In Qigong training, you must understand the principle behind everything you are doing. The principle is the root of your practice, and it is this root which brings forth the results you want. The root gives life, while the branches and flowers (results) give only temporary beauty. If you keep the root, you can regrow. If you have just branches and flowers, they will die in a short time.
Every Qigong form or practice has its special purpose and theory. If you do not know the purpose and theory, you have lost the root (meaning) of the practice. Therefore, as a Qigong practitioner, you must continue to ponder and practice until you understand the root of every set or form.
Before you start training, you must first understand that all of the training originates in your mind. You must have a clear idea of what you are doing, and your mind must be calm, centered, and balanced. This also implies that your feeling, sensing, and judgment must be objective and accurate. This requires emotional balance and a clear mind. This takes a lot of hard work, but once you have reached this level, you will have built the root of your physical training, and your Yi will be able to lead your Qi throughout your physical body.
As mentioned previously, Qigong training includes five important elements: regulating the body, regulating the breath, regulating the mind, regulating the Qi, and regulating the Shen (spirit). These are the foundation of successful Qigong practice. Without this foundation, your understanding of Qigong and your practice will remain superficial.
Regulating the Body is called "Tiao Shen" ( ) in Chinese. This means to adjust your body until it is in the most comfortable and relaxed state. This implies that your body must be centered and balanced. If it is not, you will be tense and uneasy, and this will affect the judgment of your Yi and the circulation of your Qi. In Chinese medical society it is said: "(When) shape (body's posture) is not correct, then the Qi will not be smooth. (When) the Qi is not smooth, the Yi (mind) will not be peaceful. (When) the Yi is not peaceful, then the Qi is disordered."2 You should understand that the relaxation of your body originates with your Yi. Therefore, before you can relax your body, you must first relax or regulate your mind (Yi). This is called "Shen Xin Ping Heng" ), which means "Body and heart (mind) balanced." The body and the mind are mutually related. A relaxed and balanced body helps your Yi to relax and concentrate. When your Yi is at peace and can judge things accurately, your body will be centered, balanced, and relaxed. Relaxation
Relaxation is one of the major keys to success in Qigong. You should remember that only when you are relaxed will all your muscles be relaxed, and your Qi channels open. In order to be relaxed, your Yi must first be relaxed and calm. When this Yi coordinates with your breathing, your body will be able to relax.
In Qigong practice, there are three levels of relaxation. The first level is the external physical relaxation, or postural relaxation. This is a very superficial level, and almost anyone can reach it. It consists of adopting a comfortable stance and avoiding unnecessary strain in how you stand and move. The second level is the relaxation of the muscles and tendons. To do this your Yi must be directed deep into the muscles and tendons. This relaxation will help open your Qi channels, and will allow the Qi to sink and accumulate in the Lower Dan Tian.
The final stage is the relaxation which reaches the internal organs and the bone marrow. Remember, only if you can relax deep into your body will your mind be able to lead the Qi there. Only at this stage will the Qi be able to reach everywhere. Then you will feel transparent—as if your whole body had disappeared. If you can reach this level of relaxation, you will be able to communicate with your organs and use Qigong to adjust or regulate the Qi disorders that are giving you problems. Not only that, you will be able to protect your organs more effectively, and therefore slow down their degeneration. Rooting
In all Qigong practice, it is very important to be rooted. Being rooted means to be stable and in firm contact with the ground. If you want to push a car, you have to be rooted so the force you exert into the car will be balanced by a force into the ground. If you are not rooted, when you push the car you will only push yourself away, and not move the car. Your root is made up of your body's root, center, and balance.
Before you can develop your root, you must first relax and let your body "settle." As you relax, the tension in the various parts of your body will dissolve, and you will find a comfortable way to stand. You will stop fighting the ground to keep your body up, and will learn to rely on your body's structure to support itself. This lets the muscles relax even more. Since your body isn't struggling to stand up, your Yi won't be pushing upward, and your body, mind, and Qi will all be able to sink. If you let dirty water sit quietly, the impurities will gradually settle down to the bottom, leaving the water above it clear. In the same way, if you relax your body enough to let it settle, your Qi will sink to your Lower Dan Tian and the Bubbling Well (Yongquan, K-l, $ & ) (Figure 2-1) in your feet, and your mind will become clear. Then you can begin to develop your root.
To root your body you must imitate a tree and grow an invisible root under your feet. This will give you a firm root to keep you stable in your training. You should know that your root must be wide as well as deep. Naturally, your Yi must grow first, because it is the Yi which leads the Qi. Your Yi must be able to lead the Qi to your feet, and be able to communicate with the ground. Only when your Yi can communicate with the ground will your Qi be able to grow beyond your feet and enter the
Figure 2-1. The Bubbling Weli cavity Sround to build the root The Bubbling (Yongquan, K-i) Well cavity is the gate which enables your
After you have gained your root, you must learn how to keep your center. A stable center will make your Qi develop evenly and uniformly. If you lose this center, your Qi will not be led evenly. In order to keep your body centered, you must first center your Yi, and then match your body to it. Only under these conditions will the Qigong forms you practice have their root. Your mental and physical centers are the keys which enable you to lead your Qi beyond your body.
Balance is the product of rooting and centering. Balance includes balancing the Qi and the physical body. It does not matter which aspect of balance you are dealing with, first you must balance your Yi, and only then can you balance your Qi and your physical body. If your Yi is balanced, it can help you to make accurate judgments, and therefore to correct the path of the Qi flow.
Rooting includes rooting not just the body, but also the form or movement. The root of any form or movement is found in its purpose or principle. For example, in certain Qigong exercises you want to lead the Qi to your palms. In order to do this, you must image that you are pushing an object forward while keeping your muscles relaxed.5 In this exercise, your elbows must be down to build the sense of root for the push. If you raise the elbows, you lose the sense of "intention" of the movement, because the push would be ineffective if you were pushing something for real. Since the intention or purpose of the movement is its reason for being, you now have a
purposeless movement, and you have no reason to lead Qi in any particular way. Therefore, in this case, the elbow is the root of the movement.
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A pool of fresh water is special. It's special as it’s a bit like our consciousness. If you try hard you may be able to see really little waves or ripples in the water. They’re really slight. The surface of the water is like the surface of your consciousness. The part that you're cognizant of.