YOU MUST BE RELAXED AND FOCUSED WHEN PRACTICING CHI KUNG
I have been training in earnest since February, not practicing anything except "Lifting the Sky" and Horse Stance with "Flowing Breeze Swaying Willows". I have shirked external exercise and even my own martial arts training, just practicing these exercises only, at least once a day, at most twice a day.
— Andrew, USA
These are excellent exercises. But you must remember to relax totally during stance training.
As you progress, you can now practice other exercises you like, including your martial art training.
Remember that genuine chi kung enhances whatever you have been doing, not restrict it. For example, if you practiced martial art before, or ate ice-cream and chocolate, or enjoyed wholesome sex, now you can do them better.
The problem was because of my worrying, my practice suffered. I couldn't gain the chi flow I received that first time. My chi flow was significant, but not as effective. Then I found that I did "Lifting the Sky" wrong. I was disheartened. But I didn't give up.
I review the instructions in your book and followed every letter. It was then that I knew what was wrong. I didn't breathe gently. I didn't relax. I didn't excuse and exit all distracting thoughts. I failed in the basic tenets of qigong practice. I was lucky that I even got chi flow without adverse effects.
Your experience is invaluable to those who practice from books or from mediocre teachers. You have listed the most important requirements for chi kung practice, namely breathe gently (and often naturally), relax and don't think of anything.
These requirements are most important because without them one cannot practice chi kung; he merely perform chi kung external forms. Yet, these are often the requirements many students overlook, possibly because the requirements appear so simple.
Masters or books would have mantioned these requirements for chi kung training, but many students merely listen to or read the words, without actually applying them. Instead the students pay attention to less important aspects like how fast must they move their hands or how straight must their legs be.
Not worrying is very important in high-level chi kung. This is because high-level chi kung works at the mind level, and worrying not only distracts the mind but also makes it stressful. It is so important that it features as the first of our three golden rules of practice, which are don't worry, don't intellectualize and enjoy the practice.
Practicing "Lifting the Sky" before everything got me into a Qigong State of Mind. To the point that if I was angry and frustrated before practice, it would melt away by three repetitions. I would be focused and relaxed. Then, practicing Horse Stance was easy (relatively). I "sat", I felt the cool buzz in my dan tian.
Sifu, I believe that this is the signal that let me know how correct my practice is. If I do not feel it, I am doing it wrong. What's interesting is that if I worry about it, it won't come. If I don't worry and wait, and just relax, like what you have always been saying, it comes like clockwork. In fact, the cool buzz swirls around my torso from time to time, I believe with every breath I take! After practice, I feel so happy.
This is one of many reasons why "Lifting the Sky" is such a wonderful exercise.
Yes, feeling happy, or at least feeling pleasant, is a clear signal that the practice is correct. This is a good answer to many students who often ask whether they have been practicing correctly.
You will be pleased to know that your feeling of a cool or refreshing buzz in your dan tian is not only a signal that you have been practicing correctly but also that you have been practicing well. This is what past masters described as a flow of energy swelling at their dan tian.
Past master took many years to achieve this result, but you took only a few months, and practising from my books! The masters' energy was more powerful than yours, but still you had similar result albeit at a lower level. This is incrediable. Many people may not believe it, but it is true.
Chi kung is scientific in that if one performs X exercise correctly, he will get Y result. If he does not get Y result, it can be traced to one or more of the following three causes:
- Actually he did not perform X exercise, although he thought, often honestly, that he did.
- He performed X exercise incorrectly.
- He performed X exercise insufficiently.
The above is taken from Question 5 of December 2009 Part 2 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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