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:
The question of how long to train Tao meditation and energy arts is one of the most frequestly asked questions.
I advise all students, but especially beginners to qi gong, tai chi, bagua or meditation, to mind their two-thirds of effort in mind-body-qi, and save 45-minute to hour-long practices for many months (or even years) down the line, once they have a solid foundation in nei gong. Otherwise, you may injure yourself or build up too much internal resistance and stop practising.