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Chi Kung - Experience Inner Calm

by The Tai Chi Academy

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 [Qi Gong].

The 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.

The 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.

According 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.

The Chi Kung practised in class is called Quiet Standing or Embracing the Tree. Anyone who has tried this technique will find it quite challenging at first.

Occasionally, 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.

One 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.

A 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.

The 3 Levels of Chi Kung

All 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.

Criteria to Look for in the Chi Kung Practice

After 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 each session.

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.

In 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.

 

About the Author

The Tai Chi Academy has assembled a highly informative website, featuring an array of articles, and other resources on traditional methods of healing, and relaxing our bodies, and minds. Visit them at www.taichiacademy.com.au

 

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The information provided on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Should you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering any natural remedy.

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