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.
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.
Paul Cavel + Pete Jenkins Practising Bagua Dragon Arm Exercises
Balancing the body is a continuous process as that which is more or less closed now may become more or less open later. This is especially true when you actively engage in the process of unbinding your body. As you focus on any bound place or part of your body and become successful in opening it up, you’ll notice how it becomes looser and relatively more flexible than other body parts.
In qi gong, tai chi and bagua there are many postures where one hand/arm is on top of or in front of the other; for example, Cross Hands in tai chi, several moves in Gods Playing in the Clouds Qi Gong and the Bagua Single Palm Change. These postures are good for establishing balance in your body.
If you’ve been training the spherical material from Lesson 1, then you’re probably beginning to develop some idea about how to open your body in a spherical way. Fully embodying spherical principles in your forms takes years of dedicated practice, so don’t be in a rush.
The trick is to balance the energies that either open or close in the six directions (up, down, forward, back, left and right)—not the physical range of motion. When the energies are balanced you open up the space in the central equilibrium.