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Cultivating the chi

We have already talked about the importance of chi in Internal Art practice. Now let’s begin the discussion with the properties of chi. Have you experience chi? Of course you have. maybe you just didn’t pay any attention or thought to it. It is like one of those things that are so close to your eyes that you always miss it. And that is what is so great about it. It accomplished without taking any credit. For many people, chi seems very fascinating and yet mysterious, because people rarely talk about it or accept its existence. Unfortunately, most people deny the existence of chi. But how can someone ignore the presence of such a great power? I think that many people blindly adopt the modernistic notion that " I got to see it to believe it". The top reason why people ignore the concept of chi is that they can’t "see" it. Hence, they don’t "believe" it. But has anyone pondered about the same thing with "modern" innovation, like the microwave oven for example? We use it everyday, but have anyone actually shown you the microwave? Or do you know how it works? So do you accept the existence of microwave? That is why I say that people blindly follow the view that "I got to see it to believe it", because these people discriminate!

This make me think of the old Taoist question: if a tree falls down in the distance forest, does it make a sound even if you can’t hear it? Or ask yourself: Did x-rays exist before we discovered it?

The existence of chi is undeniable. Anyone is capable of feeling it and using it. It is an unlimited inexhaustible resource. Yet it is free for anyone who wishes to grasp it. I call this Freedom. We as human beings have the ability to direct chi with our mind’s intent. So wherever the mind goes, the chi follows. And because of this property of chi, we can utilize it in our body for healing, meditation or self-defense.

Chi cultivation is perhaps the most important aspect of internal art. One can certainly say that it is one of the keys to the Tao. In fact, the ancients term for chi kung is Tao-Yin, which means "leading to the way". Chi cultivation is not hard, but it is not easy either. There isn’t any secret to the art of chi cultivation. All you ever need is the will to cultivate. To tell you the truth, do not chase after any secret technique or method, because there aren’t any.

Although there are hundreds and thousands of chi kung methods, they all embody one common root: "Yin -Yang Wu –Hsing Ba-Qua"(The principle of yin yang, 5 elements, and the 8 trigrams). For example, there are sitting method, standing method, lying method, fire method, water method, wind method, pre-heaven method and post-heaven method, etc. Since there are so many doors that enter the room of the Tao, what door you chose do not matter. The method we favored and will be discussed here is the standing method. There are many advantages in the standing method. Its high effectiveness considering the simplicity of the form, ranks it the most popular method of the chi cultivation today. The benefits of chi cultivation are numerous. In terms of improving the health of the human body, it:

  1. Strengthens and corrects the skeletal system, providing extra red and white blood cells in our body.
  2. Strengthens and reorganizes the muscular system. Movements will be more fluid and economical, thus increasing its efficiency.
  3. Reconnects, reorganizes and enhances the nervous system. It also increases the sensitivity both within and outside the body.
  4. Improves and strengthens the cardiovascular system. People with cold hands and feet problems will notice this shortly after practice.
  5. Strengthens and improves the digestive and urinary system. Internal organs are properly massage during abdominal breathings. Old and stagnant chi/ blood are forced out by the fresh supplies.
  6. Balances and improves the endocrine system. Most health problems are caused by the imbalance of the endocrine system. By balancing our hormones, emotional and physical problems will subside.
  7. Enhances the respiratory system by utilizing it to the maximum potential.
  8. Improves and strengthens the immune system by increasing the white/red blood cells, fresh chi, and overall energy-efficiency in the body.

The keys to cultivating the chi lies in the tree standing posture. The standing you did in the last exercise is to get your body more comfortable in the posture and to prepare you with the foundation of the structure. Before we go into the next posture, I will list some difficulties that one might encounter during practice.

 

problem

Probable Reasons

solution

Pain in the knees

Both knees were over the toes

Try to "sit back" on the post. Imagine there is a big balloon behind you, and you are sitting on it.

Weak knees

Because we don’t seem to walk a lot these days, our knees are not work out and conditioned enough. Try to walk as often as possible. Walking up stairs is also excellent for conditioning the knee. This might sound a little bit silly, but walking is one of the BEST exercises.

Pain in the upper shin

Weak shins

Same as above.

Believe it or not, when you are standing you are also toughening your shin and other bones. This is why martial artists favor the standing posture. It toughens their bone without damaging the nerve.

Falling backward/

forward

Imbalance of posture.

Due to over doing the angle of the knee.

Check your posture. Try not to lean forward or backward. The spine should be perpendicular to the ground. Toes grasp the floor and root (rooting will be taught in the next exercise).

Pain/ soreness in the thigh

Weak thigh.

Over tensed muscles.

If pain and soreness develops during standing, try to relax your muscles and widen your angle instead of jumping out of your posture. When the soreness and pain subside, lower your angle again.

Chi rises to the heart

Not focusing on the dantien.

Too tense.

Don’t let the mind monkey around. Pay attention to the dantien, relax your mind, and the chi will naturally sink to the dantien.

Local sweating

It is due to the different locations of the meridians. Depending on many factors (i.e. Time of the day, season, weather, and emotional/ physical conditions), different meridian is being work on.

It is actually normal and quite interesting to make observations on changes happening to the body.

Do not take off your shirt even though it feels hot and sweaty. Leave your cloths on or you might catch a cold. But if you are getting very sweaty, just change the clothing.

Too much blood rushing to the head

Chi is rising to the head.

Focus on the dantien. Keep your tongue to the roof of the mouth.

Blood pressure increases.

If you have high blood pressure, focus on the feet instead.

Hyper after standing

Too yang. Raw energy not stored away properly.

Forgot to do the closing form after standing.

Make sure you do the closing form and store the chi in the dantien. Walking around in a circle, and stretching out are good ways to do for the cool down phase after practice.

 

 

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