Archive for the ‘Qigong’ Category

Taoist Meditation Lesson #9, Nei Gong Lesson #1, The path of Inner Alchemy   Leave a comment

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Announcing NEW Nei Gong Class at Kaunoa Senior Center
Thursdays at 12:30 PM

Nei Gong
Taoist internal qigong. All levels of students can enjoy these simple therapeutic Dao Yin sitting exercises, and learn the secrets of the sages, embryonic breathing, microcosmic orbit, internal alchemy, Taoist Zouwang “sitting and forgetting” meditation. Find an inner peace and openness, freedom from emotions and evaluations, access internal energies, transform your body and your mind.

The Taoist creation story reads like this, first came the One, from the One came the two, and the three, thus were created the “ten thousand things.” To unite with Tao, is the path of return, return to the primordial… From the ten thousand things, find the three, and then the two, then return to the one. Only the One can return to the source of all things.

A long time ago in a land far away, great sages lived long and happy lives. Seeking immortality, many Chinese people have lived to be well over one hundred years of age. One man, Li Ching Yuen, is documented to have lived to the ripe old age of 256 years. There are undoubtedly many such individuals that lived that long before the government started keeping any records. Blessed with herbs, spices, silk, art, and abundant natural resources, the Chinese people had most of their needs met by nature. While Europeans were busy building ships and exploring the world in search of such things, the Chinese devoted their time to the quest for longer lives to enjoy their blessings.

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Li Ching Yuen, the oldest (documented) human known

 

The quest for longevity and even immortality was sort of a national past-time in China. Leading the way in this adventure were the Taoists, although they were not called that in the beginning. Taoism is not so much a product of Chinese thought as Chinese thought is a product of Taoist philosophy. The ancient Taoists were experts in all the sciences, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy. They knew that all the really important answers could be found in nature. Living to at least one hundred years of age was considered normal, using herbs, certain diets, Daoyin exercises, meditations, and philosophy, they developed longevity techniques that have not been improved upon by any modern science.

Modern science sometimes seems to be used against us, by deceit and unethical people, for example the United States government still recommends an unhealthy diet that was forced upon us by politicians. There is no money in giving people free information that can extend their lives. Instead, pharmaceutical companies can sell you a pill, and the government tries to force doctors to deceive patients as they often are unwitting accomplices plied by “scientific evidence”.

Modern humans, it seems need to look elsewhere for their health; heal thyself. The best place to start would be to go back in time to before the days of chemicals and agriculture, a time when we lived long healthy lives. Living close to nature is the Taoist ideal. If you could live in such a way, you would wake at dawn, sleep at night, eat a natural diet of real food, and spend time meditating, and doing moderate exercise.

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Taoist health and medical practices and inventions, such as Qigong, Herbal medicine, Tui Na massage, and Acupuncture, are the four branches of traditional Chinese medicine. Longevity is so much more than “health and medicine” however, yet unfortunately that is the mind-set in western societies. I dare say, you cannot live to be over 100 years old with just health and medicine. It takes something more, another level of health, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Most of the suffering I see is caused by emotional excess and this leads to mental instability, and when the mind and emotions are in turmoil, your spirit suffers. When these things happen, and it may or may not make you “sick,” but you will live a shorter, less happy life. Being angry, always evaluating every situation to the point of emotionality, holding resentment for supposed past wrongs, and over-thinking, all lead to hidden stress that shorten your life on Earth.

If there was a philosophy, where you would stop judging others and yourself, allowing you to enjoy the beauty around you, and if you could avoid the thinking/feeling/reacting feed-back loop that leads to slow self destruction,  if you could learn to forget, you could share your gifts with all the world.

If there was a way of viewing yourself as a divine creation of Heaven and Earth, and to visualize nature’s grand design, you could see how your hormones, emotions and mind can combine to jerk you into altered states or take your spirit to heaven while your’re still in your body!

If you could eat a healthy natural diet full of healthy fats and low carb vegetables, avoiding grains, and getting the right amount of protein and 8 hours of restful sleep, your mind would be clear of the glucose induced brain fog, and your liver would be free of toxins, and your moods stable.

If you could do simple enjoyable exercises that tone your internal organs as well as the “superficial body,” you would be making neural transmitters and life sustaining hormones. If you could find and open all the areas that hold stuck energy, and open the blockages on your spine, you could open the path to the spirit as well as lower your blood pressure without raising your heart rate.

What if you could let go of your own mind, perhaps you could comprehend all things…

Welcome to Inner Alchemy, the ancient tradition of Nei Gong. Start by laying a foundation of Dao yin exercises, focused breathing and building your body’s internal medicines such as hormones. Then you could see how you are connected on the inside, energetically, from the bottom where your earth nature dwells and hormonal chemistry supports your basic essence. Learn to connect the energy centers from bottom to the top. At the heart center, where we have our heart-mind, emotions and such, there are mechanisms that can control our hormones and neural transmitters. Learn to feel the energy that connects the lower regions with the brain, your spirit center.

There can be no direct explanation of where we end up. That is the great mystery of all mysteries. Developing coping strategies for life will help us lead a longer happier life; these same skills give us the patience that allow us to appreciate all of life and prepares us for the unknown.

Nei Gong is a way of life to guide you back to the source of creation, and yet it is very simple. It is a progressive transformation that is totally natural, and if followed with vigor and passion you may attain Tao itself.

The great Taoist sage Lao Tzu said, “My way is simple, but no one can follow it”.

Imagine returning to a place free of thought, free of bodily pain and emotions. Floating in the womb of the great mother, an embryo, adrift in time upon and endless sea, One with all of creation; a place of infinite possibilities and peace.

Copyright Cory Williams 2017

Get a grip on reality, read “Nature is Reason”

Previous Lesson

Taiji Gong   Leave a comment

peacock

 

In the beginning:
The peacock spread his tail and pushed away the fairy crane, hands moving like clouds he strikes the tiger and parts the wild horses mane. Then the fair maiden saw the golden rooster bend his bow and shoot the tiger and carry the tiger back to the mountain.

Just a little Chinese poem to remember Dong Zeng Chen’s “Taiji Gong”

Peacock spreads his tail (Ward off)
Push
Fairy crane (White crane spreads it wings)
Move hands like clouds
Strike the tiger
Parting the wild horses mane
Fair maiden works at the shuttles
Bend bow and shoot tiger
Carry tiger, return to mountain

 

This poem helps to remember the Taiji forms repeated in the Taiji Gong Qigong. These nine movments capture the spirit of Taiji; this can be enjoyed sitting or standing. Warm-up,,,,start with zhan zhaung training, wuji. Then repeat each move left and right three, five or seven times each.

Sifu’s father also had a “Taiji gong” we’ve been doing for many years. See “Tiger Mountain”

 

Copyright Cory Williams 2016

Taoist Breathing Lesson #1 Tuning the Breath   Leave a comment

Taoists use a skill called “Tu na” to tune their breath before doing qigong and meditation.  Natural Breathing  (Shun Hu Xi) is the best place to start.

Effective meditation and qigong both require good breathing skills; this lesson will give you a method that you can use every time you start your practice. This exercise takes about 5 or 6 minutes to learn, and after a few times you can tune up in about 2 minutes.

I should begin by saying to just breathe naturally, beware of complicated methods; they are not necessary and can even be harmful. In addition, know that generally Taoist breathing is subtle and you should not even hear yourself breathe. In this method make each inhalation and exhalation of equal duration and breathe in and out from your nose.

Like a fine musical instrument, no mater how well it is played, if you want to make beautiful music you need to tune it up first, until it is harmonious within itself it will not give quality results.

Begin by standing in Wuji Stance, now bring your arms just slightly around in front of you and allow them to hang with the hands in front of your thighs.  The first step in tuning the breath is to pay attention to each one of the points along the journey of the breath. Just like a guitar with six strings, a musician tunes one string and then the next in sequence tuning the instrument to a playable condition; I have identified six locations along the path of the breath to assist you in tuning your breath.

Once each location is dialed in we can follow the breath through each one sequentially as we breathe;  just like strumming the six strings of a guitar chord. Then we will feel the body resonate; the whole body vibrates just like the body of a guitar. This vibration will float the arms and pull the legs straight as we feel the energy rising with each inhalation.

First we start with the nose, and then continue down to the back of the throat just behind the tongue and then moving further down we come to the trachea. The next step down from there are the actual lungs and then the diaphragm and finally the dantian.

All I want you to do initially is to stand still and breathe in and out your nose. Pay attention to the air going in and out of the nose and you may notice the nostrils flaring and the hairs inside the nose moving back and forth and even whatever scents are in the air coming in. Just take a few breaths to get comfortable noticing that part of your breath path, just breathe in and out…

Next, bring your awareness to the back of the mouth where the tongue starts its descent into the throat. Feel the air cascading over the back of the tongue and epiglottis, it may feel just a little raspy as the air goes over this area. Another sensation you might feel is saliva welling up in the heavenly pool beneath the tongue. Just like before, take a few breaths with your awareness on this location until you can feel the breath there.

The next location on the journey from the nose to the dantian is the trachea. With each breath you will feel the windpipe expanding and you may even notice slight pressures on the thyroid gland as the trachea expands. Feel the air moving through the larynx and the windpipe expanding slightly as the air reaches the lungs.  Again, take a few breaths at this location until you are comfortably aware of these sensations.

Now you should feel the air entering the lungs and the top of the lungs expanding slightly.  As the air enters your lungs feel the sternum rise and the rib cage expand slightly, keep your awareness here for a few breaths and pay attention to these sensations.

As the lungs fill with air, bring your awareness down slightly lower to the diaphragm muscle at the solar plexus. If you pay attention here you can feel the diaphragm muscle descending upon each breath just as the air starts to enter the lungs. Keep your awareness at this location until you are sure you can feel the diaphragm muscle moving down and up with each breath.

Beneath the diaphragm, bring your awareness to the dantian, now you are in the abdominal cavity. Notice the pressure the descending diaphragm puts on the internal organs. This gentle massaging motion causes your abdomen to move out slightly. Just keep awareness at this location until you can feel the diaphragm pushing on the internal organs and notice that your belly rises and falls with each breath.

Your awareness of each part of the breath is in now enhanced and you are almost all tuned.  Like the individual strings of a guitar; one by one each area is in tune with the one next to it.  Now bring your awareness back to the nose, this time, follow each breath as it goes through the nose, past the tongue at the back of the throat and moves down the throat and trachea into the lungs. Notice how the diaphragm moves down and up and the dantian moves out and in with each breath.  Continue to follow the breath with your awareness as you do all of your various practices that follow.

Now that you have tuned each area and you have followed the path of the breath from top to bottom and from bottom to top you should notice a resonant frequency in your body.  Remember your hands lying just in front of your thighs, with the upper arms slightly against the side of your chest? With each breath and subsequent expansion of your abdomen your arms will rise approximately 1 inch away from the dantian.  Follow this rising feeling of each inhalation as you inhale and the chest expands, feel the chest rising and the hands floating upwards slightly. Simply let this rising feeling pull the legs slightly straight; remember you were standing in wuji stance with bent knees but now the expanding nature of the breath lifts the whole body up and the legs straighten slightly. When you exhale bend the legs slightly, just allow the hands and arms to float down from their elevated position as the air leaves your lungs and the rib cage returns back to its contracted position.

Each time you breathe you will feel the air come in the nose, past the throat, through the windpipe into the lungs the diaphragm moving downwards and the belly moving out and the hands and legs slowly rising as you fill with air.  Each time you exhale as the abdomen contracts and the arms descend, bend your knees slowly back to the beginning position.

Congratulations, you have tuned your breath and you are now doing basic qigong. All you need to do now is continue to pay attention to the tuning of the breath and let the body move in a rhythmic fashion.

I suggest you tune your breath while standing before doing seated qigong and meditation as well. It is much easier to feel the expanding contracting nature of the breath and body while standing. Once the system is tuned and playing along harmoniously with the body moving rhythmically you may commence doing any qigong form that you wish. Simply breathe slower or move the arms and legs faster to keep the timing consistent and with a little practice to be able to do all the qigong you want while keeping the breath tuned continuously.

Whether moving or still, all qigong and meditation practices are more effective by tuning the breath before you proceed; remember, just keep breathing steadily.

Copyright Cory Williams 2011

Next, try here: Qigong Lesson #1

Longevity Science   6 comments

The picture above shows the 100 Chinese characters for longevity. They are all the same character for longevity, but each one is written differently. A person in Beijing has spent over 40 years to collect the writing of the Chinese character for longevity. So far he has found over 15,000 ways to write the character for longevity. It is amazing that a Chinese character can be written in so many different ways artistically.

I was watching TV yesterday and there was a fascinating show on Discovery’s “Curiosity” about “could we live forever?” Now we all know that this has always been the holy grail of everything about life. Interestingly, this show was right after a documentary about Apple’s creator, Steve Jobs. In just the last few years of his life he came up with the I-phone, I-tunes and the I-pad, these inventions have touched hundreds of millions of people!  Mr.Jobs was undeniably one of the greatest geniuses of human history and yet for all his knowledge and vision he died at fifty-six years of age. Maybe there is a lesson here: what if he had been focused on longevity instead of computers and entertainment?  Perhaps a poignant observation that!

But I digress…. In the show about longevity, hosted by Mythbusters star Adam Savage, he undergoes a series of transformations as he ages and technology emerges at the same time: a very real possibility in this day and age.  One of the first things that happens is he gets connected to a machine that filters all of his blood and removes all the “old cells”. The premise being that as cells replicate they mutate and acquire changes and toxins. This yet to be invented machine takes out all the mutated and contaminated cells.

Years later his brain starts to shrink as is known to happen as we age.  Part of the problem is that his memory becomes full. In the show he gets an external memory device installed. But why do all that if he could just “delete” the old unneeded and harmful old junk that was clogging his brain? I could go on about all the things in this show but I’m just making a point here.

Everything about longevity science in this show has already been addressed by Taoists. All this “new technology” has roots in Taoist practice. The disappointing and truly sad thing about this show was its focus on “mechanical technology” and no mention of “human technology”.  It was all about “what if” and “someday” instead telling people the truth about what is known and available NOW.

Today, after a neighbor showed some curiosity in my qigong practice, I was showing her how I can flow blood to my hands using my mind, and explaining how qigong leads to a longer happier life, she just sort of nodded and walked away. “Funny”, I thought that some people can be shown the elixir and walk away.  As I was walking to my home I thought…What would someone give for one more second when they are at the end of their lives…? I understand some people are suffering and death seems welcome to them, but what if they were not in pain?

Pardon my incredulity for pondering these things, yet we can filter our blood and we can regenerate youthful cells in our body, and we can delete old files in our brain and learn new skills. It is possible to age gracefully and maybe even painlessly.  What then, what would you give for one more hour on this earth?  Or one more day, month, year or decade? We all know it could be over in an instant or life could go on for many years. The technology (qigong and meditation) exists today to improve the quality of our lives and isn’t that alone like living longer? That same technology helps to extend the length of our lives; Taoists know that human life should be at least one hundred years long.

When will the world at large see the light and learn qigong and meditation? Rebuild your life from the raw materials of Heaven and Earth. It is never too late to start, and the sooner you do the sooner you will be adding time to your life. What might Steve Jobs have produced if he had lived for another forty-four years? Maybe it’s a good thing some people don’t go on living too long, like killers, but surely we all would want enlightened people to live longer… oh that’s right, enlightened people do live longer!

Start now and never stop, practice everyday. Don’t be limited by a false belief that you cannot feel and look younger or live better and longer. Have a positive attitude and follow the Way.  Study the Way, there is a wealth of life-sustaining knowledge there. Walk the Way always and forever.  Recreate yourself!

Dong Family Qigong Set   Leave a comment

Dong Zeng Chen showing "Single Whip"

Here is a written description of how to perform the Dong Family warmups and qigong set. Italicized comments are from Cory Williams.

I call this “The Basic Set” and it is the first thing I show all of my students.

Shifu Dong told me once; that his grandfather did the “Hard Qigong” set, and his father created the Taiji Gong, “Tiger Mountain” (both sets are still part of our training ) and he created this set I think of as the, “Dong Family Basic Qigong Set.” These are the three basic standing qigong sets , but we all started with this one!

Hat tip to Chip Ellis for transcribing all of this.

Dong Family Practice Aids
Warm Up and Qigong
From Dong Zeng Chen’s Practice
March, 2004
By Chip Ellis
Below is a description of the warm up and qigong routines that are part of the Dong family practice as portrayed in the March 19-21, 2004 seminar in Monterey, California.
WARM-UP

First salute, step up and position yourself in Wuji stance.

Most movements take place while you are standing in an upright position with your feet about shoulder width apart. Body is relaxed, and movement is fluid.
1. Arm Swing – (Master Dong told me this is called “Awakening the Qi”)  – Raise both hands overhead, shoulder width apart. Using your body motion, swing your hands down while bending your legs so that your body assumes a squatting position. Using your body, swing your arms up over your head again and repeat.
2. Left / Right Arm Swing – (We always called this movement the “Chinese Drum”) – While in a standing position with feet about shoulder width apart, use your body / waist to swing your arms from left to right at about waist level. Use a relaxed motion. Your arms should move with a whip like action.
3. Left / Right Arm Swing with Shoulder Touch – Continuing the arm swing above, increase the force of the body movement and direct your hand to the opposite shoulder. In other words, swing and tap your shoulder area.
4. Head Rotation – Stand upright and swing your head through a circle – down in front, toward the right shoulder, up and backward, and toward the left shoulder. Repeat several times, then reverse the direction so that you start by going toward the left shoulder.
5. Shoulder Rotation – Stand upright and rotate both shoulders up, forward, down, and back. Repeat a few times then reverse. Note that when you move your shoulders back you should be “pinching” your shoulder blades (slightly) together.
6. Waist Rotation – Standing upright, place your hands on each side of the small of your back. Move your hips to the right, back, left, and forward. Repeat a few times.  (15 to 20 reps) While you move your hips, keep your head stationary above your feet. Reverse by moving your hips to the left, back, right and forward.
7. Knee Rotation – Assume a squatting position. Place your hands on your knees, then rotate your knees so that they move in toward the center, back, outward, and forward. Repeat a few times. Then reverse the direction so that your knees start by moving outward instead of inward.
This completes the physical warm up movements. Next is the warm up qigong. Move smoothly from the knee rotation to the first qigong movement by moving your hands slowly up from your knees and into the first movement.
QIGONG MOVEMENTS
With all these movements you are moving your energy throughout your body. The movement goes in concert with your physical movements – hands up / chi up, hands down / chi down, etc. The energy movement is too complicated to describe here – work with someone who knows the exercises.  (Read  “Tuning the Breath”, Qigong Attitude” and the qigong lessons on this site.)  The description below is just a memory aid. The names or the moves are from Dong Zeng Chen by way of Janet Bond.
1. Up / Down – Qi Shi Tiao Xi – (Master Dong told me this is called “Floating Hands”) – This exercise involves moving the hands and arms up and down in an ever larger range of movement.
a. Starting from the knee rotation exercise, move your hands up your thighs while you straighten your legs, so that your legs are straight and your hands are at chest level.
b. Bend your legs and move your hands down toward the ground and slightly behind your legs. Keep your hands at about shoulder width.
c. Move up again, this time with hands at about eye level. Down
again. Then up above your head. Then down. Then up so that you stretch your arms up and your heals lift off the ground. The feeling is like someone is pulling you up by the wrists.
2. Open / Close – Ying Yang Jiao Ti – (Master Dong told me this is called “Exchanging Yin and Yang Energy”) –  Separate your feet to slightly wider than your shoulders and point your toes inward slightly.
a. Bend forward with straight legs and bent arms. The motion is like
what you would use to grab up a big armful of hay off the floor.
b. After your hands grab the “hay” and come together, bend your legs and move your hands up the center line of your body. Palms are facing upward, one over the other.
c. Raise your hands over your head, palms moving so they face
downward at that point. Stretch upward.
d. Then separate your hands and bend your fingers so that they point toward the center of the top of your head. As you bring your hands down feel like you are compressing the energy between your finger tips and your head. Move your fingers so they almost touch your head.
e. Then open your arms and lean backward, head facing upward.
The movement is like a flower opening.
f. Then straighten your back and move back to an upright position
while extending your hands out toward each side at shoulder level,
fingers point up, energy in your palms. That completes one cycle.
To repeat, bend your arms, bend your waist, and pick up some
“hay” again.
3. Small Circle of Energy – Xiao Zhou Tian – (“Small Circle”) – This is simple circular movement oriented toward the front.
a. Start in a standing position with feet about shoulder width apart.
Hands are one over the other at chest level, almost touching, with
palms facing in toward your body.
b. By bending at the waist, move your hands down your front
center-line, then down the inside of your legs.
c. When you get to your feet move your hands out to the sides in a
circular motion.
d. Continue the circular movement as you straighten your body and bring your hands up and around like you are gathering in energy all around you.
e. Hands go up over your head and then back to the starting position.
4. Big Circle of Energy – Da Shou Tian – (“Large Circle”) – Start the same as the small circle of energy above.
a. When your hands get to foot level squat as low as you can and
move your hands parallel to the floor, a few inches above the floor,
and toward the front.
b. Then move your hands in a circular fashion toward the outside and behind your heels.
c. Then up the backs of your legs, while your body is bent over, with the backs of your hands almost touching your body.
d. Move your hands up the back of your legs, over your hips, then
toward the front by your belly.
e. Then continue to move the backs of your hands up and around
your shoulders and behind your neck until they meet behind your
head.
f. Moving upward your palms change position so that they touch, like you are praying, above and behind your head.
g. Then continue in the “praying” position and bring your hands
forward over your head and down your face to the starting position.
5. Mix of Internal and External Energy – Hun Yuan He Yi – (Master Dong told me this one is called “Gathering Outside Qi”) – This one is like doing giant circles with both hands from right to left and from top to bottom.
a. Start in an upright position with feet at about shoulder width.
b. Bend forward with hands about shoulder width apart so they are
close to the ground.
c. Using your waist movement, move both hands to the right in a
circle, then up, then left and down to complete the circle. Repeats
a few times. Then reverse direction and go from bottom, to left, to
top, to right. Once you loosen up you can use your waist movement to swing your arms around.
6. Opening and Gathering of Chi – Yi Qi Kai He – (Master Dong called this one “Open and Close”)  Start in a standing position with feet about shoulder width apart.
a. Open your arms wide, with bended arms.
b. Then bend down from the waist and bring your arms together as
you gather in your chi.
c. Then bring your hands up the center-line of your body to your chest.
Repeat the cycle a few times.
7. Looking Left and Gazing Right – Zuo Gu You Pan – (“Look Left, Look Right” as  “Look Left and Gaze Right” is a different move from the second section of the long form) – This move is like
“brush left knee” and “ brush right knee”. (Alternatively it can be preformed , as if it is  “brush knee and rollback”)
a. From the upright standing position, turn your right foot outward to an angle of about 67 degrees. (That’s about half way between 45 degrees and 90 degrees.)
b. Step forward with your left foot, with a slight toe in, similar to the standard foot position in the Yang style slow set or Dong style long form. The movement is similar to brush knee:
c. Move your right arm rearward in a circle while your left arm remains toward the front.
d. In a circular movement bring your right hand near your right ear.
e. Then twist your waist toward the left as your right hand moves out forward. The feeling is like someone is pulling your hand toward the front. It’s not a push, although it looks like one. Feel the
connection between your palm and the little triangle space at the
base of your spine. Stretch. Your eyes first follow your right hand.
f. Once your are fully extended, then rotate your waist further to the left, drawing your left hand back in a big circle. Watch your left
hand.
g. Then in a circular motion bring your left hand to your left ear. Your right hand is toward the front and turns palm up.
h. Then move your left hand forward and your right hand toward the rear, in opposite motion.
i. With right palm up continue to move your right arm rearward in a circle and repeat the movement. To change to the other side move like you would while you are doing the Taijiquan set to transition from brush left knee to brush right knee.  Then repeat the qigong movement on the other side – mirror image.

Finally this brilliant, life changing set of movements has been put into words and posted on the internet. In Taiji on Maui’s  classes we call this the “Basic Set” and it is the core group of movements to be learned by all students and the main practice for beginners. For years I wanted to write this down and now, come to find out, it has been done wonderfully for us. For more information on everything about  “Dong Taiji” go to Chip Ellis’  excellent web site

For more information on various qigong forms that are a part of Taiji on Maui’s curriculum click here: Qigong Sets

Posted September 30, 2011 by The Maui Taoist in Dong Forms, Qigong

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Fong Ha Workshop on Maui 2011   2 comments

Sifu Fong Ha comes from our lineage.... Starting his Taiji training from Master Dong's grandfather in 1953

Join Taiji on Maui and learn from Sifu Fong Ha at our exclusive Workshop this month.

On Sunday September 25th for four hours Master Ha will give detailed instruction in his methods of Qigong and Taiji principles. Starting at 10:00 AM until 12:00 and from 1:00 until 3:00 PM we will be training at a private residence in Maui Meadows.  This class is for students of all levels. We are very fortunate to get a semi private workshop limited to about twenty students for the very affordable price of $25.00.

Fong Ha will be on Maui for a whole week starting on Thursday morning the 22nd at Kamaole beach # III at 6:00AM to 9:00 and 5:15 to 6:30PM.

He has always let folks come and hang out with him and get in some free practice at the beach. I believe we should give back to him by attending the workshop and getting the full class and paying him for his instruction; all proceeds will go directly to him.

Please join us at the workshop and also at Kamaole beach # 3 for the whole week (except Saturday and Sunday) for practice of what you learn at the workshop.

Fong is a very generous and fun man that is a living legend; do not miss this opportunity to train with a genuine Taiji icon. Master Ha started his training in 1953 with Master Dong’s Grand father the great Tung Ying Chieh, he is world renown, and we are blessed to have him for this special workshop.

To Sign up E-mail me @
MauiTaoist@Gmail.com

Or Call 250-4663 or 344-2532

Taoist Meditation Lesson #8 Heavenly Sojourn   Leave a comment

Connecting the planets

Completing the Small Circle

In the previous lesson, I outlined the basic idea of the Small Circle or Microcosmic Orbit meditation.  Learning to connect your internal solar system will give you much insight into your internal energy. The last lesson leads you through a series of points in your energy system. The point was to bring qi down from the minds eye to the perineum at the bottom of the torso. This involves bringing your awareness to each point along the way for a sufficient length of time that you can feel it at each point before moving to the next one, Basically you were learning the “Yin path“, the downward, relaxing, nurturing and frankly the easy path of energy flow.

If you have become adept at this skill, you are ready to learn the other half of the process, bringing energy up the “Yang path”.  I hope that you noticed how the energy “wants” to flow down the yin path almost as if gravity were pulling it there and in a way, it is. Just to be real about it, there is a mechanical reason for this. By sequentially relaxing downward, your body is allowing blood and lymph as well as the flesh to sag and drain downward towards the earth. Keeping your back straight while this is happening aids the flow by assuring that all the necessary passageways remain open to that flow; slouching or having any misalignment or muscle tension will interfere with this process.

The yin path starts at the tip of the tongue and descends through the tongue, past the thyroid, thymus, heart, solar plexus, dantian, sperm (ovarian) palace, and ends at the perineum. Purists might know that the “Ren” channel ends, and the “Tu” channel starts at the ovarian palace, but the Tu channel “emerges” at the perineum and that is why I start there. These eight places are one-half of the microcosmic orbit, the other seven points are the topic of this article, the “Yang Path“.

In my method, the “Yang Path”  starts just under the skin at the perineum but it is at the coccyx or tailbone where it moves up to the “Ming Men”, gate of life  located just below where the thoracic spine joins with the lumbar spine. It then goes up along the tendons covering the spine, past the kidneys and adrenal glands. From there the path goes between the shoulders at the “Shen Dao”, the path to the spirit, opposite the heart center on the spine i.e.. the third thoracic vertebra near to the thoracic/cervical junction. The next place of wonderment is called “Da Zhui”, the great hammer. Da Zhui is about the C-7, the thoracic/cervical junction, on the spine opposite the throat. From this point, the qi moves upward, goes past the “Jade Pillow” at the top of the spine joining the skull and moves over the skull, up to the Crown Point, and then terminates at the palate just under the minds eye.

When you have completed the yin path and are completely relaxed and all the energy has drained into your hips and pelvis it will coalesce near the premium. You are now ready to bring qi up the spine and recycle the energy via the “Yang path”.

This is a new skill and it can be confusing depending on how you interpret what you are doing in the moment. Just to clarify that statement, some teachers will tell you to “pull the qi to the tail bone using your anus and collect it there“. I would say this too, but invariably pulling and pushing qi up the back channel is not the most effective way to do it, in my opinion. It does work, and you can get started doing it this way and yet if there was an easier way, you might want to try it.

Just tuning the breath and “listening” you may be able to sense the energy moving thought the small circle, that would be very nice indeed. Just sitting quietly and observing the energy flow is fantastic. I would say that is a high achievement. “Moving” qi through the circulation is controlling it. Both are valid and have different applications, for example I like to move qi through the body with my mind so that I can learn how to feel it moving when I’m not moving it!

Before any practice I recommend Tuning the Breath

I recommend that you start to access the back channel (yang path) by first starting at the Crown Point. Just lift up on the Crown Point and feel the head lifting off the shoulders and the spine lengthening and this will pull the tailbone into a vertical alignment, which also opens the pathway at the rear of the anus towards the back. Ah, see now the whole channel is open and now you can pull the energy to the anus and it will be sucked up the spine all the way to the top!  In the beginning, you may still need to coax it up by using your breath and muscle contractions, but as you get better at it, you can reduce the effort and concentration that you apply and spend more time enjoying the results. Each time the qi is at the bottom (Hui yin), open the crown, and allow the qi free access to the top.

From the bottom of the torso, pull up the PC Muscle (this muscle runs from the pubic bone to the tailbone) and you will feel a rush of energy there; this is a simple way of developing perineum power.  This is when you want to gently pull up around the anus and feel the energy go around the anal sphincter muscle to the rear of the anus. The energy is now at the tip of the tailbone. Learn to feel your internal musculature here and you can very gently contract the muscles there and actually create a wave of qi that will move up the sacrum to the lumbar spine and it will collect at the top of the lumbar region at a place known as the “Gate of Life”.

Bring qi up the Du Meridian

It may take a few tries to do this but keep at it and soon you will feel qi gathering at the Ming Men. You may need to rock your hips slightly to open the lower gate, this will help avoid stuck energy there.  Some say it is like “sipping through a straw” each time you take a breath the energy descends some being pulled back up on the next breath. By using a combination of first pulling the spine up from the top, and then going through a series of muscular contractions and breaths you can apply mental energy to move the qi up, up, and up…

Over time, you will feel the energy moving up through the kidneys, and the Shen Dao,  Da Zhui, through the jade pillow and up to the crown.  When you get used to bringing the energy to the Ming Men you will find it has enough inertia to just rather shoot up through the other points.  The yang path may flow fast as the qi rushes up to the top or, hopefully in a more controlled way. This can be a beautiful and rewarding release of energy that can thrill you when you feel it. Remain calm, and enjoy this energy release as you might enjoy a sexual energy release as it its related to that same feeling.  This is also do to the Chong Mai or thrusting vessel (that is another story) that runs deeper directly through the center of your spine.  Once you get used to these types of experiences you may never be the same again, you are gaining control over your energy.

I would not try to analyze this or focus on each individual point on the back channel at this point in your training. These skills can take awhile to acquire, and unless you have been doing this for some length of time, it may be meaningless for you to get too esoteric about it. It is not how much you know, or think you know about “meridians” and all that, what really matters is that you practice often and you keep it simple.

Many of these spine points can be blocked by accumulated postural  stress and may require qigong movements to open them, particularly prone to being blocked are the Shen Dao and Da Zhui. Come to class, or find a good teacher in your area for help with these two places. You do not want a blockage in “the path to the spirit”!

Even though you can now complete the circle, you are still just at the beginning of a new journey. Do not be in a rush, just work on these new skills for a while and get good at “circulating the microcosmic orbit”. You will find that as you get to know this skill you will be able to use this all the time, like when you are doing sitting or standing meditation or while doing moving soft qigong, or Taiji or even use this skill during sex. This is a start of a new level of qigong training, truly “going internal”.  While all forms of qigong training effect you internally, learning the small circle is the beginning of what we call “nei gong”. You are now moving into a higher level of meditation, where meditation and qigong come together and move your mind and body into the realm of pure energy, yet another step on the path of “Spiritual Alchemy”.

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