The Way of Energy: Mastering the Chinese Art of Internal Strength with Chi Kung Exercise (A Gaia Original) Products February 16, 2015 [wpramazon asin=”0671736450″ keyword=”chi gong”] More Chi Gong Products
2 thoughts on “The Way of Energy: Mastering the Chinese Art of Internal Strength with Chi Kung Exercise (A Gaia Original)”
Way of Energy vis a vis Energy Gates Chi Gung,
If you’ve heard about Zhan Zhuang (or Jan Juang) and want to begin practicing it, you’re fortunate. You’ve also come to the right place. Dr. Lam’s book is one of only two books I’ve found that explains “standing like a stake” in a clear, straigtforward manner. The other is “Opening the Energy Gates of your Body by Bruce Kumar Frantzis (BKF). If you decide invest the time to practice Zhan Zhang, the amount of additional time it’ll take you to read both of these fine and inexpensive books is trivial and will repay you many times over. Both books provide wise counsel from a master teacher.
As an Energy Gates practitioner I find a deep level of agreement between the two systems. There are differences in emphasis, but nothing in Dr. Lam’s book and his I Chuan system (also see The Way of Power) strikes me as wildly different than what you’d get from BKF. Both books are incredibly clear and helpful. Both would enable a beginner working without a teacher to learn basic standing and obtain a great deal of benefit. However, at a certain point, everybody needs a teacher. Trying to learn and practice everything in the EG book and everything in both of Dr. Lam books by yourself would be very difficult. IMO, The odds of a beginner pulling it off are almost nil.
But, with Zhan Zhuang, alone, the odds are much higher. Why? For the same reason it’s kind of a magic bullet (albeit an incredibly slow moving magic bullet) for movement artists who study Tai Chi, Ba Gua and Hsing I. Even a beginner in Zhan Zhuang can precisely align his or her body and achieve great relaxation and energy flow in a very short time compared to attaining this level while practicing a complex form. And, inevitably, your standing practice will flow into all your arts and daily life. In short, you might find yourself progressing much faster than your fellow students who spend much more time just practicing the form.
1. BKF focusses on alignments much more than Dr. Lam, even at the beginning level. Dr. Lam in the book is basically trying to get people practicing, and presumably their teacher will give corrections later. Per Dr. Lam, you can practice with your eyes open or closed. You can listen to music if that helps. You can even practice with the TV on!
The thought of BKF telling someone that they can practice standing with the TV on strikes me as hilarious. OTOH I often stand aligned while watching a sporting event on TV and do other exercises, so Dr. Lam is probably offering some sound advice. Bottom line, learning more about alignments is one of the best reasons for somebody reading The Way of Energy to also read Energy Gates.
2. Energy Gates has a strong emphasis on what BFK calls dissolving (i.e. freeing blocked chi). This is only mentioned in passing in Dr. Lam’s book. It’s probably something that he considers best left to the teacher. Also note that the more advanced level of dissolving presented in EG (inner dissolving of the individual Energy Gates) is not really a beginning practice – not that it would cause harm.
3. Energy Gates standing tries to establish the downward flow of Energy very strongly, which BKF considers the safest way for a beginner to approach Chi Gung (or Nei Gung, to be more exact, working all the energy in your body simultaneously). Thus, the Energy Gates practitioner always stands in the Wu Chi posture.
Dr. Lam on the other hand introduces more advanced postures that work the upward flow of energy once the student has been standing for half a year or more. This is one of the most attactive reasons for the EG practitioner to read the Way of Energy. Because unless he’s had the opportunity to learn BKF’s Spiralling Energy Body Chi Gung, he hasn’t been taught anything about these other postures. I’m strongly attracted to working with Dr. Lam’s sequence and plan to try working with them when my basic standing time is a bit longer than it is now.
4. Dr. Lam suggests warming up before you stand, which in an ideal world is a very good idea. He presents some simple warm-ups and then for the experienced student he teaches Ba Duan Jin (8 brocades, Chi Gung). This section alone is worth the price of the book. BKF implicitly presents EG as the warmup to your Tai Chi or Ba Gua practice.
5. The Way of Energy focusses on standing alone (plus the warm-up). The EG book presents a complete Chi Gung set including some movement exercises; Cloud Hands, the Swings and a spine stretch exercise. Again, it would be quite hard for a beginner to learn these from a book without introducing distortions. For example, the 3rd. swing isn’t even taught in my school until the student is in the 3rd. level of Energy Gates and the exercise has been described by my teacher as “the hardest thing we teach”. Just reading the book, you wouldn’t assume that there’s much
difference between the third swing and the second…
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Best book for begginers,
Little did I know that besides increasing my breath holds, Chi gong centers you as a person, gives you tremendous amounts of energy, creativity, improved immune system and many other positive things for generating energy and being healthier. I’ve also become a more patient individual and now have the capacity to read books for hours; also my character/personality has improved(emotional intelligence), being less impulsive and thinking before acting.
Some teachers here in NY charge $100 a month and up to $30 a personal session or even more. After reading this book, and interviewing a couple of teachers; this book in so many ways offers much more for those sessions; don’t get me wrong a teacher is always important to correct your postures but for a begginer you can’t go wrong with this book to introduce yourself in this powerful and ancient practice.
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