Hi. I’m Paul Cavel, and since 1995 I’ve taught Tao meditation and energy arts to share ancient wisdom that has helped millions of people relax, increase their state of health, achieve their personal goals, and enjoy a better quality of life.
Of course, the success you can achieve depends on many individual factors. The system I teach is based on the pure teachings passed down by Lao Tzu, progenitor of the Taoist Water tradition.The methodology the Water tradition uses involving learning how to systematically identify areas for personal development. Once identified, then I can teach you techniques adjusted to your personal needs to revitalise and energise your body, mind and qi energy.
My courses are based in Islington, London, although you can find me teaching biannual seminars in Cologne and Stuttgart, Germany and seasonal retreats in Andalucía, Spain. For those who want more personal guidance to create positive change, I have 18 years experience helping high performing individuals fulfil their potential with one-to-one coaching.
Tai Chi Circling Hands to Connect with Environmental Energies
Sunday, 22 June 2014
Senior Energy Arts Teacher Paul Cavel
Paul will teach essential choreography and internal and energetic content of Tai Chi Circling Hands. Then, you will learn techniques for applying what you learn to heighten your awareness of and ability to connect with environmental energies.
The Sussex Health Arts Association is a non-profit group of Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Bagua and Meditation Instructors from Sussex who have come together to combine their skills as energy arts instructors to help communities and individuals improve their health and well-being through the practice of authentic Taoist Internal Movement Arts.
Sussex Health Arts Instructors — Jason Roberts, Paul O’Donnell, Nina Thaddeus and Pete Jenkins — train and teach exercises from the Taoist Water Tradition as taught by lingeage holder Bruce Frantzis in his Energy Arts System. Each SHA Instructor also trains both publicly and privately under the guidance of Energy Arts Senior Instructor Paul Cavel.
Gods Playing in the Clouds is attuned to the Earth Element with its integrative influence making it possible to weave together all 16 threads of the nei gong system into one, cohesive whole. The energy, power and internal content derived from ongoing Gods training forms the basis for all other Tao arts, such as tai chi, hsing-i, bagua and Tao meditation, making Gods Qi Gong an excellent, well-equipped conduit for taking you down the path of personal development.
Yet many students still ask me, “Am I ready to learn Gods Qi Gong now”? So I’ve put together an overview of what Gods can offer you in consideration of your current state of health and skill level.
There are Two Realms of Heaven + Earth in Taoist Studies
The philosophical concept of Heaven and Earth encompasses many practices of both the manifest and primordial realms. As a qi gong practice, Heaven and Earth is an excellent methodology for penetrating deep into the body and bringing alive the many layers of flesh, fluids and qi; whereas, Heaven and Earth as a fundamental aspect of Taoist theory enters the realm of the cosmic, having very different implications.
This dual-aspected philosophy is not unique to Taoism, as discussed in the article from which this excerpt is derived, but the pragmatic and skilful approach of the Water method allows the Taoist seeker to evolve on all levels of their being through a systematic training protocol. Derived from study of the Five Elements and I Ching, this practice methodology offers the dedicated student of the Tao effective strategies for navigating the pitfalls of living in the modern material world, and effectively growing their personal and spiritual potential.
Taoist arts and philosophy are extremely pragmatic and incredibly understated with instructive texts often being terse and cloaked in many layers of metaphorical language. While obvious meanings may be gleaned from a casual read by just about anyone, laying just below the surface is a treasure trove of principles detailing technicalities and natural law that can only be truly revealed by the initiated. Feasibly and perhaps paradoxically Taoists have always regarded that the best place to hide something of value is out in the open.
However, the bulk of the Taoist tradition is oral with teachings and experiential knowledge wrapped up in short proverbs that guide the dedicated student cleanly and clearly through the trappings of the ego, and into the unchartered waters of the mind. The secrets within can only be discovered by those who dedicate themselves to The Way or The Path of personal and spiritual development. As the student walks along their path and trains, the many veils peel away and the guiding principles uncover ever-deeper truths. And the same few words that exploit these meanings, propel the persistent student along their journey. One such maxim containing the potential of the entire development within the Tao internal arts is nei wei shang hur or “inside and outside become one”.
Anyone who trains nei gong to any significant depth comes to understand that the rules for learning and building a foundation in arts such as qi gong, tai chi or bagua always morph and change once an intermediate level of practice is established. Bagua training takes this principle to its zenith.
Bagua zhang’s eight palm changes, called the “Eight Mother Palms”, are complex and multidimensional, and therefore require a multilayered approach in order to uncover, contact and ultimately realise their full potential. Therefore, a solely linear training methodology not only compromises understanding, but also limits the results that can be achieved from ongoing training—no matter how dedicated the practitioner may be.
My colleague Dan Kleiman, founder of Qigong Radio, recently interviewed me on the how to get the most from Tao arts training. Dan has a great ability to make connections that help his students to evolve their practice, and I always find it interesting to sit down with him and see what he manages to stir up!
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Hi Everybody, I get a lot of questions about what to train and when, as well as how nei gong complements in-depth tai chi and bagua practice. So I’m sharing a 30-minute talk I gave on retreat in Crete last year that I hope will help you along your way.
Although many books on tai chi assign the eight internal energies of peng, ji, lu, an, lieh, tsai, kao and jou to the eight trigrams, they are not manifestations of the trigrams themselves, otherwise bagua—the art form of the I Ching—would employ that methodology. (Note: English translations and in-depth coverage of each of the internal energies of tai chi are offerd in the full article, available for download below.) In bagua’s palm changes, all eight internal energies are used in each palm and yet each palm develops the energy of a single trigram.
Likewise, in tai chi, you stream through the eight internal energies as you practise your
form and yet your focus remains on developing the energy of a single trigram. When
practising a form or any section that is highly familiar to you, your focus is placed on the trigram of your choice, the energy behind the symbol. You then attempt to make the jump
and contact that particular primordial energy.
Paul Cavel Teaches Tai Chi + Bagua Classes in Islington, London
Tao journal, August 2013 excerpt:
The very fabric of Tao arts is weaved from nei gong threads that intertwine to create the internal structures and external forms of qi gong, tai chi and bagua. As we’ve discussed in many previous issues of Inner Quest, the exact same nei gong threads can be weaved in very different ways to generate radically different arts
and training results.
However, the nei gong system itself is split into two categories, which yields eight yang and eight yin methods. That is to say each nei gong component naturally develops either the yang or yin qi of the body and, as a whole, every thread contributes to an intimate and delicately balanced lattice.
Improve Posture in Sitting Qi Gong + Sitting Meditation
An important aspect of sitting qi gong and meditation is the posture you hold during practice. Proper posture makes it possible for your body to relax, open up and let go, whereas poor alignments lock tension in your body and mind. Like all Tao arts training, the process of improving your posture takes place over time, as you become more comfortable sitting and make small yet significant adjustments. As you do, you gain access to the deeper tensions in your body, so you can release them once and for all.
Throughout the years, I’ve been asked this question in various forms, and I’ve come to realise that many students who ask it have often reached quite a profound level of practice. Of course, as with any Tao arts training, the answer lies in developing your skill with ever-more refined nei gong techniques, self-reflection and ongoing meditation practice.
To Control or Not to Control,
That Is the Question
The short answer to the question is that opening entails exerting some level of control while letting go does not. To consider the quality of difference yet deeper, we can look to the nei gong from which opening and letting go derive and how each are applied in practice.
The World Health Organization reports that “An estimated 17 million people die of CVDs, particularly heart attacks and strokes, every year”. Along with smoking, poor diet and lack of activity are among the top three primary causes.
Typically, the first cycle through the Five Element nei gong takes around 10 years, allowing two years of dedicated training for each of the Five Element qi gong sets to embody their distinct characteristics. This process is either completed by starting with Energy Gates Qi Gong and working through the other elemental qi gong sets to Gods Qi Gong in two-year periods; or more commonly by spending three, six, nine or 12 months on each set—returning to Energy Gates and cycling through to Gods multiple times.
When you change the flow of qi in the physical body through practice of qigong, tai chi or bagua, you create a shift from stagnancy towards vibrancy. If the blockages are minor (e.g. daily stress), the shift can be permanent; if, however, the blockages are old and lodged deep in the body, any shift will be temporary (at best) as the energetic pattern of the blockage will pull the body back into the closed or distorted state. If you practise regularly, eventually the balance tips and the shift can become permanent.
The Five Elements: Old Taoism’s Cycle of Transformation
Tao journal, February 2013 excerpt:
As one of the three key streams of Tao energy arts, Five Element Theory can be applied to understand the manifest world in which we live, such as feng shui and astrology, music and military strategy, martial arts and medicine, diet and therapy. There are many schools of thought and many dozens of systems available to work with the Five Elements. For example, the Creation-Destruction Cycles—or Wood-Fire-Earth-Metal-Water and Wood-Earth-Water-Fire-Metal, respectively—were popularised during the first half of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), and remain widespread today.
However, Old Taoism’s approach to the Five Elements is primarily concerned with transformation in body, mind and chi. The Transformational Cycle is represented as: Water-Fire-Wood-Metal-Earth.
This 10-minute guided breathing exercise was recorded on my 2011 Crete retreat. It’s an easy breathing practice, particularly good for beginners, that covers some of the primary points you want to focus on when you come to sit.
Emancipation or freedom from slavery and bondage is ultimately what the human spirit craves. From the perspective of your spirit, slavery encompasses how the attachments in your life—such as sex, material items, money, power and all that they bring—prevent you from being free. Bondage has to do with the ways in which your ego (or collection of identities) and your karmic loops bind you into the reality you experience, and thereby limit your human growth.
So the question is: How can you free your spirit and, in so doing, realise your human potential?
I am a senior Energy Arts tai chi teacher (Level 2) and have taught Wu style tai chi since 1996 with gratitude to and the encouragement of my teacher, Wu and Yang Style Tai Chi Lineage Holder Bruce Frantzis.
How to Activate + Develop
Your Soft Tissues, Fluids + Qi Energy
Although internal energy arts practice and the process of embodying ever-deeper layers of nei gong is a lifetime pursuit for the most dedicated practitioners, at each increment of advancement, the associated health benefits increase significantly. Many students will sacrifice content for form, but it is the internals that supercharge qi gong, tai chi and bagua forms—that which makes all the power-generating and health benefits possible.
Easy Energy Exercises Can Reduce Stress + Tension in the Eyes
I don’t have to tell you that during the day, stress and tension have a way of building up. In our extremely visual world—with books, television, signs, mobile phones, computers and all kinds of gadgetry—a lot of that tension gets stuck in our eyes and nervous system. I’ve got a few exercises that will help you recognise when your eyes are becoming overloaded and what to do about it.
Easy Energy Exercises for the Eyes
In most activites, e.g. seated at a desk in front of a computer, you turn, bend, stretch and/or move around your space in one way or another. As you do, your eyes involuntarily focus on objects in your field of vision. They remain fixed there until they jump to the next object.
Tao Meditation + Energy Arts Reinforce + Multiple the Benefits of Each Other
Tao energy arts are not limited to standing and moving exercises. In fact there are five modes of practice, which also include:
Tao movement and sitting practices form a continuum with each reinforcing the other. Alternating between the two has been practised by dedicated students for millennia to achieve the most in-depth training and corresponding health benefits, as well as pursue spiritual quests.
Improve Your Posture to Prevent Back + Knee Injuries
Posture Exercises for the Back + Knees–
One of the most common pitfalls of any exercise programme, including walking and Tao movement arts, is knee injuries. In order to protect your back and prevent knee damage–among many other potential injuries–you must start with the proper stance.
Align Your Feet + Knees
Stand with your feet parallel and shoulders width apart. First, lock your knees, then take your knees off of lock and bend them just enough to feel the thighs engage to hold up your bodyweight. Make sure that your knees are not forward of your toes.
Bagua Zhang Lineage Holder Bruce Frantzis with Senior Bagua Instructor Paul Cavel
Bagua + the I Ching–
Bagua (also pa kua and ba gua) is a pure energy art widely practised by those interested in the I Ching—having been derived as a physical manifestation to realise the teachings of the I Ching (Book of Changes). That is, bagua is an embodiment of the eight universal principles of change.
Today, many high performers also find bagua training a great way to get a total body workout and a powerful way to obliterate stress with advanced training tenets advocating rigorous aerobic internal exercise that releases tension from the body and develops your vital life-force energy.