Welcome to the MIT Qigong Blog





Wednesday, March 30, 2011

RSVP for the MIT Qigong Charity Fundraiser!

April 18, 2011 from 7-8:30p
MIT Student Center Room 306


Help raise money for Boston Childrens Hospital!
Stand for as long or short as you like
Bring a friend and introduce them to the benefits of natural qigong

RSVP Today: info@apricotforesthall.com
Minimum $15 donation for participants
Paypal accepted (mention in RSVP email)



Share this blog and youtube trailer to help support our cause.
Donations of any amount gratefully accepted from non-participants!!

Click for Youtube Trailer
info@apricotforesthall.com



Wang XiangZhai: Controlling Distracting Thoughts


While practicing, you must calm mind, get rid of disturbing thoughts. 


As this kind of exercise stresses two aspects: not only training body, but also spirit, controlling distracting thoughts is quite important. But people's thinking is extensive, especially adults used to having many distracting thoughts. So usually getting rid of distracting thoughts is not easy. Many people practicing methods of nourishing health consider it a serious problem. They put a lot attention to tranquilizing mind, but they don't realize that the more they try, the bigger burden it creates for their spirit, it is like using bandit to fight bandit, one bandit goes away, but the other comes and stays - before one thought disappears, another arrives. So during history, those who studied the art of nourishing health established many methods, like concentrating on outside or inside, which can help beginners. But from my own experience I can say, that only using natural method of not controlling, not fighting with coming thoughts, not stopping thoughts which are leaving, can lead to stabilizing the spirit. When the distracting thoughts are strong, you can imagine that the body is like a great melting furnace, in which all objects of the universe are melting. This way, there is no need to fight with distracting thoughts, and they diminish - there is not need of effort to control them and they are controlled anyway, the goal of tranquilizing mind is achieved.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sifu Hendrik Santo: Loose & Quiet

To Join the MIT Qigong Mailing List:
http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/qigong

    Date: 3/28/11
    From: Jim (info@apricotforesthall.com)
    Subject: Loose & Quiet

When it comes to Qigong there are a few CORE principles that one must follow otherwise the result will be a depleted body rather than a nourished natural body. My teacher has always made it clear to me that we do not force anything and our goal is to be physically loose and mentally quiet. This is the foundation of Yang Sheng (life nourishing) Qigong! This method breaks any obstruction within our body and allows the Qi to grow and flow smoothly with the blood. Below you will find notes from my teacher regarding Qigong.

***

Notes come from the Cho family heir; Hendrik Santo (Sifu):

1, When the mind is quiet, the spirit will settle, when spirit settles, the Qi will grow itself to full. When the Qi is full, the Blood circulation will be strong, and thus both Qi and Blood will smoothly flow. This is how to grow the Qi.

2, Blood and Qi have their own natural path and both need to flow smoothly. One must never interrupt the natural flow of the Blood and Qi. What we can do is to help remove any obstructions and let the Blood and Qi naturally develop and expand. This is how to lead the free flow of the Qi and Blood.

3, The goal and cultivation process of Qigong is relax the physical body, quiet the mind, and let everything flow naturally. Only pay attention to these three things.

In other words, The training of Qigong is an act of Let Go and Just BE. This will lead one's body, mind & energy to return and vibrate (or resonance) with nature's frequency. We are not trying to create anything. Only to help the mind, body, energy return and balance with nature's vibration.

This is also called Wu Wei or Non Doing. One is not doing anything but achieving everything! But one is helping lead the body, mind, energy to return to its natural state and let it grow or repair itself on its own.

***
Looking forward to training with everyone tonight!!!
Time: 7:00-8:00
Room: Student Center/Room 306
Cost: FREE FREE FREE

Peace,

Jim Roselando
www.ApricotForestHall.com

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Power of Group Meditation

It is a mistake to think that you cannot practice for lack of time
The real cause is agitation of mind

To meditate with a group will certainly strengthen your practice. At those moments when you feel bored or agitated, if you were alone you might be inclined to give up and stop. An agreement to meditate with another person for a set time keeps you in place. When you stand with others, the pretexts that arise in your mind for quitting meditation are more often simply observed, rather than acted upon.

Here's a way you can keep from getting too lost in your thoughts. See your thoughts go by as if they were autumn leaves floating down a stream. But focus on the stream. The leaves drift by, being moved this way and that by the eddying water. On some there are drops of water that glisten in the sunlight. Let the leaves, the thoughts, float by, but keep your attention on the water itself. Don't get angry because your attention gets caught, for that anger is just another leaf. Don't get frustrated, because your attention will get caught thousands of times. Each time, very gently but firmly bring it back to the flowing water, deep soft breathing into the dantian

Journey of Awakening (A Meditator's Guidebook) by Ram Dass

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mindfulness of the Center Leads to True Mastery of Movement

Ideas from Master Cai 
Compiled by Jan Diepersloot

If you have injury in the body and blockage in the meridians, you don't have enough qi in the body to heal yourself when you're moving because you're using energy when you're moving. Movement is already directing the qi, the classics say. We believe that the qi must first be generated in stillness so it will naturally well up and circulate. Then, it can be used in movement and can be directed. Particularly as we get older, the main job is always to generate the qi and develop our mental abilities, and not to deplete our energy through excessive use of movement. In wuji meditation we learn to control our movement by gaining control of the stillness at our center. Otherwise put, to control your center, you must be still in body and mind. Thus, mindfulness of the center leads to true mastery of movement

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wang XiangZhai on Strength and Combat

First one must make the strength equal all over the body, the muscles agile, and the bones supporting the frame of the body, so that the muscles can contract, stretch, relax, and tense in harmony. Strength should come from inside and be issued outside. In movement, slow excels over quick, be relaxed rather than impatient, the movement should be slight and the spirit full. In trial of strength, one should not have unilateral strength, furthermore, one should not have sheer strength. First of all, one should perceive by intuition whether the strength of the whole body is all-pervading or not, whether the strength can be issued out at any moment or not, and whether one can react to the atmosphere or not, furthermore, one must not let the mind break and the spirit disperse. Have light and heavy forces ready to be issued out, when one part of the body moves, the whole body moves. The strength is consistent, resulting in nimble and heavy insubstantiality, and round and whole substantiality. Up and down, left and right, front and back, do not forget them. To sum up, what cannot lead to comfort, happiness, and gaining strength does not deserve to be called boxing. If one does not have the basic mechanical ability, then no matter what the movement is like, it is all wrong. The same applies to using strength and not using strength. The movements of an ordinary person cannot have strength without constant unilateral tension that disturbs the blood circulation. Every kind of strength based on constant unilateral tension is stiff and inharmonious, and besides that, harmful to health. Having strength without constant unilateral tension is namely having strength without using strength, and when using it, one gains strength. That is what the natural instinctive strength is like. It is like seeking all kinds of real things from the unreal, which is hardly possible to express in words. Anyway, ‘Dachengquan’ is beyond the external form of being good or bad, it actually depends on dealing with the mind. In a nutshell, having a fixed form and fixed techniques are all false. Skills reaching the level of no-mind are getting very rare, this is what the above means.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Master Fong Ha in Boston (March 27)


Master Fong Ha
Yi Chuan Seminar 

Nam Psi Academy
33 Harison Ave
7th floor
Boston MA.


Sunday
March 27, 2011
10AM till 4 PM


Cost: $89.00


Lunch: Bring your own


Contact: Sifu Donald Wong

The Body Seeks Equilibrium - Fong Ha (1996)



Excerpt from T'Ai Chi Magazine, Vol 20, No 3 (1996)
Wuji Qigong: Harvesting Inner Resources

Fong Ha said that by putting yourself in a standing position such as Wuji, "You are activating your own automatic maintenance system. So it doesn't matter if you have bad posture. Every single cell in your body will want to maintain itself so you can stand up straight. Therefore, it is self-correcting at all times, regardless of your state of health, regardless of the state of destruction going on in your body. Your body is automatically self-adjusting and self-maintaining. By simply doing the Wuji stance, you are activating it already. There is nothing else you have to do. In my theory, you don't have to be able to stand in any special way. Just stand up and already the work is done."

"The body seeks equilibrium." Through the equilibrium, Fong Ha said, the mind and body become more integrated. "Integrated means the awareness comes from the center and extends to every extremity of the body. Then you have integration. Integration can also be talked about as evenly distributed tension, or even as density, as in matter. So the body, through the practice of qi, opens all the meridians and you become more and more integrated. The Chinese word is solid, meaning one, unity."

Fong Ha said that in terms of martial arts, "I have come to the understanding that knowing and developing awareness continues to be far more important than developing self-defense technique. Our awareness is there, we just don't know that it is there. So when we put our mind in the dantian, that is just a method to remind yourself it is there. That is the beginning of it."

Wang Xiangzhai on Basic Training

In daily life, in order to gain results from training all the time, while walking, standing, sitting, and reclining, one must start the training from the pile standing (zhan zhuang) method. Arrange the posture of the whole body properly, keep the body upright, have no thoughts, strengthen the nerves in stillness, adjust the breath, warm up and nourish the muscles, let every cell activate naturally. The strength comes from the inside and reaches the outside smoothly in the whole body. Thus, one does not train the bones and the muscles, yet they get trained by themselves, one does not nourish the nerves but they get nourished by themselves, one should especially experience and observe their barely perceptible movement and activity. When one has done it for long enough time, one will know that standing brings many inexhaustible wonders. One who wants to achieve wonders in his boxing skills, should first dedicate his time to pile standing. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Song of Wuji Qigong

Song of Wuji Qigong
By Master Cai Song Fang
Compiled by Jan Diepersloot


Stand with the feet parallel the width of the shoulders
Keep the knees unlocked and expanding,
Feel as if they’re squeezing a big boulder
Relaxing the hips and keeping the pelvis tucked
Expand the lower back and keep the abdomen sucked
“Hollowing the chest and rounding the back”
The arms hang naturally by the side
Holding your head high as if suspended from the sky
Tongue touching the palate, close your eyes
Sink your awareness down the belly
Naturally breathing in and out
While aligning the three points on a straight line
Let the qi fill your body
and peace will fill your mind.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Move Towards Simplicity: Hun Yun Zhuang

The heart of Yiquan Qigong training is the Universal Post (aka Hun Yun Zhuang)! Anyone who studies the art of Yiquan Qigong will spend much of their foundation practice standing and cultivating in that one posture. Master Wang Xiang Zhai's philosophy was that of all true masters!  He was able to take the complicated and find the essence. Read below what Master Wang felt about the Hun Yun Zhuang:

The methods of Zhan Zhuang are rather numerous, for example, xianglong zhuang (subdue the dragon post), fuhu zhuang (taming tiger post), ziwu zhuang (midnight-noon post), sancai zhuang (heaven, earth & man post) etc..  Now, GET RID OF THE NUMEROUS AND MOVE TOWARDS SIMPLICITY, take the strong points of each Zhuang and combine them into one, namely Hun Yun Zhuang -WXZ

To achieve wonders in the health arts, one must have the changing of one's strength with Zhan Zhuang as the foundation and starting point. This means changing the weak into strong and clumsy into nimble.  In training Zhan Zhuang we get rid of the numerous and move towards simplicity. After training for only TEN DAYS the student will get results naturally. Written words cannot express its marvel.  -WXZ    

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wikipedia on Yiquan

Yiquan, also known as dacheng quan, is a martial art system which was founded by the Chinese xingyiquan master, Wang Xiangzhai (王薌齋).

Yiquan is essentially formless, containing no fixed sets of fighting movements or techniques. Instead, focus is put on developing one's natural movement and fighting abilities through a system of training methods and concepts, working to improve the perception of one's body, its movement, and of force. Yiquan is also set apart from other eastern martial arts in that traditional concepts like qi, meridians, dantian etc., are omitted, the reason being that understanding one's true nature happens in the present, and that preconceptions block this process.


Overview

The actual training in yiquan can generally be divided into:

  • Zhan zhuang (站樁) Standing pole postures where emphasis is put on natural condition, working to improve listening to the body and on developing hunyuan li, "Natural living force" or "all things that make the whole".
  • Shi li (試力) Testing force moving exercises, trying to bring the sensations of hunyuan li developed through Zhan zhuang into movements.
  • Moca bu (摩擦步) Friction stepping Shi li for the legs.
  • Fa li Emission of force a practice later dropped by Wang.
  • Shi Sheng Producing sound with voice a high level occurrence, only relative to those with formidable understanding already in place.
  • JiJi Fa Real combat not sparring.
Principle of Nature: All truth and action occur in Shunjian, the split second of now. Everything before and after this moment is 'Wu', the Void, and thus, uncontrollable or unknowable. All objective and preconception is fixed and not in accordance with this undetermined state of Nature. "The Dao that is called the Dao is not the eternal Dao".

Fan Sung: Let nature take its course


Fan Sung
by Jim Roselando

     The Chinese state: Fan Sung (let go) is the essence of our art.  It is through Fan Sung that we are able to let nature truly take its course. This does not mean we are not utilizing "awareness" of the physical, mental & breathing state but just as loose guidelines to keep us on the right track and not to trap us into any particular rigid structure.  

     When you suspend, relax and breathe your body has all the info needed to cultivate in tranquility. The classic states: Utilize Silence To Manage Action!  So, even though many elements are cultivated in Zhan Zhuang (yin/yang, six harmonies, etc.) these are the result of Fan Sung & Silence and not something that can be artificially duplicated through trying think or mimic structure.  The end result will be a TRAP for you and your cultivation! This is why we do not utilize mirrors during training as you will attempt to artificially duplicate versus a natural progressive cultivation.  

     When practicing Zhan Zhuang Qigong there are many wonderful benefits but unless your mind, body & breath are completely relaxed then these benefits may never surface. So, just suspend, relax, breathe and Fan Sung!!!  Within no time you will understand how the theory of utilizing comfortable force is the big secret of our training! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wikipedia on Wang Xiangzhai

   Wang Xiangzhai was born in Hebei province, China. As he was a very weak child, his parents decided to send him to the famous Xingyiquan master Guo Yunshen to improve his health. The Wang family had always had connections with the Guo family, horse breeders in the average. Master Guo Yunshen taught him zhanzhuang gong (post standing postures) that the young Xiangzhai had to keep standing for hours.

   During his young adult life, Wang Xiangzhai became a soldier in Beijing and at the age of 33, he went all around China, studying martial arts with many famous masters including monk Heng Lin, Xinyiquan master Xie Tiefu, southern white crane style masters Fang Yizhuang and Jin Shaofeng, Liuhebafa master Wu Yi Hui, etc. Learning from his experience and honoring the truly skilled, Wang made a public statement in 1928:

I have traveled across the country in research, engaging over a thousand people in martial combat, there have been only 2.5 people I could not defeat, namely Hunan's Xie Tie Fu, Fujian's Fang Yi Zhuang and Shanghai's Wu Yi Hui.

   After 7 years of research and study, Wang established himself in Beijing and penetrated the circle of famous masters in this city as well as in Tianjin and Shanghai. At this period of his life he met the respected Liuhebafa Chuan master Wu Yi Hui and also became friends with the Baguazhang master Zhang zhaodong.
   He started to teach many influential martial artists including Hong Lianshun, Zhao Daoxin, the Han brothers (xingqiao and xingyuan), Yao Zongxun, Wang Shujin (who studied Zhan zhuang for one year), and others.
   He first named his teaching Yiquan, in reference to the Xingyiquan and Xinyiquan styles. Later, in the 1940's, one of his disciples who was a journalist publicly called it Dachengquan, which means "great achievement boxing". It is still known by both these names today.
   He received the visit of many Japanese experts during the war. One, Kenichi Sawai became his student and created his own school in Japan calling his martial art Taikiken. Sawaii was primarily instructed by Wang's successor Yao Zongxun.
   At the end of his life he performed research into the healing aspect of Zhan zhuang and worked with different hospitals. He was one of the first Chinese teachers to publicly teach the practice of Zhan zhuang, or 'standing like a tree' methods.

Strength Originates in the Void

All sorts of strength originate in the void and nothingness, which can only be felt gradually by the tiny edges and corners of the body. Seek fullness of spirit and mind, not resemblance of form, posture is changing with mind movement, form is simple and intention rich!

Wang XiangZhai

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Therapeutic Effects of Zhan Zhuang


THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS OF ZHAN ZHUANG
By Master Wang XiangZhai

Zhan zhuang enables regulating nervous and respiration systems, improves blood circulation and metabolism. This is why this method brings good results when treating diseases of nervous, respiration, vascular and digestive systems, problems with muscles and metabolism. It works especially well when treating diseases which turned into chronic ones. From my 50 years of practice I know that effects are varying, different with different people and diseases, sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller, sometimes slower, sometimes faster. But apart from situations when someone was sometimes practicing, sometimes stopping, there were almost no cases without improvement. Many people after getting rid of the problem continued practice, strengthening body and staying healthy until old age.

Health is extremely important. And health is depending on constant cultivation and appropriate exercises. To know if some exercises are good for health, some research and practical tests are necessary. How can you test their value? Before someone will start practice, some scientific methods should be used - state of his heart should be checked, blood pressure, pulse, breathing, number of white and red blood corpuscles. After some time of practice, the testes should be conducted again. This will enable deciding if some exercise method is proper. Proper method is the one which conforms with the natural principles of functioning of human body. Only such method can be favorable for people's health.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wikipedia on Zhan Zhuang

Zhan zhuang (Chinese: 站桩, lit. "standing like a post", sometimes called "standing like a tree", "post standing" or "pile standing") is a method of training in many Chinese martial arts in which static postures are used for physical training, to develop efficiency of movement, perfection of structural alignment; and hence maximal strength, for martial applications. It is most often practiced among the internal Chinese styles such as tai chi chuan.
 
Contrary to the most common notion of cardiovascular exercise necessitating vigorous movement, it is said that zhan zhuang confers significant physical conditioning. Postures used vary among martial arts and styles, with many schools using postures according to their own traditional forms (though the basic structure and principles of zhan zhuang practice largely do not vary).

Those unfamiliar with zhan zhuang can experience severe muscle fatigue and subsequent trembling at first. Later, once sufficient stamina and strength have been developed, the practitioner can use zhan zhuang to work on developing "zhong ding" or central equilibrium as well as sensitivity to specific areas of tension in the body. Some schools use the practice as a way of removing blockages in Qi flow. This blockage removal occurs because zhan zhuang, when correctly practised, causes a normalising effect on the body. Any habitual tension or tissue shortening (or lengthening) is normalised by the practice and the body regains its natural ability to function optimally. It is thought that a normalised body will be less prone to muscular skeletal medical conditions, and it is also thought that zhan zhuang, when practised for developing relaxed postures, will lead to a beneficial calming effect.

Possibly the most well-known example of zhan zhuang training is the "horse stance" or ma bu 馬步. Many styles, especially the internal styles, combine post standing with breathing training and other coordinated body methods to develop whole body coordination for martial purposes. The martial practice is thought to strengthen the body's Central Nervous System and develop the coordination required for effective martial performance.

Yiquan is known for having discarded adherence to form as found in its parent art, Xingyiquan, in favour of what are claimed to be formless methods, including zhan zhuang. Most Yiquan teachers place emphasis on zhan zhuang as it is the best neigong exercise, and divide it into two distinct categories: jianshen zhuang (health stances) and jiji zhuang (combat stances).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Formless Relaxation, Agility of Spirit

By Master Wang XiangZhai
Zhan zhuang is a form of exercise where you are seeking strength in lack of strength, seeking slight movement in non-movement, seeking fast movement in slight movement. The more relaxed the body, the faster blood circulation and the faster increase of strength. If using force, body becomes tense, loosing ability of agile changes, it can even cause disturbance of blood flow. Proper kind of force is mainly related to spirit and is formless. If there is a form of force, the essence of movement is lost. This is why masters of old were saying: if there is form, body is broken, when there is no form, spirit gathers. In other words, when body is relaxed as much as possible, spirit focused as much as possible, although external form doesn’t look impressive, there is agility of spirit. Those who practice for longer time can experience this.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Healing Is Simple!

Subscribe to the Apricot Forest Hall Autoresponder for Monthly Wisdom from Coach Jim: http://www.apricotforesthall.com/

Autoresponder #52: Healing is Simple
From: Jim Roselando, Boston, USA


Many people wonder why Standing Qigong is so effective for healing, strengthening and uniting the mind & body. Luckily we no longer live in a time period where this information is only reserved for inner transmission between a teacher and student. Below you will find some information as to why Qigong is the real deal!

***

When properly practiced, Qigong activates the parasympathetic circuit of the central nervous system, thereby stimulating the production of neurochemicals which cause the endocrine system to secrete hormones that enhance vitality and boost immunity. Those hormones also help sustain further production of calming parasympathetic neurochemicals. This mutual interaction continues until perfect equilibrium is established between the nervous and endocrine systems, and when that happens, the True Energy of human health and longevity is generated!

***


Greetz from Boston, USA!



Peace,


Jim Roselando

www.ApricotForesthall.com

http://web.mit.edu/qigong

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wang Xiangzhai: Entering the Quiet State

By Wang Xiangzhai

If one does not use the mind to relax and harmonize all the muscles of the body, they will never be free to expand and contract smoothly, and one will never be able to harness the use of "lively strength".....

Since this is a mental as well as physical exercise, overcoming random thoughts is an important aspect. However, a person's thinking is broad, especially that of an adult, and dispersing random thoughts is not easy. Many, then, see this as a big problem, striving for the Quiet State, with the results that the more they strive, the tenser they become and the greater becomes the load on the mind. As they chase out one thought, more arise in an increasingly spiral of tension until the thoughts run loose like a wild horse. The ancients developed many aids for the beginners to help them; however, only being completely relaxed and natural, not trying to control, just letting thoughts come and go WITHOUT ATTACHMENT, can one really stabilize and liberate the consciousness. If the incursion of random thoughts is especially bad, then one should imagine oneself to be a great cauldron, absorbing and melting any thoughts like snowflakes falling into a fire........

Monday, March 14, 2011

Three Treasures (San Bao): Essence, Energy, Spirit.

By Jim Roselando, Jr. 

The body is the temple of life. Energy is the force of life.  Spirit is the governor of life.  If one of them goes off balance, all three are damaged. When the spirit takes command, the body naturally follows it, and this arrangement benefits all Three Treasures. Tzu Classic (First Century BC)

***

In the Taoist view, the Three Treasures upon which life depends are essence (jing), energy (qi) and spirit (shen). Essence refers to the physical body of blood and flesh, including all its basic material constituents, particularly the essential fluids such as hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters.  Energy is the primal life force which suffuses every cell and tissue of the living body and activates its vital functions. Spirit encompasses all aspects of the mind, both human and primordial, including AWARENESS and cognition, thought and feeling, will and intent. Together the Three Treasures (san bao), also known as the Three Marvels (san chee), function as a single unit!  

The alchemy process of Qigong reverses the constant, debilitating depletion of essence, energy, and spirit caused by ordinary life in the material world and transforms it into a process of accretion that preserves the Three Treasures and PROLONGS LIFE!

Some notes from Master Wang XiangZhai:
Although there are many methods of cultivating health, they can be divided into two groups – moving and static exercises. Generally moving exercises are strengthening body and bones and static exercises mostly serve training the zhen qi (true qi) inside body, creating abundance of three treasures (shen, qi, jing). Zhan zhuang is a method of training spirit and body at the same time!


***
Some details from Coach Jim Roselando:

Open/Close: Your body must be in motion at all times. The movement is not noticeable to the outside eye as this is happening ever so slowly with the breathing. As you breathe in the body will delicately OPEN. As you breathe out the body will delicately CLOSE

Rise/Sink: In the Yoga arts there is a concept of Mulbund.  The forced pinch of the lower area to close off the bodies pathway. In natural Qigong arts we call this area Hoi Yin with the difference being that the Hoi Yin is not forced closed. As you breathe in the Hoi Yin will SINK and when you breath out the Hoi Yin will RISE.  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jim Roselando on Awareness

Awareness (gok or jue in Chinese)
by: Jim Roselando, Jr.

Internal art trains Awareness and not techniques or forms. The path of awareness is simple and effective! We need to be "aware" of a few key concepts to use as a basic guide for our own development.  There are Five Stages of training everyone must follow!  The 5 Stages are:
 
1) Physical
2) Mental
3) Breathing
4) Energy
5) Force
 
Most traditional masters will give the new pupils a few tools to bring our Physical and Mental awareness.  Physically you must be aware of your posture and relaxation. The mental (or Mind) training is designed to help you slowly develop the quiet state. If the Mind cannot relax then the entire system cannot relax.  These are step one and two of internal training. 

Stage three is breathing.  It is quite common for a Master to say: Just stand there and let nature take it's course!  BUT, if the goal is to return to Nature then one must understand the basic concept of natural breathing.  So, it is very important to bring awareness to the breathing layer of training and that is to breathe bellow the belly button and to gradually allow your breath to go from short to deep to effortless! 


Every coach (or teacher) will give their students certain tools to bring awareness to certain areas of training but these are tools to keep you from going down the wrong road and not aspects to do forever.  One example is counting your breath. This is a tool to help bring awareness to the breathing layer of training and not to lock you into a specific method of breathing. You do not need to count your breath when you practice at home. Just train and be aware of your breath!  It is said that the average person breaths about 16 breaths per minute. Slow that down to 8 and you stimulate the Pituitary Body and slow it down to 4 and you will activate the Pineal Gland (aka 3rd eye).

The Energy realm will only surface when the Physical, Mental and Breathing layers unite and begin to return to the natural state!  The classic states: Sink the Chi to the Dan Tien and then transport to the entire body. When this happens you will automatically enter the 5th layer or wholesome Force stage of training.  

We always say be "aware" of the Three Gold Keys!  
Posture (physical), Relaxation (mind quiet) & Dan Tien Breathing (effortless) 
They will keep you on track with your journey back to nature!      
 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Core Noi Gong: A total internal exercise for the Mind, Body and Breath.

Notes from MIT Qigong Club Emails by Coach Jim Roselando, Jr. 
To join our email list, subscribe here: MIT Qigong Email List

What you experience at MIT Qigong sessions is Core Noi Gong (internal work/exercise) from the art of Yiquan.  Since the human body can only move in so many ways, this exercise is regarded as the King of the internal arts. Why is it so effective?  Natural conditioning, dynamics and energy all come from this which is equal to training Yoga, Taiji & Meditation.  Three forms of exercise all in one!

The progression of Yiquan is important to understand.  A, B & C = Standing, Moving & Walking!!!  {zhan zhaung/shili/ma chor}  AND, the reality is there is actually No Difference between Standing, Moving and Walking!  Each are essentially the same mechanics with the only difference being the amount of momentum that is utilized.  So, Moving and Walking = Standing with a bit more momentum but, there is no doubt that the Core of Yiquan Qigong is Zhan Zhuang Gong (Pile Standing Exercise).

One of the benefits of this art is the cultivation of AwarenessThe three keys to transport awareness are Posture, Relaxation and Breathing!  Each of these aspects is in the Natural State!


Yiquan is regarded as Yang Sheng (life nourishing) exercise, this training effects the entire human organism.  Different from external exercise, when you are training Yiquan, you are not bringing the mind and body into a chaotic state, which depletes the body as you exercise.  The heart rate and pulse will lower, the mind will quiet, the soft expanding and contracting massages the internal organs, the body opens up versus closes off and everything from the vascular system to every cell in the body gets nourished and activated!  So, when you are done your mind is calm but alert, the body is open but relaxed and other great benefits!  Over all, a total internal exercise for the Mind, Body and Breath.  You can see why Yiquan founder Wang XiangZhai wrote:

"Internally Alert, Externally Relaxed!  This is the foundation of Stillness!"

So, the reality is simple, but the training is physically demanding!  Why?  The internal health exercises are something that most have never done, and our bodies are so far from being in the Natural State that the most simple things are extremely arduous.  Remember, all we are focusing on in the beginning is the Core: Posture, Relaxation and Dan Tien Breathing.  With these three pieces of awareness to guide us the rest is about the time you invest outside the classroom!   

Zhan Zhuang is truly an investment in the Self and requires only a small amount of time per day to gain results.  Take our Two Week Challenge and see why this is pound for pound the most effective training known to humanity and the ultimate Cross Training exercise to fit with any other sport or fitness method.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Key to Health Preservation

Translated from an interview with YiQuan founder, Wang XiangZhai:
"The keys to health preservation are simple. Our deep human nature pushes us to simpleness, free of any restriction. Every day, in the fresh air of the morning, without any fixed method, simply bend all your body joints, consider the emptiness around you, move simply and freely. Feel the energy of the blood circulation in your body and in a meanwhile, be aware of the natural forces that are exerted on the outer part of your body. The spirit (shen) is as if swimming. The body and the spirit are natural and comfortable. Not only free and without any limit, they will progressively extend to finally be one with the universe."

Daily Practice Schedule:
Month 1 & 2: Crane (3L & 3R), Universal Post (20), Gathering (3)  
Month 3 & 4: Cow (6), Low Post (20), Gathering (3)
Month 4 & 5: Small Vibrations (6), Universal Post (20), Gathering (3)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Natural Qigong: The Art of Nourishing Life

Natural Qigong: “The Art of Nourishing Life”
By Jim Roselando, Jr.  


There are many ways to cultivate health (exercise). In the Chinese arts they are grouped into two categories of development – Natural (soft) & Un-Natural (hard). Yiquan (mind boxing) is a natural form of Yang Sheng (life nourishment) Qigong that cultivates, integrates and activates your whole body in stillness.  All Yiquan Qigong methods of cultivation are trained with softness, making the art suitable for practitioners of any age.
  
Natural & Un-Natural
       It is important to know the difference between Natural methods, and Un-Natural methods of exercise.  Master Wang Xiang Zhai, founder of Yiquan Qigong, clearly describes the core difference between natural (life nourishing) cultivation and other forms of exercise.      
"Appropriate exercises can positively affect every cell and every organ in the human body, improving the functioning of respiratory and vascular systems, as well as metabolism. In typical forms of exercise, before the body is tired, there are already problems with breathing and the heart is overburdened. So the exercise must be halted prematurely in order to let one's heart rest, to catch one's breath and return to a normal state. 
Chinese health science uses the opposite method. The principle is to exercise the muscular and vascular systems, stimulating every organ at the same time. Even if during exercise your muscles become tired, your pulse stays in the normal range, and breathing is natural. After the exercise, you feel that your breath is freer and more comfortable than before. Because there are no complex sets of movements, the nervous system is not greatly stressed; you eliminate internal tension, achieving mental calm. This is one of the elements that makes health science different from typical forms of exercise."  

  
Mind, Body & Breath
       The heart of Yiquan Qigong is known as Zhan Zhaung or “Pile Standing.”  Pile Standing is the most direct way to exercise the mind, body and breath in stillness.  The process is designed to return the body to the natural state. The classics state: Internally train the Breath and Qi; Externally train the Muscles, Tendons and Bones. In Yiquan Qigong, nothing is forced and all aspects of training are designed to open and unite the body.  A body that is open and elastic will have good circulation and be less prone to injury.  In Zhan Zhuang the spine naturally decompresses and realigns!  This process is best understood by this simple example:  If you wanted to untangle a telephone cord, would you stretch it out or would you hang it upside down and let “gravity” unlock it? This is the difference between Hard Qigong/Yoga and Life Nourishing Natural Qigong.

Final Thoughts
      Yiquan Qigong is a modern system that has no set patterns or techniques! The root training gradually and smoothly transforms you from the inside out. Development of Gok (awareness) is key, as it is awareness of posture, relaxation and breathing that will bring out the Zheng Qi (true chi) energy realm. Yiquan Qigong is a principle based training platform, which nourishes the three treasures Jing (essence), Qi (energy) and Shen (spirit), while simultaneously integrating and activating your whole body! Conditioning, Energy and Meditation are all results of the simple practice of Pile Standing!  In training, you will experience the rewards of three forms of exercise in one simple posture and this is why Pile Standing is regarded as the King of Exercise in China!