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.
Last year, my colleague Dan Kleiman of Qigong Radio interviewed me on my experiences as a life coach and teaching energy arts like tai chi since 1995. He wanted to find out if I had any insight into how to improve practice and teaching results of students and teachers alike. I shared with him four qualities of the mind I see crop up time and again in successful students. The New Year is a great time to reconsider these influential factors as many of us are naturally more open to creating positive changes.
Heaven and Earth Is Often Called “Healing Qi Gong”
Of the several thousand forms of qi gong, only a few are as simple yet penetrate the body and chi as deeply as the Marriage of Heaven and Earth Qi Gong. This single, repetitive exercise can contain a colossal amount of internal and energetic content with each thread amplifying and multiplying all others. The benefits from correct, integrated and fluid practice— along with the potential weaves, depth and range possible within each layer—lead those in-the-know to regard Heaven and Earth as nothing less than pure magic.
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.
Paul Cavel Practises Bend-and-Stretch Techniques in Heaven + Earth Qi Gong
The sixth nei gong component of 16 that comprises the science of qi energy development underlying all Tao meditation and energy arts in the Water method is applied to bend and stretch the body in specific ways: namely, bending and stretching the body from the inside out and the outside in along the direction of the yin and yang acupuncture meridians. This class of techniques provides the methodology for working with the body’s soft tissues, including the muscles, tendons, fascia and ligaments. Loosening and releasing bound tension and restricted areas in the soft tissues though bend and stretch are absolute prerequisites for more advanced twisting, and eventually spiralling nei gong techniques, as well as introductory qi techniques.