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.
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.
To elaborate on yesterday’s post on the Bagua Circle Walking methodology, I’ve got more on how to really get your blood (along with lymph, interstitial, synovial and cerebrospinal fluids) to circulate strongly. Since the fluids are responsible for delivering nutrients to and removing waste byproducts from the body, boosting their circulation is one of the key ways that the Tao energy arts like bagua, tai chi and hsing-i foster incredible health from the inside out.
Bagua is first and foremost about the feet and legs, so any good training starts with learning and developing Circle Walking stepping techniques. In the monastic bagua tradition that I teach (for health, fitness, stress relief and meditation), there are two kinds of stepping:
Traditional mud walking
Regardless of which type you choose, you don’t want to bob up and down like you’re on a boat at sea.
The most common area that people hold stress and tension is undoubtedly the neck, shoulders and upper back. If you need some comic relief, just take a look at the way some people drive with their shoulders up around their ears while they hold on to the steering wheel for dear life!
However, it’s not only moments of intense, accute stress that causes this reaction, but all the micro-movements in reaction to minor inconveniences and setbacks while we stare at computer and television screens.
Poor posture and repetitive movement using improper body alignments have resulted in back, neck and shoulder pain that has become pandemic in the West. It’s not only affecting adults, but our youth as well. The symptoms are caused by prolonged sitting, usually starring at computer or television screens, and recurring micro-movements operating keywords, remote controls, clicks on the mouse and more. With each passing year, we are only becoming more reliant on technology, so although prevention is key, the solution (at least in part) must also include ways to expel tension and pain once it has become lodged in the body.
Check out my video with practices for a healthy spine, including an exercise you can try with a training partner to get accurate feedback!