One of the many fascinating areas of study in the internal arts is that of Neidan or internal alchemy. It's usually known as Daoist meditation, so what's it all about?
Well, there are a number of different levels but just practicing the first level, called "Laying the Foundations" can be really beneficial to your health. It's also the most important level, so even if you never wish to go beyond that, you'll reap huge rewards health-wise.
Some of the benefits include:
- Release of tension
- Improved breathing patterns
- Increased blood flow
- More energy or 'zest' in your life
- Due to the release of tension, less wear and tear on the joints
- Activating your energy system and lower Dantien or lower energy centre
I'm guessing you can get an idea just from reading those bullet points but allow me to expand a little more..
Tension messes you up. It moves bones out of position, restricts breathing and interferes with blood flow and pressure to name just a few.
Neidan begins the process of softening the body, making it looser and allowing the bones that have been pulled out of alignment by tension, to move back where they should be, thereby relieving pressure, stress and strain on many different systems of the body.
Those systems include the musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory and lymphatic.
But it also begins to open up your energy system and begins to consolidate and transform the 3 treasures of essence, vitality and spirit.
This is the Daoist idea of returning to the source, where you regain the energy and vigour of your youth.
I'm not saying it's easy because it's not, but if you value your health and you're willing to put the work in the benefits are tremendous.
I originally learnt this stuff back in 1997, and practiced consistantly for many months but then lapsed. I can't remember why I stopped at the time but I do rememeber the huge difference I could make to my energy level just by taking 2 or 3 deep breaths.
It was like switching on the national grid and I felt like saying, "I'm about to light the blue touch paper, stand well back!" :)))
Since I've started the practice again, I can feel the benefits already after a few short months.
And another thing to bear in mind.
When I first engaged in these practices, I was very much of the "I Want It All Now" attitude. The harder I practice and the more I do, the quicker I'll gain the skills and results I want. Hmmm... not so...
20 years on, I'm a different person in many ways. And one of the things I've elarned it that this energy stuff takes patience and persistence to get results. More of the 'Softly, Softly" approach than my bull at a gate method of my youth. There's a big tip there ;-)
I'll share more of my experiences in later emails but if you're wondering how you can discover the way to 'return to the source', you can find out by clicking here
By the way, apologies for lack of emails but I've been somewhat selfish just lately, concentrating on looking after myself, although I'm still teaching around 18 classes a week to help others out.
And those classes are pretty much full apart from 1 or 2 taiji classes and the taiji boxing and martial arts class on Saturday morning.
If you've a mind to, you can take a cyber-stroll over to the classes page and see what's available there
And, don't forget your daily practice, whatever it may be. Just be aware that tension can easily cause imbalances in your structure so make sure your practice involves moving as many of your 600+ muscles as possible in a balanced workout
Got any questions on that?
Just hit reply, type out your concerns and I'll do my best to help
Ok, I'm outta here...
PS Class spaces are seriously at a premium at the moment, so it's best to hoof it over here to get in while you still can. Unless you're not really that bothered about the difference taiji and Daoist meditation can make to your health, in which case you can always hit the unsubscribe link below. No hard feelings if you do, we'll still be friends..
Otherwise, I'll see you soon...