The thirty six exercises of Tien Tao Chi Kung are mostly of the Ba Tao (forced) meditation division. They will nourish and awaken the chi energy in a short period of time. With the use of mental control, muscular force, and respiratory techniques they achieve the same result that would take much longer with natural meditation. When one takes a shorter route the risks are usually higher and such are the risks of forced meditation. Too much force may injure the internal organs when unnatural pressure is created. Usually, the adverse effects are not immediately visible, but remain latent in the body. Adverse effects can be avoided by remembering the following principles.
1. Remain relaxed with the mind always concentrated and in control.
2. Never exceed the limits of inhalation and exhalation prescribed in the exercises.
3. Do not strain when using muscular force. Use gentle, firm, smooth muscular contraction.
4. Do not experiment with the exercises. Stick to the schedule.
5. Do not omit any of the exercises and always do the prerequisite exercises.
6. When concluding every session of meditation collect the energy at the lower dan tien center. This may be done by massaging the area in a circular motion 36 times clockwise and 36 times counter-clockwise.
7. After collecting the energy at the lower dan tien center, rub the palms together briskly and place them over the eyes for three respirations. Then open the eyes slowly. Do not immediately move from your position, wait until your body cools down and the perspiration evaporates.
8. If one follows these principles avoiding body movement (unless prescribed) there will be no adverse effects. However, some of the effects that could be expected if the exercises were abused are:
Any of the internal organs may be damaged by creating excess muscular and respiratory pressure. The severe effect may be internal hemorrhaging or in lesser case, a hernia. In the beginning one may experience nausea, belching, vomiting, diarrhea, yawning, loss of appetite, increased sexual desire, and coughing. These symptoms are produced by the chi energy clearing the psychic channels of the obstructions created by the stress and strain of everyday life. This stress may be psychological, physical, or spiritual. Excess internal heat produced by forced meditation will sometimes damage tissues or cause hallucinations. If one always collects the heat current at the lower dan tien center, there will be no side effect. Follow the program, and there will be no risk of injury.
A great Yoga Master said the qualifications of a true Master are not physical but spiritual. A healthy body does not indicate higher use of energy, nor does a weak body indicate an enlightened mind. These exercises awaken the chi energy that will be used to strengthen the body, still the mind, and gain awareness.
The positive effects on health will be noticed immediately (as in exercise 25) and long term. In general, Ba Tao Chi Kung exercises the circulation of chi energy to just one particular area. Any illness of that area will improve as the blood and chi clean the impurities and rejuvenate. Exercises (1,2,3,4,6,7,8,12,13,14,15,30,31) will have a positive effect on gastro-intestinal problems. Increased efficiency in digestion and elimination will be the natural result. Each of the organs will be strengthened and cleansed.
Exercise 10, Kidney Breathing, will improve lower back strength.
Exercise 12, Waist Breathing, will improve liver, spleen, and kidney problems.
Exercises 17 and 18, The Back Methods, will improve shoulder and back problems.
Exercise 20, Guiding the Chi to the Arms, will improve knuckle and joint problems, arthritis, and nervous pain.
Exercise 23, Iron Upper Abdomen, will improve stomach and liver problems.
Exercise 25, The Equalizing Method, will improve respiratory problems and internal injuries.
Exercise 26, The Throat Practicing Method, will improve throat problems and respiratory infection.
Exercises 28 and 29, The underarm methods, will improve chest and underarm problems.
Exercise 30, The Perineum Practicing Method, will improve sexual ability, impotence, and diarrhea.
Exercise 33, The Iron Legs Method, improves leg and joint problems and should be practiced by pregnant women.
The Iron Body Methods train the breath to react unconsciously, preparing the body for defense.
All of these methods are to be employed as written in the schedule, with the purpose of conserving and transforming the essence to postnatal chi energy. The term chi is used as breath and when beginning the chi circulation exercises, one only imagines the energy circulation until the inner heat current develops. One should then use his willpower to circulate the heat through the micro and macro-cosmic orbits. These orbits represent the basic foundation for a healthy body, a calm mind, and increased awareness.
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