(Internal Elixir, In this section, we will discuss the theories of these two cate gories. Once you understand these theories, you have the root of most Chinese Qigong practices.
As previously mentioned, the human body has twelve major Qi channels (Jing, ), which can be compared to rivers. Six of these are connected to the fingers, and the other six are connected to the toes. All of these twelve are connected to the internal organs. The body also has eight Qi vessels (Mai, ) which serve as reservoirs, and regulate the Qi in the channels. Millions of tiny channels (Luo, &) carry Qi from the major channels to every part of the body from the skin to the bone marrow. Whenever the Qi is stagnant in any of the twelve major channels, the related organ will receive an incorrect amount of Qi. This will cause the organ to malfunction, or at least to degenerate sooner than normal, and this in turn will cause illness and premature aging, .lust as a machine needs the correct amount of current to run properly, your organs must have the right amount of Qi to function well. Therefore, the most basic way to maintain the health of the organs is to keep the Qi flow strong and smooth. This is the idea upon which Wai Dan (External Elixir) Qigong is based.
The theory is very simple. When you do the Wai Dan exercises you concentrate your attention on your limbs. As you exercise, the Qi builds up in your arms and legs. When the Qi potential in your limbs builds to a high enough level, the Qi will flow through the channels, clearing any obstructions and nourishing the organs. This is the main reason that a person who works out or has a physical job is generally healthier than someone who sits all day.
There are many available Wai Dan Qigong sets. A typical one is Da Mo's Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic (Yi Jin Jing, hiSK j. In this set, the practitioner slightly tenses up the local limb muscles, such as in the wrists, and then relaxes completely. Through this repeated tensing and relaxing, the Qi is built up to a higher concentration. When the practitioner finishes the exercise and relaxes, the accumulated Qi flows back to the organs.
There are other Wai Dan sets which, in addition to tensing and relaxing the muscles, also move the arms and legs into specific positions so that the muscles around certain organs are also stretched and then relaxed. This increases the Qi circulation around and in the organs more directly than the Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic does. For example, you may repeatedly raise your arms over your head and then lower them. This extends and stretches the muscles around the lungs. This extension and release gently massages the lungs and stimulates the Qi and blood flow there. A typical set of Wai Dan which uses both stationary and moving exercises is the Eight Pieces of Brocade.
Many Qigong beginners mistakenly believe that since Wai Dan Qigong theory and training are simple, these sets are only for beginners. However, most people who train Nei Dan (Internal Elixir, ^ fl- ) Qigong later corne back to Wai Dan, and combine the two to increase their control over their Qi. An example of this is Taiji Qigong. While sitting meditation is purely Nei Dan, the movements of the Taiji solo sequence and the Qigong sets are a combination of both Nei Dan and Wai Dan.
Nei Dan (Internai Elixir) ^ ft
In the higher levels of Qigong practice, the theory and principles are more difficult to understand. It is not just that the training is harder. Another problem is that the Nei Dan Qigong practices have been passed down more secretly than the Wai Dan. When Nei Dan practice reached to the highest level such as Marrow/Brain Washing Qigong, it was passed down only to a few disciples. There are a number of reasons for this:
1. Nei Dan is hard to understand, so only the disciples who were intelligent and wise enough to understand it were taught.
2. Nei Dan practice can be dangerous. Inaccurate practice may cause crippling, paralysis, or even death. This can happen especially to the disciple who does not understand the what, why, and how of the practice.
3. In most of the Nei Dan Qigong training a disciple must learn and experience directly from a master. Qigong is learned and practiced from feeling and sensation. This feeling must be obtained from a master. If the practitioner tries to figure it out by himself, he may possibly get lost. In some cases, he may even cause his own death.
4. In order to reach the higher levels of Nei Dan Qigong, you must conserve your Jing (Essence, ft ) and restrain your sex life. You must also spend a lot of time in practice, which makes normal married life impossible. Not only that, In order to reach spiritual balance, you must train yourself to be emotionally neutral and independent. In ancient times, in order to preserve your Jing (Essence) and have a peaceful environment for your training, you almost had to go away to the mountains and become a hermit, or else become a monk in a monastery.
Even though Nei Dan is difficult to understand and practice, it is still practiced by many non-priests and Qigong practitioners in the everyday environment. However, they can only reach a certain level of achievement.
Generally speaking, Nei Dan is a Qigong practice in which the Qi is built up inside the body first, and then spread out to the limbs. Nei Dan can be broken down into several categories according to the purpose and depth of training. Generally, after the Qi is built up internally, a Nei Dan Qigong practitioner will circulate the Qi throughout his body. Nei Dan includes three paths of Qi circulation: Fire, Wind, and Water.
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