[Path to Mastery 5/25/10 – Wk37 D2 (Str 9.12.09)]
Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:
“Small Heavenly Circle” breathing.
The purpose of practicing “Small Heavenly Circle” breathing is to open up your energy channel that runs through the vertical center line of the front and back of your torso. In case you want a visual aid, just type in Du Mei channel on the internet, you will see what I am talking about. Small Heavenly Circle is another name for the Du Mei channel.
So, unless you have some knowledge of energy practice, you are probably wondering why you should try to open the central channel through “Small Heavenly Circle” breathing. I mean Tai-Chi is a martial art, so it has to benefit martial arts somehow, right? But how does breathing and getting the energy channels to open up help your martial arts? Here is how. When the central channel opens, you gain access to an uninhibited and unlimited source of energy. This means you gain access to unlimited source of power. Even when you start achieving this partially, you start gaining seemingly superhuman powers.
When you study meditation and enlightenment across the different schools of thought across the different parts of the world, there are some differences, but there is an underlying theme that is common to almost all of them. You will notice then that opening the central line so the energy can flow freely through your central line is the key to enlightenment. It allows all the necessary energy to induce a state of enlightenment to flow into your mind. Also, according to Acupuncture theory, all your 12 meridians (pathways that distribute energy through your whole body) are connected to your central line. This means that the energy opens up to the rest of your body and brings an unending supply of energy, which is the key to a fully healthy body. If you think about it, a healthy body in conjunction with a fully open mind is the equation for reaching your full potential. The idea of using breathing to open your central channel: not so exciting. Reaching your full potential so you can have super human abilities: very exciting. This is the reason why so many monks and martial artists sit and do this boring breathing exercise day in and day out.
When I first started learning Small Heaven Circle Breathing, I of course started with the Dan-Tien Breathing covered on 4/23. Now, learning Dan-Tien breathing for me was not a pleasant experience. I was having all kinds of gas issues. I was working too hard, controlling my breath too much. My first Taoist teacher told me that I should not try to get real air there, but just the chi. That made no sense to me back then, but I had moments where I experienced my Dan-Tien getting warm and filling with the energy. Then I would get over zealous and then try to force the breath down there to get it even hotter, which would result in just more gas and stomach aches! But those smaller moments gave me hope and I kept practicing. I think another reason I kept practicing is because I saw what was possible from witnessing the feats of my senior martial arts brothers and my teacher that seemed just super human to me. Then, I had this experience that hooked me for life. It was in the middle of winter. It was a cold snowy day, and my brother and I had decided to go out to get something. I had been practicing earlier before we decided to go out and for one reason or another, it was working. Each time I inhaled, my Dan-Tien would fill up with warmth and radiate out to the rest of my body, and when I would exhale my hands and feet would radiate heat. I don’t know what got into me, but I decided to go out in my T-shirt, running pants, and sandals. My brother packed himself in winter wear completely covering his whole body. While we were walking, the world seemed completely different to me. It was beautiful. It seemed balmy and the snow seemed like flakes of cotton falling. I looked over to my brother and I caught eyes that looked at me as if I was crazy. He had his hands in his pockets and was shivering from cold. He took out his hands and grabbed mine and to his surprise and mine, my hands were very warm, his hands were really cold. This is the day I realized what happens when the energy channel in your body opens up.
To be continued.
History of Tai-Chi Journey up to this point:
Before the blog opened to the public, we covered the single person part of the system.
1. Chi-Gong (Taoist Longevity, White Crane Chi-Gong); 2. Standing Meditation
3. Stepping Mediation; 4. 7 Basics; 5. Basic Form; 6. 30 Form; 7. 108 Form
8. 4 Type Pushing Hands
Interactive training after we went public with the blog.
1. 8 Type Pushing Hands (Covered from 2/2 ~ 2/11); 2. San-Shou (Covered from 2/12 ~ 2/15)
3. Ba-Gua.(Covering from 2/16 ~ 2/19); 4. Weapons (Covered on 2/23)
5. Healing System (Covered on 2/24)
1.Introduction (Covered 2/25); 2. Free moving – conditioning (Covered 2/26); 3.Free hand pushing hand (Covered 3/1); 4.Free hand (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/2); 5.Free hand weapon (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/3)
1.Principles (Covered 3/4)
2.Principle of Principles (Covered 3/5)
3.Principles of Upper Body #1~5 (Covered 3/8 – 3/15)
4.Principles Governing Lower Body #1~5 (Covered 3/16 – 3/22)
5. Principle Governing the Whole Body: (Covered 3/23)
6. Principles Governing Movement #1~5 (Covered 3/24 – 3/31)
7. Principles Governing Relaxation – General Concept (Covered 4/1 – 4/14)
8. Principles Governing Breathing
1. Awareness of Breath (Covered 4/19)
2. Breathe Naturally (Covered 4/20)
3. No Sound Breath (Covered 4/21)
4. Crow Bridge (Covered 4/22)
5. Dan-Tien Breathing (Covered 4/23)
6. Directed Breathing (Covered 4/26)
7. Small Heavenly Circle (Covered 5/25 ~ )
8. Great Heavenly Circle
9. Reverse Breathing
10. Whole Body Breathing