When you are feeling the pressure of life and your mind and body arenít
functioning as well as you would like, youíve tried everything and
nothing works, then itís time to look at the ancient art of Chi Kung
brain consists of only about 3% of the overall body mass but consumes
36% of our oxygen intake. We all know how exhausted we feel after studying
for hours, working on a difficult project at work, or having a difficult
day emotionally. It takes days to recover our energy. If we compare
the above with physical activities, like gardening or bush walking,
we may feel tired after the event and perhaps suffer from sore muscles,
but our energy levels are usually well replenished the following day.
great sages realised that training the mind is more difficult than
training the body. All forms of meditation and Chi Kung have been designed
to help to calm the mind, enabling us to feel peaceful and relaxed.
to traditional Chinese medicine, worry, anger and other negative mental
states affect our nervous system and internal organs. Too much worry
causes digestive problems while too much anger affects the functioning
of the liver. In order to enjoy good health, it is vital for us to
learn to calm the mind.
Chi Kung practised in class is called Quiet Standing or Embracing the
Tree. Anyone who has tried this technique will find it quite challenging
some students may feel dizzy or nauseous. This tends to indicate that
oneís chi [essential energy] is too high, due to mental and physical
tension. This causes the muscles and internal organs to become tight,
which in turn restricts the circulation of chi and blood.
of the main reasons we may find Chi Kung practice challenging is our
restless mind. The body does not present much difficulty, once we learn
how to stand correctly in a relaxed manner.
number of different methods of training the mind have been evolved.
Some involve visualisation, counting, focusing on the body, or observing
the breath. In our system, we practise focusing on one part of the
body. Instead of thinking of many things, we now bring our awareness
to one point. This gradually helps the mind to become less busy and
more relaxed. In time, this practice will help the mind to go deeper
and deeper into a state of tranquillity. Eventually, we no longer focus
on anything, but remain alert, content and at peace.
3 Levels of Chi Kung
forms of Chi Kung consist of these three elements: regulation of body,
mind and breath. The first level involves breathing naturally, finding
the correct posture, and feeling the spine straight and body relaxed,
especially the shoulders. The second level involves calming the mind.
The third level involves special breathing. This should not be attempted
until one becomes proficient in the first two levels and is receiving
instruction in this form of breathing by a competent teacher. This
is certainly not something one learns from a book. If one attempts
the third level without good grounding in relaxation, it will only
do more harm than good, such as increasing tension.
to Look for in the Chi Kung Practice
Quiet Standing, we will feel relaxed and light. The hands, abdomen
or the whole body will feel warm and relaxed. The mind will become
peaceful and happy. When we open our eyes after Chi Kung, things will
appear bright and clear. In the beginning, you may only get a glimmer
of these results. Give yourself time. After three to six months of
regular and correct practice, you will usually feel the above during
If you feel tired and want to sleep after the practice, this may indicate
that you need a good rest. As you begin to relax as a result of your
practice, you are now more aware of the needs of the body. Once your
practice has matured, you will feel a sense of invigoration after the
session. It is important that a sense of sleepiness does not arise
from dullness during the practice. Sometimes, you may not be actively
thinking of anything. However, if your focus is not on the body centre,
your practice will lack clarity. Both tension and dullness are opposite
extremes. The key is to find the balance - the effortless awareness.
In the beginning, our practice may be affected by the weather, time
of day, diet, emotions, state of health, etc. In other words, everything
intrudes upon our mind. That is why it is important to practise daily.
Find a suitable time to practise and make this your commitment to take
care of yourself. Practising everyday will build your determination,
confidence and results. Donít be concerned if you donít feel much at
first. Just persevere and eventually you will succeed. Donít set any
expectation. Everyone will develop. Donít waste your energy by making
excuses, such as, too old, too hot, too cold, donít feel like it, etc.
Just relax and practise.
time, when you feel the contentment and peace of Chi Kung, you will
understand how your body is affected by your mind. Once you are grounded
in the rewards of your regular practice, you will never want to stop.
I hope that you will experience this for yourself. Everyone can achieve
this inner calm. All you need is some perseverance and determination
in the beginning.