Broda of San Jose, California is a special education teacher) Objective: Using the mind to direct the qi to target areas. First build qi in the general dan tian. Then send to the middle dan tian, which is located on
an imaginary line 1/3 of the distance from the Sea of Qi (one and a half inches below the navel) to the Gate of Life (a point directly across from the navel on the back). From the middle dan tian, send the qi to the upper dan tian, which is the point of intersection of a horizontal line drawn from between the eyebrows and a vertical line coming downwards from the point on the top of the head where the three bones meet. Send the qi back to the middle dan tian and down to the lower dan tian, located at the perineum (the region between the anus and the genitals). Repeat the exercise, sending the qi back to the middle dan tian, then to the upper one, middle again and down to the lower one.
Three dan tian in one, Step II
Taught by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu
Recorded by: Peter Croke (Peter Croke of San Francisco is a registered nurse. He has been helping many people practising guoling qigong in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco). Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Keep legs straight but knees relaxed. Breathe deeply into the dan tian* (three inches below the navel). Relax hands and arms, keeping them at the sides. Fill the general dan tian with qi while breathing in. Repeat the breathing until the general dan tian is full then move the qi between the three subsequent areas of the body also called dan tian. The locations of the three subsequent dan tian: 1. The perineum is the lower dan tian.
2. Draw an imaginary line from the sea of qi** to the Gate of Life***. The middle dan tian is 1/3 of the distance from the sea of qi inward. 3. Draw an imaginary line from between the eyebrows inward. Then draw an imaginary line down from where the three bones meet on the top of the head (the soft spot on a baby¹s head). The upper dan tian is where the lines intersect. As you breathe in, lower the qi from the general dan tian* to the lower dan tian (perineum) then breathe out. As you are doing this, lower the eyes and lower the tongue from the roof of the mouth to the floor of the mouth to help guide the flow of the qi. Move the qi to the second dan tian while breathing in and out. Move the qi to the third
dan tian as you breathe in and out. When you bring the qi to the head raise the eyes upward and touch the roof of the mouth with the tongue to help bring the qi upward. Lower the qi back to the second dan tian as you breathe in and out. Lower the eyes and tongue as you bring the qi down. Bring the qi back to lower dan tian Repeat these movements and eventually hit all 3 dan tian with one breath. This exercise may be done standing or lying down. Note: * General Dan Tian : 6 fingers or 3 biological inches below the navel. A biological inch is equal to the length of the middle joint of your middle finger. ** Sea of Qi : 3 fingers below the navel or one and half biological inch below the navel. *** Gate of Life : Directly across from the navel, between the two kidneys, (on the back). When drawing an imaginary horizontal line to the back on the spine, adjust it down a bit as the tendency is to identify the spot a little too high.
Taught by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu Recorded by Peter Croke Edited by Vera Eby
Each exercise is done 16 times.
1. The shadow of the sword and the shooting star
Legs are in horse stance: The legs are one leg's length apart. (The leg is measured from the inseam to the foot.) The knees are bent but not less than 90 degrees. When you bend down, the knees move in slightly. The torso is slightly forward so the coccyx is sticking slightly out. Keep the elbows and arms close to the body. The hands are brought back to the sides of the body as far as possible. The elbows move back. Palms face up. Push the arms, keeping them perpendicular to the floor and mid torso (elbows are at 90 degrees). Push the hand and arms forward while rotating the palms, so that when the arms are fully extended out in front of you, the palms are facing forward. Palms should be rotated so they are facing up when pulled back and face outward when reaching away from the body. Breathe inward when the arms are pulled to the body and out when the arms are stretched away from the body. Click here to see video
2. The universe and heaven and earth
Legs should be shoulder width apart. Allow the knees to relax. Interlace the fingers of both hands with the palms facing downward. The arms are in front of the body and pushed toward the ground as far as they can go without bending the torso (elbows straight). Rotate the arms and hands in a circular motion, keeping the fingers interlaced, first counterclockwise and then clockwise. Make a circle as big as you are able to stretch the back. Imagine a big clock right in front of the body (facing you). The first rotation is from 6 to 9. Breathe in. When circling upward, palms will also face upward. Next, cut across the diameter of the circle to the opposite side (3). Breathe out. Then rotate the hands and arms up and around back to 9 again. Then reverse this exercise. The breathing is switched as the exercise is reversed. Only the first rotation is at 6. The remaining rotations are a half circle between 9 and 3. Click here to see video
3. The colorful cloud at the edge of the sky
Legs are shoulder length apart. Put one leg behind the body and one leg in front of the body. Legs are at an angle. Arms and hands are at the sides. Relax the arms and hands so they are just dangling. Raise one arm over the head (in an arc motion). Raise the arm of the leg that is forward. Keep the elbow straight. Lean forward on the front leg as you raise the arm. (When raising the arm the heel of the leg in back will come off the floor.) Lower the arm; switch the legs, and repeat with the other arm. Breathe in as the arm moves up, and breathe out as the arm moves down. Click here to see video.
4. Spreading the clouds and paying respect to the sun
Feet are placed shoulder width apart. Place the hands in front of the body. The palms are facing toward the body. The hands are side by side. The fingers are pointed downward, they are placed in front of the bellybutton area and about 2 inches from the body. Raise the hands up toward the throat while keeping them about 2 inches from the body. When you get to the throat area, spread the hands out. Move the hands in
opposite directions of each other. Keep the palms facing inward. The hands are now to the side of the body but still 2 inches from the body. They are at forehead or above level. Rotate the hand so the fingers are pointing up as you spread them at the forehead or above area. Bring the hands straight down and then back to the bellybutton area. Repeat. Breathe in as you go up and out as you come down. Click here to see video.
5. The moon sinking into the Yangtze river
Legs are shoulder length apart. Put one leg behind the body and one leg in front of the body. Keep toes facing forward. Legs are at an angle. Arms and hands are at the sides. Relax the arms and hands so they are just dangling. Raise the arm of the back leg over the head (in an arc motion). Keep the elbow straight. Breathe in as the arm moves up and breathe out as the arm moves down. When the arm is coming down the same leg comes forward. When the leg comes forward, the leg is then lifted off the ground in front of the body. Hold the leg in this spot for several seconds and then lower to
the ground, switching the legs and repeat with the other arm. Click here to see video.
6. Ten piles in the sky
Legs should be shoulder width apart. Arm and hands should dangle at the sides of the body. Raise the hands over the head and reach to the sky. While reaching raise up on the toes and the balls of the feet. Hold for a few seconds and then lower the feet, the arms and hands. Return to the starting position. Breathe in as you go up and out as you come down. Repeat.
Taiji Qigong Part II
Taught by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu Recorded by Vera Eby 1. MALE EAGLE SPREADING HIS WINGS Legs apart in riding horse stance. Arms are at sides outstretched but loose, almost at shoulder height.
Right arm arcs upwards, above the head, in a semi-circle; left arm arcs down, with palm up, also in a semi-circle, in front of the abdomen, as body tilts to right. Reverse, with left arm up and right arm down. 2. FIERCE TIGER STRETCHING HIS TENDONS Hands are at chest with palms facing chest,
then moving away from body, down at sides with hands open, and outstretched, as in
supplication. 3. GREEN DRAGON TURNING HIS HEAD Hands are at sides, about six inches from each side. Twist to the right with the head turning to look down. The left heel will lift up. Then reverse and twist to the left. 4. MUD SWALLOW TOUCHING THE WATER Hands are outstretched on each side. Move the hands forward to form semi-circles; the hands move up, forward, and down with each move. 5. JADE LADY PRESENTING TREASURES With the hands outstretched, elbows down and hands at chin level, move the left foot forward. Then raise the hands in front of the face at forehead level, turning the palms toward the face and sweeping the hands down, as if to "wash" the face. Switch feet and repeat the hand action. 6. EFFICACIOUS CAT CATCHING THE MICE Legs are apart in the rider's stance. Begin with hands in front of lower abdomen, one crossed over the other. Then, bring an arm up and forward to the front as in the crawl stroke, but stopping each stroke in front of the body rather than carrying through. Continue with the other arm as if doing the crawl stroke. In the meantime,
follow the movement of each hand with the eyes.
An Example of Daoist Coded Writing
by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu Usually the daoist writings are coded with terms that are not understood by outsiders. The following is one of them. Source of Chinese Writing: Bao Sheng Mi Yao - Secrete Essentials of Health Maintenance (a Daoist writing). Rub hands till hot. Press and massage feng fu (風 府) for more than a hundred times. After calming down, cross fingers of both hands and grap feng fu (風 府) tightly and bow forward for more than a hundred times. When sweat is coming out, avoid wind, focus on qi hai point. Do gen bei (艮 背)for one incense. Eat your meal a little later. Now the practice is effective. For headache, fullness in the upper back, loin are, knees, and fever: Watch gen bei (守 艮背). After entering ding (定) practise xing ting (用 行庭 ), send to feng fu (風 府), visualize a hundred circles, straight to ni wan (泥丸), also visualize a hundred circles. Then divide the qi into 2 branches and go into the eyes and go to the pupils also visualize a hundred circles. Merge the qi and go into the ridge of the nose. Circle into the deep area. Circle for some time and go into que qiao (鵲 橋) and pass cong lou (重 樓), go through
the chest and abdomen and stop in qi hai (氣海). When you sleep, make child's seal (孩 兒印)with your hands and curl your toes of both feet. Bite your teeth together and focus and circulate in qi hai (氣海). Practise until the mind is clear (心 純) and the qi will go to the front and back. Bad energy will dissipate. All pain and swelling will disappear. Or, use your fingers massage both side of your head and to the ears. Use the nails to squeeze them till you feel the pain. It will create dao yin (導 引) effect. Note: gen bei, ding, xing ting, feng fu, ni wan, que qiao, cong lou, qi hai, huang ting are all daoist terms. To guard their secret of training, most daoist writings are heavily loaded with those jargons to confuse outsiders. (To decode the writing, consult your instructor.) One incense: the time of burning one stick of incense, which is about an hour.
傷風導引運功 法 (保 生秘要) 《保生秘要》曰: 先擦手心極熱, 按摩風府百餘次, 後 定心以兩手交 緊抱風府, 向前拜揖百餘, 俟汗自出, 勿見風, 定息氣海, 清坐一香, 飯食遲進, 則效矣。 [運 功法] 《保生秘要》曰: 凡頭 、目脹、 背
脹、腰脹、膝酸、發熱 者, 當先守艮背, 入定後用行 庭, 運至風府, 用意繞回百度, 直行泥丸, 亦旋百度, 後 分兩路, 旋眼胞, 漸入瞳人百度, 至鼻柱合行, 亦旋入 深處, 多旋一會, 接上鵲橋, 經重樓, 行胸腹, 止於氣 海。 睡時以兩手捻孩兒印, 兩 屈指, 緊 關, 意在
氣海旋繞。 或繞入黃庭注念, 練至心純, 不覺真意自 旋一貫, 前後間行, 邪氣無不散者, , 有導引之功。
Time of the Day and Optimum Qi Flow
指於腦上著力分兩 邊摩之, 及耳根處, 以指甲捻之至
in Different Channels 子午流注
by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu These are the most efficient time to practise qi gong or therapy for specific illnesses according qigong theory or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) but do not interfere with sleep. Sleep is very important in maintaining the immune system. . Time in Chinese Hours Meridians (Channels) Click on the link for chart: 子 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Gall bladder channel of foot shaoyang 丑 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Liver channel of foot jueyin 寅 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. Lung channel of hand taiyin 卯 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Large intestine channel of hand yangming 辰 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Stomach channel of foot yangming 巳 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Spleen channel of foot taiyin 午 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Heart channel of hand shaoyin 未 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Small intestine channel of hand taiyang 申 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bladder channel of foot taiyang 酉 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Kidney channel of foot shaoyin 戌 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pericardium channel of hand jueyin 亥 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Triple warmer, sanjiao channel of hand shaoyang
free qigong exercise: Roc spreads its wings: opening position: stand with feet shoulder width apart feet parallel and facing 12:00 imagine head lifted from crown chin tucked in slightly
eyes forward and relaxed shoulders relaxed arms hang loosely down fingers gently apart and slightly curved palms towards body tailbone tucked in knees relaxed - slightly bent
transition move: breathe in raise arms straight out to sides at shoulder height palms face front
arc body forwards: breathe out arc forwards from hips arc arms inwards until hands cross at wrists palms face ground
arc body backwards: breathe in arc backwards from hips until you are leaning back very slightly keep chin tucked in arc arms outwards until they are extended at shoulder height palms face front
return to starting position: breathe in arc arms to hand loosely at sides palm faces thigh end of free qigong exercise end of qi gong exercise Putting it all together: The complete free qigong exercise sequence
introduction: Roc spreads it’s wings is another free qigong exercise for you to learn. We’ve also seen what looks like the same exercise done as a warm up and called 'Early bird spreads its wings' so you might already know it. The influence of birds and their wing movements is not just found in qigong - the swooping action of raising the arm is found in the simplified tai chi form as 'White crane spreads its wing'. If you would like to learn more please visit tai chi 24 step form resources For this move imagine that you are a powerful eagle as you raise your body and heels and stretch your wings out to get ready to fly free.
benefits: back is strengthened by the heel raises balance is also improved by the heel raises lungs benefit from the arm extension up and out said to help lift depression
tips: avoid bending too far forward or backwards - you could put too much pressure on your back muscles Always do things slowly and comfortably – Tai chi and qigong for health and relaxation are not meant to hurt! – ever!
Awakening Your Healing Life Force
Meditation, properly speaking, is the stilling of the mind. Most of the meditation techniques taught today still the mind using one of several basic approaches. The ﬁrst is the Zen approach of “silent sitting,” facing a blank wall and watching only your thoughts, until the mind becomes blank. You sit until moment of pure awareness arrives. The second is the Mantra approach in which the mind is rhythmically lulled with sounds or images. After thousands of repetitions the body begins to vibrate at a higher frequency and the meditator becomes aware of the higher energies and sensations of symbols, colors, pictures, or images operating beyond the sensory processes of the ordinary mind. This approach is different. It does not depend on the total absence of thought. Instead, this system stresses meditating on the ﬂow of chi or life force energy throughout the body. This meditation is the basis of the Healing Tao System called the Microcosmic Orbit Meditation. It is sometimes called the warm current meditation because it helps to direct chi (warm current) along the meridians of the body to the power centers known as chakras. Once the energy is in the chakras it is recycled, conserved, increased, and transformed into a higher form of energy. This enables you to become aware of your higher self and assists in the development of your immortal spirit.
The secret of circulating chi has been passed along for thousands of year in China where it has brought extraordinary improvements to health and the quality of life. I have to add a caution: People who eat and drink foods full of preservatives and additives may experience discomfort when circulating chi due to the impurities in their body creating blockages along the meridians. While it is not necessary to be a vegetarian to enjoy the beneﬁts of Microcosmic Meditation you will experience greater beneﬁts by eating and drinking foods of a quality higher than fast food and junk food. At least reduce the amount of preservatives and additives in your food and water. In order to begin circulating chi in the direction of the higher energy centers you have to open the two main channels or meridians that the chakras lie on. In the diagram above the meridians along the back are on the Governor (male) Channel. This runs from the Hui-Yin or perineum (at the base of your body right between your legs) up the spine over the head to the third eye. Energy that runs up this channel is considered Yang or hot and is commonly thought of as Kundalini energy. The meridians along the front are on the Functional (female) Channel. This runs from the Hui-Yin or perineum to the tip of your tongue. Energy that runs up this channel is thought to be Yin or cold. Opening the Microcosmic Orbit is the ﬁrst stage in “wiring” the body and is followed by opening other routes so your body can handle
more energy. When you open more routes the vital organs will be able to receive and contain more energy. Before I begin the instructions there are a few cautions. The Gia Pe point opposite the heart chakra and the Ta Chui point opposite the throat chakra are not used in this particular meditation. Do not activate these centers when doing the Microcosmic Orbit. The Hsuan Chi or throat chakra is not used in the beginning. Wait until you have achieved a level of success doing the meditation before activating the throat chakra. Take a moment to closely examine the diagram above. In the beginning I found that staring at the location of each center was enough for me to recall it in my meditations. To open your eyes to take a peek at the diagram during meditation can break your relaxation. Each of these chakras should be visualized as being on a line in the center of the front and back of your body. How
to Activate the Microcosmic Orbit
You need to relax to do any meditation. I sit in a comfortable position and use a technique of visualizing my body parts and mentally telling them to relax. Do you
already have a favorite technique? If so, that’s the one to use. Any method used to relax your body and mind is the best one to use. Once you are relaxed, direct your attention to your navel chakra. With a gentle concentration visualize this chakra generating energy as a golden light. Once you feel the energy gathered there maintain the golden light in it as you bring your attention down to the sperm/ovary palace. With the same gentle concentration as before, visualize this chakra glowing with a golden light. When the energy has accumulated here proceed downward in the same manner to your perineum chakra. Bring your attention to this area and visualize the golden light glowing from within this chakra. When you feel the energy activating the chakra at your perineum maintain the golden light in this and the two previous chakras as you move up to the base of your spine at the sacral pump or coccyx. Bring your attention to this chakra center visualizing it glowing with a golden light as you did at the other centers. Continue up the spine in a similar manner bringing your attention to each chakra center on the diagram above. Remember to skip Gia Pe and Ta Chui. Bring your attention to the chakra center at the base of your skull. That’s your cranial pump at the medulla oblongata. Feel the golden light glowing from within as you maintain the light at the previous chakra centers. Once this
chakra is activated move your attention up to your crown chakra. Visualize the golden light being generated within this center. Maintain the golden light as you move down your forehead to the mid-eyebrow or pituitary center and bring your attention there.
Connecting the masculine and feminine channels
Now that you have activated the energy in the masculine or back channel it is time to activate the feminine or front channel. Once the feminine channel is activated you can rotate the energy in a circular fashion throughout your body. In order to bring the energy down the front you must connect the two channels by placing the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. There are three locations you can choose. The further back the better but any one works good. Since this is probably new for you it is best for you to use the one that is most comfortable. 1) The point where your upper front teeth touch your gums; 2) Further back at the center of the roof of your mouth on the hard palate; 3) Further back along the roof where the palate gets soft. With experience you’ll be able to move your tongue back to point # 3 so don’t sweat it if you can’t in the beginning. The important thing to remember is that the only way to circulate the energy is to touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
Bring your attention to your tongue as you place it to the roof of your mouth. You do not have to visualize your tongue glowing. The tongue is very sensitive. You should experience a change in the ﬂow of energy. The sensation is different for everyone so I won’t try to describe it. Now that your tongue is connected bring your attention to the thymus gland/heart chakra. Visualize it glowing with a golden light generated from within. As you activate this center maintain the golden light in all the previous chakra centers. Once the energy at your heart center is established move your attention down to the solar plexus point. Visualize the energy being generated there glowing with a golden light. Now that you have activated all the major chakra centers maintain the golden light at each one with a gentle concentration. Remember: Each of these chakras should be visualized as being on a line down the center of the front and up the back of your body. This is the fun part! Visualize the energy moving, circulating down the front and up the back through all the centers. Keep your tongue to the roof of your mouth and “see/feel” the energy as a golden wheel rolling over and around your body through the chakra centers. Stay relaxed and enjoy! You can add to your energy by mentally opening the centers on the soles of your feet to the earth. Direct the earth energy up your kegs to the perineum and add it to the Microcosmic Orbit. Then open your crown chakra to the
energy from the cosmos. Direct cosmic energy into the crown chakra and add it to the Microcosmic Orbit. I won’t recommend or suggest a length of time for doing this meditation. As with most meditations the longer you do it the more results you’ll get. Try to do it for at least 15 minutes. It works best for me to do this meditation before eating whether it’s in the morning, afternoon, or night.
Collecting and Sealing Your Energy
The Microcosmic Orbit opens, up, energizes, and distributes your natural energy throughout the body. When you’re ﬁnished it is necessary to collect the energy and store it in the navel chakra. Women and men use the same technique except they move in different directions. WOMEN: Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Slightly tighten your perineum muscles. Place your hands over your navel, right hand over left, and move both hands together in a spiral motion to the right then down (counterclockwise). Make 36 circles counterclockwise slowly making larger circles, taking care not to go beyond the diaphragm and the pubic bone, then reverse direction and make 24 circles slowly making smaller circles stopping at the navel. MEN: Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Slightly tighten your perineum muscles. Place your hands over your navel, left hand over right, and move both hands together in
a spiral motion to the left then down (clockwise). Make 36 circles clockwise slowly making larger circles, taking care not to go beyond the diaphragm and the pubic bone, then reverse direction and make 24 circles slowly making smaller circles stopping at the navel. As you energize and empower your chakras you may become aware of obstructions on the pathways and in the chakras. If this happens it is natural. Just take your time when activating that particular chakra or location and send smiling energy to that chakra or location. Actually put a smile on your face and send the energy from that smile to loosen up the blockage.
Meridians The meridians are the energy channels of our body. This is where energy or chi circulates. The two primary meridians of the body are the governing vessel and the conception vessel. The governing vessel ﬂows up the spine (the spine governs our movements). The conception vessel ﬂows down the chest bisecting the belly button (we were attached by our navel at conception until birth). These two meridians connect at the base of the spine and are connected by sealing mula bhanda. On the other end they are connected at the roof of the mouth and by pressing the tongue ﬂat into the space behind the teeth. By connecting these meridians we stimulate energy to move and ﬂow within us opening blocked areas and imbibing us with greater power. There are 7200 nadis and just as many meridians in the body. Aside from the primary meridians (governing and conception) there are the 12 organ meridians. These meridians circulate the energy between our organs and help regulate our physical bodies functioning. Once chi / kundalini has been awakened and the microcosmic orbit has been practiced further exploration into the meridians is possible.
The microcosmic circulation is a solid basic practice to start with to begin to increase your chi kung skills and abilities. 1. The circulation is begun by ﬁrst exhaling all of the air in your lungs 2. Next seal the root lock and inhale, focusing on drawing energy up your spinal column 3. As your reach the crown of your head press your tongue onto the roof of your mouth 4. Allow the energy to sink thru your palate and tongue as you exhale feeling the energy ﬂow down the front of your torso 5. Sense the energy connect at your root as it continues its circulation 6. Keep the tongue pressed on the palate and the root lock sealed as you keep breathing. 7. Inhale as the energy rises, Exhale as the energy sinks
8. Continue practice of this art until it becomes second nature
A more advanced practice for those familiar with chi kung and the microcosmic circulation is to connect with the earth meridians also known as ley lines. There are often ley lines that follow streams and major waterways. Find a local water way and familiarize yourself with it until it is etched into your head. Sit by this water way and practice this one time then in the future you can just visualize the spot and still tap the natural chi from that spot even if you are distant. 1. sit facing downstream 2. exhale and allow your energy to sink into the earth
3. feel the water coursing by you as you inhale and draw up the energy from the earth 4. as the energy reaches the top of your head use your eye muscles to pull slightly down on your outer eye edges just at the transitioning point from inhale to exhale 5. exhale allowing the energy to sink back down to your root 6. continue circulating the energy 7.now each time as you inhale draw energy from the water up your spine adding it to your own circulating energies
The Microcosmic Orbit
The chakras are polarized. Recall, when we discussed the chakras in , we learned that Dr. Motoyama believes the chakras to be cones, with their roots on the spine and their open ends on the front of the body. Along with this third dimension, comes a yin and yang orientation to each chakra. The open end of the cone, on the front of the body, is the yin part of the chakra. The point on the spine is the yang part. So far, all the orbits of energy we have looked at were along the yang lines of the chakras. This touches only part of the chakras. The microcosmic orbit touches the yin and yang parts of the chakras, and circles the whole upper body. The term "microcosmic orbit" is a translation of the Daoist term for a full orbiting of energy through the front and back body. In Japan, it is called "shoshuten," which means a "circling of light." The microcosmic orbit is a way to gather, and channel, all the stray energies in the body, and raise them up from the muladhara to the ajna. An orbit is followed, beginning in the lower belly, circling down under the spine, up the back and over the crown of the head, ending at the ajna. This is the inhalation half of the orbit. On exhalation, the orbit is completed, as energy descends along the front of the body, back down to the lower belly. This activation of energy is a key preparation for many advanced Daoist practices. Through activating the microcosmic orbit, the reservoirs of the Governing Vessel and Conception meridians are reﬁlled, which means this energy is available to all other meridians and organs. This is perhaps the best way to cultivate health and long life, while at the same time preparing the way to a deep spiritual understanding. In the 1930s, Richard Wilhelm  described the beneﬁt of the circling of light in his translation of the Secret of the Golden Flower, a Chinese
Book of Life. This ancient text was transmitted orally for centuries before being written down in the eighth century. Wilhelm, a friend of Carl Jung's, wrote:
If the life forces ﬂow downward, that is, without let or hindrance into the outer world, the anima is victorious over the animus; no "spirit body" or "Golden Flower" is developed, and, at death, the ego is lost. If the life forces are led through the "backward-ﬂowing" process, that is, conserved, and made to "rise" instead of allowed to dissipate, the animus has been victorious, and the ego persists after death. It is then possessed of shen, the revealing spirit. A man who holds to the way of conservation all through life may reach the stage of the "Golden Flower," which then frees the ego from the conﬂict of the opposites, and it again becomes part of Tao, the undivided, Great One. It was Wilhelm's work that turned Jung in the direction of alchemy, which the Daoists had been practicing for thousands of year. The circling of light is an alchemical or transforming process. When the light
circles long enough, it crystallizes and the body is transformed. We attain the natural spirit-body, and this body is formed "beyond all heavens." The sages claim in the Secret of the Golden Flower that the only tool we need to master is this concentration of thought on the circling light. Circulating energy through the microcosmic orbit can be done at any time: prior to asana practice, just before meditation, during the long holds in the yin poses, or even at the beginning of Shavasana as we lay on our backs. In Shavasana, bring your awareness to the second chakra, on the front of the body. This is the svadhisthana, which is about halfway between your navel and pubic bone. Feel, or imagine you feel, energy there. Exhale completely. As you inhale, follow a ﬂow of energy down the midline of your body, under the pubic bone to the tailbone, and then upward, along the spine, the back of the neck, over the top of your head, and right to the ajna point between the eyebrows. Pause here at the top of the inhalation for two or three seconds. As you exhale, slowly feel the energy descend inside the face and throat. Continue to follow the midline of the body down to the sternum, to the navel, and right back to the svadhisthana again. Pause here for two or three seconds before beginning a new orbit. As you orbit the body, touch each chakra on both the yin and yang sides (front and back) of the body; feel the energy at those points. Two or three minutes of orbiting the energy should be sufﬁcient. When you have ﬁnished, release the effort, and let the breath be whatever it wants to be. Watch closely how you feel, without reacting to anything. There is an orbit beyond the microcosmic called the "macrocosmic orbit." It is not considered as important as the microcosmic loop. The macrocosmic orbit extends the journey of energy down, and back up, the legs as well.
An orbit is a closed, circular path that is repeated over and over. The journey along an orbit never ends. Our journey together down the Yin River is nearing completion … but it too is not ending. While the time has come to leave you, we leave you to continue on with your own journey … perhaps with new guides who will help take you closer to the universal ocean.
1 -- Called the Marco Polo of the inner world of China.
Ever tried chi-gong (also spelled qigong)? Ever even heard of it? No, it’s not a tea or percussion instrument, but a 2000-year-old series of bodily movements and breaths that calms the spirit and the mind. It has also been shown to strengthen the immune system, reduce stress, and improve balance and posture (all important as we get older). The most important goal of chi-gong is to learn how to breathe correctly -- which involves breathing from the tan tien -- a point 2 inches below the navel. In each exercise, breathe in slowly. Focus on a point on the wall in front of you, with your chin parallel to the ground -- this will help maintain balance. Your eyes should never drop during any exercise. Ideally, do this series of movements, crafted by the YOU Docs and chi-gong master Karl Romain, once daily to help keep your mind and body calm and focused. Repeat each move three times before moving on to the next.
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Loosening the Neck
Sink to the ground with your elbows and knees slightly bent and your chin parallel to the ground. Turn your head to the right as you inhale, and exhale as you come back to the middle. Then, turn your head to the left and repeat the sequence.
Picking the Fruit
Exhale as you reach for imaginary fruit, and inhale while bringing the fruit down. Reach for the closest fruit first, and then progressively move up the imaginary tree. Keep your knees bent and your back straight.
Relaxing the Shoulders
Lift your shoulders first, then elbows, then wrists. Roll your shoulders back; your elbows go out and your hands angle toward the middle -as if you’re grabbing a pole -- with your hands sliding down to the level of your waist. Feel the energy as your hands pass down your body.
Reaching to Heaven
Inhale and clasp your hands at the level of your navel, and then raise your arms as if you’re reaching toward heaven. Lean to the right as you exhale, and then inhale as you come back to the center. Use the same technique as you lean to the left. Finally, bring your hands down in front of your navel as you exhale.
Bow, Bend, and Stretch
As you inhale, bow forward from the waist while your hands slide down your thighs and onto your knees. Bend at your knees and squat with your hands on the insides of knees. (Do not exhale until you come back up; this really works the control of your breath.) Then, stretch your legs as you let your torso hang to the floor, keeping your knees slightly bent. As you slowly rise up, exhale, allowing your head to be the last part of the body to rise up.
Stepping over the Fence
Inhale and deliberately shift your weight to the left until the right leg has no weight on it. Lift your leg only when it is weightless. Pretend that your right hand is attached to your right knee by a string. With your hand over your knee and leg, exhale as you rotate your leg and arm to the right -- as if you’re stepping over a 1-foot fence. Slowly lower your heel, foot pointed out, and then rotate your foot frontward as you transfer weight to the right. Repeat with your left side.
Lifting a Knee
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Inhale as you step forward with your left foot at a 45-degree angle and raise your hands in front of you with palms facing each other. As you exhale, lift your right knee and clasp your hands over your knee as you hold it in the air. Keep your back straight and the knee of your standing leg slightly bent. You should feel the stretch in your lower back. Let go of your knee as you inhale and step back with your right foot, again raising your hands with palms together. Exhale as you bring your left foot back to center and lower your hands to your sides.
Polishing the Mirror
With your pelvis tucked under and back straight, use your shoulders to circle your arms and squat down as you rotate your arms in one direction -- as though you are cleaning a mirror. After repeating three times (or more), repeat with your arms moving in the opposite direction. Inhale as you squat down, and exhale as you rise.
Picking up the Suitcase
With your back straight, pelvis tucked, and feet shoulder-width apart, squat back with your hands open and beside your knees, as if you were reaching for luggage located behind your legs. Go only as low as possible, as if you were grasping luggage handles. (If your knees are strained, your posture is incorrect.) Repeat, as if you were putting the
luggage back on the floor.
With your back straight, step forward with your left leg, and put your arms around an imaginary wide post, elbows bent and shoulders relaxed. Roll the post to the right and then to the left. Repeat with the
other foot forward.
Monkey Hears a Noise
In this exercise, you'll inhale as you step out, and exhale as you look over your shoulder. With your knees slightly bent, step out to the left and lean forward in a twisted position, with your right arm extended forward and your left hand closed in a fist next to your left hip. Turn your head to look over your left shoulder, as if you’re a monkey running forward while hearing a noise behind you. You should feel a stretch in your right calf, lower back, and neck. Then, rotate in the
opposite direction, with your body facing toward the right.
Clasp your hands over your tan tien (that’s 2 inches below the navel) and breathe, focusing on the movement of your belly. Keep your legs bent and spread, and your hips tucked under with a straight back. Do
this for about 2 minutes -- that’s the maximum most people can focus.
Qigong (Chi gong) Chi Gong is a set of meditative exercises developed over 2,000 years ago by Taoist monks in China. By combining simple body
movements, breathing and mental imagery you can direct the flow of your body's energy to prevent disease, build strength and to advance spiritually. Qigong practice makes one sensitive to the internal operations of one's body, and it helps to reveal the body's place within nature's oneness. This permits one to build up resistance to imbalances and blockages affecting our qi, which aids the integration of one's yin and yang internal factors within the universal order -- of which we are a part. We may understand qi as the force that integrates the relationship between body (matter, structure) and mind (process, function). In the philosophy of qigong, a primary aim is to maintain or restore balance and harmony within the energy body and therefore, manifest changes in the physical body. Through qigong, one can build up qi and move it to where a disturbance or blockage occurs. Practitioners gain more than improved health. They learn another way of looking at and experiencing the dynamic unity of life, one far removed from the disenchanted and alienated thought-paterns common in Western civilization.
Zhan Zhuang: Standing Like a Tree
Zhan Zhuang means "standing like a tree" and is pronounced "Jan Juang", or, in southern China, "Jam Jong". For most people, training in Zhan Zhuang is a complete surprise in the beginning. There are no recognisable external movements, although it is a highly energetic exercise system. In contrast to many other methods, Zhan Zhuang develops our internal energy in a very efficient way, instead of consuming it. Zhan Zhuang Chi Gong is practised in well-balanced standing positions which increase the flow of energy and build up internal strength. The Zhan Zhuang system is based on a unique fusion of
exertion and relaxation which stimulates, cleanses and internally massages the whole organism. Qigong (pronounced "chee-gong"), may be China's best kept secret. Suppressed during the Cultural Revolution, awareness of this method of exercise has exploded throughout China, where currently 200 million Chinese practice some form of qigong regularly. Hospitals throughout China overflow with reports of cures of myriad conditions using any of hundreds of forms of this art. Qigong means "an exercise to develop chi, (also spelled qi) "the energy of life." This particular form of qigong, Zhan Zhuang, is about four thousand years old, and is used from everything from building strength for martial arts to self-healing, lowering blood pressure, increasing respiration and alertness, reducing stress and pain, and improving health and energy overall. Zhan Zhuang means "standing like a tree," aptly called, because all the Zhan Zhuang postures are performed standing, in utter motionlessness. This form of Zhan Zhuang was the method used by Wang Xiang Zhai, the grandmaster and founder of the newest "soft" Chinese martial art, dazhengquan. Perhaps "standing like a tree" does not sound powerful, but Wang made it the foundation of his training.
For a long time, Zhan Zhuang Chi Gong has been a well kept secret and it is only since the mid 40s of this century that it has been taught and discussed publicly. In Europe, Master Lam Kam Chuen introduced it in 1987. He is also the author of the first book on Zhan Zhuang in the West. Through the practice of Zhan Zhuang Chi Gong we're able to take advantage of our whole potential, both physically and psychologically, without becoming exhausted. This is achieved in a completely natural way without the need for fighting ourselves.
INTRODUCTORY LEVEL I, Awaken Your Healing Light
A. Opening The Microcosmic Orbit: The first level of the Healing Tao system involves opening the Microcosmic Orbit within yourself. An open Microcosmic Orbit enables you to expand outward to connect with the Universal, Cosmic Particle and Earth Forces. Their combined forces are considered by Taoists as the Light of Warm Current Meditation. B. The Inner Smile: The Inner Smile is a powerful relaxation technique that utilizes the expanding energy of happiness as a language with which to communicate with the internal organs of the body. By learning to smile inwardly to the organs and glands, the whole body will feel loved and appreciated.
Stress and tension will be counteracted, and the flow of Chi increased. C. The Six Healing Sounds: A basic relaxation and self-healing technique, the Six Healing Sounds meditation utilizes simple arm movements and special sounds to produce a cooling effect on the internal organs. These special sounds vibrate specific organs, while the arm movements, combined with posture guide heat and pressure out of the body. The results are improved digestion, reduced internal stress, reduced insomnia and headaches and greater vitality as the Chi flow increases through the different organs. D. Taoist Rejuvenation - Chi Self-Massage: Chi Self-Massage is a method of hands-on self-healing work using one's internal energy or Chi to strengthen and rejuvenate the sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue), teeth, skin and inner organs. Using internal power (Chi), and gentle external stimulation this simple yet highly effective self massage technique enables one to dissolve some of the energy blocks and stress points responsible for disease and the aging process. Taoist rejuvenation dates back 5000 years to the Yellow Emperor's classic text on internal medicine.Grounding Exercise Stand in relaxed position with the feet placed directly under your hips, knees slightly bent, ankles relaxed and the armpits open. Press the tip of the tongue against the soft palate of the mouth. This connects the energy circuit of the governing (back) channel with the energy circuit of the functional (front) channel. Breathe by pulling the diaphragm down toward navel as you inhale. Imagine a weight hanging between your legs, attached to your coccyx by a cord. As the weight pulls your coccyx toward the
floor, allow your sacrum to relax and sink down and forward with it. Relax the ankles. Relax the knees. Relax the waist. Imagine there is a cord attached to the top of the head that is gently lifting your head, allowing it to float above your shoulders. Fix your gaze on the horizon to infinity.
After fulfilling the above requirements, imagine that everything inside your body is comprised of nothing but thick water molecules and that the skin is made of rubber. Feel the water molecules pressing against the skin as gravity begins to pull the water molecules down through the body, toward the floor. As the water molecules are pulled lower and lower, you can feel the arms and chest begin to swell. The fingers feel as though they are swelling to an enormous size. As gravity pulls the water molecules even lower, the thighs become thick and heavy. The molecules flow deeper into your legs and feet until your feet feel as though they are going to burst out of your shoes. Feel the feet spread. Feel the toes spread. Your
body now feels like a pyramid, heavy at the floor and light at the top. Continue to breathe deep into the lower abdomen. Allow your attention to move to your feet and notice where the primary weight is located. It should be in the middle of each foot. If it's not, adjust the position of your pelvis until it is. An imaginary plumb line should travel through the crown point of your head, to a point just behind your ear, through your shoulder, hip, perineum and ankle. Don't forget to be aware of the imaginary weight pulling down at your coccyx and the cord pull upward on your head. Relax the waist and allow the coccyx to sink down and forward. Once you have accomplished the feeling of being grounded well into the earth or floor, imagine that the floor is pushing up against your feet, trying to up-root you. This is one of the most important aspects of the exercise. The more relaxed and grounded you become, the harder the floor pushes up against your feet. Use your imagination to keep the floor from pushing you upward. Hold the floor down. Do not allow the floor to push you up. Your feet will now feel as though they are glued to the floor. After about 10 minutes, your feet will feel energized and your hands will become warm. Stand in this position for 10 to 30 minutes. Be sure to keep the knees bent.PRIMORDIAL
(Wu Ji Qigong)
I was taught this from Michael Winn
Stand facing EAST, the direction of sunrise (new beginnings). Open your heart to change. Inwardly smile or call to each of the 4 directions & above/below/center. Hold clear intention to return to the center of the universe, the center of your life, to be the point of balance in every perception arising in your present moment. Open yourself to being in "wu ji", the "supreme unknown", the primordial void. It is the Origin, Godhead, Primal Mother at the center of all sacred space. Ask to create your life from this space; accept that it will solve your problems & complete your life. lst EARTH CYCLE 1. Breath (chi) of Earth Rises. Arms drift to chest level (palms down). Breath of Heaven Descends. Arms sink down. Shift weight to Left foot - Form small chi ball, RIGHT palm below. 2. Yin/Yang separates to honor Yin. Look at R palm as Right arm, sweeps Right (palm up) Left palm presses left (palm down) 3. Yin/Yang separates to honor Yang. Look at L palm as Left arm, sweeps Left (palm up) Right palm presses right (palm down) 4. Circulate chi in orbit. Palms face each other, circle up to crown, out & down to perineum, back up to heart, extend out.
5. Heart opens to the right (manifest). Rotate waist & arms with large gathering to Right 6. Heart opens to the left (unmanifest). Rotate waist & arms with large gathering to Left 7. Heart opens to the right (manifest). Rotate waist & arms with large gathering to Right 8. Gather chi from East. Right hand drops below, rotate chi ball inward, top to bottom. 9. Gather chi from North. Pivot left (weight on Right foot), turn on Left heel to Left, Right foot steps in, face north. Rotate chi ball inward, hands on sides 10. Gather chi from West. Pivot left, rotate chi ball inward, top to bottom, 11. Gather chi from South. Pivot left, rotate chi ball inward, hands on sides. THIS 2nd "HANDS ON SIDES" MOVEMENT IS CUE FOR END OF EARTH CYCLE. 12. Gather chi from Center. Squat, keeping back straight. Both arms scoop up earth chi below, circle up to 3rd eye, "swallow" it down center line of body to dan tien (1.5 " below navel). Palm centers face body, aligned, not touching. Pause if attracted to any point on front of body. Breathe 3 times into
chi ball inside the dan tien. Feel & visualize it as golden light expanding & condensing .
lst HEAVEN CYCLE After the Earth Cycle, always turn to begin the Heaven cycle. Turn from South to East. (BEFORE YOU TURN, REMEMBER THE DIRECTION YOU ARE LOOKING). This will be your CUE for the final direction of the upcoming Heaven cycle. 1. Pivot left, right arm sweeps high & wide from upper right corner to lower left corner, gathering chi from southeast comer as Right foot steps to face east. 2. Heaven & Earth Separate. Form chi ball at navel, (left over right) eyes follow Right hand as it rises to Heaven (upper right corner). Left hand presses down to earth (lower left corner). 3. Gather Heavenly Yin inner female and Yang inner male into the body. 5 times each hand (10 times total). Full weight shifts to Left foot as Right hand gathers chi into channels on left side of body. L hand gathers chi into channels on right side of body. 4. Turn to North. Gather chi of northeast as you turn. Repeat 1 - 3.
5. Turn to West. Gather chi of northwest as you turn. Repeat 1 - 3. 6. Turn to South. Gather chi of southwest as you turn. Repeat 1 - 3. 7. Stir the Cauldron 9 times. Gather the Essence of the Center Direction. Palms face navel, stirs circling down Right, down Left nine times, starting with the right. Scoop up from below and gather. Mix with heaven and draw down centerline to lower dan tien. Breathe into chi ball 3 times. 2nd EARTH CYCLE After Heaven, always face the same direction to begin Earth cycle. Continue facing South. Repeat the 12 earth movements. (Turn left to East, then North, & then finish West.) After Earth, always turn: Pivot left to begin Heaven cycle. 2nd HEAVEN CYCLE 1. Start new Heaven cycle as you turn from West to South. Turn East, North, finish West. 2. Gather Yin and Yang Essence of Moon and Sun into the L & R body channels (10x).
3. Stir Cauldron, gather essence to center. Hands pause at heart, breathe 3 times into golden chi ball. Hands move chi ball down to lower dan tien. 3rd EARTH CYCLE After Heaven, always face the same direction to begin Earth cycle. Continue facing West. Repeat the 12 earth movements. (Turn left to South, then East, & then finish North.) After Earth, always turn: Pivot left to begin Heaven cycle. 3rd HEAVEN CYCLE l. Start new Heaven cycle as you turn from North to West. Turn South, East, finish North. 2. Gather Yin and Yang Essences of fixed stars into the L & R energy channels (10x). 3. Stir Cauldron, gather essence to center. Hands pause at 3rd eye, breathe 3x into golden chi ball in upper dan tien (head). Hands move chi ball to lower dan tien. The
Eight Silk Movements
The following section will describe eight traditional Chinese stretching exercises designed to be used with tai chi exercises. These exercises, when done properly, are good for general good health and physical well-being. They generate the flow of chi
throughout the body promoting good blood circulation while simultaneously strengthening and stretching the muscles bones and tendons of the body. 1. Upward Hand Stretch (Holding Up The Sky). Slowly raise both hands, palms facing upward, over the head Stretch all the way up lifting the heels off the ground. Breathe in as the hands are raised to "hold up the sky." Hold the breath for as long as you comfortably can. (Do not strain!) Slowly lower both arms as you breathe out. Lower both heels and return to a standing position with hands relaxed at the sides. Watch your balance! Physcial Effects: Balance, stimulates circulation, releases tension, relaxes the body.
2. Shooting The Arrow. Sit in a horse stance. Cross the arms in front of the chest. As you breathe in, push out with one hand while pulling back the other as though shooting with a bow and arrow. Repeat the procedure for both sides. Breath in when pulling back breathe out when returning to the center. Phsical Effects: Strengthens the muscles of the arms abdomen, back and legs. Promotes overall good health and vitality. 3.One-Arm Lift. Raise the right arm over the head as you inhale while simultaneously "pressing" down with the left hand. Lower the right arm to the standing position as you exhale. Repeat this procedure, alternating between left and right sides. Physical Effects: Increases blood circulation, strengthens waist muscles.
4. Looking Back Neck Stretch. With both hands at your side turn the head to one side following with eyes to look behind you. Keep the trunk of the body straight. Repeat this head turning routine for both sides. Breathe in when turning, breathe out when returning. Physical Effects: Relieves fatigue in the neck muscles, releases tension. 5. Rotate Body In A Circle. Sit in a horse stance and rotate the upper body to the left Lean the upper body to the left. Look to the right. Keep the lower body straight. Breathe in and out deeply and slowly. Do the same to the other side. Physical Effects: Increases blood circulation and strengthens muscles of the abdomen and back.
6. Lifting Up The Heels. With both hands at your sides hold the head up high and lift the heels off the ground as you inhale. Remain stable using the toes for balance. Lower the heels back to the ground as you exhale. Repeat the procedure breathing in when lifting the heels and breathing out when lowering them. Physcial Effects: Increases circulation, relaxes the body and relieves mental tension. 7. Punching From Horse Stance. While sitting in a horse stance, cross the arms in front of the chest. Tighten the fists and alternately punch slowly to each side. Begin by breathing in, holding it, and pushing out with one hand while breathing out. This should look like pulling a bow. Hold the fist steady as you breathe in again. Do the same to the other side. Physical Effects: Increases power in punching, in the fists themselves and increases the circulation to strengthen the heart.
8. Holding The Toes. From standing position, slowly bend forward from the waist. Try to hold your toes with each hand while keeping the knees straight. If you cannot reach your toes simply let you arms hanng down, letting them reach as close to the floor as possible. Maintain normal breathing. Physical Effects: Strengthens muscles in the abdomen and the back. Increases circulation and relaxes the body.
Buddha Palm Chi Kung Set
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, toes and heels in line pointing straight forward. Bend the knees slightly so that you can't see your shoe laces, but you can still see your toes. Knees should be centered vertically over the feet, not collapsing in toward each other. Have a slight crease at the hip joint, so the bowl of the pelvis is level. The torso is erect, but relaxed into the bowl of the pelvis. Arm pits open to fit a small ball under the arm pit. Elbows turned out to the sides. Fingers extended, but relaxed. The arms should resemble a horse shoe shape. This is the same posture as the Grounding posture.
1. Three sets of five repetitions of each posture will take 25 to 30 minutes. Three sets of three reps will take about 15 minutes. Two sets of three reps will take about 10 minutes. 2. Pause at the Resting Posture between each set of repetitions. Run the energy routes with the breath alone. Keep the fingers open and still. 3. Yin route:
Inhale - the energy flows from the balls of the feet up the inner sides of the legs to tantien. Exhale - the energy flows from tantien up the chest to the shoulders, down the inner sides of the arms to the palms and finger pads.
1. Chi Gong #2
2. Stand with heels together, spine straight, navel soft, tongue touching the roof of your mouth, arms hanging lightly at your side, facing north, in a meditative state. 3. Exhale and shift your weight to the right, as your left foot steps slightly left. 4. Breathe in and let your arms circle upwards in an elliptical shape. Breathe out as you lower your arms to your side and turn your fight toe straight. Your feet are now shoulder width apart. 5. Breathe in - your arms float up, fingers leading upward and pointing NE & NW. 6. Breathe out - wrists straighten. 7. In - the fight wrist covers the left wrist in front of body. 8. Out-- press down to navel, slightly rounding middle of back 9. In - bring wrists up to heart. In - (filling chest) palms turn up and go to hips. 10. Out - bend knees and thrust fingers forward, relaxing kidneys. 11. In - separate hands, still palms up, to NE & NW. 12. Out-- no change.
13. In - curl hands into fist near ears. In - rotate thumb of fist downward. 14. Out - uncurl fists, palms down, arms shoulder high to E & W. 15. Rotate palms up. 16. In - (1/3) curl hands into fists near ears. In - (1/3) lists go up to top of head (filling chest). In - (1/3) fists go a few inches higher (filling chest more). Out - stretch arms up, fingers pointing diagonally upward, standing on toes, like a cat. 17. In - right wrist on left, press down to navel and palms up to hips. 18. Out -. left palm on fight, thumbs touching, in front of navel. 19. In- turn to left, twisting everything, including eyes. 20. Out- turn to front. Repeat, twisting to right. (Repeat entire sequence two more times). 21. In - lift watermelon to breast. 22. Out - bend at waist and touch toes. Don't exert too much. (Repeat whole sequence two more times). 23. In - bend knees and cross arms in front of chest (left on inside). 24. Out - left hand rotates over head, palm to sky, fingers E, while fight hand presses down to earth, fingers N (repeat, reversing arms) (repeat whole sequence two more times) Variation: stretch backwards as you stretch upwards. 25. In - cross arms in front of chest, bend knees slightly. 26. Out - turn palms out and press down to navel. 27. In - (1/3) lift wrists to breasts. 28. In - (1/3) drop arms and hold watermelon near navel (filling chest). In - (1/3) lift watermelon to breasts.
30. 31. 32.
Out - turn palms down and press downwards, bending knees slightly. In - rise up and arms float up shoulder high, then elbows bend until fingers are pointing towards each other in front of heart. Out - bend knees and press palms down toward navel, relaxing kidneys. In - stand up and arms float shoulder high, elbows bend and fingers interlace near heart. Out - arms drop and clasped fingers rotate upwards as they reach the navel.
Shaolin Chigong translation by: Joe Martin and James Chou
Stand straight Bow with hands as shown Calm down the mind and body - breathe constantly
Concentrate and bring your thoughts inward
Grip the floor with your toes Open arms wide Calm down the mind and body - breathe constantly Concentrate and bring your thoughts inward
Keep the head level and gaze up Stand on toes - push up with tension all over Return to the original position with tension
Notes: Don't let up Push your tongue against the top of your mouth Breathe through your nose
Chi Kung Relaxation in a Standing Position Find a comfortable and convenient place to stand, with your feet about shoulder width apart. Soften your knees slightly so they're somewhat bent, and imagine - or rather create - a Golden Cord holding you up from the top of your head. Feel the support of that Golden Cord holding you up, and allow yourself to just relax into it. Just accept that support from above. Allow someone else, something else, to do the work of holding you up, so that you can relax. You can allow everything to hang off that Golden Cord, your shoulders, your spine, your pelvis, your legs. Everything can just hang off that cord. Now I'd like you to imagine your body as full of a heavy fluid, - your whole body. Your head, your shoulders, your neck, your arms, your chest, your back, your pelvis, your legs, your feet, full of this heavy fluid that is responsible both for the weight of your body and also for any tension that you may experience in it.
You can imagine this fluid as being a little heavier than water, maybe 20% heavier than water, and as you stand here supported from above by the Golden Cord, allow that fluid to start to drain out of your body. It can drain out of your head. Perhaps you can even feel it draining from specific places in your head, out of the back of the neck down, down, out of the forehead, the nose, the eyes and the muscles around the eyes, the cheeks, the jaw, the front of the neck, down into the shoulders. From the shoulders, some of the fluid can drain down into the arms, through all the joints of the arms, the elbows, the wrists, the knuckles, dripping off the ends of the fingers down to the ground. Some of that heavy fluid can drain down from the shoulders into the chest and the back, from the chest and the back down into the tummy and the lower back, from the tummy and the lower back down into the pelvis, from the pelvis down into the thighs, from the thighs down through the knees, the lower legs, the ankles, the soles of the feet, and from there down into a reservoir about three feet under the ground. You can feel it like a steel tank or something like that, three feet under the ground. All the weight of your body, and all the tension in your body, is now sunk down underneath the ground, and you can feel that like a strong, powerful, heavy counterweight. You can start to
move your body, to move and sway in different directions, forward and back, side to side, and because you have that counterweight underneath the ground, you're much more stable, you can lean much further in different directions. You can be softer and more stable, you have much better balance. And if at any time you lose that stability a little, just sink even more of that fluid out of your body into that tank underneath the ground that serves as a counterweight. When you've had a little fun with that, just come back to a central position, and feel again the support you're getting from the Golden Cord, feel the stability you're getting from this big counterweight, underneath you, three feet underneath the ground. You can feel the duality between the Golden Cord holding up the crown of your head and the weight sinking down underneath the ground as it gently stretches you a little bit. The cord is lifting the crown of your head upward. Imagine a weight hanging from your tailbone and your tailbone is sinking downward, so you're getting a little taller, getting a little stretched, both from the top and the bottom, like a duality between the sky and the Earth, and yourself just in the middle, as a balance point. You can intensify this stretching feeling by visualizing the vertebrae of your spine as a string of pearls on an elastic thread that is being slowly stretched from above and below.
If you spend a lot of time in a seated position - for instance, if you have an office job - you may want to try this in a seated position. Just sit down comfortably on a chair, perhaps the chair you normally use. Feel the support of the Golden Cord from the top and allow the fluid to drain out of your body. You can allow some of it to drain out through your arms and your fingertips, some of it through your feet, and some of it through those two little bones that you sit on. Allow it to drain down through your chair and even down through the legs of the chair, into the ground and underneath the ground. This is a good exercise to do any time you feel yourself under stress at work, or if you're sitting in rush hour traffic and getting frustrated with it, just allow whatever that is that's upsetting you to drain out along with that fluid in your body, under the ground. And notice that it's still there for you, it's not like you get rid of it, you store it there, underneath the ground. If you need it it' s available, it helps your balance, it's a resource for you, it's just that you don't have to carry it, you don't have to use any of your muscles or your body to carry it. So just in the same way as the Golden Cord means that your support is effortless, this counterweight underneath the ground means that your balance is effortless. To make best use of the script below, record it on a tape in your own voice, find a comfortable and convenient place to
stand, and play it back to yourself. This meditation lasts about eight minutes.
What is Qigong?
Qigong is an exercise to absorb vital energy from the universe to recover health, prolong life and promote spiritual growth. Chinese qigong has a history of more than five thousand years. In ancient times it was widely practiced by people in the religious, medical and martial arts circles, mainly for the purpose of cultivating mental calmness, improving physical fitness and prolonging life. Through several thousand years of continuous development, a complete system of practice methods and theories was formed and the term "qigong" was established in the 1950s. Qigong comes from two Chinese words: Qi (chi) means energy and gong (kung) means a skill or a practice. Qigong therefore means a skill or practice of cultivating energy. Qigong is a branch of learning concerning the exercise of qi. Here the word qi has several meanings. Qi refers to the air breathed in and out by man. It exists in the universe and has direct bearings on the functions of the human body. Through qigong methods, we can improve the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our bodies. Qi is the medium by which the various parts of the human body, including the organs and tissues, are connected and interact on one another. The importance of qi may be seen from the old
saying: "A man is alive when his qi grows but he ceases to live when his qi disappears." Qi is a kind of infinitely small substance existing in the human body. Unlike the skin, bones, blood and hair, qi is invisible to the eye but forms the very essence of human life. Qigong exercises contribute to the growth of this important substance, thus adding to one's life-force and delaying the process of aging. There are many forms of qigong exercise, but they are all designed to regulate three things: body, respiration, and mind. Regulation of the body: This involves both the bodily form and the condition of the internal organs. In qigong exercise, a number of requirements are prescribed for the manner of holding various parts of the body, such as keeping the head and the spine erect, chin tucked in, joints flexed, shoulders lowered and elbows dropped. By adopting the bodily form as required, the internal organs will be placed in the right positions for performing their functions and relieved of different kinds of tension, thus avoiding unnecessary loss of energy. Appropriate bodily movements will also help exercise the internal organs and improve their functions. Regulation of respiration: Normally we breathe with the nose and the mouth in a natural way In qigong exercise, however, breathing is done in a conscious manner according to various patterns, such as: Abdominal respiration in which the lower abdomen swells during inhalation and contracts during exhalation.
Reverse abdominal respiration (kidney breathing) in which the lower abdomen contracts during inhalation and the lower ribs of the back expands. Breathing while focusing your attention on dantian. In this kind of breathing, you imagine your qi converging at dantian, a point about 1 1/2 inches below the navel, before circulating to other parts of the body. Integral respiration in which all parts of the body are involved in the exchange of qi within and without. Skin respiration, which is mentally controlled. All these and other breathing methods used in qigong exercise are characterized by deep, even and rhythmic breaths in both inhalation and exhalation. Regulation of the mind. Modern scientific researches have proven the physiological effects of mental activity. Through regulation of the mind (by such means as mental concentration and meditation), qigong exercise of the advanced form helps to regulate the physiological functions of man. Since all the physical activities of man are controlled by the cerebrum, "regulating the mind" is actually exercising the cerebral nerves. Qigong is a kind of exercise that produces various effects. The most basic effect is the prevention and cure of diseases. Qigong exercise can stimulate the exchange of information inside and outside the human body, promote the accumulation of energy for sustaining life, and increase the organism's resistance to diseases. Years of practice by qigong enthusiasts have proved the
remarkable efficacy of qigong exercise in treating many difficult and complicated cases of illness as well as common ailments. Qigong is also good for moulding one's temperament. Going for a state of supreme tranquility, it relieves our mind of the tension and pressure brought to bear on us by the hustle and bustle of life, thus enabling us to achieve a better mental balance. There are various kinds of qigong -- broadly categorized as internal and external. Internal qigong is much like meditation, with visualizations in order to guide the energy. External qigong includes movement accompanying the meditation. Qigong is famous in China for curing chronic disease and promoting health.
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Is qigong like Taiji?
Taiji is a form of external qigong of moving qigong. One can not truly become proficient in Taiji without understand qigong. Although Taiji has more of an emphasis on the martial arts and movement, qigong has its emphasis on energy cultivation and healing.
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Why should I learn Qigong?
Qigong can improve your physical and mental health. It provides all the benefits of meditation (reduced stress, lower blood pressure, better attitude, etc.) with physical exercises. The enhancement of the mind/body connection increases your awareness of where your body needs work - where your body needs changes related to diet, exercise, sleep, lifestyle, etc. This mind/body connection is not a trivial issue. It can influence the course of all manner of chronic diseases. In China, qigong gained its recent fame in the treatment of cancer.
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What is Qi?
Qi is a kind of energy and information while qigong is a kind of exercise for regulating the whole body, mentally as well as physically. Viewing man against the backdrop of nature, it seeks to improve his faculties in an all-around way. But qigong is more than just a kind of exercise; it is also a way of knowing man and nature and a branch of learning as well. The standard answer: Qi is energy, life force, pranah, that which flows through all of us and gives us life. The reality: Qi must be experienced. Words fail.
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Is this a religion?
Most definitely not. It is a tool for improving health, enhancing your mind/body connection, and connecting you with the qi or life force. It can enhance your own spirituality. You can use that to enhance your own religious path. Qigong theories are based on the philosophical concept of li or dao, which is concerned with revealing the laws governing the movements of things in the world. In this sense, qigong is a science in its own right. Qigong is closely connected with traditional Chinese philosophical thoughts. It embodies much of the ancient Chinese philosophers' thinking about man and his relations with nature, about the composition and development of the world. Qigong's great beauty is that it can be used by anyone to enhance their spiritual path no matter what that path is.
The best known use of sound in Taoist practice appears to be the Six Healing Sounds, also known as the Six-Syllable Secret or the Six Basic Soundless Sounds for Health. Kenneth Cohen says the practice is attributed to a six-century Buddhist hermit. Craig Reid quotes a ﬁfth century description of the system by a famous physician, Tao Hung-jing (perhaps the same as Cohen's hermit?):
One should take air in through the nose and let it out slowly through the mouth... There is one way of drawing breath in and six ways of expelling breath out. The six ways of expelling breath are represented by the syllables hsü, her, hoo, sss, chway, shee. The six ways of exhalation can cure illness: to expel heat, one uses chway; to expel cold, one uses hoo; to relieve tension, use shee; to release anger, use her; to display malaise, use hsü; and to regain equilibrium, use sss. The beneﬁts described are thus more physical than spiritual per se, but to the extent that the Taoist tradition values balance and physical health, they could perhaps be considered a foundational practice for Taoist students. In comparison to Indian yoga techniques, the six healing sounds could be said to be more similar to pranayama than to mantra. In addition to the beneﬁts listed previously, each sound is associated with an organ (sometimes more than one) and with a phase from the Five Phases system of Chinese metaphysics. Ni Hua-Ching states: "Each of the six vibrations has a psychic inﬂuence on its corresponding organ sphere which prompts the expulsion of impurities from the sphere and its manifestations, and the gathering of fresh energy into each system." Although a number of different modern masters teach the six sounds technique, there are differences, both small and large, in the sounds that they describe: • The pronunciation of the sounds varies. Most of the apparent differences seem to arise from the difﬁculty of representing these sounds phonetically in print. Comparing the descriptions given by different teachers can help give you insight into the correct production of the sound. However, the sound for the kidneys really does vary signiﬁcantly, and is given by different teachers as Foo, Chway, or Chrroooeee.
• The degree of vocalization varies. In many cases, the sounds are apparently just the sound of your breath exhaling, with such variations as can be caused by different positions of the tongue, lips, and teeth. However, some teachers pronounce some of the sounds as if they include a vowel, so the vocal cords in your throat are actively vibrating. Sat Chuen Hon vocalizes each of the sounds, which greatly shortens the consonant part of the sound the emphasizes the vowel instead. At the other extreme, Ni Hua-Ching says that each vibration must be inaudible: "If the sound is coarse and audible it will hurt the chi of the body." • The order of the sounds varies from teacher to teacher. In most cases, the order follows the productive cycle of the Five Phases. However, different teachers begin from different points in the cycle. And Ni gives an order that doesn't relate in any obvious way to Five Phase theory. The following table lists the sounds as explained by several teachers. The account given here is somewhat simpliﬁed. For example, some teachers suggest visualizations to accompany the sounds. Also, some of the teachers below (Cohen, Davis, and Reid) provide suggested movements to perform while making the sounds. For full details, refer to the works cited under Sources later in this article. Additionally, Jou, Tsung Hwa states: "The Taoists use a Mantra of Who, Shoe, Foo, Way, Chemmy, She, which not only trains the concentration, but strengthens the body through the correspondence of each sound with an internal organ. If in a group, this is usually done by chanting the same syllable over and over, or it can be done by chanting prayers." It is difﬁcult to tell how to ﬁt these syllables into the table above, but they evidently form a variant of the same system of six healing sounds.
1. In the Organs list of above chart, the Triple Burner is probably unfamiliar to most Westerners. Beinfeld and Korngold deﬁne it as "an integrating function that ties together and harmonizes the physiologic processes of the primary Organ Networks."
Inner Smile and Six Healing Sounds Practices
As taught by Master Mantak Chia, Universal Tao Center, Thailand www.universal-tao.com In the Taoist tradition, positive and negative emotions are associated with the internal organs. One of the keys to good health is to become aware of the emotional energies that reside in the organs, and to transform the
negative emotional energies into positive virtues. Taoists believe that we are all born with the virtues of love, gentleness, kindness, respect, honesty, fairness, justice, and righteousness.
Figure 1. The positive virtues. Unfortunately, as we mature and encounter more stress in our daily lives, negative emotions such as fear, anger, cruelty, impatience, worry, sadness, and grief often predominate. The negative emotions have deleterious effects on the internal organs and glands, draining our life-force and undermining our health.
Figure 2. The negative emotions are the body's garbage. In the Tao "emotional intelligence" is a process of recognizing emotions by their effects on the body, and employing exercises that transform the negative emotions into positive life force, or Chi. Two important exercises are the "Inner Smile" and the "Six Healing Sounds" techniques, as taught by Master Mantak Chia.
Figure 3. The negative emotions affect the body's organ systems. Taoists learned the relationships between emotional energies and organ systems over many centuries of study and meditation. They developed methods to transform negative to positive emotions from their practical and intuitive understanding of the human body. Many of the Taoist insights are supported by observations and evidence from modern psychology and medicine. The "Inner Smile" and "Six Healing Sounds" exercises focus on five organs or organ systems: the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the liver/ gall bladder, and the stomach/spleen. Table 1. The five major organ systems and their associated emotions and properties. · The heart is associated with the negative emotions of arrogance and hate and the positive virtues of kindness and love. Recent scientific research shows that feelings of love and appreciation strongly influence the heart's rhythm and its relationship to the body's physiological systems (see www.heartmath.org). · The lungs are associated with the negative emotions of sadness and depression, and the positive virtues of courage and righteousness. Emotional depression is often recognized by a physical depression and collapse of the chest and lungs. · The kidneys are associated with the negative emotion of fear and the positive emotions of gentleness and kindness. Fear is closely related to the activity of the adrenal glands that lie on top of the kidneys. The adrenal glands secret adrenalin and noradrenalin when stimulated by the body's
fight-or-flight response. · The liver is associated with the negative emotion of anger and the positive emotions of generosity and forgiveness. Physiologically, the liver is important for storing and rapidly releasing glucose into the blood. The energy of anger requires the rapid availability of metabolic energy stores in the body. · The stomach/spleen are associated with the negative emotions of worry and anxiety and the positive emotions of fairness and openness. Most people will be familiar with the "butterflies" and "knots" in the stomach related to worry, apparently related to a network of network of neurons and neurotransmitters in the sheaths of tissue lining the digestive system, known as the enteric nervous system (Gershon, 1998). The Inner Smile and Six Healing Sound exercises direct our attentions to the body's organs and associated qualities. We successively visualize each organ, cleansing the organ and transforming negative emotional energies into positive virtues.
Figure 4. The Inner Smile In the Taoist tradition, each person assumes responsibility for the emotions that arise within, regardless of the external events that trigger the emotions. Taoist exercises take us into our bodies and transform emotions by transforming the associated physiological systems. The Inner Smile and Six Healing Sounds exercises help balance and integrate our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, promoting health, resilience, and vitality.
Figure 5. The Proper sitting posture. Inner Smile Practice Front Line 1. Sit comfortably near the edge of your chair with your feel flat on the floor. Keep your back straight, but not stiff. Stay relaxed, and clasp your palms together in your lap. Press your tongue against the upper palate of your mouth. 2. Close your eyes and become aware of the soles of your feet. Feel their connection to the Earth. 3. Create a source of smiling energy up to three feet in front of you. This can be an image of your own smiling face, or of someone or something you love and respect, or any memory of a time in which you felt deeply at peace, perhaps feeling sunshine, being by the ocean, or walking in a forest. 4. Become aware of the midpoint between your eyebrows through which you will draw this abundant smiling energy in front of and around you. Let your forehead relax; as the smiling energy accumulates at the mideyebrow, it will eventually overflow into your body. 5. Allow the smiling energy to flow down from the mid-eyebrow through your face, relaxing the cheeks, nose, mouth, and all the facial muscles. Let it flow down through your neck. You can roll your head slowly and gently from side to side as you do this.
6. Let the smiling energy continue to flow down to your thymus gland, which is located behind the upper part of your sternum, and picture it glowing with vibrant health. Feel the thymus gland become warm as it begins to vibrate and expand like a blossoming flower.
Figure 6. The Front Line Organs 7. Let the warm, smiling energy spread from the thymus gland into the heart. Draw more smiling energy through the mid-eyebrow, and let it flow like a waterfall down into the heart. When you smile inwardly to the heart, it will generate the virtues of joy and happiness. Spend as much time here as you need to feel the heart relax and expand with loving energy. Try to remember your best experience of love and fill your heart with that same feeling again. Love your heart. The heart is associated with the negative emotional energies of hastiness, arrogance, and cruelty. When you smile into the heart, these energies will dissipate, creating the space for the virtuous energies of love and joy to expand. 8. Let the joy and happiness generated in the heart expand outward to your lungs. Feel the lungs open as the happy, smiling energy flows into them. The lungs may appear to be pink and spongy, or they may feel abundantly full. If there is anything you see or feel in the lungs that is unpleasant to you, get rid of it. You can clear the lungs of energetic, emotional, and physical pollution by smiling into them. Feel the air flow from the tip of the nose down into the lungs, following it all the way out to the tiny air sacs where oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide. Thank your lungs for breathing and helping sustain your life. You should feel your entire chest cavity filling with smiling, loving energy. The lungs are associated with the negative emotional energies of sadness
and depression and the virtuous energies of courage and righteousness. When you smile into the lungs, you will dissolve any sadness or negative feelings, creating space for courage and righteousness to expand. Note: Remember you can go back to the source of smiling energy in front of you-your vision or memory of a happy moment-to get more energy any time during the meditation, If you feel your attention wandering, or it you feel the effect of the Inner Smile becoming weak or diluted, just gather more smiling energy from the source. The Chinese say," If you want water, you should go to the well. " 9. Next you will direct the smiling energy to the liver, the largest internal organ, located just below the right lung. Feel the liver become immersed in smiling, loving, joyous energy. The liver is associated with the sense of sight, as it controls the energy of the eyes. Use your inner vision to see the liver and determine its condition. Its surface should be smooth and glossy, and it should feel relaxed and uncongested. You can use your eyes to smooth out any part of its surface or to relax any area that seems tense. Feel gratitude for the liver's work in detoxifying the body, helping to store blood, and producing bile. The liver is associated with the emotion of anger and the virtue of kindness. When you smile to the liver, you will dissolve any anger and allow the kindness energy more space to expand. The Chinese suggest this also helps strengthen your decision-making power. 10. Let the smiling energy flow from the liver across the abdomen into the pancreas, located directly beneath the left lung. Thank the pancreas for making digestive enzymes, producing insulin, and regulating blood sugar. As you smile into the pancreas, see that it is healthy and functioning smoothly. 11. Continuing around to the left, smile into the spleen, which is just next to the left kidney. Don't worry if you don't know exactly where it is. If you smile in that direction, you will gradually get in touch with it. If you need to, return to the source of smiling energy in front of you, and let the smiling energy flow in through the mid-eyebrow and down to the area of the spleen. 12. As smiling, loving energy builds up in the spleen, let it flow into the kidneys. Smile down to the kidneys and feel them expand with radiant energy. You can use your inner vision to inspect the kidneys to be sure their surface is smooth and glossy and that they are filtering properly without any congestion. The kidneys are associated with the emotion of fear. As you smile into them, fear melts away, and the virtue of gentleness can grow.
Keep smiling into the kidneys, and let the smiling energy build up until they are full. 13. Next, send the smiling energy down into the urinary bladder, urethra, genitals, and perineum. Women: The collection point for female sexual energy is located about three inches below the navel, midway between the ovaries. Smile the accumulated energies into the ovaries, uterus, and vagina. Thank the ovaries for making hormones and giving you sexual energy. Bring the combined sexual, smiling, and virtue energies up to the navel, and visualize the energies spiraling into that point. Men: The collection point for male sexual energy is located one-and-a-half inches above the base of the penis in the area of the prostate gland and seminal vesicles. Smile, and visualize the accumulated energies spiraling down into the prostate gland and testicles. Thank them for making hormones and giving you sexual energy. Bring the combined sexual, smiling, and virtue energies up to the navel, and spiral them into that point. 14. Return the attention to the source of smiling energy in front of you. Be aware of the mid-eyebrow point, and allow more smiling energy to flow in through it like a waterfall pouring down into the organs. Once again immerse the thymus, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, urinary bladder (Fig. 3.43), and sex organs in smiling energy. At this point you should be feeling calm and peaceful. Middle Line 1. Become aware once more of the smiling energy in your eyes. Let it flow down to your mouth. Become aware of your tongue, and make some saliva by working your mouth and swishing your tongue around. Put the tip of your tongue to the roof of the mouth, tighten the neck muscles, and swallow the saliva hard and quickly, making a gulping sound as you do. With your Inner Smile, follow the saliva down the esophagus to the stomach, located at the bottom and below the left side of the rib cage. Thank it for its important work in liquefying and digesting your food. Feel it grow calm and comfortable. Sometimes we abuse our stomachs with improper food. Make a promise to your stomach that you will give it good food to digest.
Figure 7. The Middle Line organs. 2. Smile into the small intestine in the middle of the abdomen. It is about seven meters long in an adult. Thank it for absorbing food nutrients to keep you vital and healthy. 3. Smile into the large intestine: the ascending colon, starting at the right side of the hipbone and passing upward to the undersurface of the right lobe of the liver; the transverse colon, which passes downward from the right liver region across the abdomen to the left beneath the lower end of the spleen; the descending colon, which passes downward through the left side of the lumbar region; and the sigmoid colon, which normally lies within the pelvis, the rectum and the anus. The large intestine is about 1.5 meters long. Thank it for eliminating wastes and for making you feel clean, fresh and open. Smile to it and feel it be warm, nice, clean, comfortable and calm. 4. Return to your eyes. Quickly smile down the Middle Line, checking for tension. Smile into the tension until it melts away. Back Line 1. Bring your attention back to your eyes again. 2. Smile inward with both eyes; collect the power of the smile in the third eye (mid-eyebrow). With your inner eyesight direct your smile about three to four inches inside into the pituitary gland, and feel the gland blossom.
Smile into the thalamus, from where the truth and power of the smile will generate. Smile into the pineal gland and feel this tiny gland gradually swell and grow like a bulb. Move your smile's eyesight, like a bright, shining light, up to the left side of the brain. Move the inner smiling eyesight back and forth in the left brain and across to the right brain and cerebellum. This will balance the left and right brain and strengthen the nerves.
Figure 8. The brain organs 3. Move the inner smiling eyesight down to the midbrain. Feel it expand and soften and go down to the pons and medulla oblongata and to the spinal cord, starting from the cervical vertebrae at the base of the skull. Move the inner smiling eyesight, bringing this loving energy down inside each vertebra and the disc below it. Count out each vertebra and disc as you smile down them: seven cervical (neck) vertebrae, twelve thoracic (chest), five lumbar (lower back), the triangular bone called the sacrum, and the coccyx (tail bone). Feel the spinal cord and the back becoming loose and comfortable. Feel the discs softening. Feel your spine expanding and elongating, making you taller.
Figure 9. The Back Line 4. Return to your eyes and quickly smile down the entire Back Line. Your whole body should feel relaxed, The Back Line exercise increases the flow of the spinal fluid and sedates the nervous system. Smiling into a disc keeps it from hardening and becoming deformed so it cannot properly absorb the force and weight of the body. Back pain can be prevented or relieved by smiling into the spine. The Entire Length of the Body Start at the eyes again. Direct your Inner Smile's eyesight. Quickly smile down the Front Line. Follow the smiling down the Middle Line and then the Back Line. When you are more experienced, smile down all three lines simultaneously, being aware of the organs and the spine. Now, feel the energy descend down the entire length of your body, like a waterfall-a waterfall of smiles, joy and love. Feel your whole body being loved and appreciated. How marvelous it is!
Figure 10. The organs smiling. Collecting the Smiling Energy at the Navel It's very important to end by storing the smiling energy in the navel. Most ill effects of meditation are caused by excess energy in the head or heart. The navel area can safely handle the increased energy generated by the Inner Smile. To collect the smile's energy, concentrate in your navel area, which is about one and a half inches inside your body. Then mentally move that energy in an outward spiral around your navel 36 times; don't go above the diaphragm or below the pubic bone. Women, start the spiral counterclockwise. Men, start the spiral clockwise. Next, reverse the direction of the spiral and bring it back into the navel, circling it 24 times. Use your finger as a guide the first few times. The energy is now safely stored in your navel, available to you whenever you need it and for whatever part of your body needs it. You have now completed the Inner Smile.
Six Healing Sounds Practice
Lung Exercise: First Healing Sound
1. Become aware of your lungs. Take a deep breath and, letting your eyes follow, raise the arms up in front of you. When the hands are at eye level, begin to rotate the palms and bring them up above the head. Keep the elbows rounded. You should feel a stretch that extends from the heels of the palms, along the forearms, over the elbows, along the upper arms and into the shoulders. The lungs and chest will feel open and breathing will be easier. Draw the corners of the mouth back, exhale, making the sound "Ssssssss", sub-vocally, slowly and evenly in one breath.
Figure 11. The Lung Sound Position. 2. As you exhale, empty all feelings of sadness, sorrow and grief from your lungs. 3. When you have exhaled completely (without straining), rotate the palms down, close the eyes, and breathe in to the lungs to strengthen them. If you are color oriented, imagine a pure white light and quality of righteousness entering into your lungs. Float the arms down by gently lowering the shoulders. Slowly lower them to your lap so that they rest there, palms up. 4. Close the eyes, breathe normally, smile down to the lungs, be aware of the lungs, and imagine that you are still making the sound. Pay attention to any sensations you may feel. Try to feel the exchange of cool, fresh energy replacing hot, dark waste energy. 5. Repeat the sequence 3 to 6 times. For colds, flu, mucous, toothaches, smoking, asthma, emphysema, or depression, or for detoxifying the lungs, you can repeat the sound 9, 12, 18, 24, or 36 times.
6. The Lung Sound can help eliminate nervousness when in front of a crowd. D the Lung Sound sub-vocally without the hand movements several times when you feel nervous. This will help you to calm down. The Heart Sound and the Inner Smile will help also if the Lung Sound is not enough to calm you down. Kidney Exercise: Second Healing Sound 1. Become aware of the kidneys. Place the legs together, ankles and knees touching. Take a deep breath as you bend forward, and clasp one hand in the other; hook the hands around the knees and pull back on the arms. With the arms straight, feel the pull at the back where the kidneys are; look up, and tilt the head back without straining.
Figure 12. The Kidney Sound Position 2. Round the lips and silently make the sound one makes in blowing out a candle. At the same time, press the middle abdomen, between the sternum and navel, toward the spine. Imagine any feelings of fear being squeezed out from the membrane around the kidneys. 3. When you have exhaled completely, sit up and slowly breathe in to the kidneys, imagining a bright blue energy as the quality of gentleness enters the kidneys. Separate the legs to a hip's width and rest the hands, palms up, on the thighs. 4. Close the eyes and breathe normally. Smile to the kidneys, as you imagine that you are still making the sound. Pay attention to sensations. Be aware of the exchange of energy around the kidneys, and hands, head and legs. 5. Repeat 3 to 6 times. For back pain, fatigue, dizziness, ringing in the ears, or detoxifying the kidneys, repeat 9 to 36 times. Liver Exercise: Third Healing Sound
1. Become aware of the liver, and feel the connection between the eyes and the liver. Place your arms at your sides, palms out. Take a deep breath as you slowly swing the arms up and over the head. Follow with the eyes. Figure 13. The Liver Sound position. 2. Exhale with the sound, "Shhhhhhh", sub-vocally. Envision and feel that a sac encloses the liver and is compressing and expelling the excess heat and feelings of anger. 3. When you have exhaled completely, unlock the fingers, and pressing out with the heels of the palms, breathe into the liver slowly; imagine a bright green color quality of kindness entering the liver. Gently bring the arms back to the side by lowering the shoulders. Place your hands on your lap, palms up, and rest. 4. Close the eyes, breathe normally, smile down to the liver and imagine you're still making the sound. Be aware of sensations. Sense the energy exchange. 5. Do this 3 to 6 times. For anger, red and watery eyes, or a sour or bitter taste, and for detoxifying the liver, repeat 9 to 36 times. A Taoist axiom about controlling anger says: If you've done the Liver Sound 30 times and you are still angry at someone, you have the right to slap that person. Heart Exercise: Fourth Healing Sound 1. Become aware of the heart and feel the tongue connected with the heart. Take a deep breath and assume the same position as for the Liver Sound, but lean slightly to the right. Figure 14. The Heart Sound position. 2. Open the mouth somewhat, round the lips and exhale on the sound "Hawwwwwww", sub-vocally, as you picture the pericardium releasing heat, and the feelings of impatience, arrogance and hastiness. 3. For the rest cycle, repeat the procedure for the Liver Sound, but focus attention on your heart and imagine a bright red color and the qualities of joy, honor, sincerity and creativity entering the heart. 4. Repeat 3 to 6 times. For a sore throat, cold sores, swollen gums or tongue, heart disease, heart pains, jumpiness, moodiness, and for detoxifying the heart, repeat 9 to 36 times. Spleen Exercise: Fifth Healing Sound
Figure 15. The Spleen Sound Position 1. Become aware of the spleen; feel the mouth and the spleen connect. Take a deep breath as you place your hands with the index fingers resting at the bottom and slightly to the left of the sternum. Press in with the fingers as you push out with the middle back.. 2. Exhale with the sound "Whoooooo", made sub-vocally and felt in the vocal chords. Expel the excess heat, wetness and dampness, and the emotions of worry, sympathy and pity. 3. Breathe into the spleen, pancreas, and stomach, or imagine a bright yellow light, and the qualities of fairness, compassion, centering, and music making entering them. 4. Lower the hands slowly to your lap, palms up. Close the eyes, breathe normally and imagine you are still making the sound. Be aware of sensations and the exchange of energy. 5. Repeat 3 to 6 times. Repeat 9 to 36 times for indigestion, nausea and diarrhea, and for detoxifying the spleen. This sound, done in conjunction with the others, is more effective and healthier than using antacids. It is the only sound that can be done immediately after eating. Triple Warmer Exercise : Sixth Healing Sound The Triple Warmer refers to the three energy centers of the body. The upper level, which consists of the brain, heart, and lungs, is hot. The middle section consisting of the liver, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, and spleen, is warm. The lower level containing the large and small intestines, the bladder, and the sexual organs, is cool. The Triple Warmer Sound balances the temperature of the three levels by bringing hot energy down to the
lower center and cold energy up to the upper center, through the digestive tract. This induces a deep, relaxing sleep. A number of students have been able to break a long-standing dependence on sleeping pills by practicing this sound. It's also very effective for relieving stress.
Figure 16. The Triple Warmer Sound position. 1. Lie down on your back. Elevate the knees with a pillow if you feel any pain in the small of the back or lumbar area. 2. Close the eyes and take a deep breath, expanding the stomach and chest without strain. 3. Exhale with the sound "Heeeeeee", made sub-vocally, as you picture and feel a large roller pressing out your breath, beginning at the top of the chest and ending at the lower abdomen. Imagine the chest and abdomen are as flat as a sheet of paper, and feel light, bright, and empty. Rest by breathing normally. 4. Repeat 3 to 6 times, or more, if you are still wide awake. The Triple Warmer Sound also can be used to relax, without falling asleep, by lying on your side or sitting in a chair. References: Chia, Mantak, 1986. Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality: The Inner Smile, Six Healing Sounds, Huntington, NY: Healing Tao Books. Chia, Mantak, and Maneewan Chia, 1993, Awaken Healing Light of the Tao, Huntington, NY: Healing Tao Books. Gershon, Michael D. 1998. The Second Brain: The Scientific Basis of Gut
Instinct and a Groundbreaking New Understanding: of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine. HarperCollins.
Six Healing Sounds
Just about everybody in the modern world has to deal with some sort of stress. Health professionals have placed stress as an underlying factor in a wide range of diseases. The Taoist way of dealing with stress is to perform the Six Healing Sounds. The Six Healing Sounds are so simple and easy to perform that they seem almost too good to be true. I have found the Six Healing Sounds to be the most valuable technique of all the many spiritual practices I ve learned so far. A lot of techniques require months and years of practice before any noticeable results occur. Thankfully, that s not the case with the Six Healing Sounds. They work first time, every time. Recycling and Transforming Negative Energy Everything is energy. When Taoists confront negative emotional energy, rather than seeking to destroy it or to dump it out, they use techniques to transform negative, sick energy into positive, loving, healing energy. The primary methods employed are The Inner Smile 1 and the Six Healing Sounds. Negative emotions are stored in the body s organs. Over time, the accumulation of the negativity erodes the organs health and effects the person s disposition. The Six Healing Sounds work to transform the negative energy stored in the organs and to transform them into healing light. That works better than holding onto negativity or dumping it out onto someone else because such emotional venting only serves to pass an emotional virus onto another and, via the law of karma, eventually that same negativity will be revisited upon the person who sent it out in the first place.
When negative emotional energy is transmuted, it can then be circulated through the Microcosmic Orbit to send healing energy throughout the body. The Lung Sound Fear is stored in the lungs. The lung sound transforms fear into courage. Position: Sit on the edge of your chair with feet shoulder length apart. Place hands palms-up on your thighs. Raise both hands above your head, palmsup, with fingertips of each hand touching the tip of the other. Look up. Lung sound: Place your tongue behind your closed teeth and, with a long slow exhalation, made the lung sound "SSSSSSSSSSSS" (like the sound of steam from a radiator). 2 Visualization: Return your hands to the palms-up position on your lap and smile to your lungs. Imagine a white light shining upon your lungs, surrounding them. Concentrate on feeling the virtue (power) of courage. Repeat two more times (a total of three), including the hands position and visualization. The Kidneys Sound The kidneys sound transform the emotional energy inside the kidneys into gentleness and generosity. Positions: Sit on the edge of your chair with feet shoulder length apart. Place hands palms-up on your thighs. Lean forward and clasp your hands around your knees. Look up: Kidney sound: Form an "O" with your lips as if preparing to blow out a candle. With a long, slow exhalation produce the sound "WOOOOOOOO." Visualization: Return your hands to the palms-up position on your lap and smile to your kidneys. Imagine a blue light shining upon your kidneys, surrounding them. Concentrate on feeling the virtue (power) of gentleness and/or generosity. Repeat two more times (a total of three), including the hands position and visualization.
The Liver Sound The liver sound transforms the emotional energy inside the liver into kindness. Position: Sit on the edge of your chair with feet shoulder length apart. Place hands palms-up on your thighs. Raise your hands palms-up over your head and interlock your fingers. Lean slightly to the left. Look up. Liver sound: Place the tongue near the palate and, with a long, slow exhalation produce the sound "SHHHHHHHHHH." Visualization: Return your hands to the palms-up position on your lap and smile to your liver. Imagine a green light shining upon and inside your liver, surrounding it. Concentrate on feeling the virtue (power) of kindness. Repeat two more times (a total of three), including the hands position and visualization. The Heart Sound The heart sound transforms the emotional energy inside the heart into love, joy and happiness. Position: Sit on the edge of your chair with feet shoulder length apart. Place hands palms-up on your thighs. Raise your hands palms-up over your head and interlock your fingers. Lean slightly to the right. Look up. Heart sound: With the mouth wide open, exhale a deep breath slowly and produce the sound "HAWWWWWWWW." Visualization: Return your hands to the palms-up position on your lap and smile to your heart. Imagine a red light shining upon and inside your heart, surrounding it. Concentrate on feeling the virtue (power) of love, joy and/or happiness. Know that the red light is burning away and transmuting any hatred emotion or self-pity into the virtue emotions. Repeat two more times (a total of three), including the hands position and visualization. The Spleen Sound
The spleen sound transforms the emotional energy inside the spleen into openness, fairness and justice. Position: Sit on the edge of your chair with feet shoulder length apart. Place hands, fingers of each hand touching the others, palms-up, under your left ribcage. Inhale and with breath held, slightly push the sides of your hands in and slightly up, under the rib. Spleen sound: While moving the hands under the ribs, place the tongue near the palate, and with a long, slow exhalation, produce the sound "WHOOOOOOOO" from the throat, like the sound of an owl. Visualization: Return your hands to the palms-up position on your lap and smile to your spleen. Imagine a yellow light shining upon and inside your spleen and pancreas, surrounding them. Concentrate on the virtue (power) of openness, balance and fairness. Repeat two more times (a total of three), including the hands position and visualization. Triple Warmer Lie flat on your back, if possible. With your mouth open, exhale slowly as your produce the sound "HEEEEEEEE." Imagine a huge rolling pin flattening out your body from the forehead down to the toes. This will balance all the energies activated by the other sounds and help relax the body fully. Repeat two more (a total of three) times. Daily Practice Along with the Inner Smile, the Six Healing Sounds should be practiced daily. Regular practice recycles more and more negative energy. Negative emotions need not be dreaded for with the use of the Six Healing Sounds they can easily be transformed into refreshing vital force. 1) See my "The Tickling of the Ant." 2) For details of each sound see Mantak Chia s Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality Amir can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amir Fatir was a journalist and Nation of Islam Minister when he was arrested in 1975 for a murder that someone else committed. While on death row he studied all the ancient spiritual systems to learn where he d be after his execution. Amir found a common thread runs through Islam, Yoga, Judaism, Christianity, Taoism, Magic, Modern Science and Egyptian Metaphysics. In 1991 Amir received a pardon recommendation that because of politics was illegally revoked. He hasn t been physically free since the Ford Administration. While in prison he has authored books, developed award winning programs and healed people and animals of serious diseases. Amir is an Astrologer whose writings connect and reveal the symbolic wisdom in esoteric systems, new age philosophies and modern science. He can t sing but still hopes to one day perform with the Temptations.
Through the Power of the Inner Smile
Mantak Chia, a Taoist master known throughout the world, gave proof of the extensive effectiveness of his energy work, when he was measured at an Institute in Vienna.
" It's unbelievable!" says Gerhard H. Eggetsberger, biochemist and technical head of the Institute for applied Biocybernetics and Feedback Research, in Vienna. "This man is able to change his
electrical skin resistance in a split second from 60 Q up to 6080 Q and to lower it down again. We even know how he does it through a kind of sympathetic reflex. This means that he can simply switch from the Nervus Vagus to the Nervus Sympaticus. An untrained body would never do this as completely as he does this. We are scientifically proving spiritual knowledge that is 6000 years old! "This man" is Master Mantak Chia. He is an ethnic Chinese who was born in Thailand about 50 years ago into a Christian family and grew up surrounded by Hindu and Buddhist traditions. During his university studies in Hong Kong, he came in contact with a Taoist master. Having been educated by various well- known Taoist masters, he is now himself a Master and the author of a number of books. He has been teaching - Faoism all over the world for more than two decades. Again and again, he uses western sciences to explain and prove that the energy exercises he teaches measurably affect the body, and that they are not just folklore or superstitious beliefs, but highly effective instruments for promoting physical and mental health and development.
Taoist master, Mantak Chia (right), produced incredible results when his brain potential and electrical skin restance were tested at the 'Institute for Applied Biocybernetics and Feedback Research' . The Head of the Institute, gerhard Eggetsberger
(left): "An untrained bodu could never endure such extreme changes without being seriously damaged." In the autumn of 1996, he let psychologists in Los Angeles take his EEG-graphs, The results were astonishing. During the practice of certain techniques, his brain not only produced beta-waves (which are characterfetic of the waking state), but also alpha and theta-waves, (which normally occur only during deep meditation or deep sleep), while he was talking animatedly with the scientists. ' How is it possible to be wide-awake and yet send certain regions of the brain into deep sleep? Scientists have been just as surprised about the results of the tests made in Vienna in May 1997, where a completely different set of parameters were tested, such as, the electrical skin resistance mentioned at the beginning of the article. The exceptional character of these consciously created changes, can be made clear through the following comparison. After 6 months of regular training on a biofeedback machine a competitive athlete will be able to increase or to diminish his electrical skin resistance in 10 to 15 minutes, from 200 to 300 Q. That corresponds to the difference between a hand sweating from excitement and a very dry hand. Gerhard Eggetsberger says: "But the electrical skin resistance of 6000 Q corresponds to a state of incredible apathy, whereas a resistance of 60 Q means such an excessive excitement, that most people would be on their way to a heart attack."
Master Mantak Chia calls the system that he has developed, 'The Healing Tao." "It's a system, that helps you take in, store and balance energy to stay healthy and .become y whole", he says. He knows nine different levels, the last of which leads to
enlightenment. Even the first two levels address issues that are seen as problems by many people. "Sexual energy is sacred!" says Master Mantak Chia, setting himself apart from many spiritual traditions, which deny the body. "Whenever we are aroused, whenever we have sex, we are in communion with the divine a~iii universal energy. But most people do not know how to use this energy safely and beneficially anymore - especially monks and nuns, who are in bitter need of such knowledge." Most people believe there are only two alternatives, neither of which is ideal. Mantak Chia: "One of the deep misunderstandings of some religious systems is that they regard sex as negative or even evil, and therefore they try to suppress it. Sexual energy makes up one quarter of our total life force. People who deny sexual energy can lose their joy for life. They can only participate in and enjoy the universal life force, the Chi, to a certain extent." The opposite mistake, according to The Universal Tao, is to connect with the sexual energy and build it up inside the body, but then give it away again through orgasm, thus losing the benefits of it. TRANSFORMATION OF SEXUAL ENERGY : The way to escape the loss of sexual energy can be found in tantric wisdom, wilich has been practiced by Tao yogis for centuries. In contrast to the Indian Tantric tradition, which delays the moment of orgasm, but then allows a peak orgasm to happen, the Universal Tao tries to avoid the peak orgasm completely. "The important thing is'to let the orgasm energy flow, yet not to waste it, but to transform it. Similar to water that turns into steam when heated enough and which can drive the turbine of a power station when guided properly, the Universal Tao practices enables one to begin a transformation process", so the Master says. If this sounds like a new form of denial, be reassured : "Enjoy your sexuality !" advises Master Mantak Chia, "but learn to multiply your orgasm energy ten-fold, hundred-fold, thousand-fold and use it for your growth !" This does require
discipline, but not celibacy. On the contraiy, it is through these practices that multiple orgasms also become possible for men. passion is multiplied and there is no rolling over and falling asleep immediately after intercourse. The fundamental focus in the Universal Tao is on emotional energy. "Today, emotions are normally thrown away like garbage", the Tao Master explains. "By tills we not only cause a lot of damage, but we also repeat the same mistake we make in the field of sexuality on another level. Energies that we might use for our growth evaporate unus'ed, and in that we weaken our system. The way out according to Mantak Chia : "The Universal Tao teaches you not to suppress your feelings, but to keep the emotional energy inside more often and to transform it there. That way "energetic waste" can be changed back into neutral energy that is at your disposal. All this forms the essential foundation for reaching the goals of Taoist yoga. "Only when your sexual energy is completely at your disposal - and not the other way round - and when you have a good emotional state, wilich means being relaxed, can you establish a connection with the Universe and profit from its enormous potential !" Master Mantak Chia makes clear. In order to achieve the first two steps successfully, the energy needs paths for circulation and places where it can be stored. Through this a widely forgotten principle of division of labor comes into action. Master Mantak Chia : "The brain is able to generate, channel and move large quantities of energy, but it can't store them." This can be observed, for example, in traditions that use a lot of chanting. While mantras are being chanted, the energy level rises, but afterwards it quickly drops back to the previous level. Energy however can be stored in the organs and bones, and especially in the spine, and with the help of the Universal Tao techniques a beginner is capable of keeping the energy, which they built up, for example, during a retreat. INTENTIONAL TRANSFORMATION OF ENERGY:
Master Chia explaining the connection between the flow of Chi in the organs, and the four directions, five elements, animals, colors and planets.
The Taoist yoga student begins to get in touch with the divine by practicing the Microcosmic Orbit. The practicioners learn to enlarge their working storage capacity so much that they can take in the information of the "greater Universe". According to Master Mantak Chia, the Universal Tao takes special care to proceed at an appropriate and safe pace. "The Kundalini energy we are working with is very hot. If it gets activated in an uncontrolled or unprepared manner, it can literally burn out the brain and cause mental damage. We work at a leisurely and safe pace. We do not fay to create loads of energy, but to create an amount that can be stored." At the basic level, six different pratices serve this puipose. . Tlie Microcosmic Orbit : Through physical and mental exercices the inner energy channels are activated, cleansed and trained, so that sexual, emotional or organ energy can always flow and does not stagnate anywhere. The channels correspond to tlie known channels of Chi Kung. . The Six Healing Sounds : The first five sounds detoxily the organs and lead them back to a healthy state of vibration. This provides ideal absorption and digestion' of all nutrition. (If an organ does not vibrate at the right frequency, blockages arise, which may, by and by, lead to somatic disturbances.) The Six Healing Sounds balances the warm and cold energy in the body
. . Tlie Inner Smile, were one smiles into different parts of the body - the organs, glands and-the brain and charges them with positive energy. This helps transform negative emotions and promotes a rhythmic flow of Yin and Yang energy (this will be explained later in the article). . Special breathing techniques help to consciously guide the life force, keep it in a state of flux, track down blockages and release them. . Iron Shirt Chi Kung is a special system of exercices which makes it possible to absorb energy at the level of the bone marrow. (Mantak Chia : "It's like building an iron shirt that strenghtens and protects tlie body.") . Tai Chi, which not only help to build up and guide energy, but also balances and distributes the energy evenly through all the channels. Master Mantak Chia explains what the Universal Tao aims for, using the Tai Chi as an example : "The whole secret is keeping the Yin and Yang balanced. Many people who relax just become passive, and all too often Tai Chi is taught in that way as well. But in relatity it's a flow of Yin and Yang states, relaxation and activity, parasympathetic and sympathic nervous systems. This is very important because both elements are part of our potential and we need both in order to master our lives. Otherwise we are incomplete." Mantak Chia is able to switch between extreme Yin and Yang states. This has been objectively proven by the tests mentioned earlier. The awakening of this ability in the Universal Tao does not happen for purely self-centered reasons and is not just a training in states of higher consciousness. The "religious policy" of the Universal Tao is to avoid leaving people depend on others - even if the others are "highly evolved" gums - but to lead them into freedom and independence. The aim is not an imagined heavenly kingdom. Master Mantak Chia : "In other systems, for example Buddhism, where a lot of chanting is practiced, or in churches, where the main focus is on prayer, the adepts are mainly in touch with receiving Yin energy. They open themselves to the cosmic
energy during prayer, but they learn neither to store it, nor how to use it actively in their lives. When they stop praying, the Chi disipates. If there is a constant demand for "surrender !", "give up !" and "no ego !" without making any effort to balance this, they can be dominated easily by gurus, masters or religious leaders. They are hardly able to deal with the emotions of everyday life. Taoist yoga stresses the importance of being able to support oneself and not to depend on charity." In this statement a great acceptance and love for life on earth become apparent. Master Chia only smiles at people who curse the world due to esoteric beliefs. "Unluckily, there are still many teachings which look upon this life as a laborious preparation for the supposed "real" life m "heaven". These systems, whose goal is to go to a higher level, do not appreciate the body. They do not want to take responsibilities in this world. In some extreme cases people hardly do anything but wait for "the UFOs" to take them away. The Universal Tao in contrast asserts : "The world is beautiful. We should preserve it. Let's make it our heaven !" The first aim, therefore, is to strenghten and preserve the body, to harness and enjoy the sexual energy and do work here on earth." It is only through this that a transition into another world becomes possible. Admittedly, the Universal Tao, like other spiritual traditions and methods, projects' energy to the Universe (God, the Cosmos), but then, in a rhythmic exchange, the energy is then taken back and stored in the body, so that it can be used in this world. "It is not like in some religions and in the ancient monarchies, were the object that is being worshipped, or the monarch, gets all the energy. It is rather that we connect with the energy and then take it into ourselves so as to realize it". Master Mantak Chia explains. INDEPENDANCE FROM ALL GURUS: Taoist practices make the student independent. This has nothing to do with Master Mantak Chia perhaps being a liberally minded teacher, it is inherent in the system : "Most people are dependent", the Master claims, "because they never learn how to work with their own energy. Therefore they have either to
suppress or to waste the energy, and this is why they are hooked on various systems. It is similar to a tiger who has forgotten how to hunt while living in a zoo, and who would starve in the wild." If a person is able to let their feelings and sexual energy be without having to act on them, they have already acilieved a great deal of freedom. If that person, on top of that, learns how to connect with the Universe, they can not be manipulated by any church. Master Mantak Chia : "It is like Jesus and even Mohammed said : "You don't need me, you can connect directly with God ! "." An independence is established that is based on hearing your own inner voice. In the Healing Tao system one strives to built up enough energy in the brain so that real knowledge and wisdom can reside there. That has nothing to do with the number of books you have read, but with being connected to nature and the Universe. If tlie inner voice is sincere, an intuitive connection to truth may arise that is incorruptible. "If you have this connection, you know if someone is telling the truth or not, just like animals who know what to eat and what not to eat. When you have reached this state, you can be open to all systems and find out, if there is anything in them that you can use. You are not in danger of being led astray by false opinions of others anymore. It is not about leaving religion, but how to be yourself within a religious system. SPECTACULAR RESULTS OF THE UNIVERSAL TAO :
Master Chia can alternate between two extreme levels of resistance, which normally occour only in cases of heart attack, or extreme apathy.
A measurement of this kind had never been done before in the Institute for Biocybemetics in Vienna. Gerhard H. Eggetsberger, the head of the Institute : "The Universal Tao practices are the first system I have comme across that I can fully recommend." The measurement of the so-called USPs (Ultra Slow Potentials) or, more simply, the inner flow of the energies in the body, which are connected with clarity, efficiency, health, reflexes, the quality of your sexual experience and various other physical phenomena, showed extremely high results when Master Chia was doing his meditation. The potentials in both brain hemispheres rose from the beginning exercice, the Inner Smile, until the last exercise, the Orgasmic Upward Draw. Especially notable in the fact that the potentials in both hemispheres of the brain began to synchronize during this process. Gerhard Eggetsberger : "It seems to be a kind of biological program. After a certain amount of energy, both hemispheres balance themselves automatically, as if only now the full human potential unfolds. Once a certain level of energy has been achieved, which Master Mantak Chia could easily exceed by far, physical changes become apparent : new synapses are formed, which again corresponds to a materially greater brain capacity." It may be presumed, that it is this level that Mantak Chia-talks about, when he says that a connection with .the Cosmos is established once a certain amount of energy has been created in the brain, and this awakens inner knowledge and wisdom.
The Head of the Institute, Gerhard Eggetsberger, testing the equipment which has been developed by the Institute.
Another finding : wherever Mantak Chia sent energy to in his body, bringing his awareness to that part, the potentials immediately increased measurably. But not only he can do this. During a series of tests with his students, they also achieved significant results. The great success of the Cosmic Healing technique, which is a guided visualization through the body and an energy transmission through a healer, has been confirmed by tests as well. The head of the Institute, Dr. Eggetsberger, summarizes the results of a treatment that Jens Christian, a medical doctor from Munich, received : '"Every time Master Mantak Chia made use of the technique, the throat center opens. The potential of the thyroid gland increased, even though the person that was tested was in a state of relaxation. This normally never happens. What it means is that a person practicing Taoist yoga is able to learn in few hours, for instance, in combination with biofeedback machines, how to control their glandular system, and thereby fundamental elements of their immune. How amazing !" Another interesting aspect can be seen, if you compare people who practice Taoist yoga with people who practice Kundalini yoga : Dr. Eggetsberger's results show that both know how to
influence the energy in their bodies to an amazing degree. "Yogis contract the energy in their brain and hold it there for 10 hours or more, thereby creating lasting transmutations of their brain structure, i.e. Iligh levels of consciousness that last. That does not seem to be the goal in the Universal Tao. The potentials are created in the brain, but are guided back into the body and stored there. In my personal opinion, a combination of the two systems would be best, because the longer you can hold this high energy level, the more spiritual growth can take place. But on the other hand, disturbances might arise which could be prevented, if the student learnt how to conduct the energy in the body." THE INNER SMILE EXERCISE: Sit on a chair, straighten your spine and close your eyes. Begin by breathing slowly to the abdomen. Observe your breath becoming calm and even. Feel your abdomen rising and falling and gradually warming up. Smile into your navel, the Tan Tien area and into your abdomen. As you exhale, bring your awareness into the bladder. Smile into your bladder. Visualize a blue color there, or imagine sparkling blue water. Let your awareness stay in the bladder for 3 or 4 breaths. Move to the liver on the next exhale, on the right hand side of your body. Smile into your liver. See a green color or a forest, nature or young wood. Inhale that green color into your liver for 3-4 breaths. Let your awareness move to the heart. Feel the fire of love bum inside your heart and become aware of a shining red color. Stay in your heart for 3-4 breaths as well. Feel and see the red quality there. Breathe and smile into it. Glide down to the stomach, pancreas and spleen. Imagine a yellow sun in that area. Feel warm soft earth here. Inhale a yellow color. Smile into these organs. Turn your awareness to the lungs. The lungs are connected to the metal element. Inhale a silver light into every cell as you smile into them. Feel your lungs expand and become
cool and pure. Let your awareness go down to the kidneys. Go through tills cycle of the organs a few times : bladder, liver, stomach, lungs afad kidneys. When you finish, bring your awareness back to the navel and the energy that has been brought into flow will be stored there. (Detailed in the following books written by Mantak Chia : "Transform Stress into Vitality", and "Chi Self- Massage".) "This exercise seems easy, but it has radical effects". Universal Tao teacher Beate Nimsky explains. "Through breathing deeply, the whole body becomes calm and peaceful. And the smiling then opens up the organs and makes them softer, so that internal tensioris can be dissolved. Through this we prepare the system to take in more energy. Smiling into the organs in the given order corresponds to the so-called Creation Cycle and, connected with the colors and elements, brings about an energetic charging of every cell. Once the cells are charged, the surplus of energy is automatically conducted into the brain. This energy harmonizes the brain and balances both hemispheres. This also has a positive influence on the nervous ganglions that run through the spinal cord, which again has a healing effect on the organs. Extract from: Esotera, August 1997.
“Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners.” —William Shakespeare
Are you looking for clarity, meaning and purpose in life? Would you like to cultivate health, healing, happiness and higher-self development in your life? Would you want to transform the frustrations of stress and tension into vitality for a full life, plus access reality-based experiences of the spiritual dimensions within? Universal Healing Tao instruction, masterminded by Grandmaster Mantak Chia, provides a complete set of personalized tools to enable you to achieve your goals. Whether a complete novice or an intermediate wandering truth-seeker, you already have the resources in you that you need to reach your goals. You just need to learn how to cultivate them, simply, step by step.
IMMORTAL SELF'S 9 secrets of taoist Inner Alchemy The Spiritual Core of Grand Master Mantak Chia's Teaching
Master Chia is the founder of Healing Tao in USA, Tao Yoga in Europe and Universal Healing Tao Center and Tao Master School at Tao Garden Health Spa & Resort. Tao Garden is a worldwide center for Taoist training and holistic healing, detoxification and rejuvenation. Located in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in the northern Thailand countryside near Chiang Mai, Tao Garden offers year-round Taoist training plus
complementary health services. Both TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Ayurvedic modalities are integrated with limited Western medical services. Additionally, the Health Spa offers a full range of Thai Massage, Ayurvedic Massage, Chi Nei Tsang and Karsai Massage, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and yoga. Also: large swimming pool, gym and other recreational facilities. Guests enjoy their time at Tao Garden in the beautiful surroundings of nature with fresh air, good water and delicious organic diet. Our motto: good heart, good intentions and good chi! <www.tao-garden.com> Universal Healing Tao practices are designed to cultivate a balanced life of love, health, longevity and spiritual evolution. It is a complete system for our integrated physical, energy (emotional), mental and spiritual bodies. The focus is on developing and refining our life energy, chi—our bioelectromagnetic life force—for self-healing and life enhancement. Tao means way: the way of nature and the universe, the natural way. The way of the Tao is a process of ‘returning' to Wu Chi, the primordial all-conscious void. Whereby, the practitioner consciously senses the personal chi within the body, and then the chi of Earth, nature and the Universe. We establish a relaxed, healthy base of life in our physical/social environment. At the same time, we strive to achieve spiritual independence and merge into oneness with the Wu Chi.
HUMAN PRIMORDIAL FORCE
Taoist history goes back to the time when everybody was living in nature and in caves. They discovered what we call the Wu Chi, the Original Force or Primordial Force. In those times, the Chinese started connecting with nature and feeling the forces of nature. “In the Taoism of my lineage,” says Grand Master Mantak Chia, “the origin goes back to the Wu Chi, the Supreme Natural Power in the universe—in Western terminology, God. It means ‘nothingness,' but it is filled with ‘Dark Matter,' the subtle subatomic entities.”
Humans also store part of the primordial force. Starting from the beginning of conception when the egg and sperm come together in the first cell-this cell has the power to draw the primordial force down, combine with it and form what comes to be a human. Just as when the first cell divides and multiplies, the subsequent copies from the original retain the capacity to draw in the primordial force. The practice of the Inner Smile and the Six Healing Sounds will help to reunite with this force. When the human body is formed, the sexual organ cells store part of the primordial force. The heart stores part of the original spirit (yuan shen) of the primordial force. The right kidney stores part of the primordial force that supports life and gives more life. When we combine our love, compassion and orgasmic sexual energy, a harmonizing resonance effect arises at the synergistic frequency of eight Hertz. In this state of activation, our cells will draw in the primordial force and a process of cellular intercourse occurs. DNA is transcribed in the nucleus and translated via RNA in the cytoplasm. Cells divide and combine, giving birth to new and improved cells. This cellular intercourse will also occur when we have stored enough of this combined sexual energy (jing) and then combine it with love and compassion energy. The kidneys store part of the primordial force and connect with the earth force, which also has the same eight Hertz frequency. There are many rooting Chi Kung practices in Taoism to help ourselves to be energetically rooted into the earth in order to access its primordial force. Earth force is combined with the universal primordial force so that it is a source of the major force that is closest to the quality of human force. The Heavenly Primordial Force and the Earth Primordial Force combine with Human Original Primordial Force (such as the combination of creative life forces at human conception of the first cell). Thus, we can give our new cells' DNA the support of the creative life forces that nurtured our first cell—original reproductions, but genetically enhanced versions through the power of ‘positive personal engineering'.
PRIMORDIAL FORCE AND DARK MATTER
The whole Taoist practice is involved with how to evoke the primordial force in order to be reunited with it in our body, Primordial Force-an aspect of Dark Matter-fills the whole universe. Dark Matter is about 96% of the universe, and the other 4% is our physical universe, . Each galaxy is a part of the Primordial Force, especially our galaxy, our solar system and our planet Earth. Our sun and Earth are part of just one solar system out of 200 billion combinations of star and planet solar systems in our Milky Way galaxy. The Tao believes that our Earth is the energy center of the galaxies of our universe. This point of view is supported by the most advanced scientists of today in the field of quantum mechanics. According to quantum theory, one quality of subatomic particles is ‘non-locality.' Thus, with zero-point fluctuation as the underlying mechanism acting on quantum entities and causing one entity to affect the others—it means that every part of the universe can be in touch with every other part instantaneously. These scientists believe that the ‘Zero Point Field' is the allpervasive ground state throughout the universe. So, it really doesn't matter where we are—we are still at the center—and each person is at the center of the universe! We are well-positioned and well-suited for the all-important process of drawing upon the primordial force for our life maintenance,
refinement and evolution. Fortifying ourselves with this essential resource enables us to manifest the amazing wonders of our human birthright. And so, according to the Tao, the universe sends energy to us and to Earth so the earth can support life. Our earth stores a major part that we need in order to fulfill our birthright. Our planets also have a lot of influence on us, and all the planets store some of the elemental qualities of Primordial Force that we need to access in order to complete our inner alchemy transformation.
MY MASTER, YI ENG: INNER ALCHEMY PRACTICE
In my lineage, we call ourselves the ‘Inner-Alchemy-JustPractice Taoists.' People in this lineage usually learn from many systems—such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and the science of today's world. Highly refined states of inner experience and consciousness are the birthright of all humans and are accessible by all! Inner-Alchemy-Just-Practice Taoists combine all the things that are effective. They take out what is not necessary, including all rituals and ceremonies. They go to the mountains, practice and come down to teach and help people. My master, Yi Eng (I Yun—means White Cloud) finally decided to go to the mountain and practice things in this way. He was practicing and searching for all the masters in the mountains. Finally, he met my grandmaster, and he learned the whole system
that he passed on to me. The master gave no initiation, no celebration, nothing at all—just pure practice. The nine formulas of Taoist internal spiritual cultivation that I teach were originally transmitted to me by my master, Yi Eng. It took many generations of masters to refine their amazing experiences into nine practical stages of inner alchemy. He told me to teach these to Chinese first and then to Westerners. White Cloud left his body at age 96.
Sexual Essence, Inner Child and the Immortal Spirit Body Some may find it interesting to hear that spiritual development can go hand in hand with a loving, respectful sexual relationship as well as for solo cultivation practice. And further, that the sexual energy generated in the process is a critical element for spiritual development. One learns to cultivate, control, conserve, refine and store sexual energy in the body in the basic practices. From there, there are more refined inner alchemy practices that enable Universal Tao practitioners to grow and attain their Immortal Spirit Body. It begins with the Fusion I,II and III Chi energy body (soul) practices. Through inner alchemy processes, one refines immaterial (sexual energy essence and healthy positive energy) generated from material (physical body) and sources of Earth, nature, planets, and the universe. A practitioner can become energetically 'pregnant.' By intention one can create and nurture a crystalized energy 'foetus' (using the physical analogy). With loving attention and care via the upper hierarchy of meditation practices-Lesser, Greater and Greatest Kan and Li, and Sealing of the Five Senses-one feeds, transfers consciousness and trains this energy body to grow like a healthy child. The goal is to have time to accomplish the energetic refinement and crystalization of one's true spiritual self, referred to as the 'Golden Light Body' (Golden is a reference to
the high value accorded to this attainment, not necessarily its permanent color). It doesn't happen by whim or chance. It takes time, patience and commitment. Therefore, Taoists value a healthy, happy, emotionally balanced life and longevity to support feeling good and to be willing to persevere with this higher inner alchemy process. The process is further refined in the practices of the Congress of Heaven and Earth and then the Reunion of Heaven and Man. The Golden Light Body is one's immortal vehicle for spiritual freedom and independence. It transcends the limits of the physical world of time and spacewhile still living in the here and now. The goal can be attained and experienced in this lifetime. It is the ultimate meaning and purpose of life! Using White Cloud's structure, I have added my own refinements based on study with many masters as well as my studies in Western anatomy, astronomy, astrology, medical science and of the advancements in the field of quantum sciences-combined with my experience of over forty years of practice and teaching.
NINE TAO INNER ALCHEMY FORMULAS OF IMMORTALITY
All of the Inner Alchemy practices are involved with activating and restoring the Primordial Force back to sufficient quality and quantities for our health and spiritual development. These formulas are best studied with a live teacher in a supportive class setting, but that is not always possible. Book, booklet, CD, VCD or DVD support materials for many of the practices mentioned herein are available from the Universal Healing Tao Center (www.universal-tao.com). We invite you to attend live retreats at Tao Garden Health Spa & Resort (www.taogarden.com) or elsewhere with me when I'm on the world tours. Or, with a Universal Healing Tao Instructor who may be available to teach in your area.
INNER ALCHEMY FORMULA I PRIMORDIAL FORCE ACTIVATION
Basic Practices I
In order to activate the Primordial Force, we need to purify the organs and learn grounding to the earth. The most powerful force that can be used to support us is the primordial force of Earth. Taoist practice is involved with the yin/yang, the PH balance of acid and alkaline. It is also the balance of negative and positive emotions—we do not look at negative as sin.
1. 2. Inner Smile: Use the power of smiling to activate the relaxation response in the parasympathetic nervous system. Get rid of the negative emotion and rebalance the positive emotion. When we learn to smile to the negative and make friends with it, we can find a way to live in harmony together and enhance our health. Transforming negative emotional energy patterns into the positive components in the organs helps to reprogram the genes and DNA. The Inner Smile is one of the most simple and powerful tools for healing. Cosmic Inner Smile 3. Six Healing Sounds: Each organ stores parts of the primordial force and negative and positive emotions. One part of the negative needs ten parts of the positive to
balance it. With the special sound for each of the organs, the special healing color, positive emotion and special position for each sound—these will help to restore you back to good health and will help with the connection to the primordial force. The healing sounds practice will help to reprogram the cells so that when the cells split, the old negative information will not be copied to the next cells. Cosmic
Basic Practices II
Healing Sounds 4. Microcosmic Orbit: Opening chi (body's life force energy) flow in the energy pathways from the perineum (area between sexual organs and anus) up the spine, through the head and back down the front side of the orbit will help to activate the orbiting of forces of the solar system and the universe. This will help draw in more primordial force from the earth through the soles of the feet up to the spine and from the universe in through the crown to combine in the lower Tan Tien (abdominal area), the heart and the brain. Awaken Cosmic Healing Light (Microcosmic Orbit) 5. Chi Self-Massage: Simple massage techniques are used to remove blockages and to enhance the healthy distribution of chi in the body from head to toe. This is good to do after meditation and other practices where a lot of chi is activated. Chi Self-Massage
Chi Kung for Healing 1. Deep Abdominal Breathing, Energizer and Empty Force Breath: These are breathing methods to open and energize
the tan tien, the main chi (life force energy) storage area of the body. 2. Laughing Chi Kung: Activate the immune system and defense system. Laugh to activate the thymus gland and the bone marrow. 3. Activate the Stem Cells Chi Kung: With the use of a bamboo hitter and a wire hitter, vibrate parts of the body so the stem cells get the message on where to go for healing and regeneration. 4. Elixir Chi Kung: All of our body hair, including the armpits and pubic hair are like antennas extended to the universe to absorb primordial force. Saliva is the Water of Life. Activate the saliva and charge it with oxygen and the chi of nature, earth and the cosmic chi. With the Elixir Swallow technique, the charged saliva will be turned into instant chi (life force) —the most powerful healing power. Elixir Chi Kung 5. Tan Tien Chi Kung: Cultivate and condense chi in the lower tan tien. Pack chi power in all 9 areas of the tan tien and the associated organs, kuas, tendons and ligaments using the Dragon and Tiger Breath and 11 animal exercise postures. Tan Tien Chi Kung 6. Iron Shirt Chi Kung I: Do Chi Breathing and Rooting to Ground while unifying and strengthening bone structure alignment. Circulate forces of Earth and the Universe. Iron Shirt Chi Kung I 7. Iron Shirt Chi Kung II: Activate and grow the tendons. Iron Shirt Chi Kung II 8. Bone Marrow Nei Kung: Regenerate the bone marrow and activate the stem cells for regeneration and healing. Bone Marrow Nei Kung (Iron Shirt III) 9. Tai Chi Chi Kung I: Develop the inner structure and chi flow of Tai Chi. Meditation in movement, movement in meditation. Tai Chi Chi Kung I 10.Tao Yin: A Taoist yoga that stimulates chi flow in meridians (chi pathways delineated in Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture maps of the energy body) affected by each exercise. Coordinate deep breathing, chi, mind and body for
deep sensing. Be more relaxed and refreshed. Induce elasticity of tendons, ligaments and associated muscles. Condition the spine, psoas muscles and patterns of movement for health and inner development. Tao Yin 11.Tai Chi Chi Kung II: Use the discharge technique to absorb and transmit the Universal and Earth Forces in this higher level of moving meditation. Tai Chi Chi Kung II Medical Chi Kung: 1. Chi Nei Tsang I: This is the most powerful massage therapy for deep organ detoxification. It removes physical and emotional blockages to return body systems to healthy functioning. Each organ contains part of the primordial force. When an organ's accumulated negative emotions and toxins are released, the organ can more effectively draw in the primordial force and regenerate itself. Chi Nei Tsang I 2. Chi Nei Tsang II: More techniques are taught and powerful applications are applied to release deep tension in blocked tissues. The magic of the elbow is learned to aid healing. Chi Nei Tsang II 3. Cosmic Healing Chi Kung I: Basic practices for general healing sessions with specific light energies of the primordial force are introduced. The procedure for creating healing ‘chi' water by changing the water's structure with one's mindeye-heart power and primordial force is also taught. Cosmic Healing Chi Kung I 4. Cosmic Healing Chi Kung II: More advanced methods are learned, and specific healing applications are taught for specific ailments in specific areas of the body. The practitioner learns meditations focused on connecting parts of the body to the structure of the universe in the process of spiritualization and opening to more powerful healing experiences with the primordial force. Cosmic Healing Chi Kung II 5. Karsai Nei Tsang: This genital health therapeutic cleansing massage specifically improves the health of the genitals and the genital area. The massage movements break up and
dissolve sedimentation in the circulatory system, release toxicity and remove physical and emotional blockages in the pelvic area. Most recipients experience a strong sensation of opening the energy channels from the sexual area to the kidneys, abdomen, legs, the brain and other parts of the body. This enables the primordial force and the stem cells to refresh, heal and regenerate more effectively in these areas as well as in the local sexual area. Karsai Nei Tsang
INNER ALCHEMY FORMULA 2
BASIC SEXUAL ALCHEMY PRACTICE Sexual Alchemy I
Sexual organs and the kidneys store part of the Jing, the essence of the primordial force. Learn how to conserve and store it. More sexual energy will help to attract and multiply the primordial chi. Men learn how to control ejaculation and to transform the sexual energy into chi (life force) and then transform it up to spirit force. Women learn how to control menstruation and transform the blood into chi and likewise transform it up to spirit force. Eventually, there will be less blood lost and more will be converted into chi. 1. Male Sexual Alchemy 2. Female Sexual Alchemy
3. Multi-Orgasmic Couple
INNER ALCHEMY FORMULA 3
FUSION: 5 ELEMENTS & 8 PAKUA FORCES
Eight-sided Pakuas are created and used to draw the organs' energies into their spinning centers. These energies mix with and are transformed by the elemental forces of nature, the planets and the eight primordial forces. In the practices of Fusion I, II and III, by blending—fusing —all these forces together in the Pakua, any negative emotional qualities or imbalances from the organs are neutralized. The organs' energy is transformed in the fusion processes. The transformed energy becomes a more refined, balanced quality of energy that is stronger and attuned to a higher quality. It is used to attract more primordial force—like coming into ‘oneness with God.'
Fusion of the Five Elements I: Pakuas for More Powerful Chi Transformation Establish the vibrating essence of the trigrams of the eight primordial forces in pakuas. Neutralize negative energies from
the organs with primordial forces of the pakuas. Form a pearl of condensed energy to circulate in the Microcosmic Orbit.
Fusion of the Five Elements II: Open Thrusting and Belt Channels Fuse positive energies and create powerful positively charged pearls of life force, chi. Use them to open the inner thrusting channels and the outer protective belt channels. Work with energy circles to broaden the scope of primordial force access and protection.
Fusion of the Five Elements III: Bridge, Regulator and Protection Channels Use the chi pearls to open and connect the Bridge and Regulator Channels, and then open more protective channels for the spine, head and body. Use all of these to further refine and protect the energy body.
Grand Master Mantak Chia now teaches the Inner Alchemy Formulas 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the Darkness facility at the Universal Healing Tao Center and Tao Master
School at Tao Garden Health Spa & Resort. He taught Lesser, Greater and Greatest Kan and Li in 2002-03. Sealing of the Five Senses was added to the schedule in 2004. Take advantage of our Darkness Retreat technology here at Tao Garden. Participants stay in the absolute darkness atmosphere during the full week(s) of their training. This yields
the best results due to the natural changes in the biochemistry of the brain, the relaxed atmosphere, enhanced inner focusing and the enriched energetic atmosphere of group meditations led by Grand Master Mantak Chia. Share the subdued excitement of experiencing newly discovered realities in an ambience of friendly camaraderie among kindred spirited participants from around the planet. ‘Dark matter' is not dark. The “dark matter” that one encounters in the prolonged Darkness Retreat is matter that is void of charged particles and therefore cannot be seen with our normal vision. It can interpenetrate with visible matter. Think of it as ‘atoms' which are held together by a ‘force' other than electromagnetic force and that these ‘atoms' are not visible to our normal vision, yet they can interpenetrate with visible atoms. Varieties of finer matter exist not only in the world without, but they exist in man also. Our subtle bodies and subtle matter are composed of various forms of uncharged “dark matter.” Timespace relationships are dependent upon the type of matter one is conscious of or experiencing. The sense of time and space associated with these various forms of subtle matter are different from that associated with visible matter. When one acquires an awareness of his/her subtle bodies, there is light galore, but it is not the light seen with our physical body's eyes. There are objects and scenes of magnificent beauty and distinct beings in beautiful light body form as real in appearance as people in our physical form. There are infinite fascinating possibilities that one may experience. In the Darkness Retreat you will learn and practice techniques that make it possible to experience the universe from the perspective of your subtle bodies. You can observe the “dark matter” with your “dark matter” subtle body vision. You may see within and/or beyond. Explore your unique and wondrous possibilities within— whether it be journeying through DNA memories, having a spontaneous healing occurrence, profound emotional revelations, lucid dreaming, inner light experiences, seeing in other
dimensions through the inner ‘third eye,' or perhaps flying beyond the highest mountains and out among the stars. Fascinating and inspirational new experiences arise in Tao Garden's comfortable ‘five star' Darkroom accommodations. See Darkroom Articles for more information.
INNER ALCHEMY FORMULA 4:
Lesser Enlightenment of Kan and Li
Inner Sexual Alchemy II (Fire &Water) Reunite with the Primordial Force. The heart stores part of the primordial force (yuan shen). The sexual organ also stores part of the primordial force. When these two combine together, they will form a more complete force. This process establishes a powerful ‘steaming' effect in the tan tien cauldron at the level of the navel center. This is used to cleanse, purify and strengthen the organs and brain to better attract the primordial force. Our spiritual fetus is established in the tan tien. The equinoxes and solstices that mark the changes of the seasons provide special opportunities to get a boost of energy in these Kan and Li practices. The vernal equinox at the beginning of spring time is when the yin and yang energies are balanced between the cold water energy of winter and the hot fire energy of summer. The light of day is balanced with the darkness of night. As the cold of winter yin moves to the heat of summer yang, the earth opens its energy of the warm moist growing power in abundance. It is a great opportunity to be open and interact with it to receive the
perfectly balanced quality of water and fire energy. So, humans can make use of this special offering of the primordial force from the earth for the inner alchemy in resonance with our kidney/ sexual energy and our heart energy that we are missing. This is a special time to get a huge boost of the earth's primordial chi.
INNER ALCHEMY FORMULA 5:
Greater Enlightenment of Kan and Li
Sun, Moon and Planets Alchemy (Fire &Water) Further Reunite with the Primordial Force. Another cauldron is established in the solar plexus center to draw on the yin and yang forces of the sun, moon and planets to further amplify the processes begun in the lower cauldron. The Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year when the sun is at its highest point of its arc in our sky. All living things, the plants, flowers and trees expand to draw on the fullness of this power of the sun. This is a great time to draw in the missing primordial force of the sun when we work in the cauldron at the solar plexus.
INNER ALCHEMY FORMULA 6:
Greatest Enlightenment of Kan and Li Planets, Star and Soul Alchemy (Fire &Water)
Reunite with the Primordial Force Still More. Establish another cauldron in the heart center and expand the body to become a Cosmic Being, billions of light years from head to toe. Become an immense being of the universe whose Crystal Palace is the North Star with constellations and planets for vital organs. Be this being that beams down its exquisite rays to one cell of its being, the human on planet Earth meditating up to the stars. Cosmic consciousness opens the three tan tiens to receive primordial force from their heavenly counterpart. By manifesting the intention to connect the relevant heavenly bodies to the appropriate parts of one's body, we attract the cosmic primordial forces needed for our inner alchemy to further develop our energy (soul) body and spirit body. This more refined alchemy in the heart cauldron enhances and furthers the steaming processes of water and fire, yin and yang, energies begun in the lower cauldrons. The autumnal equinox at the beginning of the fall season is when the yin and yang energies are balanced between the hot fire energy of summer and the cold water energy of winter. Again,
the days and nights are balanced as the days become shorter. As the heat of summer yang moves to the cold of winter yin, it's a good time to get extra benefit in the Greatest Kan and Li practice of drawing the missing heavenly primordial force into the body. In resonance with the tendency of the weather, the cells of the body are contracting and drawing inward from the cool dry weather after the expanding heat of the summer. The soul body is yin energy, and the spiritual body is yang energy. The soul body (yin) serves as an earth cable and absorbs the yang energy from the heavenly ‘wire' to the soul body and down to the human body. It also absorbs the earth energy to balance the yang energy absorbed from the heavenly (spirit) body.
INNER ALCHEMY FORMULA 7:
Sealing of the Five Senses Star and Galaxy Alchemy
Finally, we add another cauldron to the head, the upper tan tien. This cauldron is located at the mid-eyebrow point. It unifies the five shen, the five streams of personal consciousness that operate through our senses, with the five forces of the collective Stellar Self. The body of our stellar mind can be viewed in the four quadrants of fixed stars in the night sky, originally symbolized by heraldic animals (Black Turtle, Red Phoenix, Green Dragon, and White Tiger). The fifth, the quintessence, is the Purple Pole Star in the center of the sky, with the Great Bear of the Big Dipper marking the progression of the seasons as its handles rotates like the arm of a cosmic clock.
These personal and stellar essences are fused in the upper tan tien in the cauldron at the mid-eyebrow point. This is the process of our Inner Sage attaining the celestial level of immortality. The pure open space connecting the three tan tien cauldrons (at the navel, heart and mid-eyebrow) is integrated. This stabilizes the celestial axis. Profound peace and different spiritual qualities continuously manifest from this activated core and radiate sonically into our physical becoming. We hear the current of inner sound. Our soul pattern expands its conscious destiny to include dimensions of life beyond the physical plane.
INNER ALCHEMY FORMULA 8:
Congress of Heaven and Earth Heaven and Earth Alchemy
This practice integrates the Early Heaven or formless Self with the Later Heaven (Earth) physical Self. The Self here identifies itself here with two dimensions that co-exist and co-create: the “formless form” of our being and the “substantial form” of our becoming. These two polar dimensions of our greater Self engage in cosmic sex. They couple in order to re-open the portal to their Original state, or “Pre-Self”. This pre-state or Primordial Heaven is called hundun, the primal chaos-unity that preceded the “big bang” of the cosmic egg cracking open. The Three Originals (san yuan) of Heaven, Earth, and Humanity are gathered in the three body cauldrons as original ching (jing), original chi, and original shen. This three-tone
harmonic chord is resonated with the fundamental or original tone of time and space. Consciousness then stabilizes in the axial center where our true multi-dimensional nature can now be embodied. This is symbolized by a tonal double vortex spinning faster than the speed of light within the void of space. Into this is fused our inner sage's immortal presence, the quintessence of humanity meditating in the center of a cosmic torus (spiritual black hole). We must enter this portal to complete our journey of Return to the Origin.
INNER ALCHEMY FORMULA 9:
Union of Human and Tao
This stage is the integration of the eight previous levels of consciousness into the experience of living simultaneously in the present moment in all dimensions, from physical linear time to spirit's eternal time. This state cannot be fully known or defined conceptually for others. Perhaps it might be conceptualized as the experience of living fully in the Wu Chi, the Supreme Unknown. This is the true achievement of the authentic or Immortal Self, a permanent state of grace known as wu wei, effortless action, or spontaneous action without acting. Creation (of the manifest) and Return to Formless Origin seamlessly complete each other. Attainment of this ninth level is spontaneous, and
happens when the inner will of our immortal sage within has reached complete alignment with the Tao. It may occur only by direct transmission from the Tao to the mature and receptive adept. Writing and editorial assistance by Dennis Huntington Senior Instructor in residence at Tao Garden
By Dennis Huntington
Universal Healing Tao Senior Instructor in residence at Tao Garden TAO: Tao means the way—the way of man, nature, and the universe—the natural way of evolving in our life to our highest, most refined, ultimate state of being and experience. This implies a process of ‘returning' from the grosser levels of our manifested physical existence through the more subtle aspects of our being to our unconditioned, unrestricted pureself. At that point we merge and become one with the Wu Chi —the nothingness, the all-conscious void underlying all that ‘is'—comparable to the Christian and other religions' concept of becoming one with God. Taoist: An individual who subscribes to and practices the methods associated with the pursuit of the Tao is referred to as a Taoist. There are many steps along the way to attaining this underlying state of exalted being. Hence, there are various practices for health, healing, refining and longevity to support ourselves with sufficient energy and time to accomplish the goal. Going back thousands of years in China, people have accumulated and refined ways of cultivating the integrated physical body, energy body, mind and spirit for a balanced healthy, happy life in pursuit of the Tao.
Taoism: Various combinations of practices traced to Taoist roots. However, through time and diversity in different areas and with the impact of different social, religious, philosophical and political influences—different schools of thought and practice have proliferated. Various combinations of practices traced to Taoist roots and these other traditions are referred to as Taoism. Historically, a body of literature has accumulated that provides a base of reference for the roots and principles known as the Tao. Among the many Taoists to whom Taoist authority is attributed are Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Tan Jingsheng and Huang Ti, the Yellow Emperor. Paradoxically, as Lao Tzu tells us in beginning his Tao Te Ching: “The Tao that is voiced is no longer the Tao. The name that has been written is no longer that of eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of the cosmic universe. The named is the mother of the myriad creatures.” Science is providing us with a deeper knowledge of what is, but the Tao is still beyond words and knowledge. It can only be truly known by direct personal experience. Primordial Force: Taoists long ago—before the modern scientific discoveries of electromagnetism, electric energy power and quantum field mechanics—recognized subtle invisible forces in their subjective personal experience. They classified these forces in nature and the universe in terms of their category of effects in humans (physical, energetic, mental or spiritual qualities). Since they experienced the effects of the invisible forces and energies in the practices and found tremendous benefit for completing their inner alchemy, they called it the Supreme Natural Force, Original Force or Primordial Force. When they accessed it to apply it in the processes of inner alchemy they also referred to it as Primordial Chi. This use of terminology is analogous to the usage in modern life to ‘electromagnetic force' and electric energy when the force is activated and used in some application—the term ‘energy' is used to identify its effects in action, like chi is used by Taoists. Sometimes ‘force' and ‘chi' are commonly used loosely and
interchangeably. See the summary of ‘Dark Matter' for further clarification of the nature of Primordial Force/Chi. Inner alchemy: In order to attain this highly evolved state of experience and being, the state of existence beyond the r e s t r i c t i o n s o f t i me and s p ac e— i mmo rt al i ty—Tao i s t practitioners strived to discover what was missing and needed. They recognized that they needed to change the conditions and qualities of their normal everyday physical life. Master Mantak Chia's lineage of Taoists, the ‘Inner-AlchemyJust-Practice Taoists,' learned to change the quality of their inner state of energy in order to more effectively access the original quality of energy, primordial chi, that all of existence is derived from. This begins with the simple process of transforming the normal negative emotional energies in the vital organs into the positive qualities. This changes the PH balance between the acidic and alkaline states, producing a more favorable quality of body chemistry, hormone balance, etc. This is part of a highly refined process of inner change in the inner state and quality of one's being—inner alchemy— which evolves to higher levels of refinement and experience stage by stage by the individual practitioner. Many practices combine to achieve the desired results. Therefore, we have Master Chia's “Nine Tao Alchemy Formulas of the Immortal Self.” Herein, ‘Tao Alchemy' refers to the practices that collectively bring about important qualitative improvements in all aspects—physical, energetic, mental and spiritual—within each practitioner's life, culminating in the nameless TAO!
DARK MATTER — PRIMORDIAL FORCE/CHI
About 90% of the universe is Dark Matter. Starting from the Big Bang, 10% of matter, recognized as the Physical Universe, came into being. These estimates are the result of recent measurements and calculations using the latest advancements of space technology and its methods of detection.
Basically, from the point of view of the prevailing physical science establishment up to the present era, the physical universe was everything. Space was just ‘empty' space, a vacuum— nothingness with no content or form. Until recently there was not sufficient technology or base of knowledge as to the nature of subatomic quanta (wave/particles) or how to detect them in a free state in nature. During the 19th century our understanding of electromagnetic phenomena was pioneered, and the knowledge that electricity and magnetism were related phenomena and that light was a form of electromagnetic energy was established. In the 20th Century, a new picture of matter and the atom emerged in quantum mechanics. The chemical properties of matter became attributable to electrical charge—the same electrical charge found to be responsible for light in the previous century. From the point of view of the electric field, the atom appears solid, but from the point of view of mass, the atom appears very empty. Quantum mechanics showed that not only do we see objects because of electrical charge (and not because of the properties of mass) but also we can hold and feel objects because of the properties of electrical charge (and not because of the properties of mass). The detection of “dark matter” has to be made indirectly, through the observation of its gravitational effect. Because it has mass, “dark matter” can exert a gravitational pull on visible matter. So, looking into outer space with our most sophisticated instruments we can observe gravitational influences on distant stars, gas clouds, nebulae, galaxies and other celestial phenomena, but we cannot see the matter which produces the influences. The existence of uncharged particles is not new, but the discovery of “dark matter” seems different from what is known to date in that it makes up at least 90% of the universe, and is apparently stable. What we normally think of as the 'galaxy' -- the pinwheel of stars -- is in fact only a part of the entire structure. It is surrounded by, and immersed in, a globe of
unseen dark matter that makes up at least 90 percent of its mass. The real story of the Universe, it seems, is in its “dark matter.” There are two broad categories for the explanation of “dark matter.” It can be burnt out stars -- white dwarfs or black holes, or, it can be matter which is not composed of electrically charged particles. This simple property makes this matter invisible to our normal vision, and also would give “dark matter” the ability to interpenetrate with visible matter, i.e., it could pass right through visible matter. The property of “interpenetrability” of this type of “dark matter” with visible matter strikes a chord with the subtle matter of the mystical traditions. SPIRITUAL TEACHINGS Mysticism is a discipline involved with knowledge and techniques which are of value in assisting the individual toward spiritual growth. It is a very pragmatic discipline, concerned with direct experience, or awareness of spiritual truth, of ultimate reality, etc. Spiritual methodology is not based on external experimentation, but internal observation. As an age old tradition which continues to develop, mysticism is expansive, covering numerous concepts and doctrines. Spiritual Traditions from India and Tibet Humans are composed of several interpenetrating sheaths or subtle bodies, which are made up of matter from different planes, each of different relative density. The densest of these sheaths is what we normally regard as our physical body, the body that is visible to our normal vision. The other sheaths are not visible to our everyday vision. The second sheath is a subtle, fine-material sheath known as the prana [chi (qi)] or etheric body. This gives the visible body life and consciousness through the prana/chi. In western mysticism, the astral body is noted in addition to the etheric body, and is apparently combined with the pranic/chi subtle body.
The next even finer sheath is our ‘thought body' or ‘personality,' our mental body. This body is necessary for rational and intellectual thinking. The fourth sheath is the body of our potential consciousness, which extends far beyond our active thoughts. It comprises the totality of our spiritual capacities and is apparently equivalent to the soul in western mysticism. The last and finest sheath [fifth], the spirit body—which penetrates all the previous ones—is the body of the highest, universal consciousness. It is only experienced in a state of enlightenment, or in the highest states of meditation. These sheaths are not separate layers forming around a center, but are mutually penetrating forms of matter, from the finest matter down to the densest form of matter, which appears before us as our visible body. The corresponding finer or subtler sheaths penetrate, and thus contain the grosser ones. Just as the material body is built up through nourishment, while being penetrated and kept alive by the vital forces of the prana/chi, the body of active thought-consciousness penetrates the functions of prana in the same way and determines the form of bodily appearance. Soul body, mind body, prana/chi body, and visible body, however, are viewed as being penetrated and motivated by a still deeper and finer matter, spirit [shen in in Taoist terminology]. This ‘finer spirit matter' penetrates these grosser bodies and stores up the material that our thought and imagination draws its substance from. It is therefore only the spiritual body that penetrates all the five layers and thus integrates all organs and faculties of the individual into one complete whole. In mysticism, the finest matters appear to be associated with the deepest truths, or spiritual understandings. Prana—or Chi (Qi) in Taoist Terminology Along with these sheaths or mystical bodies are the energy centers or chakras [cauldrons in Taoist lore], which are also not visible to our normal vision. The chakras/cauldrons collect,
transform and distribute the forces flowing through them. These chakras/cauldrons are at points in which ‘psychic forces' and bodily functions merge into each other or penetrate each other. Connecting the sheaths (kosas) and chakras/cauldrons are subtle vessels called nadis/meridians, which serve as conductors of the energies that flow through the subtle bodies. To a certain extent, they parallel the nerve-system in the body, and they are very numerous. However, there are three major nadis/meridians—the central channel or susumna, which runs like a hollow channel through the center of the spinal column (relative to the visible body) and the ida and pingala, which are two channels wrapped around the susumna-nadi/meridian in a spiral fashion, starting from the left and the right nostrils respectively, and meeting susumna in the perineum at the base of the spine. They establish a direct connection among the seven chakras/cauldrons. In Tibetan [and Taoist] descriptions, pingala and ida are often simply called the ‘right and left nadi,' and there is no mention of a spiral movement of these nadis around the susumna. With our ordinary vision we cannot see the mystical subtle bodies, or the chakras, or the nadis, but all these bodies and chakras interact with each other to form the whole human being. To function as a human being, we are constantly using these subtle bodies even though we are not conscious of them. To the true practitioner of mysticism, these truths are as real to them as scientific truths are to the scientist. By turning inward, mysticism has concentrated its exploration of the universe on those concepts which are of value to spiritual growth. East Meets West The “dark matter” can be defined as matter which is void of charged particles and therefore cannot be seen with our normal vision and can interpenetrate with visible matter. For example, if the universe contained ‘atoms' which were held together by a ‘force' other than the electromagnetic force, these ‘atoms' would not be visible to our normal vision and could interpenetrate with visible atoms.
Recalling what we know of the mystical properties of subtle bodies and subtle matter, the subtle bodies capable of interpenetrating our visible body must be composed of various forms of uncharged “dark matter,” if they physically exist (have mass). Interpenetration with visible matter is a property of “dark matter” which is void of charged particles. What the mystics were describing was a type of “dark matter” long before scientists discovered “dark matter.” How could they have known that such a matter could exist? In our everyday life we are unaware of the existence of these subtle bodies, but the true mystics have developed techniques that make it possible for them to experience the universe from the perspective of their subtle bodies. In so doing they can look out upon the universe and observe the “dark matter” with their “dark matter” subtle body vision. Long before “dark matter” was discovered, C.W. Leadbeater said “All these varieties of finer matter exist not only in the world without, but they exist in man also. He has not only the physical body which we see, but he has within him what we may describe as bodies appropriate to these various planes of nature, and consisting in each case of their matter.”12 Through our visible body we are able to experience the visible world, and through the different unique types of subtle matter of which we consist, man can experience the corresponding outer world when he becomes conscious of that respective subtle body. Again, Leadbeater says “The soul of man has not one body but many bodies, for when he is sufficiently evolved he is able to express himself on all these different levels of nature, and he is therefore provided with a suitable vehicle of matter belonging to each, and it is through these various vehicles that he is able to receive impressions from the world to which they correspond."13 To the mystic who has acquired awareness of his subtle bodies, “dark matter” is not dark. Furthermore, looking at the accounts of individuals who have experienced these other planes of matter (such as during near-death experiences or in mystical states), it would appear
that the sense of time and space associated with these various forms of subtle matter are different from that associated with visible matter. Each subtle body seems to have a unique sense of time and space, and this suggests that time-space relationships are dependent upon the type of matter one is conscious of or experiencing. Clearly this would make it very difficult to communicate these experiences to those familiar with only our usual sense of time and space. COSMOLOGY Our scientific understanding of the Big Bang as a single energy event which presumably created simultaneously all matter and time and space, is, interestingly enough, not the likely source of the “dark matter” we are discussing. The traditional view of mysticism is that the more dense forms of matter were born out of the finer forms of matter, a Creation “which is divided into seven major planes of consciousness or matter”14. Our present scientific understanding of the origins of the Universe indicates that matter was created out of the Big Bang about 15 billion years ago. Our understanding of this event is sufficient that these unique types of subtle “dark matter” were not very likely formed in that event. Subtle “dark matter,” however, could have existed before the Big Bang, because our comprehension of the Big Bang is based on the behavior of visible (luminous) matter. The microwave background radiation of the universe (the “echo” of the Big Bang), and primordial nucleosynthesis (Big Bang atomic nuclear production) are the two quantitative tests supporting the hot Big Bang Theory. Of course both of these phenomena are based on radiation producing (luminous matter) observation, as is also the red shift which originally indicated an expanding universe. We can no longer assume that all matter was created at the Big Bang, even though luminous matter clearly was. Some form of “dark matter” [‘Primordial Chi' or ‘Original Force' in Taoist terminology] may have existed before the Big Bang. To have some sort of primordial "dark matter" present before the Big
Bang would indicate that the Big Bang was created out of a certain percentage of this primordial "dark matter," but not all of it was "converted" to luminous matter. Thus we still have much of this primordial "dark matter" around. This summary is from “‘Dark Matter'--The Physical Basis for Mysticism”; 18 pages; ©Deno Kazanis, Ph.D., 1997. Any part of that article may be copied providing credit is given. This summary has been extracted, compiled and edited (with Taoist terms added) by Dennis Huntington.
“I S 9 T A F” text section Primordial Force and Dark Matter, paragraph 2: “The Tao believes that our Earth is the energy center of the galaxies of our universe. This point of view is supported by the most advanced scientists of today in the field of quantum mechanics. According to quantum theory, one quality of subatomic particles is ‘non-locality.' Thus, with zero-point fluctuation as the underlying mechanism acting on quantum entities and causing one entity to affect the others—it means that every part of the universe can be in touch with every other part instantaneously. These scientists believe that the ‘Zero Point Field' is the all-pervasive ground state throughout the universe, including the ‘Dark Matter'.” ZERO POINT FIELD. There is a giant reservoir of energy that every quantum physicist is well aware of, the Zero Point Field. Quantum mechanics has demonstrated that there is no such thing as a vacuum, or nothingness. What we tend to think of as a sheer void (if all of space were emptied of matter and energy and you examined even the space between the stars) is, in subatomic terms, a hive of activity. Basic Substructure of the Universe: No particle ever stays completely at rest but is constantly in motion due to a ground state field of energy constantly interacting with all
subatomic matter. It means that the basic substructure of the universe is a sea of quantum fields that can-not be eliminated by any known laws of physics. What we believe to be our stable, static universe is in fact a seething maelstrom of subatomic particles fleetingly popping in and out of exis-tence. Virtual Particles: We cannot know both the energy and the lifetime of a particle; so a subatomic event occurring within a tiny time frame involves an uncertain amount of energy. All elementary particles interact with each other by exchanging energy through other quantum particles, which are believed to appear out of nowhere, combining and annihilating each other in less than an instant (10-23 seconds), causing random fluctuations of energy with-out any apparent cause. The fleeting particles generated during this brief moment are known as ‘virtual particles.' They differ from real particles because they only exist during that exchange. Zero-Point Fluctuation: Still Detectable in Temperatures of Absolute Zero. When added across the universe, this subatomic exchange gives rise to enormous energy —more than is contained in all the matter in the entire world. The Zero Point Field was called ‘zero' because fluctuations in the field are still detectable in temperatures of absolute zero, the lowest possible energy state, where all matter has been removed and nothing is supposedly left to make any motion. Zero-point energy was the energy present in the emptiest state of space at the lowest possible energy, out of which no more energy could be removed—the closest that motion of subatomic matter ever gets to zero. But because of the uncertainty principle there will always be some residual jiggling due to virtual particle exchange. It had always been largely discounted because it is ever-present. In physics equations, most physicists would subtract troublesome zero-point energy away – a process called ‘renormalization.' Because zero-point energy was ever-present, the theory went, it didn't change anything. Because it didn't change anything, it didn't count. A Quantum Sea of Light: To the quantum physicist, it is an annoyance, to be subtracted away and discounted. To the
religious or the mystic, it is science proving the miracu-lous. What quantum calculations show is that we and our universe live and breathe in what amounts to a sea of motion—a quantum sea of light. What quantum physicists have found is that the energy in the Zero Point Field keeps acting on particles so that they never come to rest but always keep moving, even in conditions at a temperature of absolute zero. FIELD: REGION OF INFLUENCE. A field is a matrix or medium which connects two or more points in space, usually via a force, like gravity or electromagnetism. The force is usually represented by ripples in the field, or waves. An electromagnetic field, for example, is simply an electrical field and a magnetic field which intersect, sending out waves of energy at the speed of light. An electric field and a magnetic field form around any electric charge. Both electrical and mag-netic fields have two polarities (negative and positive) and both will cause any other charged object to be attracted or repelled. The field is considered that area of space where this charge and its effects can be detected. The notion of an electromagnetic field is simply a convenient abstrac-tion to try to make sense of the seemingly remarkable actions of electricity and magnetism and their ability to influence objects at a distance – and, technically, into infinity – with no detectable sub-stance or matter in between. Simply put, a field is a region of influence. Constant Exchange: In the quantum world, quantum fields are not mediated by forces but by exchange of energy, which is constantly redistributed in a dynamic pat-tern. This constant exchange is an intrinsic property of particles, so that even ‘real' particles are nothing more than a little knot of energy which briefly emerges and disappears back into the underlying field. According to quantum field theory, the individual entity is transient and insubstan-tial. Particles cannot be separated from the empty space around them. Field of Fields: Inex-haustible Energy. Fluctuations in the atomic world amount to a ceaseless passing back and forth of energy. This sort of emission and re-absorption of virtual particles occurs not only among photons and electrons, but with all the
quantum parti-cles in the universe. The ZERO POINT FIELD IS A REPOSITORY OF ALL FIELDS AND ALL GROUND ENERGY STATES AND ALL VIRTUAL PARTICLES—A FIELD OF FIELDS. Every exchange of every virtual particle radiates energy. If you add up all the particles of all varieties in the universe constantly popping in and out of being, you come up with a vast, inex-haustible energy source. To give some idea of the magnitude of this energy source, it has been described thusly: the energy in a single cubic meter of space is enough to boil all the oceans of the world. NON-LOCALITY: Expla-nation for many metaphysical notions. Regarding the wave-particle nature of quantum entities, there is also a larger implication of a vast underlying sea of energy. The existence of the Zero Point Field (ZPF) implies that all matter in the universe is interconnected by waves, which are spread out through time and space and can carry on to infinity, tying one part of the universe to every other part. The idea of the ZPF might just offer a scientific expla-nation for many metaphysical notions, such as the Chinese belief in the life force, or chi (qi), described in ancient texts as something akin to an energy field. It even echoes the Old Testament's account of God's first dictum: ‘Let there be light,' out of which matter was created. ZPF: Self-Generating Feedback Loop across the Cosmos. The stable state of matter depends for its very existence on this dynamic interchange of subatomic particles with the sustaining zero-point energy field. Electrons lose and gain energy constantly from the Zero Point Field in a dynamic equilibrium, balanced at exactly the right orbit. Electrons get their energy to keep going without slowing down because they are refueling by tapping into these fluctuations of empty space. In other words, the Zero Point Field accounts for the stability of the hydrogen atom – and, by inference, the stability of all matter. Fluctuations of the Zero Point Field waves drive the motion of subatomic particles, and all the motion of all the particles of the universe in turn generate the Zero Point Field—a sort of selfgenerating feedback loop across the cosmos. It is a kind of self-
regenerating grand ground state of the universe, which constantly refreshes itself and remains a con-stant unless disturbed in some way. It also means that we and all the matter of the universe are literally connected to the furthest reaches of the cosmos through the Zero Point Field waves of the grandest dimensions. ZPF: A Mirror Image and Record of Everything That Ever Was. One of the most important aspects of waves is that they are encoders and carriers of information. When two waves are in phase and overlap each other – technically called ‘interference' – the combined amplitude of the waves is greater than that of the individual amplitudes. The signal gets stronger. This amounts to an imprinting or exchange of information, called ‘constructive interference.' If one is peaking when the other is troughing, they tend to cancel each other out – a process called ‘destructive interfer-ence.' Once they've collided, each wave contains information, in the form of energy coding, about the other, including all the other information it contains. Interference patterns amount to a constant accumulation of information, and waves have a virtually infinite capacity for storage. As all subatomic matter in the world is interacting constantly with this ambient ground-state energy field, the subatomic waves of the ZPF are constantly imprinting a record of the shape of everything. As the harbinger and imprinter of all wavelengths and all frequencies, the ZPF is a kind of shadow of the universe for all time, a mirror image and record of everything that ever was. In a sense, the vacuum is the beginning and the end of everything in the universe. QUANTUM ENTITIES: MASS IS AN IL-LUSION! The perspective of recognizing the dynamics of wave-particle fluctuation interactions with the ZPF provides a more refined clarification of Einstein's famous formula E = mc2. The equation has always implied that en-ergy (one distinct physical entity in the universe) turns into mass (another distinct physical entity). From the ZPF perspective, we now discover that the relationship of mass to energy was more a statement about the energy of quarks and electrons in what we call matter caused by interaction with the Zero Point Field fluc-tuations. In the lan-guage of
quantum physics, matter is not a fundamental property of physics. The Einstein equation was simply a recipe for the amount of energy necessary to create the appearance of mass. It means that there aren't two fundamental physical entities – something material and another immaterial – but only one: energy. Everything in your world, anything you hold in your hand, no matter how dense, how heavy, how large, on its most fundamental level boils down to a collection of electric charges interacting with a background sea of electromagnetic and other energetic fields—a kind of electromagnetic drag force. Mass is not equivalent to energy; mass is energy. Or, even more fundamentally, there is no mass. There is only charge. The property of inertia possessed by all objects in the physical universe is simply resistance to being accelerated through the Zero Point Field. Inertia is what is termed a Lorentz force – a force that slows particles moving through a magnetic field. In this instance, the magnetic field is a component of the Zero Point Field, reacting with the charged subatomic particles. The larger the object, the more particles it contains and the more it is held stationary by the field. What this is basically saying is that the corporeal stuff we call matter and to which all physicists since Newton have attributed an innate mass is an il-lusion. All that was happening was that this background sea of energy was opposing acceleration by gripping on to the subatomic particles whenever you pushed on an object. Mass is a ‘bookkeeping device, a 'temporary place holder' for a more general quantum vacuum reaction effect. What gives an object mass (or inertia) so that it requires an effort to start it moving, and exactly the same effort to restore it to its original state is the fact that so-called empty space is actually a cauldron of seething energies—the Zero Point Field. The implication is that both inertia and gravitation are electromagnetic phenomena resulting from inter-action with this field. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: If the Zero Point Field has imprinted everything that ever happened in the world through wave
interference encoding. This kind of information might account for coherent particle and field structures. There might also be an ascending ladder of other possible information structures, perhaps coherent fields around living organisms. Maybe this acts as a non-biochemical ‘memory' in the universe. It might even be possible to organize these fluctuations somehow through an act of will. The Zero Point Field represents nothing less than a unifying concept of the universe, which shows that everything is in some sort of connection and balance with the rest of the cosmos. The universe's very currency might be learned information, as imprinted upon this fluid, mutable field of information. The ZPF demonstrates that the real currency of the universe – the very reason for its stability – is an exchange of energy. If we were all connected through the ZPF, then it just might be possible to tap into this vast reservoir of energy information and extract information from it. With such a vast energy bank to be harnessed, virtu-ally anything could be possible—that is, if human beings had some sort of quantum structure allowing them access to it. But there is the stum-bling block. That would require that our bodies operated according to the laws of the quantum world. [The preceding information relating to the Zero Point Field was gleaned from THE FIELD, The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe, from Chapter Two ‘The Sea of Light' by investigative journalist and author Lynne McTaggart; HarperCollins Publishers, Great Britain 2001 and the U.S. edition in 2002; first Quill edition published 2003.] GOOD NEWS! That is what the Tao and goal the Universal Tao System of practices is all about: attuning ourselves to our more subtle ‘quantum structure' within in order to function in accordance with our innate capacities in the interpenetrating quantum world that we are already a part of. It is a process of returning to our subtle nature as we connect our awareness and consciousness with our chi, the ‘primordial force,' and the Wu Chi —referring to this subatomic quantum realm with Taoist terms.
Darkroom Retreat meditation practices are conducted yearly in February at Tao Garden. They provide an ambience for dips in the ‘Quantum Sea of Light' in the mother lode of darkness by awakening our inner vision capacities and opening ourselves to the interconnectedness with the universe(s) accessed within. EXAMPLE OF TAOIST INSIGHT AND EXPERIENCE: “Change is constant in nature. … [Reference to the changing states of water] … In the same way, death is a mere transformation, not an end. We need not be terrified of it. In fact, our sentimental emotions are totally irrelevant.” “So you see," added Crystal Spring, “that Chuang Tzu is throwing us a diversion. … [He dreamed he was a butterfly.] … He is neither Chuang Tzu nor the butterfly. He is both at once. What is important is not to be deceived by the dualistic question of whether he was one or the other, but to realize that there is some underlying essence beneath it all.” “Do not fear the sensations you feel during meditation,” concluded Slender Gourd. “Let all phenomena come and go. Even death is a part of such illusion. Don't identify with phenomena, but instead look deeply into the Tao and its source. Forget the illusion of a separate existence. Cast off this imaginary limitation that separates you from the Way. Let your finiteness merge with the infinite. Far from becoming diminished, you will become infinite yourself. When you have this perception, you will then know the true secret of the sages: The mind of one who returns to the Source becomes the Source.” [CHRONICLES OF TAO, The Secret Life of a Taoist Master, page 304, by Deng Ming-Dao; HarperSanFrancisco, A Division of HarperCollins Publishers; first HarperCollins Paperback Edition published in 1993]