This is an excerpt from the upcoming book, The Tao of Longevity. In this segment I discuss how effective Tai Chi and Qigong are for cultivating Longevity as part of the Longevity Protocol.

Tai Chi/Qigong also known as Taiji or Tai Chi Quan (Tie Chee Chwen) and Qigong (Chee Gõng), is especially rewarding when practiced correctly.

Qigong exercise is a synthesis of bringing together breath, energy, and mind in a through meditative intent and focus. Qigong is the means of cultivating Qi (Chee) or vital energy and circulating it throughout the body.[1] Qigong cultivation includes

  • meditation that includes both standing and sitting
  • focused coordinated breathing
  • physical movements
  • the cultivation of vital energy and force (Qi and Jin)

When successfully cultivated, the result is a higher state of being both energetically, physically, and spiritually. This is a central part of the internal alchemy, along with the Three Treasures to take longevity to the next higher level.[2]

Tai Chi incorporates Qigong as a foundation and builds on it for an even higher level of mind, body, and spirit transcendence. The movements are complex, enough so that one must concentrate and be aware of what they are doing in real time. This concentration will lead to a state of being known as “stillness in motion” meaning that the mind is still and filled with concentration and intent. At the same time the movements or forms are easy enough to coordinate the movement with breath and energy flow. Beginners will find that they cannot let their mind wander for even a second or else the form they are working through will fall apart and the energy become diffused. Or if they focus on one area too much the other two aspects will lose coordination. Like the flame of life alchemy there is a state of balance and harmony that must found and sustained.  It’s best to move slowly and deliberately with full concentration in the moment. Relaxation is another fundamental that must be present for the magic to work. With concentration the mind becomes free of thoughts and distraction which opens the way for relaxation and stress reduction. The practitioner must be mindful of ego which will interfere with the process with its endless commentary and concerns. Forget about how it looks, what others think, or becoming a tai chi master, just focus on the process so the transformation can happen.

With time, the mind, body, and energy will become one and something extraordinary will happen. This is the internal alchemy process of transcendence. The oneness or unity of these has a synergetic effect to produce a robust vitality which seems to ignite and super-charge the body’s natural healing process.

Tai Chi is a martial art. It is this training that takes Qigong to the next level. In Tai Chi training the student learns to not only mobilize and circulate Qi, the vital energy, but to also develop intrinsic force which can become very powerful. Tai Chi has three levels or sections of cultivation.

  • Solo training. Solo training is what it sounds like, where the student practices by themselves refining the movement to harmonize the mind, body, energy, and spirit until it becomes very vibrant and intense. Subtle at first then building into power that infiltrates every cell of the body. This cultivation takes the alchemy of Qigong and builds it into something truly extraordinary. It enhances every aspect of life, including balance, coordination, mental clarity, flexibility, and strength. Tai Chi as a way of making other areas fitness and performance even better, so that there becomes a synergetic effect where the result is much higher than each physical activity by themselves. Some people cultivated the energy and force through dance like rhythms that are beautiful and inspiring to do and watch. Others cultivate the solo forms purely for health or martial arts training. Either way, the solo form along with meditation are keys to cultivating the internal alchemy for longevity. Even Tai Chi dance looks beautiful, don’t let the ego get caught up in vanity issues where the goal is how good it looks. Even when it looks beautiful, the real goal is the internal cultivation. Don’t judge Tai Chi by what you see, but more about how effective it is. Having said that, the more robust your cultivation is the higher the effortless beauty of the form is. Just manage the ego and do not value judge the people who are working hard to improve their life.
  • Push Hands Cultivation. Push hands cultivation is one of the most extraordinary elements of development I have ever seen or heard of. Push hands, also known as Sensing Hands, is where you work with a partner to develop, nurture, extend, coordinate, and control the intrinsic power of Jin or forces that is developed as the counter part of Qi (vital energy). Solo form develops Qi and Jin (energy and force) where push hands teaches you how to use it. By working with a partner, the student learns to extend outward the force then draw it back in. When you extend your force into your partner, they lose their connection to earth and gravity and become “stuck” onto you whereby you move and control them. The forces can be soft and fluid or hard and fast. For the person who has been seized and has lost control of their balance it feels like they are off balance on roller skates or standing on moving ground. When the student gathers the force and focuses it on a rapid hard pinpoint strike, Fa Jin (transmit force) can have a crushing effect on the receiving end. When the student sinks the Qi into the rooted foot and releases the coiled force up the leg and guided by the hips outward, it rolls outward with great force. Also kicking and punching drills can offer good cardio exercise as well as light sparring. It doesn’t take much imagination to see why Tai Chi can be such an effective martial art.

The book is planned on being published sometime this year.

[1] See the chapter on Qigong (a history of Qigong)

[2] See the chapter on The Three Treasures.