T'ai Chi and Qigong

Nicola Joanne Dunn, modified 12 Years ago at 10/23/09 8:42 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 10/23/09 8:42 PM

T'ai Chi and Qigong

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I'm interested as to whether other people see these as being specifically energy practices. I do, because they're aimed at working with energy, mostly within the body, but some parts work with taking in external energy.

I've been doing a bit of t'ai chi for years now, mostly just a few exercises that I can remember, but because I have many physical problems with my medical conditions and disabilities, I'm interested in taking this a lot further and really working with the energy in my body to improve the problems I have, and to slow down degeneration. The small bit I do feels amazing, and I found that when I started years ago, I already knew how to move energy around my body, it was totally instinctive, and I found that I'd been doing it my whole life, I just didn't realise what I was doing.
I find it helps a lot - if I'm in pain, I move healing energy to that area. Sometimes the pain is too great though, and concentrating on the area hurts, so I've found that if I move energy to another area, especially a sensitive area, like the fingers of a hand, my mind kind of shuts out the rest of my body, and focuses on the new sensations of energy filling those fingers, and how it feels different to normal, so the pain in another part of my body lessens.

Has anyone got experiences of T'ai Chi and Qigong? Have they used it in the path? I find that I slipped into the habit of a moving meditation with t'ai chi, and it's really nice to meditate like that. It can be very different to a sitting meditation.


Djon Ma

Nicola
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 10/24/09 6:26 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 10/24/09 6:26 PM

RE: T'ai Chi and Qigong

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Nicola Joanne Dunn:
Has anyone got experiences of T'ai Chi and Qigong? Have they used it in the path? I find that I slipped into the habit of a moving meditation with t'ai chi, and it's really nice to meditate like that. It can be very different to a sitting meditation.


Hi Nicola,
I practiced an internal (meditative) Qigong and went through the first two paths using that practice. I had no knowledge of Buddhist practices at the time. Later I started doing t'ai chi and found that a very nice addition. What I found with the tai chi is that it really developed a sense of rootedness, of poise and balance. Haven't done it for years though as I took a break for a while and later couldn't remember the order of the moves – so it goes.

As to its relationship to Buddhist practices and path, consider that the role of the noting practice is to get in touch with bare sensate experience (vibrations). What is the energy that you are feeling in the body but 'bare sensate experience (vibrations)'? Once you open up to that – and it seems already pretty accessible for you – just stay with it. Deepen the experience by slowly working to open up all the areas of your body. Try to stay out of content stuff – that is, all the stories – and just stay with the energy. So you can basically do both at the same time – work on your pain and health issues while also proceeding in your meditation practice.

“I'm interested in taking this a lot further and really working with the energy in my body to improve the problems I have, and to slow down degeneration”
I encourage you to do it. I think many people have been really helped by this work particularly in the area of chronic pain and it sounds like you already 'get it'.

“I find it helps a lot - if I'm in pain, I move healing energy to that area. Sometimes the pain is too great though, and concentrating on the area hurts, so I've found that if I move energy to another area, especially a sensitive area, like the fingers of a hand, my mind kind of shuts out the rest of my body, and focuses on the new sensations of energy filling those fingers, and how it feels different to normal, so the pain in another part of my body lessens.”

I am not an acupuncturist but experientially, the fingers and toes are all wired in to the entire energetic system so by working in those areas your are connecting and working with many other parts of your body. You can also try moving closer - but not to – the area of pain. Go as close as you can - but still feel the energy. Then slowly move closer to the pain with a sort of 'liberating' or 'opening' intention. The sensations may start feeling kind of 'wiry' or kind of like 'sensations with hot sauce' (an acquired taste) but not themselves painful. Just stay with that – keep an open intention – give the pain some space to dissolve – to break up.

-Chuck
Nigel Sidley Thompson, modified 12 Years ago at 11/12/09 5:23 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/12/09 5:23 PM

RE: T'ai Chi and Qigong

Posts: 14 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
Dear Nicola,

Another taijiquan and qigong person here. I've practiced taijiquan on and off for years now. With some more consistent periods dropped in there. I'm actually planning to get back to practicing in the coming months. I am doing Chen style- Lao Jia Yi Lu pretty much. I did qigong first before starting taijiquan. A medical form that I learned from a qigong doctor, and also the very common Eight Treasures exercise-I learned the Ni family style, taught by Ni Hua-ching and his sons.

I am not sure how my qi practice relates to the path and stages models that we talk about here. But definitely, interesting things have happened over the years. Sometimes insights or perceptions seemed to just pop out of nowhere, which was nice.

I'm now working on a beginning stage of vipassana and shamatha practice. And as they progress, I'll try to combine those approaches with the taijiquan form. They so clearly fit together so naturally.

Qi is, I think, going to become more and more important to my understanding of meditation practice as time goes on. That's my intuition. I think that qi, and an experience of it, is one of the things that can make a real difference to the practices.

But the best teachings I've gotten have said that when the attention rests in emptiness qi will naturally do all that it's supposed to do. In other words, attaining arhatship and applying vipassana to the jhanas is the best qigong that one can do. But on the way to emptiness, having this concept of qi can be very helpful, since there are lots of transformations en route to arhatship.

I know how much the practice can vary from day to day. How are your practices feeling these days?
Nicola Joanne Dunn, modified 12 Years ago at 11/21/09 10:27 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/21/09 10:27 AM

RE: T'ai Chi and Qigong

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I've not done much practice for a while, or any physical things like T'ai Chi or QiGong.
Terrible I know, but I've been in quite a rut.

Starting to do things again from today. Though I'm recovering from surgery, so I can't do too much physical stuff.

I was wondering if anyone else had experienced this though; I have found that I can lie down, or sit down, whatever, and close my eyes as though I was meditating. Get into that state of mind, and then run through T'ai Chi exercises in my mind, moving the Chi just as I would if I was standing doing the movements.
And it totally energises me exactly the same as if I'd done the movements, and it tires my muscles as though I'd done the movements!

Anyone else found this?

Nicola

Djon Ma
Nigel Sidley Thompson, modified 12 Years ago at 11/24/09 8:25 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/24/09 8:25 AM

RE: T'ai Chi and Qigong

Posts: 14 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
I have found that the qi moves with mental practice of the form. And have heard at least one teacher mention it.

I haven't done it very much though.

Seems like an excellent idea to do while recovering from surgery.
Nicola Joanne Dunn, modified 12 Years ago at 11/27/09 9:14 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/27/09 9:14 AM

RE: T'ai Chi and Qigong

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I started the T'ai Chi this morning.
(Well, I say morning.. not long after I dragged myself out of bed anyway!)

I only did a few very basic exercises, all sitting down, just moving my head (neck exercise), shoulders, and arms.
I moved the qi as I would if I was standing.

Damn I feel good after that.

I'm going to be sticking with just four simple exercises for a while, and then adding to them to build up to a full form again.
I need to take it slowly because of the surgery recovery and my physical disabilities, but it does feel good to have started again!

I'm glad to hear other people have heard of moving qi around without even moving. At least I'm not alone there!

Nicola
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John Erik Hanson, modified 12 Years ago at 6/2/10 6:41 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 6/2/10 6:41 PM

RE: T'ai Chi and Qigong

Posts: 4 Join Date: 5/30/10 Recent Posts
I am learning Yang style long form T'ai Chi Chuan and have done some Sun style. There are three stages to T'ai Chi Chuan practice: 1 when you learn the movements and stretch and accustom your tendons and muscles to get used to the physical process of the practice (movements are very pronounced and even exaggerated compared to stage 3) 2 when you begin to really search out and feel the energy circulation and learn to truly utilize that aspect in your training 3 when you have completely switched over to energy circulation and cultivation practice and your movements are less pronounced.

Going over the movements in your mind can circulate some energy, activating muscles and muscle groups in the usual sequence and is healthy in general. Also that form of practice helps one to remember the movements for when actually completing the exercise.

Your hands and feet are the parts of your body that are furthest away from you dan tien, two inches below the belly button in there under the skin, where energy circulates from and back to. This fact makes those furthest extremities key, they are the point of no return, where the energy must continue on to circulate back properly. We naturally focus on those areas. There is no use swimming across 51% of the distance across an ocean and then turning back, but sometimes we do this while learning T'ai Chi Chuan, and some Qigong because we don't know just yet how to properly complete the journey of the microcosmic orbit. Before you move on to stage three, you will no longer feel tingling from the unnecessary 51% turnaround nor hot spots nor aches from trapped energy, but a much more healthy sensation of fresh wholeness, and even clarity.

Although T'ai Chi Chuan natually feels quite meditative, you will have to complete the exercise correctly 1500 times to imprint the movements in your muscle memory, before you can do T'ai Chi Chuan as second instinct, without even thinking about the next move.
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Andy Coke, modified 11 Years ago at 9/12/10 4:52 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/12/10 4:52 PM

RE: T'ai Chi and Qigong

Posts: 93 Join Date: 10/5/09 Recent Posts
Nicola Joanne Dunn:
I was wondering if anyone else had experienced this though; I have found that I can lie down, or sit down, whatever, and close my eyes as though I was meditating. Get into that state of mind, and then run through T'ai Chi exercises in my mind, moving the Chi just as I would if I was standing doing the movements.
And it totally energises me exactly the same as if I'd done the movements, and it tires my muscles as though I'd done the movements!


Hello Nicola, its been a while since you wrote it, but I just read it :-)

Josh Waitzkin in his book The Art of Learning, explains how he did the same thing you talk about when he was injured in an elbow or something. And apparently he got quite good results.

That one is a great book, he explains the way he learns. The chap has been champion of the world in Chess and in Tai Chi Push Hands, so I guess he can tell about learning hehe He also talks a lot about tai chi!

Hope everything is better now!

Andy
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Andy Coke, modified 11 Years ago at 9/26/10 8:22 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/26/10 8:22 AM

RE: T'ai Chi and Qigong

Posts: 93 Join Date: 10/5/09 Recent Posts
Chuck Kasmire:

I practiced an internal (meditative) Qigong and went through the first two paths using that practice. I had no knowledge of Buddhist practices at the time. Later I started doing t'ai chi and found that a very nice addition.

-Chuck


Hi Chuck!

Could please give us some info about the Qigong that you used to do? what was the source that you used to learn it?

Thank you!
Andy
Christoffer S, modified 11 Years ago at 9/27/10 11:35 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/27/10 11:34 AM

RE: T'ai Chi and Qigong

Posts: 4 Join Date: 9/25/10 Recent Posts
Andres,

I do Flying Phoenix qigong. See taobums.com for more info.

It is quite powerful. I am starting vipassana Mahasi style now so I will see if they complement each other.

You can feel qi quickly compared to other qigong forms and because it is a medical qigong it is also safe.

DVD's you can buy on taichimania.com.

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