The body and mind are deeply connected. We need many things to work efficiently. Some theories are mostly very fragmented and do not explain the whole universe of these principles.
If one portion of our primary needs is not satisfied, we lack energy or cannot use it efficiently. The Daoist understanding is to reflect on nature and understand what we really need. The natural principles lay the playground for the way of humans.
So how do we get the most of our energy?
First, we need to understand how the individual is built to store and use energy.
The human body has a specific capacity and sensitivity for using energy; this is depending on the physical properties of the body. Let’s think about like a vase, or a vessel of some sort, it is possible to hold energy inside depending on its shape or form. Muscles, for example, do not mean we are energetically stronger; It is essential to find the balance in the body to be able to work efficiently, excessive large muscles will make your energy consumption higher and fatigue faster.
In general, it can be said if one physical appearance is stronger, than the potential for more energy capacity is there, but it can also mean the individual is more emotional and mentally unstable or lacks focus. The opposite is true for individuals with a weaker physical appearance; they have it harder physically but developed because of this a healthy mind and sharp focus. As I said, this is only general, and everybody cannot be generalized, but it is obvious to see that imbalance can bring these results.
It is the master who intends to balance these principles to pave a straight path of harmony for the student.
The path of cultivating Qi
I will list the essential understandings for cultivating Qi in its importance:
- Physical training, students within the Sanfengpai learn to become physically stronger, durable, and elastic. This training (Jibengong) will provide the body with the right foundation to develop Qi further on. Once the body can work with these requirements, the students start to use Qi by learning it naturally and practically.
- Tai Ji training, is the control of the extremes, harmonizing our powers is vital for learning to control Qi efficiently. Once the student is physically ready, it is easier to stay calm and focused on these exercises, hypersensitivity, or unable to feel anything only results for students who skipped the first step. The physical body will harmonize the way how Qi works, and the mind can be at ease and focus.
- Wu Ji training, also understood as “returning to emptiness.” Once the student has a hold of Qi, the natural order is to find the origin of this internal cultivation. Western people often tend to skip necessary steps and think the Qi will guide by sheer will. We do Wu Ji training to understand ourselves further and preserve our energy. It is what results from the tedious training of body and mind, that our being can find harmony.
Let’s not overcomplicate things further.
There is no magic formula in cultivating Qi. But there are several other things you should keep in mind:
- Sleep plenty to let the body fix itself. After each training, the circulation can work, and resting is the only way of repairing damages within the body. Every improvement also means a change inside, and for this, the body needs to be able to activate its regeneration, which only happens during sleep.
- Focus on your breath, 90% from our Qi can be used with the right and natural breathing. Our body takes in energy from Oxygen, and this way, we can use Qi more efficiently.
- Eat healthily, another way of getting energy is to eat light and healthy food. It will give the body the fundament for improving and changing within. Variation is essential and the ability to feel what the body needs to eat now.
- Fix the circulation within the body. Cleaning the body from the inside works with our blood/Qi circulation. Our bone structure, tendons, and fascia can block or prevent this circulation. Therefore it is crucial to get back to the Jibengong training as mentioned above to fix these problems.
This information should all sound logical and natural because the way of the Daoists is a natural way. It is the media and alternative approaches that wake the interest of people who do not know this natural order. I guess that the main reason is to make money to learn special methods. As I said, there is no magical formula or a way to fool your body and mind. The path of Daoists is a way of consistency, hard work, and determination. I am sure it is not a suitable way for everyone, but from my experience, it is that most people change their way of thinking at a certain point in life and realize that their own body and mind is vital for preserving the life quality, and then they start training. In China, people lack social insurance, and self-preservation is an important topic. When people tend to make others responsible for themselves, it will only lead to ignoring our own needs.