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Introduction to Chi

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An article on Chi.

Healing using chi energy (life force energy that permeates all life beings, and is present throughout the Universe) has been one of the most basic forms in energy healing for a good long while. Before you actually learn to heal, you should understand the basics of energy manipulation; things such as gathering energy, running it, and projecting it. ("running energy" is a term for 'guiding' it through the body)

First, you should have some common knowledge about what it is your are working with. The chi energy flow nourishes the human spirit and gives us the ability to concentrate; it is the basis of creativity, and the healing of our body. Chi is the force of nature that moves in invisible currents and healing pathways through all matter. Chi connects everything.

It is common belief among healers, that before you start to heal others, you must first heal yourself. You do this by healing your body, mind and spirit, daily most of the time. Keeping an inventory on your health, how your body reacts and any problems, illnesses or other factors that affect you negatively. The same for taking inventory on your mental health. As for your spiritual health. You must rid yourself of all blockages.

The way that chi flows through the body, within meridians, presides over the wellness or disease imbalances. When a blockage occurs, it can cause numbness, pressure, spasm, and many kinds of aches and pains. A blockage also effects stress, the way you eat, and how it is digested. Sleep patterns and disorders also result in how chi energy if flowing. Chi blockages result mostly from stress, trauma and injuries. In extreme inbalances, mental, emotional or physical problems may manifest. So when the blockage happens, the inhibited energy flow can result in all types of suffering. But, the flow of the chi energy can also contribute to happiness.

The flow of the chi energy within your body reflects your state of mind, how you are feeling, how you think and breathe. Conversely, the negative thoughts can block the flow of chi energy, just as the positive can build chi.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chi energy is based upon the interplay of two polar opposites, creating a vibratory movement and flow of chi energy. These polar forces, refered to as yin and yang, follow natural laws fundamental for all martial art and healing art principles.

The foundation of the Asian Martial Arts and the Healing Arts focuses on how chi energy flows. Both martial artists and healers channel and build chi for strengthening and enhancing their practices. Martial artists use chi for self-defense, physical power, and other ways of moving the chi energy externally. The healing arts channel chi energy for healing purposes internally. Both practices benefit from the cultivation of chi - through exercise, diet, and creative, positive visualizations.

Building chi, developing its healing potential, and strengthening the flow of the chi energy within you has been high priority in the Chinese culture since ancient times. Chi Gong (qikung) uses special internal healing exercises and meditations for building chi, cultivating the life force and channeling it throughout the body. By strengthening the chi within your body - through chi gong or martial arts breathing exercises, you can use the hightened chi for healing yourself and others. To start out to learn the healing arts, you will first need to learn how to gather the energy to preform the healing. Whether it be an internal source or an external. Chi healing uses the chi within your own body, and what you have gathered from your environment, to heal yourself or another.

Before moving on, it should be noted about the breath. Proper breathing must be used at all times, not just in healing work or meditations, but throughout daily life. Proper breathing is a very simple approach to healing, the breath is related to everything we do. Most people in modern society do not breath well or deeply.
Proper breathing as the potential to facilitate relaxation, to remove tension from the body, to alleviate the affects of stress and pain, to diminish the effects of disease and trauma, to allow the mind to calm itself, to calm the mind and body, relieve stress-related disorders, improve autonomic functions, remove toxins from your body, extend life, enhance perception, and to steady your mind and strengthen your will. With all breath work, you focus on breathing fully and completely, utilizing a wide variety of breathing methods and techniques and how to use the breath to let go of any and all un-necessary tension. As you breath in you gather up your aches, pains and troubles and as you breath out you let your worries float away. Proper breathing puts you in tune with your mind and body while alleviating long held tension and pain.

Relaxation, of the mind and body, is also a key point in healing, as well as most other things. This is often done through a type of meditation, to let your body move naturally, without stress and tension, and to calm your mind to a level of 'silence'. Breathwork is a key in learning to relax. (told you it's important ;))

A simple breathing meditation, to help you calm your mind and body is as follows;
Find a comfortable place to sit, where you will not be disturbed, and relax your body. Keep your spinal column straight, but not stiff, keep it relaxed, but aligned. Close your eyes, and begin to breath in a normal rhythmic pattern (1:2, 2:4, 2:6, etc), and let it flow naturally, do not try and force yourself to breath. Once you can comfortably breath, bring your attention to your breath, as it enters your nose, and flows down to the bottom of your lungs, filling them whole-ly. Leave no space between the inhale and the exhale. Exhale through the mouth, letting your attention follow the breath up and out, and then back in again through the nose. You should do what is called "belly breathing", fairly simple and normal. You know you are doing it right if your belly is moving outwards while you inhale. Do not move your chest and cause your diaphragm to expand a great deal. Do this for a while, and allow your thoughts to become passive and your body to become fluid-like.
Some people like to use a visualization for this, to where the air (energy) is flowing around them, and as they breath in, it flows in their body and down to their centre (solar plexus, tian dian, hara, etc) and fills it with the energy, and is then released again with the breath back up and out the mouth.
This is also a way to get the energy within your body stimulated and flowing at a ready pace. A more involved method comes from qikung (chi gong) and can be done by practically anyone.

But before that, a guided breathing technique, called The Complete Breath;
This is the basic breathing technique of pranayama, the yogic science of breathing. It is an excellent training tool as it encourages you to breathe fully, bring oxygen deep into the cells and pulling out toxins. It will also send a surge of energy through every cell of your body.
Lie down on the floor and make yourself comfortable. Bring your feet close in to your buttocks, with the soles of the feet together, and allow the knees to fall apart, hands resting gently on your abdomen. [Note: if this feels comfortable you can put cushions under your knees.] This posture stretches the lower abdomen, which enhances the breathing process.
Breathe in with a slow, smooth inhalation through your nostrils, feeling your abdomen expand and contract. Your fingers will part as your abdomen expands.
Exhale slowly and steadily through your nostrils. Notice that your abdomen flattens and your fingers are touching.
Pause for a second or two and then repeat this inhalation and exhalation, becoming conscious of the movement of the breath down through your chest and abdomen. Breathe naturally at your own pace in this way for five minutes or as long as you feel comfortable.
If you feel comfortable with this you can extend the breath so that it comes up from the abdomen into the best as you inhale. This provides a longer, deeper breath.
Finally, bring your knees together and gently stretch out the legs. Allow yourself to relax comfortably on the ground for a few minutes [you may feel more comfortable with a cushion under your lower back or your neck] .

Learning to gather the energy should be your next step. I will present a few ways to do this. The first being your most basic.
Begin by sitting down, cross-legged if you wish. Put your awareness on your breathing, keep it there until both your mind and body are relaxed. Now, bring your focus to your solar plexus, your body's centre. [for this visualization, use whatever you see fit as for colour] See you solar plexus, as a bright glowing centre, see it getting brighter and brighter, while expanding a bit. See the energy from around you flow into your body, flowing from the farthest reaches, down to your body, pressing against your skin, flowing inwards from every pore of your body, through your breath, and down into every cell in your body, passing down into the Centre, fueling it, making it stronger and brighter. Continue to hold on to the visualization for as long as you can.
The point of this exercise is to help with the visualization technique, which you will need, and to help you to feel energy inside and outside of your body.

This next exercise might be slightly more complicated, it is derived from qikung practices.
To begin with, focus your mind on the area around you (your aura), seeing it in a state of constant activity. Meaning, it is revolving rapidly, absorbing spiritual energy from the space around it, transforming it in such a way that it becomes available for your use. Imagine then, that the energy flows, in a stream-like state, down the left side of the head, down the left side of the trunk (body) and the left leg. While the current is flowing downwards your breath should be exhaled slowly in a convenient rhythm. With the slow inhalation of the breath, imagine that the energy passes from the sole of the left foot to the right foot, and gradually ascends the right side of your body. In this way, it returns to the source from which is came, the crown centre where it entered, and a closed circuit has been created (an orbit). Naturally this circulation is visualized as flowing within the body rather than traveling around the physical structure. It is, to say, an interior psychic circulation rather than a purely physical one.
Let this circulation, once firmly established by the mind, flow evenly to the rhythm of your breath for a bit so that the circuit has been traversed about six times, or even more if you wish. Then repeat it in a slightly different direction. Visualize the energy flow from the crown (slightly above your head) down the front of the face and body. After having turned backwards under the soles of the feet, it ascends at the back in a fairly wide belt of vibrating energy. This should be accompanied by the inhalation and exhalation of the breath, and should be done for at least six circuits.
The final method of circulation for this exercise resembles the actions of a fountain.
Send your awareness downwards, into the Earth centre (at the base of your feet), seeing it as the culmination of all of the others ( spirit centre; slightly above the head, air centre; the throat, fire centre; directly below your sternum, water centre; at the pubic area, and the earth centre; at the base of the feet), the representation of power, the storehouse and terminal of the incoming energy. Then imagine that this energy ascends, or is drawn or sucked upwards by the magnetic attraction of the Spirit centre above the crown of the head. The energy ascends the shaft (the central line connecting the points; the hara line; chakra pathways, etc) and then falls down within the aura. When it has descended to the feet again it is gathered together and pulled into the Earth centre and then pushed upwards again. As before, this circulation should accompany a definite rhythm of inhalation and exhalation. By these means, the healing force is distributed to every part of the body.

References:
"Clear's Tai Chi", Healing Breath Work - Tai Chi Chuan. Richard Clear.
"The Energy Secret", Jane Alexander.
"The Art of True Healing", Israel Regardie.

This article was contributed by
This article was contributed by Deep Arts.
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