Paul Cavel is the founder of Tao Arts London, editor of the monthly Tao journal, Inner Quest, life coach and senior Tao meditation arts teacher. Since 1987, Paul has studied nei gong science, the I Ching and Lao Tzu’s Water tradition of Taoism in-depth, including qi gong, tai chi, bagua zhang, Taoist breathing, Taoist yoga, qi gong tui na energy healing and meditation.
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.
Circularity is regarded as one of the primary training tenets of Tao energy arts because circular motion is the mechanism by which continuous rather than intermittent motion can be realised, giving birth to a myriad of positive health benefits. The massive gap that lies between understanding the concept of a circle or circularity as a mental construct as opposed to integrating circularity into the body’s motion is one of the main hurdles to overcome. As a result, many practitioners fall prey to visualisations and all sorts of mental gymnastics instead of actually developing and eventually embodying the true nature of circularity. For dedicated practitioners, the solution can be found by tuning into the kinesthetic of any neigong technique, that is to feel what your body does rather than what your mind thinks about it.
From gross to subtle and big to small, transitions link form and content into cotinuous, fluid motion. Most practitioners focus on the broad strokes of the forms they practice and pay little attention to the seemingly less significant transitions that link them together. However, transitions are precisely what carries forward any momentum and qi development, making possible more profound levels of practice and supercharging power and health benefits.
On the other hand, when not executed properly, transitions can sever the momentum you build and thereby diminish and limit training results. Therefore, the wise and dedicated student hones in on the all-important linking components as a means of generating efficiency from move to move and advancing their practice.
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.
All Tao energy arts focus on the internal organs since they are critical to our survival and the health we experience in our lifetime—they are what makes us tick. If you lose a limb, as long as you stop the bleeding, you will survive. In fact, you could lose all four limbs and still live but, if you lose an organ—say your heart, spleen or liver—your life will come to an abrupt and decisive end. The simple fact is that it’s not your muscles or limbs that perpetuate your life, but rather your internal organs. Western exercise methods emphasise developing muscle power, shape and tone—that which makes us look good from the outside.