Taoism and the internal strenght

Internal art is the art of utilizing internal energy, chi, for various applications. It is the "essence" behind martial, healing, spiritual, and meditation arts. 

The art of meditation :
Generally, when people think of meditation, they only think of it as a relaxation technique. Little do people know that meditation can also increases your vitality by strengthening the body. From the practice of meditation, you will learn how to use your mind to control and circulate chi, thus helping you to manage your energy more effectively and efficiently. It is from meditation that Inner Transformation takes place, transforming "The Three Treasures" from Chi to Jing, then Jing to Shen, the spiritual energy. 
The methods from beginning meditation that calm your mind, opening of the Microcosmic Orbit channel, to transformation of Jing to Shen.

Tai-Chi is born from Wu-Chi, the "Ultimate Nothingness". 
It is the origin of dynamic and static, and the mother of Yin and Yang. If they move, they separate. If they remain static, they combine.

The word Tao means "the way" or "pathway".

What are Wu-Chi and Tai-Chi?
Wu-Chi is the state before Creation, the state of nothingness. It has form, yet it is unformed. It has shape, yet it is unshaped. It has substance, yet it is empty. Its substance is in the form of chaos, meaningless form, so we call it empty.

Tai-Chi is born from Wu-Chi by "movement".

The "movement" spins. Through this motion of 

Wu-Chi, the chaotic substance begins to separate. It separates the Yin from theYang, light from dark, and substance from non-substance.

Internal art is the art of utilizing internal energy, chi, for various applications. It is the "essence" behind martial, healing, spiritual, and meditation arts. 

Chi Kung :
Chi Kung and Nei Kung are the mother of both the healing and fighting arts of China. Translated, Chi Kung means exercising the breath, and Nei Kung implies strengthening the internal tissues and organs. There are thousands of types of Chi Kung exercise. Some systems employ standing or walking methods and others sitting postures, some are more quiet and meditative while others moving and vigorous. Although they range from simple postures and gentle movements to demanding physical and mental disciplines, they are uniquely adaptive and easily suited for practitioners of any ability.
Chi Kung is perhaps the most direct way to experience the health and fitness benefits offered by the Internal arts. These exercises loosen the joints and strengthen the body's posture. By opening and improving the body's natural circulation, they promote abundant energy and natural healing. The movements contain the foundation of all the other arts, but Chi Kung is practiced by many as an independent and complete art. 

In this there are many systems including Chi Kung Sitting Meditation and Massage, Standing "Stake" Meditation, the Ten Taoist Exercises, the Eight-Piece Brocade, and others.

Ancient Chinese movements that combine meditation and stretches to help you find inner peace, harmony, strength and health.  

The Chinese believe that all aspects of a person are components of an internal energy called chi that flows throughout the body. They found that chi could be controlled and developed through mental and physical exercise. Not only could one be healed physically by cultivating the energy, but one could find strength ... and emotional, mental and spiritual peace. These chi kung (also known as qigong) exercises originated in China more than 5,000 years ago. 

Chi kung for wellness :
The Chinese have found that health and attitude are associated with the energy flow in specific main organs of the body. The following exercises will give you strength while creating a feeling of gentleness, confidence, joy, groundedness and mental sharpness. 

The art of fighting :
Internal energy is the power behind Chinese martial arts. In attacking, chi adds bone-shattering power behind each strike. In defense, it gives you the power to deflect or neutralize a fatal blow. Cotton Palm, Cotton Stomach, Iron Palm, and Iron Shirt are good examples of specialized martial skill using internal energy.
Because a large amount of martial skill has developed over time, even a single side-kick has at least ten to fifteen variations between different schools and styles. Listing of all techniques would be repetitive and time consuming. Besides, each person has his/her own way of executing each technique and method. So "Principle" rather than "Method" is emphasized here. You will see "Three External Harmonies". When practice together with the "Three Internal Harmonies", they become what the internal school called" The Six Harmonies". 

Chi is the Chinese term for this energy. Chi can be translated as air, breath, or energy. It cannot easily be seen, but yet easily felt. It is the momentum life-force in the universe. Without it, there would be no life. It animates us and other life forms. It determines the health of an individual. If you are lacking or have stagnant chi, you will feel ill. Without chi you will die. So the term chi can literally translate as "the breath of life". Although the term chi is in Chinese, the Chinese are not the only culture that aware of this energy. The Sanskrit term for chi is Prana, Ki in Japanese, Pneuma in Greek, and Ruach in Hebrew. The Polynesian called it Mana, while they called it Barraka by the Islam. 

Quote :
"Those who wish to embody the Tao 
should embrace all things. 
To embrace all things means first 
that one holds no anger or resistance 
toward any idea or thing, 
living or dead, formed or formless. 
To embrace all things means also that one rids oneself 
of any concept of separation; male and female, 
self and others, life and death. 
Divison is contrary to the nature of the Tao. 
Foregoing antagonism and separation, one enters 
into the harmonious oneness of all things."
:Lao-tzu (Tao-te Ching)


Of the hundreds of martial arts from many different countries, some are internal martial arts, while others are external. The difference between the two lies in the cultivation of the Chi. In internal systems like Tai Chi, Chi Gong, yoga, and different forms of meditation, focus is on the nature of Chi in our bodies. External martial arts like Karate and Thai boxing emphasize sending their Chi outside their body. Of course I am generalizing and there are many overlapping elements. Both internal and external martial arts are directly correlated to healing modalities like Reiki, Shiatsu, and massage.

Qi (Chi), Gong (Kung, Gung) :

Qi (Chi) means breath and internal energy and Gong (Kung, Gung) means work or achievement. In China, Buddhist and Taoist adepts sought to increase their internal energy and keep it flowing freely throughout their long days of seated meditation. Some say that an Indian Buddhist named Bodhidarma first brought QiGong to a Taoist temple in China, while others believe that ChiKung was first developed in China.
ChiGung works with the energy found in our bodies and in the surrounding environment to overcome the imbalances that sap our strength and give rise to disease. Anyone can discover ChiGung. Observe a child running onto the warm sands of the beach. Notice how deeply they breath in the salty air or how their arms open wide to embrace the fun that lies before them. Children have a natural relationship with the energy of their environment. The simple meditative movements and breathing exercises can be practiced by anyone to rediscover the energy around.

"Uncreated" (Quotations from Chuang Tzu)
"To name Tao is to name no-thing. 
Tao is not the name of (something created). 
"Cause" and "chance" have no bearing on the Tao. 
Tao is a name that indicates without defining. 

Tao is beyond words and beyond things. 
It is not expressed either in word or in silence. 
Where there is no longer word or silence 
Tao is apprehended."

Chi Kung

Chi Kung can be divided into five historic branches; Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Martial Artist and Health - each of which then contain many variations.

Chi Kung is a term used to describe various forms of exercise where breathing is of central importance. However, the term is generally used to refer, not simply to any breathing exercise, but only to those which make use of the breath to either increase, balance, or control the chi (the essential life-force of all living things) . Chi means air. Chi Kung means to practice the process of breathing to increase chi pressure (life-force pressure). It is this awareness and concern of this chi that set Chi Kung apart from orthodox physical or mental exercises -which treat the mind and the body as two separate entities. Reference may be made to the study of Kinematics - the science of motion without reference to force: therefore considering the curing of illness through muscular movements.

Why do people perform Chi Kung as a keep-fit exercise? The "average" person who is not a professional athlete will find Chi Kung the ideal keep-fit exercise that comes closest to satisfying the needs of modern criteria of what constitutes a "good', exercise. The term "keep-fit" has now come to be understood as being "fit" to perform your normal day to day activities. "Fitness" is therefore a relative rather than an absolute term. Ultimately, the underlying aim of a good exercise is to prolong life and make life more enjoyable. On a physical plane, Chi Kung exercises the limbs and gently massages the internal organs which most orthodox exercises ignore. The relaxed and slow tempo of the exercise calms the mind while the full awareness of the mind, during the exercises, helps to promote growth and repair of nerve cells. Perhaps the greatest advantage of Chi Kung as an exercise is the total freedom it affords you in terms of conditions for training. It can be practised in sickness as well as in health; in old age and in youth; indoors or outside; alone or in the company of others; and does not require any expensive equipment or special premises. Hence, Chi Kung can be practised regularly for short periods every day. To perform Chi Kung in clement weather is great fun and allows you to draw chi from the environment. You would not need to warm-up at the beginning or to cool-down at the end. While you would feel refreshed and fully alert at the end of the exercise your heartbeat would not be racing away and you would not be puffing and panting. It becomes a habit. This is what exercise should be like - a little every day.

Chi Kung is grouped into two main divisions; stationary exercises and moving exercises. In both cases no fast or jerky movements are involved. Stationary exercises are practiced in a standing, sitting or lying position. The head and limbs of the body being maintained motionless during the exercise. Moving exercises involve the movement of the limbs and body, e.g. as in Tai Chi. Moving exercises are less monotonous than static exercises. The mind is more easily occupied through the movement of the limbs and body. However, stationary exercises, if practiced in the correct way, can normally produce much quicker results than the moving exercises. Chi Kung has long been used in many hospitals in China as a form of therapy. There were (and still are) specialist healers who employ Chi Kung to heal. As part of the cure, the practitioner would teach the patient a particular sequence or a general set of Chi Kung movements (exercises) that influence their particular illness. This would eventually clear up the diagnosed "blockages" and then continue to maintain an overall good health. The types of illnesses that are particularly suitable for Chi Kung therapy are generally those of a chronic nature and those due primarily to bodily malfunctions. Among the problems reported to respond are insomnia, diabetes, constipation, anaemia, hypertension (high blood pressure), some forms of rheumatism and arthritis, headaches which persistently recur and are seemingly without cause, gastric disturbances, unusually slow recovery from illness and bruises, hyperactivity, mental stress, impotency, etc. Is Chi Kung then a panacea? (a cure for all things). It will be noted that most of the maladies listed above are without cure, the orthodox treatment being either the use of drugs to suppress the pain and symptoms, or the introduction of chemicals and hormones from an external source into the body to try to make up deficiencies due to the body being somehow unable to produce them. It would not be true to say that Chi Kung can directly cure such ailments. The positions and techniques are designed to effect the movement of energy, and help it to circulate around your body and to nourish you internally and externally. Therefore with regular practice you will feel stronger and will notice an improvement in your energy level. What Chi Kung does is to get the body back along the right track, so that it can go about the business of curing itself and carrying out its natural functions. This holistic approach, in that the patient is part of the healing process, has met with world-wide acceptance.

Chi Kung is the most fundamental of the martial arts and is sometimes used by people with a quest for "supernatural" powers. But on balance, people who practice Chi Kung do appear to have certain abilities not enjoyed by others, or by themselves before they seriously took up Chi Kung. Most schools of martial arts employ Chi Kung to increase striking power of their fighting techniques. Some martial arts experts seem to enjoy giving demonstrations of their skill in inviting audiences to strike their unprotected body with heavy punches and kicks. Obviously there is no such thing as a really indestructible body, as these people will readily admit. But it cannot be denied that kicks, punches and strikes by blunt instruments dealt out by skilled hands seem to cause neither pain nor injury on these exponents of the art of Chi Kung. Masters can perform extraordinary feats of strength and endurance by developing the use of chi. In practising Chi Kung for such "powers", you are going far beyond the simple needs of good health. Serious study under close supervision is required. There are some systems of Chi Kung (Iron Shirt, Iron Palm, Dim-Mak) designed specifically for such goals, but potentially harmful if they are practiced incorrectly. These systems are quite different from the type of Chi Kung performed for health and meditation.

Chi Kung Breathing :
1. Tummy Breathing
Find a comfortable place to lie down with your arms by your sides, the palms of your hands facing up, the feet a little apart, legs uncrossed, and allow yourself to feel the places where the floor underneath you supports your weight, the backs of the heels, the backs of the legs, the buttocks, the shoulders, the back of the head, and just allow yourself to relax into that support. Whether the body is tense or relaxed, the weight of the body is always completely supported by the floor, just as much as if your body were a sack of potatoes that someone had dropped on this floor. 
Start to breathe using your tummy, so that as you breathe in your tummy gets a little fatter, and as you breathe out it goes down again. The feeling is as if you were drawing air into your tummy. What's actually happening is that you're using a muscle called the diaphragm, underneath the bottom of your lungs, that's gently pushing your tummy out. So every time you breathe in, let your tummy get a little fatter, and as you breathe out, just let it go. 

If you can, start the breath down from rather low down towards the pubic bone, so that the feeling of getting a little fatter in your tummy is starting way down towards the pubic bone, and coming up towards the navel or even the solar plexus. 

As you breathe out, take the opportunity to relax your body even more. As you breathe in, you can become more aware of you body, and as you breathe out, you can let it relax even more, trust the support of the floor beneath you. 

2. Complete Breathing
Now I'm going to ask you to switch to another breathing pattern, using both your tummy and your chest. For this one I want you to start with the pattern we were just doing, breathing into your tummy, and when your tummy's full, start to breathe into your chest as well. Fill the chest, and as you fill the chest, you can even allow your tummy to contract a little. So first as you breathe in, your tummy gets fatter, and as you continue to breathe in more, your chest gets fatter and your tummy goes in again. So the feeling is as if there's a wave that's going up the body, staring at your pubic bone and going through your tummy then going up through your chest then going all the way up towards your neck. It's like a python swallowing an egg, as the egg moves through the body. 
As you breathe out the same wave goes down again, so you're breathing out of your chest, then out of your tummy. 

So there's a big, full wave that's moving up through your body on the inbreath, and going down again on the outbreath. 

You may notice that you take in a lot of air with each breath this way, maybe even four or five times as much as you usually do, and just one cycle of your breath can last maybe 20 seconds. See how much you can relax your tummy muscles. Every time you breathe in, see if you can fill your tummy a little more, and every time you breathe out, see if you can empty and relax the chest even more, so that you can really fully breathe out all the old stale air. It may feel a little unfamiliar to breathe out that much; just allow it to be a little unfamiliar. 

Take a really full breath in, starting with the tummy, then moving up through the chest, and then as you breathe out really empty the chest, really let it go, just let all the muscles of the chest and the ribs be soft, breathing out all the way. As you breathe in, you're taking in all this Chi energy from the air, and the good Chi, the energy that you can use, you send down to your tummy as you breathe out and store it for later. And the energy that you can't use, the old, stale air, or just stale energy anywhere in your body, you breathe out. So you take in all this Chi, and as you breathe out, you breathe out the stuff you don't need from the top of your lungs, and the stuff you wanna keep, you pack down into your tummy and save for later. 

As you continue to do this, you get the feeling that your chest is relaxing more, and you're getting more and more energy around your midsection. 

Once you can breathe like this using the front of your body, start to use the back of your body as well, starting to breathe into your lower back, using the muscles of the lower back, expanding the lower back just in the same way as you expand your tummy to make room for the breath, and just in as when you breathe in you can feel a wave going up the front of your body, so you can feel a wave going up the back of your body as well. This big breathing wave is going through your whole body, front and back. 

Let every part of your torso be loose, let your tummy be loose, let your chest be relaxed and soft, and let your lower back and your upper back both be relaxed and easy so that this wave can go through them. 

In the Chinese system, the first type of breathing you did, just in your tummy, is called 'post-birth breathing,' or Tan Tien breathing, and the second type is called wave breathing, or 'pre-birth breathing.' 

3. Circular Breathing
Now I'd like to move on to a third type of breathing, called 'circular breathing' and for this type of breathing you don't use as much control. Just take a full, deep breath IN (Breathes), and then let it go - just let it go anyway it goes, take another deep breath in,[B] and just let it go using your tummy, your chest ,whatever. 
Breathe continuously with no gap at all between the inbreath and the outbreath; that's why it's called circular breathing. 

Breathe in actively, so you do the inbreath, and just let the outbreath go, let it happen naturally, let it happen at its own speed. You can use either the mouth or the nose to breathe through, but choose one or the other - don't mix them. You may start to get a little high, exhilarated, energized. You may also start to feel tingling in your fingers and your toes. If these sensations start to get too strong, just ease up some. 

These three types of breathing all have their own usefulness. The first type of breathing where you're breathing down in your tummy is good for calming, centering, relaxing. The second type, where you're using your whole torso in this very slow, even wave, is good for building up energy in the body, and I'm going to refer to this later in some of our later exercises. 

The third type is good where you have a lot of energy moving already, maybe emotions coming up, tensions - lots of stuff is happening. This type of breath is very good at unblocking that and letting it come out, free it up. 

Chi Kung Relaxation in a Standing Position :
Find a comfortable and convenient place to stand, with your feet about shoulder width apart. 
Soften your knees slightly so they're somewhat bent, and imagine - or rather create - a Golden Cord holding you up from the top of your head, held by Kuan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion, who supports us all with her unconditional love. Feel the support of that Golden Cord holding you up, and allow yourself to just relax into it, just accept that support from above, allow someone else, something else, to do the work of holding you up, so that you can relax. 

You can allow everything to hang off that Golden Cord, your shoulders, your spine, your pelvis, your legs. Everything can just hang off that cord. 

Now I'd like you to imagine your body as full of a heavy fluid, - your whole body, your head, your shoulders, your neck, your arms, your chest, your back, your pelvis, your legs, your feet, full of this heavy fluid that is responsible both for the weight of your body and also for any tension that you may experience in it. 

You can imagine this fluid as being a little heavier than water, maybe 20% heavier than water, and as you stand here supported from above by the Golden Cord, allow that fluid to start to drain out of your body, 

It can drain out of your head - perhaps you can even feel it draining out of specific places in your head, out of the back of the neck down, down, out of the forehead, the nose, the eyes and the muscles around the eyes, the cheeks, the jaw, the front of the neck, down into the shoulders. 

From the shoulders, some of the fluid can drain down into the arms, through all the joints of the arms, the elbows, the wrists, the knuckles, dripping off the ends of the fingers down to the ground. 

Some of that heavy fluid can drain down from the shoulders into the chest and the back, from the chest and the back down into the tummy and the lower back, from the tummy and the lower back down into the pelvis, from the pelvis down into the thighs, from the thighs down through the knees, the lower legs, the ankles, the soles of the feet, and from there down into a reservoir about three feet under the ground. You can feel it like a steel tank or something like that, three feet under the ground. 

All the weight of your body, and all the tension in your body, is now sunk down underneath the ground, and you can feel that like a strong, powerful, heavy counterweight. You can start to move your body, to move and sway in different directions, forward and back, side to side, and because you have that counterweight underneath the ground, you're much more stable, you can lean much further in different directions. You can be softer and more stable, you have much better balance. And if at any time you lose that stability a little, just sink even more of that fluid out of your body into that tank underneath the ground that serves as a counterweight. 

When you've had a little fun with that, just come back to a central position, and feel again the support you're getting from the Golden Cord, feel the stability you're getting from this big counterweight, underneath you, three feet underneath the ground. 

You can feel the duality between the Golden Cord holding up the crown of your head and the weight sinking down underneath the ground as it gently stretches you a little bit. Kuan Yin is lifting the crown of your head upward, and your tailbone is sinking downward, so you're getting a little taller, getting a little stretched, both from the top and the bottom, like a duality between the sky and the Earth, and yourself just in the middle, as a balance point. 

You can intensify this stretching feeling by visualizing the vertebrae of your spine as a string of pearls on an elastic thread that is being slowly stretched from above and below. 

If you spend a lot of time in a seated position - for instance, if you have an office job - you may want to try this in a seated position. Just sit down comfortably on a chair, perhaps the chair you normally use. Feel the support of the Golden Cord from the top and allow the fluid to drain out of your body. You can allow some of it to drain out through your arms and your fingertips, some of it through your feet, and some of it through those two little bones that you sit on, down through your chair and even down through the legs of the chair into the ground and underneath the ground. 

This is a good exercise to do any time you feel yourself under stress at work, or if you're sitting in rush hour traffic and getting frustrated with it, just allow whatever that is that's upsetting you to drain out along with that fluid in your body, under the ground. And notice that it's still there for you, it's not like you get rid of it, you store it there, underneath the ground. If you need it it' s available, it helps your balance, it's a resource for you, it's just that you don't have to carry it, you don't have to use any of your muscles or your body to carry it. 

So just in the same way as the Golden Cord means that your support is effortless, this counterweight underneath the ground means that your balance is effortless. 

Standing Chi Kung-2
This exercise comes in five, ten, fifteen, and twenty-minute versions, each version going a little deeper than the previous one. I'll inform you at the end of each five-minute period, and whenever you decide you want to stop you can just take a brief walk around the room to stretch your legs. 
Find a comfortable and convenient place to stand, with your feet about shoulder width apart and parallel, and start to feel the support of the Golden Cord holding you up from the top of your head, held by Kuan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of universal compassion. Just allow your body to relax and hang off that cord. Allow Kuan Yin to do the work of holding you up, just trust her to do her job. 

Allow the weight of your body, and any tension in your body, to start to drain out, starting from your head, through your face, your neck, your shoulders, your arms, your wrists, your hands, your torso, your belly, your pelvis, your thighs, your knees, your ankles, your feet, all the way down into a reservoir three feet under the ground. 

Allow even your feet to relax, with your weight going down into the ground just forward of the heels, so the front parts of your feet don't have to exert any force on the ground, and can sit easy and relaxed on the ground, king of like the webbed feet of a duck. 

Imagine you have a horse between your legs, and that the very bottom part of your body is resting on the saddle of that horse. So there's a feeling of the weight being taken on your perineum - that's the very bottom point of the body. Relax into the support you're feeling there. Relax the buttocks and the anus - create a feeling of everything opening down to the ground. 

Feel your pelvis like a bowl full of water. 

BREATHE - take a lot of energy into your body with your breathing. You can use one of the patterns described in Exercise 1 or any other pattern that works for you. 

Now imagine strings attached to your wrists, held by Kuan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion. 

In a few moments you will feel her lifting up your wrists by these strings.And as she lifts up your wrists, allow the shoulders to relax and open as much as they can. One good way to do this is to imagine all the joints of the shoulders expanding, just a little more space in all the joints of the shoulders, as if every bone in the shoulders is getting just a little further apart from all its neighbors. 

[2 sec pause] Now feel her slowly lifting up your wrists using those strings, till your wrists come to about the height of your heart. 

[8 sec pause] 

Have your palms facing your body at around the height of your heart, so that there's a round space between your arms and your body, as if you were hugging somebody. By the way, one of the Chinese names of this position is 'Hugging the tree.' You can even do this while really hugging a tree if you want to. 

Allow the shoulders and elbows to roll down and back, making more space, as if opening your arms to hug somebody, greeting a long-lost friend, opening your arms, saying 'AAAAh!, good to see you!' 

This is the end of the five-minute version. 

Phase 2
Start to use the breath to soften the chest. Every time you breathe out, let the chest go just a little more, let go of the old, stale air. 
The energy you let go of from the chest can sink down into your belly and the small of your back. Every time you breathe out, energy sinks down into your belly and lower back. 

Relax into the position more and more. Your pelvis is a comfortable chair and the rest of your body is just sort of plonked down inside it, relaxing in it the way you would in an easy chair. 

Let every part of your body be as relaxed as it can be given the position you're in. The shoulders and elbows are as soft as they can be, just hanging from the body and from the strings holding up your wrists. 

Relax your legs, like a mushy suspension system on an old American car. If your legs relaxed any more, you'd just collapse in a heap on the ground. As your legs relax more you may start to feel tremor; if you do, it's a healthy sign, just allow it to happen by itself. 

There's a soft place where the top of your spine meets the base of your skull, called the 'Jade Pillow'. I like to imagine that this place is a lake slowly filling with water. As the Jade Pillow expands, you may notice a slight change in your mental attitude; you may even notice that your normal personality is not there in quite the usual way. 

You may perceive things differently; you may feel a little spacy. Just relax into the feeling, that different feeling. It's a letting go of control of the body, and also a letting go of control of the mind. 

Another way to open this place is to imagine a pivot for your head running through your temples. Imagine your head tipping a little by itself, so that your chin goes down and in a little, and the back of your head goes forward and up. Don't DO that, just notice it happening by itself. 

As you stand here, you can feel an aura extending about nine inches away from your body in every direction. Your presence Filling the air to a distance about nine inches away from your body, away from your legs, away from your arms, your head, your torso. It's like that figure of the Michelin man, made out of tires, everything very fat, very expanded, very blown up from within. 

Imagine a chain attached to your tailbone going down a thousand feet into the earth. And at the end of that chain is a heavy weight, a heavy steel ball, that you can feel like an anchor in this position. 

[DING] This concludes the ten minute version. 

Phase 3
Feel a connection between your fingertips, like an electrical spark gap between the two hands. Perhaps you can feel a tingling like electricity ready to flow across. Use the outbreath to send energy to the fingertips. 
The energy pathways to your fingers will open as the Chi flows through them, in the same way that small kinks in a hose straighten out when the water starts to flow through that hose. 

If you're feeling any kind of tension, stress, or strong sensation anywhere in your body, perhaps in a shoulder or a thigh muscle or a place in the middle of your back every time you breathe out, and send the energy of your breath, your Chi, to that place. Send your love along with the breath; let that place know that you love it and you care about it. You can think of what you're sending as oxygenated blood, if you wish, that's clearing away lactic acid, or as CHI opening up a meridian, or just the energy of your attention and your awareness that is, perhaps for the first time in a while, starting to feel that place, feel exactly what's happening there, understand what's going on. 

In any case, know that whatever you do is healing, healing for that place. 

Sometimes in this posture, there are places that you held tight for a long time, where you start to feel the tightness. Feeling the tightness is the first step to letting the tightness go. Just allow it to be the way it is, send it your love, send it the energy of the breath, send it the CHI, send it the oxygenated blood. When that place is ready to let go, it will. [SHORTEN, REWRITE?] 

Allow every place in the body to be exactly the way it is, send it your Chi on the outbreath, send it your love. Bring your awareness to any place in the body that asks for it, notice exactly what your sensations are without interpreting or judging them. Notice exactly where you are having the sensation and what the sensation is, but without attempting to label it, for example, as painful or pleasant. 

Just let go of control of the body to the maximum possible, just stand here and relax into the experience of standing here. Make sound if you feel to. Keep the Jade Pillow at the back of the neck open. Allow your body to do whatever is most comfortable for it. 

Recheck all the fundamentals of the position. Recreate the golden cord holding you up from the top. Sink the weight one more time down through the body through the feet to that reservoir three feet under the ground. Relax your chest. Use the breath to relax it even more, sinking the energy down into your belly and your lower back. 

Can you still feel that horse between your legs? Can your still feel your legs very soft and relaxed, like the suspension system on an old American car? Can you still feel the openness at the back of your neck and the Jade Pillow? Can you still feel your arms soft and round as if hugging someone or something? 

This ends the fifteen minute version. 

Phase 4
If you've stood here this long, you don't even have to do the exercise right any more. Just be willing to allow what needs to happen to happen, and allow your body to do what it needs to do to heal itself. The suggestions earlier on may help for most people, but your body is special, and it knows much better than you or I consciously do what it needs to do to heal. Be ready to be surprised by what your body does and willing to go along with it, take it as an adventure, even if your mind finds it wrong, unfamiliar, or strange. 
This position always works. In the long run, it's easier to relax in this position than it is to stay tense. If you stand here long enough the mind and the body are going to let go. The more you can relax and stay present, the quicker and more enjoyable that process is going to be. 

How much you can enjoy standing here, how much pleasure you can get out of the breathing, out of the sensations in the body, out of the feelings that you're having, and the changes that are going on. 

This is what's happening right now, how much can you enjoy it? And how willing can you be for the process to work itself through? How much can you enjoy what's happening with your body, your mind, and your spirit right now? And how willing can you be for it to change, in the next moment and the next and the next? 

Relax into the position as if you're going to be here for a while longer, so you may as well relax- there's nothing to wait for, so you may as well take a break, sit down inside your own body like a comfortable chair. 

Take a few seconds to notice exactly how you are breathing. 

[10 sec pause] 

Check through your whole body, starting at the top of your head, feeling each place in your body, noticing how it is, noticing the state of the muscles. Don't be too quick to relax anything or change anything, just notice it as it is; if it relaxes by itself that's fine. 

You can check out the muscles of your face, the muscles around the eyes, the cheeks, the jaw, the forehead, the neck, the shoulders, the upper arms, the forearms, the chest, the upper back, mid-back, lower back, the tummy muscles, buttock muscles, the muscles of the thighs, both the upper thighs where they attach to the pelvis and the lower thighs where they attach to the knees. The calf muscles, the ankles, the arches of the feet, and the toes. 

This ends the twenty-minute version of standing Chi Kung. 

Now slowly drop your arms, or allow them to drop, place your feet together, place your hands behind your back, and stretch out your legs by raising one of your legs, say the right, straight and then bending it as you bring it in. Then the same with the left. So you raise each leg keeping it absolutely straight, then bend it as you bring it in. Do four of those on each side. Now continue to breathe slowly and easily as you walk around the room. Check out how you feel, how your body feels. 

Take it easy for the next few minutes as you slowly make the transition back to your normal life. 

[10 sec pause] 

Purifying the Body, Mind, and Spirit :
In this exercise we cleanse the five components of the bodymind in the Chinese system. These don't correspond exactly to our Western ideas: some approximate definitions follow. If you click on e.g. Shen, you will go to the part of the exercise that purifies the Shen. 

Li Physical strength, the physical body. 
Jing Sexual/spinal energy - Kundalini in the Hindu system. 
Chi Breath energy, subtle circulation of energy through the meridians. 
Yi Intention, purpose, focus. 
Shen Spirit, soul, true nature. 

Just as in Exercise 2, find a comfortable and convenient place to stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Feel the Golden Cord from the top of your head holding you up, and allow your weight and any tension in your body to drain out into that reservoir three feet under the ground. 
[10 sec pause] 

Cleansing the Li
You're now going to cleanse the five components of the body and the mind in the Chinese system. First, you'll cleanse what the Chinese call Li, physical strength, the physical body. 
To cleanse the Li, I'd like you to allow your hands to slowly float up to your sides, left and right, floating up in two half circles either side of your body until your hands are over your head, and then start to allow your hands to slowly sink palm down as if gently pressing down on something. 

As they reach the level of the top of your head, imagine your body full of a heavy fluid, just as we've done before, holding weight, holding muscular tension. Allow that fluid to slowly drain out so that it remains below the level of your hands, so your hands are gently pressing and squeezing that fluid down. Allow them to sink down at their own pace, slowly, gently, easily, feel that fluid draining out below the level of the hands, kind of in the same way as kids will sometimes use a hand to wipe a funny expression off their face. Let those hands, as they sink, take any tension in your muscles with them down through the legs, the feet, and into the reservoir three feet under the ground. 

I'd like you to do that one more time - again, bringing the hands up to the side till they come over your head, keeping the shoulders relaxed, allowing the hands to sink palm down, wiping off any tension from the muscles of the face, feeling any physical tension or anything in your physical body that you don't want or don't need slowly starting to drain out, leaving your body light, clear, and relaxed. 

Cleansing the Jing
The second component that you're going to cleanse is what the Chinese call 'Jing'. The word means energy or power - it also means sexual energy. Specifically, it means the energy that runs through your brain and your spine, through your spinal column. As we do this exercise I'm going to ask you to visualize a separation of that energy happening. The parts that belong down below, in the base of the spine, are going to go there, and the parts that belong up above, in the head and the top of the neck, are going to go there. 
Maybe right now this energy is mixed up, it's got some sexual elements, it's got some more spiritual elements, all mixed together, and you're going to do the separation, so that the sexual parts can go to the sexual areas and the spiritual elements can rise up to the crown of the head. So it's like a precipitation process. 

Again, allow the hands to float overhead, and allow them to slowly float down, palm down. As they float down, feel the energy in your brain, the back of your neck, and your spine. Let the parts of the energy that want to rise, rise to the crown of your head, and let the parts that want to sink be massaged down by your hands to the bottom of your spine and your tailbone. 

Your spine may feel a little different as a result of this. Again, allow the hands to float up, 

[8 sec PAUSE] 

and gently press down, again separating the energy in the spine and the brain between the crown of your head and your tailbone. 


Cleansing the Chi
The next system you are going to cleanse is the 'Chi.' 
Chi is a term that crops up a lot in T'ai Chi and Chi Kung - breath energy, life energy. 

Allow the hands to float up either side of you over the top of your head, and let them sink palm down. This time, pay attention to your breathing as the hands come down. Every time you breathe out, feel the stale Chi, and also any energy that you don't need in your body, being breathed out from the top of your lungs, and the energy from the air that you do want to keep being compacted down into the lower half of your lungs - you may even want to think of it as being packed down into your tummy. 

So with every breath you're purifying the lungs by breathing out stale air. You can breathe out stale air from different parts of the lungs. As your hands pass your lower lungs, for example, you can see if you can squeeze out any old air from the lower part of the lungs. Then of course as you breathe in, you take in as much fresh air as you can. 

Repeat this once more in your own time. 


Cleansing the Yi
The next component we're going to cleanse is the Yi, or 'Intention'. Your intention is like a clear picture that you create in your mind, of where your focus is. The point associated with the intention is between and a little above the eyebrows - what the Hindus call the 'third eye'. 
What you're going to wash off, cleanse away, is any distractions, complications, side issues, anything that has as it were gotten stuck onto your central purpose, perhaps things you do just out of habit or to pass the time like watching TV or daydreaming, so you're coming back to your central purpose in life, what your life is about. And also to your core intention right now - what are you doing right now, why are you doing it? 

Let the hands float up, and slowly let the hands float down again. See if you can wash off any accretions to your fundamental purpose, any distractions, stray thoughts, random mental activity, wash it away with your hands, so that what remains is your true purpose. Do once more in your own time. 


Cleansing the Shen
The last component we're going to purify is called Shen, spirit. The Shen is what the Zen people would call 'the face you had before you were born'. It's your true, essential nature - who you really are. What we're going to wash away is anything that isn't really you but may seem to be - things your parents or your schoolteachers may have told you about who you were, decisions you may have reached yourself, any idea or theory about who you are, that may be limiting you in some way. Again, allow your hands to float over your head. Let anything that is not your true nature be washed down by the hands, down through the body down through the feet into the ground. 
When the hands come the bottom you're just left with who you really are, your true self. 

As you do this next washing you can notice what you ARE washing off, some of your programs, your habits, your beliefs - just loosen it up, separate it, feel it washed away. 

One more time 

The combining of Zen and Taoism is not new. Bodhidharma practiced Taoist yoga in India. He brought Buddhism to China where it combined with Chinese Taoism to produce living Lin Chi (Rinzai) Zen. The great Korean Zen Master Won Hyo combined both practices in the Silla dynasty 1300 years ago, practicing the same Sun-do breathing we teach here today. Japanese Zen Master Hakuin strongly emphasized the importance of Taoist breathing techniques for Zen practitioners.

In the search for awakening to our Essence Mind, Zen meditation is a direct spiritual path. With awakening, all that remains is harmony, love, peace, compassion and wisdom. But with poor healthy or energy and emotional imbalances, many obstacles arise for deep sitting meditaton. Modern day Zen practitioners unknowingly are not utilizing the benefits that Taoism can bring to their practice. Also, Zen has wisdom which goes beyond the harmonizing benefits of Taoism, but Taoists do not realize this Zen wisdom and for them it is easy to become attached to their own energy.

With wisdom and pure intention, if we combine Zen and Taoism, we can enter a correct spiritual path with balanced health and purified mind, and achieve great awakening.

Tantien Breathing Meditation
In 1967, the Taoist cave hermit Master Chong San came down from the hills into Seoul. He spent the next 15 years teaching a tantien breathing meditation called Sun-do, which had been a secret practice. During those years, he transmitted his teachings to eleven of his students, giving them sanction to teach. One of these eleven was our teacher, Ven. Hyunoong Sunim, a Korean Zen Buddhist monk who was trained under Master Chong San for ten years, combining this with his twenty years of traditional Zen practice. Due to the various and dramatic changes it produces, Sun-do must be practiced under the strict guidance of a sanctioned teacher.

Sun-do, a Taoist way of longevity, involves a combination of breathing patterns and a total of 365 postures divided into several different levels of practice. Over time it initiates tremendous changes involving our whole physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being. It transforms our old habits and heals the damage created by these habits. Through it, we can awaken to the truth of the universe.

"When things have become strong, they (then) become old, 
which may be said to be contrary to the Tao. 
Whatever is contrary to the Tao soon ends."
:Lao Tzu

Alchemy :
In China, "alchemy" was originally a search for immortality through various drugs, herbs, and chemicals. This is known as wai-tan, external alchemy, and was developed probably around the 4th century b.c.e., half a millenium before the earliest reference to alchemy in the West. 

Alongside this, and perhaps a little later, there developed nei-tan, internal alchemy, which was actually a sort of yoga or meditation-practice, not unlike Indian Tantra, which resembled external alchemy only in its terminology (the alchemical terms having a symbolic rather than a literal meaning). Internal alchemy had as its aim the cultivation of the life-force, and the consequent attainment of immortality of the personality. 

The basic premise of the the esoteric or nei-tan Taoists is that man has only a limited store of vital-force (ch'i). This leaks away through day-to-day activities, and when it's all gone, that's it, the person's dead. But it is possible to make the ch'i go back inside, rather than outwards, and then up the spine to the crown. This obviously is very like the Tantric Kundalini. In ascending, the ch'i progresses through various stations, which are given exotic names like the Elixer-field, the Yellow Hall, the Heaven. Now comes the difference with Shakta based tantra. Reaching the top of the head, the ch'i then descends down the front of the body, down to the navel, and then around again, forming a complete circuit. This circut is known as "The Circulation of the Light", or "The Microcosmic Orbit". 

Chi kung exercises :
Kidney exercise: This exercise is helpful if you have minor lower back pain or overall lethargy. Stand with the feet wide apart, toes facing forward. Place the back of your hands on the lower back just above the waist, which is right above both kidneys. Turn your hips to the right and to the left. Keep the feet planted; let the hips do the work. Feel the stretch in the pelvis and groin regions. As you turn from side to side, keep your spine straight. Now, bring your arms out in front of you so that they are level with your chest and are rounded. Your fingertips will face each other but will not touch. Bend at the waist and rotate your trunk in large circles to the right five times and then to the left five times. 

Liver exercise: This exercise strengthens the tendons and ligaments. Stand with the feet wide apart and facing forward. Tuck in the buttocks and pull the hips back. Your hands start out by the hips. Bring the hands up to shoulder height and slightly bend your elbows. Exhale and push your hands out so that they are straight and your palms are facing out. Act as if you are pushing someone away from you. As you straighten out your arms, slightly bend the knees. As you exhale, feel energy rise up to the arms and out the palms. Inhale as you bring the arms back in; imagine energy filling up the lower torso, especially the right side where the liver is located. Repeat 15 times. Next, complete a variation of the same exercise by pushing the arms out to the sides for 15 repetitions. 

Heart exercise: This exercise is good for blood circulation. Stand with the feet apart but not quite as wide as with the other exercises; the feet face forward. Inhale and bring your hands up your body starting at the legs. Bring them in front of you, with your palms facing in. When you reach the solar plexus, turn your palms out to the side and straighten out your arms. Exhale and bring the hands down to your legs again. Repeat 15 times.

Spleen exercise: This exercise can help with digestion. Stand with your feet wide apart, feet facing forward. Your arms are by your sides with the palms facing down toward the floor. Inhale and twist the trunk of the body at the waist to the right. The right arm wraps around the back (but does not touch the back) and the left arm wraps around to the front, palms in. Exhale and bring your body and arms back to the front. Repeat to the left. Do 15 sets (a set consists of a twist to the right and one to the left). 

Lung exercise: This exercise can help strengthen the immune system. Stand with your legs wide apart, feet facing forward. Your arms should be by your sides and your palms should face the floor. Inhale; bring the arms in, and cross them in front of your chest. Stretch the fingers and feel the pull in the palms. Then bring the arms out to your sides at shoulder level, with the elbows slightly bent and the palms facing out. Exhale and bring the arms back down to your sides and repeat the exercise in a continuous circular motion. Make your circles as big as possible. Repeat 20 times.

Full lotus -
S T I L L N E S S 
This section teaches meditation that relaxes the mind and body while you develop sensitivity and awareness. 

Sit in the full lotus – legs are crossed with each foot resting on the opposite upper thigh. If you cannot do a full lotus, try a half one or just sit cross-legged. Keep the back straight and the chin pulled in. Breathe slowly, smoothly, deeply and evenly. Feel the abdomen expand as you inhale, and contract as you exhale. Now count from one to 10 repeatedly – do not proceed to 11; always return to one. When you inhale, count one and as you exhale, count two. 

Do five clockwise neck rolls and then five counterclockwise ones. Feel the tension in the neck release and dissolve. Feel the diaphragm expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale. Roll your shoulders back 10 times, making the rolls as large as possible. 

Vertebrae stretch: Lie flat on your back and starting with the top of the spine, press the vertebrae against the ground one by one. When you reach the tailbone, work your way back up to the neck. Allow the muscles around the spine to relax. As the muscles relax, it should feel as though the spine is lengthening and straightening. 

Upper back stretch.
Upper back stretch: Kneel on the ground with the lower part of your legs extended behind you; the tops of your toes should touch the ground. Extend your arms straight out in front of you and bend forward so your chest bends in toward the ground but does not touch it. Keep your thighs perpendicular to the ground. With each breath, feel the upper torso elongate from the fingertips to the hips. 

The cobra: Lie flat on your stomach. Place your hands down flat underneath your shoulders then raise your upper body off the ground until your arms are straight. Relax the stomach; your pelvis should remain on the ground. Raise your head, relaxing the neck and shoulders. 

Breathing exercise is the foundation of any Taoist-based martial art and healing art. Without knowing how to breathe properly first will only slow down your progress. It is like building a tower without building its foundation first. The higher you build this tower, the more unstable it will become. Eventually, it wills collapse. Breathing exercise is the building blocks of Taoist-Art. All exercises in this manual utilize the art of breathing. When Abdominal Breathing is done properly, it will refresh us by forcing the old and stagnated chi out of the body. Energize us by nourishing our body with fresh oxygen. The expanding and contracting movements from your abdomen massage your internal organs, improving their circulation. 

Exercise 1: Observe and relearn your breathing patterns. During our course of life, we have picked up many bad habits through our stylized lifestyle. So first we are going to relearn how to breathe naturally. The best way to do this is to learn it from your own body. First, relax yourself and lay down on your back, just try to make yourself comfortable. Take a couple deep breaths to calm down your mind. Through your nose, breathe in slowly and deeply. As you breathe in, concentrate on your in-breath and be aware that you are breathing in. Then exhale doing the same. Repeat 3 times. Now put your hands palm down, one on top of the other, on your lower abdomen. Just lay your hands there, don’t put pressure on it. Now observe your hands as you breathe in and out. Notice how your abdomen expands and contracts. Do not use your muscle, or force your breath. Simply relax and observe. This is Normal Breathing. The stomach contracts, as you breathe out; expands as you breathe in. The best time to do this is when you just wake up from bed or before you go to bed. 

Exercise 2: This is the same concept as above, except that this time we want to relearn another breathing method, Reverse Breathing. This exercise require more physical works, because we want to observe what happen to our breathing pattern when extra energy is needed in the body. First thing to do is to warm up your body, especially the big joints (neck, shoulders, waist, hip, knee, and ankle). Then do about fifty jumping jacks (or any exercise you prefer). Running laps is fine also. Exercise until your heart rate goes up. Stop, and put both hands on the lower abdomen. Observe how your breathing pattern is different than Normal Breathing. The stomach contracts when breathing in, expand as you are breathing out. Now try to regulate your breath by breathing through the nose. When out of breath, many people would breathe through their mouth instead, because the mouth’s opening is larger than the nostrils. Breathing that way is not wrong, but it will dry up the throat very quickly, the breath will become very shallow, and the Microcosmic Channel will be cut off; so in our practice we will breathe through our nose. When you start breathing through your nose, notice how your breath becomes deeper and more rhythmic than you would breathing through your mouth. This is Reverse Breathing. 

After you have relearned these two breathing methods, practice them everyday for the first week. Practice Normal Breathing for about five minutes at a time, twice a day. When practicing, try breathing deep, slow, and even breath. That is the goal for this practice. But this will not come suddenly overnight. So please do not force your breath or you will harm your body! Do it gradually, and it will come with time. Let it happen naturally, that is the way of the Tao. Do not rush. Practice carefully, and mindfully. Notice subtle details such as how your thoracic, and pelvic diaphragm lower and rise. In which way the stomach expands and contracts. Follow your breath into your body as you breathe in. Keep your body relaxed. 

As in the same way with Normal Breathing, practice Reverse Breathing daily except that, don’t practice more than one minutes at a time. Over practicing may strain your abdominal muscle and over heat your system, as the extra energy is not being used or store away immediately. Then gradually increase it to two minutes after two weeks of practice. Depending on how comfortable you are with it, increase to 3 minutes after about a month. Do this after you have practiced the Normal Breathing as a warm up. Try to do it with your chest relaxed. Do not over do this practice, as this is more difficult to perform. Until you have opened the Microcosmic Channel, and learn how to effectively store away exceeds energy; do not practice Reverse Breathing for more than 3 minutes at a time for the first 3 months.

These two breathings are the foundation of basic skill that you will need to continue the Taoist Art, especially the Normal Breathing. We will start each session with Normal breathing to calm down our mind, preparing us for the energy-work ahead of us. We will also use it for Chi Kung, Tree Standing, Iron Shirt, Tendon Exchange, and sitting meditation etc. 

In the previous exercise, we have relearned how to breathe naturally with Normal and Reverse breathing. Now we can use these breathing methods to begin our meditation practice. Before we meditate, we need to be prepared. We need to find a place that is quiet and comfortable. It is a good idea to set a time aside just for meditation, so we will not be disturbed by others. Incense and soft music will help, but they are only accessories. Whatever is best for you as long as you can stay relaxed and not be disturbed by it. It is said that "the amateur meditates to relax, while the professional relaxes to meditate." So we must relax in order to meditate. The meditative environment and meditation posture will help us greatly in achieving the state of total relaxation. There are 3 major postures for meditation: sitting, standing, and the seated pose.

Sitting pose:
the meditators cross their legs to create a base for sitting on the floor. 

Crossed legs: simply cross the legs in front of the body. Both feet are hid under the thigh. It is easier, and is recommended for beginner.

Half Lotus: cross one leg on top of the other. Place one foot on top of the opposite thigh. The sole of the foot is to face upward. This posture requires greater flexibility of the leg, and the ankle. It is more difficult than the crossed leg, but it provides a stronger base. The foot that is facing upward can be used to channel down energy.

Full Lotus: same as the Half Lotus except that both legs are cross, and both feet are on the opposite thigh. Both feet should face the sky. As your flexibility increases, the feet should come closer to the body. This posture is the most difficult, but it gives the meditator a solid base. The Full Lotus also provides the body with extra blood supply from the legs, as the legs were crossed. This enables more energy to travel upward to the higher centers.

In all 3 of these sitting postures, the hands can be place either overlapped in front of the dantien or on the knee palms up. This allows us to receive energy from the Heaven (Universal Chi). Together with the energy received from soles of the feet, especially in the Full Lotus, the whole body is bathed in heavenly chi. This Universal Chi, which is yang in nature, will ascend upward to the higher centers for advanced meditation. The general rule for these sitting postures is that you should work from whichever is most comfortable first. If your body is not flexible enough for the Full Lotus, do the Half Lotus. If you force yourself into a posture, the pain will only distract you during meditation. Another rule is concerning the placement of the hands and feet. Generally, if your left hand is on top of the right hand, then your left legs should be on top of the right leg, and vise versa. Remember to keep your body and your head erect as in any other posture.

Advantages of the sitting pose: stable, ability to absorb Universal Chi, helps leading energy upward.

Disadvantages: weak Earth Chi connection, difficult on the legs for the beginner.

Standing pose
the standing posture is popular among martial artists and healers, because it is a powerful tool for developing internal energy and Rooting. There are many standing postures, the most popular one is the Tree Standing, where the body weight is evenly disturbed between two legs.

In standing meditation, the practitioner is to stand still for up to an hour. It might seem like the person is not doing anything, but the physical and mental workloads are equal to, if not beyond, any other physical exercise. This is what the Taoist called "seeking motion within stillness". In this seemingly motionless posture, the practitioner is to observe changes in energetic patterns within and outside the body. Besides building the leg’s strength, standing opens the hands and feet channels naturally. It can also teach the practitioner grounding, where excess energy is ground to the earth. In the standing posture, Heavenly chi (Universal Chi) can come in from the crown of the head, and Earth Chi can come in from the sole of the feet (KI 1). So standing is used for cultivating the chi. (see more about standing here)

Advantages: balanced energy from both Heaven and Earth, grounding, builds leg strength, opens the hands and feet channels, cultivates chi, develops fighting and healing power, an ability to "listen" to the body, and all-over body conditioning. 

Disadvantages: tiring on the legs, too overwhelming for beginner to use as a meditation pose, because too much is going on at once inside the body.

Seated pose
meditating while sitting on a chair. It is the most comfortable meditation pose. Practitioner is to sit on the "sitting bone" on the outer 1/3 of the chair. This allows the genital to breathe. The head and back is upright and erect. Don’t lean on the back of the chair, it will obstruct the chi flow in the back. Feet are placed flat on the floor and parallel to each other. The hands can either be placed on the knee or overlapped in front of the abdominal. It is very comfortable and easy to meditate in this posture, because you don’t have to support your own weight. 

Advantages: advantages of the other two postures; comfortable and easy to maintain, balanced chi from Heaven and Earth, 

Disadvantages: TOO comfortable, while having little advantages of the other two postures, it is not as intensive as other two.

Beathing Counts :
Now we will use the breathing method we have learned in the past exercise and incorporate it into this beginning mediation exercise. This meditation technique will calm our mind and help us concentrate. It will also allow us to cultivate chi into the dantien. 

In this exercise we are to forget about the past and stop planning for the future, so that our mind will be unite with our body. We will concentrate on the present moment. We will use our breathing to help us achieve the "now". 

Use any meditation pose that is the most comfortable. Breathe with Normal Breathing as learned from the previous exercise. Keep the body relax and touch the tongue to the roof of the mouth. When breathing in, follow the in-breathe from the nostrils to the throat, lung, solar plexus, and finally the dantien. Breathe in deeply and slowly. Pause for a moment, then breathe out slowly following the same route from the dantien out to the nose. Count to yourself "one". This is one breathing cycle. Repeat. If any thought comes up, and you find your mind is wandering, recount to zero. Do this until you can count to one hundred. Then repeat the cycle if desire. This exercise is much easier to said then done. Although, it seems simple and too easy, it lays the foundation for further meditation. Once you can work up to a hundred, you can then forget about the counting. Do not cheat yourself by breathing faster. Counting to a hundred is not the point of this exercise. The point of this exercise is to gain control over the mind. Let any thought springs naturally and leaves naturally. Do not try to fight it. We are not trying to stop the flow of consciousness, but instead slow it down. 

Another important point is to keep your body relax and concentrate on the dantien. This will let the chi to accumulate and sink to the dantien. Because we are cultivating chi in this exercise, we need to close this meditation with a closing form. Closing form allows us to safely store away the chi we have cultivated. It is extremely important to do the closing form after each exercise, so the energy will not get stuck somewhere in the body, causing unnecessary side effect.

Closing form: 
.Close your eyes and relax your body. Relieve yourself from whatever you were doing. Calm your mind down and focus on your dantien.

.Breathe deeply three times (3 cycles) into your dantien and gather the chi there (use you mind to "lead" the chi, don’t force it). Then overlap your hands on top of other, and place it in front of your dantien.

For men: put your left hand on top of the right hand. Spiral your chi in the dantien, in a counterclockwise direction (facing the clock) 36 times, then clockwise 24 times. Condense the chi from a ball into a dot.

For women: put your right hand on top of the left hand. Spiral your chi in the dantien, in a direction clockwise (facing the clock) 36 times, then counterclockwise 24 times. Condense the chi from a ball into a dot.

.At the end, mentally say to yourself "I am done", then slowly open your eyes.

Optional closing form (this is optional, use it after you have done the regular closing form):

After chi work, our hands are charged with plenty of fresh chi. Instead of letting it disperse into the atmosphere, we can use it to refresh yourself. After the closing form, rub your hands together until they are hot, this should not take more than a few seconds, since the hands are charged with energy. 

.Then use your hands to cup both eyes. Inhale and visualize light going into your eyes. [Visualization works because chi follows the mind. "Wherever the mind goes, the chi follows." Visualizing a light coming in is just as effective as using the mind to lead the chi in.] 

Rub your eyes lightly with the root of the thumb (the meaty part) in circles. 8 times for men and 7 times for women. This will energized and brighten your eyes. Rub the hands again if necessary, before continue.

.Then use your hands to rub your face in a circle. 8 times for men and 7 times for women. This will rejuvenate your skin and complexion. 
.Brush your hair with your hands from front to back. 8 times for men and 7 times for women. 
. Beat teeth together 36 times. This will strengthen your teeth.
. Open your mouth as wide as possible, like a lion roaring. This will release tension trapped in the jaw.
. At the end, you may massage yourself at major acupuncture points. (check in a meridian map)
this optional form will rejuvenate yourself, keeping you youthful. It will also strenghten your teeth, and brighten your eyes

If you need more techniques/details then please click here 
(Please remember to come back to this site again!) : Chi kung for wellness 
Quote :
"The way is emptiness,
Yet practice it and it seems inexhaustible
Fathomless and still, 
Yet all life seems to spring from it".
Lao-tzu (Tao-te Ching)

Tips for qigong practice :
Using qigong for health and physical strength is more than just a game of “mind over matter.” Still, before using qigong to treat your body, you must first treat your mind by changing the way you look at your life. Qigong raises the “spirit of vitality,” which is directly linked to physical well-being. In qigong practice, think of the mind as the general in the battle against poor health. When the general is determined, when he understands the “battlefield” (the body), when he carefully develops his “strategy” (breathing techniques) and when he effectively manages his “soldiers” (the qi), then the spirit can be raised, sickness conquered and strength regained. 

Regulating the body (tio shen): Regulating the body means bringing your body into a relaxed, centered and balanced state, allowing your mind to become calm and comfortable. This, in turn, allows the qi to circulate freely and to be easily led anywhere you wish.

Regulating the breathing (tiao xi): With qigong, in addition to the body being relaxed, the breathing must be long, deep and calm. It must be coordinated with your thoughts for you to lead the qi efficiently. If you breathe correctly, your mind will be able to lead your qi effortlessly.

Regulating the mind (tiao xin): In regulating the mind, you first learn how to bring your mind and attention into your body. You learn to control your “emotional mind” with your “wisdom mind” to lead qi to the damaged places inside your body.

Regulating the qi (tiao qi): You want to make the qi circulate smoothly and strongly in your body; to accumulate qi to strengthen your body; to lead the qi to the skin and also to the bone marrow, which manufactures blood cells; and to lead qi to your head to nourish your brain – the center of your whole being. If your brain is healthy, you can raise your spirit of vitality, which is the key to longevity.

Regulating the spirit (tiao shen): Now you can start working to balance yin and yang and reach a state of balance. Your qi will unite with the qi of nature, your spirit will unite with the spirit of nature, and you and the natural world will become one. In Buddhist tradition, this is the final goal of enlightenment.
If you need more techniques/details then please click here 
(Please remember to come back to this site again!) :  Qi-Gong

Want to learn TAI-CHI then please click here : 
(Please remember to come back to this site again!) :

"Those who wish to change the world
According with their desire
Cannot succeed.

The world is shaped by the Way;
It cannot be shaped by the self.
Trying to change it, you damage it;
Trying to possess it, you lose it.

So some will lead, while others follow.
Some will be warm, others cold
Some will be strong, others weak.
Some will get where they are going
While others fall by the side of the road.

So the sage will be neither wasteful nor violent."
:Lao-tzu (Tao-te Ching)

Tao Te Ching excerpts

Chapter 2: Verse 1. All in the world know the beauty of the beautiful, and in doing this they have (the idea of) what ugliness is; they all know the skill of the skillful, and in doing this they have (the idea of) what the want of skill is.

Chapter 8: Verse 1. The highest excellence is like (that of) water. The excellence of water appears in its benefiting all things, and in its occupying, without striving (to the contrary), the low place which all men dislike. Hence (its way) is near to (that of) the Tao.

Chapter 9: Verse 2. When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them safe. When wealth and honours lead to arrogance, this brings its evil on itself. When the work is done, and one's name is becoming distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven.

Chapter 10: Verse 3. (The Tao) produces (all things) and nourishes them; it produces them and does not claim them as its own; it does all, and yet does not boast of it; it presides over all, and yet does not control them. This is what is called 'The mysterious Quality' (of the Tao).

Chapter 18: Verse 1. When the Great Tao (Way or Method) ceased to be observed, benevolence and righteousness came into vogue. (Then) appeared wisdom and shrewdness, and there ensued great hypocrisy.

Chapter 22: Verse 1. The partial becomes complete; the crooked, straight; the empty, full; the worn out, new. He whose (desires) are few gets them; he whose (desires) are many goes astray.

Chapter 24. He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm; he who stretches his legs does not walk (easily). (So), he who displays himself does not shine; he who asserts his own views is not distinguished; he who vaunts himself does not find his merit acknowledged; he who is self-conceited has no superiority allowed to him. Such conditions, viewed from the standpoint of the Tao, are like remnants of food, or a tumour on the body, which all dislike. Hence those who pursue (the course) of the Tao do not adopt and allow them.

Chapter 29: Verse 1. If any one should wish to get the kingdom for himself, and to effect this by what he does, I see that he will not succeed. The kingdom is a spirit-like thing, and cannot be got by active doing. He who would so win it destroys it; he who would hold it in his grasp loses it.

Chapter 42: Verse 1. The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things. All things leave behind them the Obscurity (out of which they have come), and go forward to embrace the Brightness (into which they have emerged), while they are harmonised by the Breath of Vacancy.

Chapter 43: Verse 1. The softest thing in the world dashes against and overcomes the hardest; that which has no (substantial) existence enters where there is no crevice. I know hereby what advantage belongs to doing nothing (with a purpose).

Chapter 47: Verse 1. Without going outside his door, one understands (all that takes place) under the sky; without looking out from his window, one sees the Tao of Heaven. The farther that one goes out (from himself), the less he knows. [Note: This verse is paraphrased in the Beatles song "The Inner Light"] 

Chapter 49: Verse 1. The sage has no invariable mind of his own; he makes the mind of the people his mind.

49:2. To those who are good (to me), I am good; and to those who are not good (to me), I am also good;—and thus (all) get to be good. To those who are sincere (with me), I am sincere; and to those who are not sincere (with me), I am also sincere;—and thus (all) get to be sincere.

Chapter 55: Verse 4. When things have become strong, they (then) become old, which may be said to be contrary to the Tao. Whatever is contrary to the Tao soon ends.

Chapter 64: Verse 4. The sage desires what (other men) do not desire, and does not prize things difficult to get; he learns what (other men) do not learn, and turns back to what the multitude of men have passed by. Thus he helps the natural development of all things, and does not dare to act (with an ulterior purpose of his own). 

Chapter 76: Verse 1. Man at his birth is supple and weak; at his death, firm and strong. (So it is with) all things. Trees and plants, in their early growth, are soft and brittle; at their death, dry and withered.

76:2. Thus it is that firmness and strength are the concomitants of death; softness and weakness, the concomitants of life.

76:3. Hence he who (relies on) the strength of his forces does not conquer; and a tree which is strong will fill the out-stretched arms, (and thereby invites the feller.)

76:4. Therefore the place of what is firm and strong is below, and that of what is soft and weak is above.

Chapter 78: Verse 4. Words that are strictly true seem to be paradoxical.

Chapter 81: Verse 3. [end verse] With all the sharpness of the Way of Heaven, it injures not; with all the doing in the way of the sage he does not strive. 

Some Quotes of Tao (from The Classic of "Lao-tzu (Tao-te Ching)") :

"Occasions of hatred are certainly never settled by hatred. 
They are settled by freedom from hatred. This is the eternal law."
:Dao De Jing

Experiencing freedom
(Quotations from Chuang Tzu)
"The true men of old were not afraid when they stood alone in their views. 
No great exploits. No plans. 
If they failed, no sorrow. 
No self-congratulation in success... "

Surrendering :
(Quotations from Chuang Tzu)
"If you persist in trying to attain what is never attained (It is Tao's gift), 
if you persist in making effort to obtain what effort cannot get, 
if you persist in reasoning about what cannot be understood, 
you will be destroyed by the very thing you seek. 

To know when to stop, 
to know when you can get no further by your own action, 
this is the right beginning!" 
:(23:3-7, p. 197)

Being humble :
"Who can free himself from achievement, and from fame, descend and be lost amid the masses of men? 
He will flow like Tao, unseen, he will go about like Life itself with no name and no home. 
Simple is he, without distinction. To all appearances he is a fool. 
His steps leave no trace. He has no power. He achieves nothing, has no reputation. 

Since he judges no one, no one judges him. 
Such is the perfect man: 
His boat is empty. "

"Straighten yourself and you will not stand steady;
Display yourself and you will not be clearly seen;
Justify yourself and you will not be respected;
Promote yourself and you will not be believed;
Pride yourself and you will not endure.

These behaviours are wasteful, indulgent,
And so they attract disfavour;
Harmony avoids them."

"The sage does not distinguish between himself and the world;
The needs of other people are as his own.

He is good to those who are good;
He is also good to those who are not good,
Thereby he is good.
He trusts those who are trustworthy;
He also trusts those who are not trustworthy,
Thereby he is trustworthy.

The sage lives in harmony with the world,
And his mind is the world's mind.
So he nurtures the worlds of others
As a mother does her children."

"My words are easy to understand
And my actions are easy to perform
Yet no other can understand or perform them.

My words have meaning; my actions have reason;
Yet these cannot be known and I cannot be known.

We are each unique, and therefore valuable;
Though the sage wears coarse clothes, his heart is jade."

I do not know its name I call it Tao
ever leaving and ever returning 
Humankind follows earth 
Earth follows heaven 
Heaven follows Tao 
Tao follows Tao "

"Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.

The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.

So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily;
Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness;
Sometimes one is up and sometimes down.

Therefore the sage avoids extremes, excesses, and complacency."
:Dao De Jing - Chapter 29

"Peace is easily maintained;
Trouble is easily overcome before it starts.
The brittle is easily shattered;
The small is easily scattered.

Deal with it before it happens.
Set things in order before there is confusion.

A tree as great as a man's embrace springs up from a small shoot;
A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth;
A journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet.

He who acts defeats his own purpose;
He who grasps loses.
The sage does not act, and so is not defeated.
He does not grasp and therefore does not lose.

People usually fail when they are on the verge of success.
So give as much care to the end as to the beginning;
Then there will be no failure.

Therefore the sage seeks freedom from desire.
He does not collect precious things.
He learns not to hold on to ideas.
He brings men back to what they have lost.
He help the ten thousand things find their own nature,
But refrains from action."
:Dao De Jing - Chapter 64

Please click here to go next Tao page-3