Here are some of the ‘Golden’ Rules of 3 as they relate to Shaolin Chi Kung:
3 Core Skills of Chi Kung
- Chi kung state of mind
- Flowing Breeze Swaying Willows (energy flow)
- Standing Meditation
There is a big difference between Chi Kung form and Chi Kung. There are 3 core skills essential for the practice of Chi Kung, regardless of which school you practice.
Probably the most important is a Chi Kung State of Mind – A Chi Kung State of Mind sets the tone for you to get the optimum amount of benefit from your practice.
Think of it as being a higher state of consciousness, the two crucial aspects are that you are relaxed and focused. If you are not relaxed, you cannot let go. If you are too busy focusing on things going on around you, you are not relaxed and you cannot let go. If you cannot let go, then you cannot enter Flowing Breeze, Swaying Willows (or chi/energy flow).
It is Energy flow that gives us the benefits of Chi Kung “Life is a meaningful flow of energy“. When this “meaningful flow” of energy is blocked – pain or illness is the result. The techniques are just the techniques; they are the means to help you get the end result. Not the end result in themselves. It is Chi Flow that restores the meaningful flow of energy and gives you health. It is the continued practice of Chi Flow that increases your flow of energy and gives you vitality and longevity. These form the 3 fundamental aims of practicing Chi Kung – Good health, Vitality and Longevity.
Standing Meditation is the Yin (stillness) to Energy Flow’s Yang (movement). It is vital to “Enter Silence” to bring around cosmic harmony and consolidate your practice.
3 Rules for Practice
- Don’t worry
- Don’t intellectualize
- Enjoy your practice
When you are worried you cannot relax, if you are not relaxed you cannot get the best (if any) results from your practice.
Thinking whilst doing your practice is the equivalent of performing lifting the sky whilst gritting your teeth and tensing your muscles. You just wouldn’t do it. Whilst it is easy to see if you are physically relaxed. It is much harder to be mentally relaxed. Resist the urge to analyse your practice (are my arms straight enough, was that 10 reps or 11?), do not think about other tasks and things you need to do, do not play out fantasy scenarios inside your mind whilst practicing, just relax!
Now is a good time to show you another important rule of 3 before we finish off this one:
3 Causes Of ‘No Benefit’ From Your Practice
- You intellectualise
- You tense
- You are distracted
All of these prevent chi flowing and as we have already discovered it is Chi Flow that gives us health, vitality and longevity.
Now, perhaps the most important rule of 3 in this section is the last one: Enjoy your practice. It’s certainly my favourite. If you find it difficult to stop thinking and worrying during your practice, focus on enjoying your practice instead. When you breathe in enjoy your breathing in, when you lower your arms really enjoy lowering your arms. Think of your practice as your “Sacred Me Time”, time when you are doing something of immense value for your future health and wellness.
I always tell my students to enjoy their practice, and fortunately with Shaolin Chi Kung this is easy to do because it gives immediate enjoyable results like feeling deep relaxation, freedom from stress or worry, feeling mentally fresh and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve done something good for yourself.
3 Components of Shaolin Chi Kung
Form is obvious; it’s the bit you can see. You can watch a persons form and say: “Oh, they’re doing lifting the sky”. But as we know if they are just doing the form then they are only doing lifting the sky form and not Chi Kung.
Energy – Chi Kung means to work on energy. An excellent way to work on energy is through the breathing. Chi Kung is not the Art of Breathing, but breathing is an excellent means to generate Energy Flow. It is energy flow that removes blockages to the Meaningful flow of energy through our bodies. When we have a meaningful energy flow we have good health, vitality and long life.
Mind is the most important part of this rule of 3 and probably the one I have to work the hardest on. From my own experience I have discovered that one of the best ways to get my mind into the best state to help my Chi Kung practice is through entering into a really powerful Chi Kung state of mind. I’ve found that a good Chi Kung state of mind helps to keep the ideal chatter and static that fills my inner airwaves whenever I start to do “inner work”
Higher levels of Chi Kung like Dan Tien breathing, Small Universe, and Big Universe etc require your mind to focus on specific actions. But for dynamic Chi Kung patterns like those from the Shaolin 18 Lohan Hands and 18 Shaolin Exercises a good Chi Kung state of mind is more than enough to aide you in getting all the results and benefits of practicing Chi Kung.
All high level Chi Kung is a harmony of Form, Energy and Mind or in other words: form combined with correct breathing performed in a Chi Kung state of mind.
***Continued in the next post***