Physical Chi Quong
He can sit still like a corpse or spring into action, like a dragon
Physical Chi Quong exercises use various positions and movements to direct chi in precise ways. For example, one of the most basic Chi Quong positions is the “horse stance,” whereby a relatively wide-legged, low hipped position — resembling the posture of a man astride a horse — directs chi in a spiral pattern into the male’s prostate region. This area is susceptible to disease, particularly for the older male, and remains untouched by Western exercises. Physical Chi Quong simply and elegantly helps prevent such illnesses.
Chi Quong’s positions must be exact, for even a slightest change in the angle of hands or feet, can dramatically affect the chi’s flow along the various meridian channels. For this reason, Chi Quong is always taught under close supervision at the Center of Traditional Taoist Studies. As the practitioner becomes more proficient, new subtleties are added to make the exercises more powerful and effective. There are different levels of Chi Quong — ranging from “sitting” Chi Quong for infirmed patients, increasing in difficulty to intense Chi Quong for professional athletes.
Physical Chi Quong synchronizes its movements with breathing. The deeper the breathing, the greater the volume of chi pushed through the meridian system. Simply stated, the body’s position during Chi Quong controls the direction of chi flow while the depth of synchronized breathing controls the volume of chi flow. Such deep breathing yields powerful results, but can be dangerous if misused. Shallow, natural breathing during Chi Quong accelerates low volumes of chi, so any misdirection is of little consequence. Uncoordinated deep breathing, however, is dangerous, reinforcing the requirement for Chi Quong’s close supervision at the Center.
While the mechanical aspects of chi development are logical, predictable and often in sync with Western medical theory, there is a deeper, more profound aspect to physical Chi Quong. As discussed earlier, one goal of the Taoist is to synchronize himself with universal energy. In essence, the Taoist is a conductor of chi between the heavens (cosmic chi) and earth (grounded, organic chi), striving to improve chi flow rotatingfrom heaven to earth and back. By opening the body’s channels, physical Chi Quong makes the Taoist more receptive to cosmic chi. Taoists recognize that the healthful characteristics of youth — not its outward appearance — are critical to a content existence. Since our minds and souls are saddled with a physical form during their short stay on earth, a healthy body is a prerequisite for
contentment. The various characteristics of youth — flexibility, sound joints, and strong muscles — are, therefore, treasured “possessions.” Thus, physical Chi Quong is truly the Taoist “fountain of youth,” performing remarkable feats in transforming the body into a stronger, more flexible, and healthier vessel. Some speculate that its amazing efficacy from ancient times is testament to mystical origins. Regardless of its source, however, physical Chi Quong is an important, practical application of Lao Tzu’s principles taught at the Center for Traditional Taoist Studies