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.
My colleague Dan Kleiman recently launched a new podcast series, Qigong Radio, to cover a wide variety of qi gong and internal martial arts related topics.
Dan invited me to join him to discuss the fundamental levels of early qi energy (nei gong) training, and how it specifically provides the foundation for and links with long-term development in body and mind.
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.
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.
In my 2011 Five Element Qi Gong retreat in Crete, I discussed ways to restore balance in and revitalise the body. One method for fretting out imbalances and getting real about your practice is training with a partner, which accomplishes three important goals: