9 Major Benefits of Qigong Fundamentals 3 Audio
Internal Chi Breathing chi kung is a powerful, simple method EVERYONE can use.
Time Frame: Fundamentals 3 & 4 can be done for 100 days BEFORE 1 & 2. I prefer doing them in my 1-2-3-4 order, as your breathing and awareness of chi will already be more developed. Either way, your ability to “breathe in life force” will be totally transformed by the Fundamentals 3 breathing methods and by the Ocean, Sky, & Great Heart Breathing qigong form.
I strongly recommend you get Fundamentals 3 & 4 together. They are closely entwined, and share the same five standing postures, although different things happen internally. When you feel comfortable standing in the five postures and doing the internal chi breathing process (sitting or standing), you are ready to add in the Fundamentals #4 Internal Bone Breathing & rooting practices. #4 is my modified version of Mantak Chia’s “Iron Shirt” chi kung. Designed more for health and meditation than martial functions, although it supports that as well.
Each individual progresses at a unique pace. Time frame may be affected by personal nature, health issues, your openness to subtle energy, and amount of time spent practicing. Those who take a Healing Tao retreat or workshop, with its live transmission, may progress much faster. Live work with a group adds momentum to your chi experience. (If you buy the homestudy course and later take the retreat, you get half your money back).
The rule of thumb is to experiment with a new method until you feel your “own the practice’. This means the chi flow of that practice is inside you, you can tap it anytime, it feels comfortable and familiar. It’s become a tool, you can use it when needed.
You do NOT need to “master” or “perfect” these practices before learning the next course – which in my sequence is Fusion of the Five Elements. Mastery is a continuous, lifelong process. Please, don’t use “lack of mastery” as an excuse not to try the next method. I am still in process of mastering these practices – after 25 years!
There are thousands of breathing methods now available to us from many traditions around the world. The Taoists are the masters of breathing because of their deep understanding of chi flow in the body. They understood exactly how physical breathing relates to energetic or spiritual breathing. Its very different from yogic pranayama, which tries to control the breath and thus the mind (with counting, alternate nostril breathing, etc.), this qigong breathing is designed to FREE the breath to be its best and to be spontaneous in each moment.
To achieve this we explore deeply the yin-yang pulsation of every breath, and the yuan chi (original breath) hidden within our ordinary breathing and movement. The process is amazingly powerful and self-empowering. Your breath will never be the same!
Note: The CD version is 5.5 hrs, tape cassette 4.5 hrs: the essential parts of a one day workshop. Both versions cover the same material. CD is the latest, slightly more in-depth version; separate CD tracks make training easy. Audio best when used with Ocean, Sky, & Great Heart Breathing DVD.
#3 Audio Handouts (3 pages) :
Learn to use each breath to develop a powerful Energy Body. Original force is the secret of the pause in each breath you take. Original Breath is what links all Taoist practices and opens the inner gates of one’s dantian. Internal Chi Breathing creates warmth quickly in the belly without forced holding of breath.
Sitting/Lying Practice: Develop smooth, rhythmic, Internal Chi Breathing.
• Learn to sense and smoothly manage 3 types of chi flow:
• The rare and unique counterforce breathing method to open power & heat in belly center (dan tien). It works by creating a vacuum suction that draws in the fire and water chi from the spine and front channels.
• How to integrate physical breath with deep energy channels in your body. Feel each breath you take is radiating healing chi to your entire body and aura
• As mind becomes calm, amplify counter-forces (in-out resistance): Method of counter-force sucking chi into center
• How to train mind to stay in center/stillpoint of dan tien while observing simultaneous push-pull of expansion-contraction.
• Keep perineum relaxed, watch for chi spontaneously pulling up on it. Do NOT use muscular force to pull it up (reverse breathing method).
• Method for creating a mental stillpoint for absorbing earth chi through the perineum (hui yin point) and chi from all directions.
• Once chi (physical, mental or emotional) flows into Sea of Original Chi in "empty" center of dan tien, it cannot be manipulated by physical breath, only shaped by spiritual qualities of inner will/heart (love, trust, smile, etc.).
• Feel your Inner Smile evolve into an infinite field of presence that simultaneously embraces vast empty space within and radiates out to body & vast outside world.
3 "Standing-in-Stillness" Postures for Absorbing Earth Chi
These standing postures for rooting are much simpler than Iron Shirt postures, but I find even more effective.
Ocean, Sky, & Great Heart Breathing: Blissful Breathing Qigong is a wonderfully simple breathing qigong form that I spontaneously developed out of many years of practice. I originally used it late at night, after working on the computer, to clear out any stress before going to sleep (so I could do Taoist dream practice feeling fresh).
I was tired, so I needed something that worked fast. It worked so well - in just five minutes -- to clear all my channels and open up deep communication with all levels of the Life Force that I decided to share it. I’ve added it to the Fundamentals 3 level of the training since it relies on breathing cycles.
The breathing cycles moves in sets of three, echoing the Taoist mystical power of three in their cosmology: uniting the Heaven, Earth, & Human Sage within us. It joins the 3 energy centers of body into One. It transmutes the 3 alchemical Treasures of Essence, Breath, & Spirit (jing, chi, shen). It captures a feeling of the flow of the 3 types of chi (yin, yang, yuan). All hidden in the in-breath, the out-breath, and no-breath (pause between breath). Simple, but marvelous in a practical way.
There are nine sets of these simple breathing patterns, each combined with a specific internal intention that boosts the effect of the practice into the stratosphere. My experience of Ocean, Sky, & Great Heart Breathing Qigong is that one round erases the stress I’ve built up. The second round gets me feeling really good. The third round puts me into bliss. This is not just me. My students love it. It has become a new favorite.
The qigong form taught on the DVD is a moving form, and it’s a nice balance to the standing postures and internal chi breathing. In those practices the body is passive, only the breath moves. They are done sitting, lying in bed, or standing. Its wonderful to be able to cultivate a high energy state wherever you are. You never get bored with life.
Internal Chi Breathing
By Michael Winn
Note: This is adapted from a transcript of my audio course “Qigong (Chi Kung) Fundamentals #3: Internal Chi Breathing”. As I constantly add new insights, if you order the course your content may be slightly different. This talk also serves as an introduction to Fundamentals 4, the second day of the workshop, which builds on level 3.
There are literally thousands of breathing techniques in the different healing and spiritual traditions of the world. There are books galore telling you how to breathe and what to do with your breath. Breath been used for everything from stress management to psychological self therapy to rebirthing your divine self.
The Taoist chi kung (also spelled “qigong”) approach to breathing is distinctly different from many other eastern methods of breathing. If you go to India you will find that most of the methods there fall in the broad category of pranayama, which I practiced for many years, until I discovered the Taoist approach. The yogic schools involve the mind controlling the breath. This is usually powerful in the beginning, but it has it drawbacks in the long term that may weaken the lungs and adrenals by overtaxing them.
The Taoist approach to breath can take many forms. But underlying the many breathing techniques is very different premise: there is ultimately no counting or setting a certain rhythm or telling the intelligence of the lungs how it should breathe. The idea of the Taoist approach is to cultivate the intelligence and the natural spontaneous abilities of the intelligence of the body and of the “spirit of the lungs”. The fundamental term “chi” (or qi) means “subtle breath”.
If you study what I call Chi Kung Fundamentals - you first learn “the five animals do the six healing sounds”. That’s one form of breathing. It gets each vital organ to open up and start to breathe. You immediately learn that breathing is not limited to the lungs. The liver, heart, spleen and kidneys each have their own subtle breath, marked by different physical and energetic pulsation rates. This method of chi breathing focuses on the out-breath, which is releasing – for cleansing, letting go.
There is also skin breathing – when you breathe through the skin. This requires subtle energy training. The skin is considered the outer membrane of the lungs. They are part of the same organ energetically. Within the Taoist tradition there are many different kinds of breathing methods. This is one of the hallmarks of the Taoist approach. Breathing activates and expresses bodily function as a yin-yang rhythm. Taoists use the body’s energetic rhythms as the doorway to open communication with the body of the Tao, which manifests as Living Nature or Cosmos.
One of my favorite breathing chi kung methods I call “Ocean Breathing”. You create a rhythmic resonance between your physical breathing and the wave movement of the ocean. It becomes a form of “internal chi breathing” because your mind focuses the wave movement deep inside the core energy channels of the body. We take that practice, taught in Fundamentals 1&2, to a much deeper level in 3 & 4.
Before jumping into new breathing practices one should first ask the very important questions: "What is breath? What is breathing?" People often make false assumptions about it. Taoist chi kung often uses various movement techniques to activate natural whole body breathing. When we do something with movement your body remembers it. The body learns it much more deeply than with mental visualization of a breathing pathway within the body.
Since we are moving all the time, our whole body is always pulsing and moving, the whole body is breathing as one. This unity of body is the prerequisite for unity of the ego fragments of consciousness. This is the great weakness of much Western psychological work, it doesn’t understand the natural intelligence of the body and how this can integrate the ego.
When we say breathing, we must distinguish between internal and external breathing. External breathing is the physical level of oxygen going in and out of our lungs. But behind that movement of air in and out of the body is the hidden question: who or what controls the breathing process? Something is causing our lungs to move. Calling it “the autonomic nervous system” doesn’t answer the question, it buries it under mechanistic language.
There is a certain intelligence in breathing that we are interested in getting in touch with. We are interested in knowing, "How does that intelligence function?" How does it know when to breathe and how to breathe. This gets into many different subtle energetic and spiritual questions. Profound answers can be found in the study of chi kung (qigong) and neidan kung (neidangong), or Taoist inner alchemy.
The Taoist method of Internal Chi Breathing I learned and have since refined is the most powerful of the many breathing methods that I tested from different traditions. That’s because it is the most in tune with the complete functioning of the life force. All Chi Kung is essentially a method of cultivating your relationship with the life force, with the pulsating field of chi that exists all around you, infinitely in all directions. The inner chi field extends within yourself, infinitely in all internal directions and all internal dimensions. It cultivates this relationship between the inner and outer chi fields, using internal Nei Kung “mind breathing” coordinated with movement Chi Kung involving physical breathing.
The life force or chi field functions or “breathes” through three main currents known traditionally in China as yin, yang and yuan. These impossible to translate terms imply negative, positive and neutral. Yuan also means "Original Chi" or Original Breath. In terms of breathing the yin chi is energy of chi moving in, it's inhaling and contracting in towards the center of the body. Yang chi is breathing out, it's expanding by exhaling. The third type of energy, yuan, the original or neutral chi, would be equated roughly in terms of breathing with the stillness or pause between the inhalation and exhalation.
So each of us is actually practicing our relationship with the life force every moment because we are breathing in, we are breathing out, and there is some pause or some turn around between those two, however brief. Our very nature, the way we are actually built to breathe, reflects the structure of the life force. Internal Chi Breathing is not doing anything new, it just teaches us to actually understand and experience deeply what it is that we are already doing with each breath.
We must ask, exactly what is "internal chi breathing?" This involves understanding the relationship between physical breathing and our energy body breathing. Our energy body is just the sum total of all energy channels and all your body-mind’s subtle energy functions that underlie our personality traits. Most people are not aware of this relationship because they are walking around looking at everything like it’s a solid physical world full of solid objects. They are not seeing everything as an energetic process. The deeper you get into the Chi Kung way of living the more you begin to embody and experience the world as changing energy fields. Your own body and breath is no different.
There is a relationship between an energy field and a physical process. The pattern in that energy field is what determines the pattern in your physical breathing; it is not the other way around. You can change your physical breathing pattern around but in order to do that you have already made a shift energetically. The energy field shift always precedes the shifting pattern of physical breathing.
When we focus on internal chi breathing what we are really doing here is acknowledging that there is something more subtle than just the air going in and out. You can call that chi field your mind, you can call it the matrix of your mind, you can call it whatever you like. But it is pulsating, it's vibrating and breathing just like everything else in this living universe. It has to move. If it stops moving it's dead. If it stops pulsating it's dead.
This doesn’t mean that if you have very light physical breathing that you are about to die. It is possible to have very shallow physical breath but a very deep chi breath. This is not the ordinary case for most people. Most people if they have very shallow breathing they also have very shallow movement of energy. This is not a healthy condition, your organ intelligences start to feel starved for breath and they start crying out and acting out, and all kinds of problems start to come up.
Internal Chi Breathing cures those problems at the deepest level where they begin, by unifying the physical breath and the subtle breath. The best way to pursue this is to find a chi kung teacher who knows these practices. But most of them, unfortunately, do not know about the formerly secret kong jing or “internal chi breathing” method taught in this course.
In this Chi Kung Fundamentals 3 and 4 course I take you through the experience of natural breathing, reverse breathing, and internal chi breathing, also known as “counter-force” breathing. Once you experience each in your body, your breathing will never be the same again. Your physical breath will be linked up with your energy body’s pulsation and your dantian (center of gravity and energetic center where all meridians cross).
Of course, people are breathing at very different levels of ease, as the diaphragm is very tight in many people. This effectively limits the free flow of chi between the upper body and the lower body, causes tension in the solar plexus area and ultimately depletes all the vital organs in their cycle of exchanging internal chi with the external chi field through breathing air.
The second day of the workshop (or audio homestudy course) is to activate the process of bone breathing. This involves a series of steps to awaken the substance (jing) deep within the bone marrow. This is where you store the stem cells that produce your blood, your hormonal precursors, and many elements of your immune system. If you get this mostly passive jing to awaken and circulate as chi flow within the bones, it is one of the best things you can do for your health. It is the key to preventing and healing a myriad of chronic illnesses.
At higher levels of inner alchemy practice we absorb chi from the earth, the planets and stars into the bone marrow to raise the vibrational frequency of our core structure. But its not really beneficial to do this (as a visualization) without doing chi kung practice to open the pathways of communication between the vital organ intelligences (shen) and the bones, which are largely governed by the kidney spirit. The jing in the bones is what we convert into sexual vitality, both for reproduction of children and reproduction of cells for everyday health. So the bones have a very magical power that we literally tap into as an essential part of the Taoist journey of rebirthing our body of light.
Praise for Michael Winn's "Tai Chi for Enlightenment"
I Finally Found Peace and Connection with my Bones and Body!
I came in to the Fundamentals 3&4 feeling totally ungrounded, as if my world was spinning out of control. I left with a deep sense of grounding and connection with the earth. After learning your Bone Breathing and Rooting, I was feeling the bones in my feet, my heels, arms and legs. During the standing meditations I felt swirling energetic movement throughout my bones and channels in a deeper and vaster way than I had ever experienced.
I now know that my center and the center of the earth are always accessible through the practice of standing meditation. I use the standing techniques and yuan chi/ internal breathing techniques to ground me before work everyday. They give me a strong foundation that makes my life much easier.
My daily meditation and chi kung practice has been transformed for the better. I now start with standing meditation that I learned at the Fundamentals 3 and 4 class. The breathing and standing techniques taught in this class have greatly deepened my sense of internal chi flow movement. I have finally found peace and connection with my bones and body.
Internal Chi Breathing Gives me Strength and Protection
Thank you so much for your teachings on Internal Chi Breathing and Rooting! I especially am grateful for you revealing the neutral space within breathing, as well as the secret of counterforce breathing. Within twelve hours after returning from your workshop, I was chosen as a juror in a double murder case.
These breathing and rooting techniques allowed me to stay grounded and present in this challenging situation. While taking in the disturbing testimony and photographs, the effects of the workshop surfaced as second nature and offered me a new strength and protection -- what perfect timing. After practicing the healing tao system for five years, I am thankful to have this new addition to my practices. I recommend this workshop to anyone no matter what their field of study might be.
I Did Standing Qigong (Yiquan) for Years - This Set is Simply Amazing!
I got the Fundamentals 3 and 4 Internal Chi Breathing & Rooting, what a gift it was. All i can say is thank you! for sharing all this great Qigong with us Sifu.
All the sets are so simple in appearence., bit so deep in content. The movements, breathings and visualizations are just a joy to do!
I have done Yiquan for a couple of years. But the standing sets you teach are so much more energizing it's unbelievable.
Never in my life was i so sure of anything as much as i am of your system of Taoist Qigong. Simply amazing.
Again thank you for everything.
Your student in the TAO,
Lebanon, Middle East
Light Went On in my Kidneys – my Fear and Emptiness Dissolved!
What a wonderful and needed practice Internal Chi Breathing & Rooting is for me. The new Blissful Breathing qigong felt especially uplifting. This work has initiated some shifts in my body-mind perspective that is so radical and personal it almost feels weakening to share it. That tells me it is core Spiritual. It feels intimately mundane and sacred at the same time.
While embracing the Tree with the deep bone breathing, earth chi entered my kidneys and a light went on. It shined into the shadowy, constant feeling of crisis that my body holds. In that moment, I was fifteen again at the start of my 'discipleship' in spiritual traditions. Only this time I stood rooted, without fear, without the deep empty neediness which drives me to get attached to teachings and teachers and lovers.
In that moment I felt renewed-- another chance to meet myself, the world
and the spacious vision that drugs and Meher Baba initiated so long ago. As
a result, I feel a certain sweet dying to each moment inviting me down a
path where inner courage, trust and patience makes the next moment even
more digestible.… down to my very bones.
Course offers High Energy, Laughter, Learning & Healing
Thank you very much for leading such an excellent workshop on Qigong Fundamentals 3&4. This was my second course with you, and it truly exceeded my expectations. The high energy, laughter, learning, and healing vibrated in great abundance, and I know this will greatly illuminate the journey of my own path.
I also wanted to let you know that your CD/DVD products and written hand-out mental pacifiers) have been of tremendous help and are really a no-brainer for anyone half-way serious about reinforcing their practice and growing. Of course, they can't quite match the experience of actually being at one of your events, but they come about as close as possible--so thank you for the effort that you put into making them valuable and available.
I look forward to continuing the journey and encouraging others to do the same! Kindly, D.S., Chapel Hill
Your Simple Methods Opened up my Inner Self
Thanks for the great experience of Fundamentals 3 & 4. Your teaching style is engaging. You don’t take yourself too seriously, so everything is fun and lots of learning takes place.
I received some great gifts. I developed a greater understanding of the benefits Chi Kung can deliver. Of special interest to me are the alchemical aspects. Clearing the path to the inner self has been my primary alchemical process for the past three or four years. I have encountered many transformational experiences through; classes, sessions, life coaches, weekend seminars, you know the routine.
But none have worked as well to take me inside as the experience of Chi Kung as you teach it. I feel a direct connection to my inner space through your very simple and uncomplicated methods. I thank you for sharing your experiences and teachings in a way that are easy to understand and integrate.
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By Michael Winn
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