I've been meditating for over 3 years almost completely by accident. And I've been doing IMA/ qigong for about 2 years. Practicing both together at the same time is very synergetic! My meditation was something I stumbled on very naturally. My background is in western medicine (I've studied biology and all the natural sciences and went through the pre medical education here in Seattle).
Before my meditation, I was in chronic pain due to incorrect weightlifting and bodybuilding that caused "lower back" injuries. i was also working with high levels of stress at an old job. I had digestion issues and chronic constipation and hemorrhoids. My left big toe would become numb sometimes and I would wake up with numbness from my left pinky finger all the way to under my armpit/ shoulder blade area. I also had dry skin along these pathways. I've gone to seen specialty medical doctors to try to treat these symptoms, but after test after test, they could only prescribe me drugs. I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. my neck was also in constant pain. I had stopped any further weight training but found that my body began to hurt even more. I began to spend time doing mobility exercises which helped.
Eventually I began a practice I called "conscious relaxation." I would eventually find out that this is an established meditation technique called body scanning. I continue to practice this body scanning and have developed very advanced levels of body awareness and control. In my past, I would never imagine such things were possible!
My inspiration for this practice came from trying to replicate my own version of an isolation chamber but on my own bed and using the power of my mind. Through much body scanning, I was able to become super aware of inner body tensions (due to chronic muscle imbalances or injury?). Pairing that knowledge along with my anatomy studies and kung fu studies, I was able to self manipulate my body and ease and release these inner body tensions.
I was using tools and techniques found in western physical therapy and massage therapy. At this time I was able to pin point exact muscles or muscle fibers that were in high tension. I would follow this tension along the body and found the joints or attachment points connected to these tensions."ORBITS!" I could then follow this tension and feel / see / understand that there would be disfunction on the "opposite" side of the body in the form on weak or "unactivated" or disconnected/unconscious muscles. I tried to isolate these "systems" of tension to loosen them to ease my pain and cure my imbalances but found that sometimes the tension would just move to different parts of the body. I came to understand that everything is truly connected. these imbalanced systems usually sat on top or a larger system that would most likely out of balance as well. I began to recognize different layers of muscle systems. I soon understood that any permanent alignment would require the deepest layers to be aligned first in order for the upper layers to be aligned properly. or something like that.
This is when I began paying attention to my whole body as a contained "universe." I've somehow independently discovered the same ideas about tagonist and antagonist muscles. I identify tagonist, injured, high tension muscles or systems then use antagonist clues to balance these high tension systems. As long as I reference the "whole body" as a guide, I can eventually work out this tension out of the body. A body in high tensions is like a puzzle, a certain order of operation and large scope understanding of the body has to be kept in mind or else tensions will build up elsewhere in the body. A key question that I had:
what reference would I use to help guide the goal of releasing tension for the whole body?
Looking back, it seems obvious but all limbs work of the foundation of the spine and hips. the spine and hips are obviously controlled by muscles, but what are these core muscles? I believe these core muscles are the ones involved in "breathing"
western medicine tells us that it is the diaphragm that controls breathing, but i think this is oversimplified. our whole body is used in breathing. this lead me to study the Dan tian, and reverse breathing (dao/embryonic/ tibetan breathing). the eastern view of "breath" is fascinating to me. not really about oxygen exchange but more of life force "control" when a body part is moved by mind control, it is called "breathing" and every movement affects /is your breath.
I researched more and started integrating instructions from tibetan yogis (breathing / and yoga exercises) and also tai chi/shaolin/ Uechi-Ryu-karate-sanchin training and techniques. the changes i've seen in my body are incredible. many people will tell you that the patterns of a person's abdominal muscles are dictated by "genetics." I now know that isn't necessarily true. the abdominal muscle pattern is just a reflection of inner tensions of the body (mostly tagonist and antagonist relations between ribs, vertebrae, hips and pelvis and all the various muscles attached). without meaning to, and certainly not for the sake of aesthetics, I have made my abdominal muscle pattern very much more symmetrical! body builders would be very interested in this knowledge, but many would be discouraged to find out that what it takes is increasing awareness and the mind body connection and focusing this efforts into your breathing. I practiced weight training and powerlifting for over 6 years without ever learning how to breath properly! I believe this was the cause of all my injuries, creating gross imbalances in my breathing muscles and become "strong" without first strengthening my dantian. too much external, no internal power.
i'd rather practice Kung Fu than just read about it. I have so much source material at this point that whenever I read something, I start trying it out right away. And what I start practicing, I stop reading. many times I won't begin reading again until i feel that I have grasped or experience the concept. This knowledge acquisition happens fast in my opinion, but does not lend itself to fast reading. I practice internal kung fu 1 to 3 hours everyday! I'm very consistent. My kung fu is improving so much that it almost scares me. I am very much in need of a local master. What is concerning is that I know my fundamental Kung Fu is improving , but I am still without a teacher, style or system, I am just going by intuition and internet research. I feel that my natural abilities are what is driving me.
I believe I maybe on the path to discover some contributions to the field of chi studies in the future. I think chi power is just the awareness and coordination of the body to the Dao. and this power come can from the lower dantian, which i define as an imaginary area related to center of gravity. but more importantly i related it to a point of consciousness or a "point of view." i think humans naturally center their awareness from their eyes or head. with kung fu training, awareness can come from any part of the body, and once mastered, awareness can be had even from outside the body (ie from the opponent's body!). the various dan tians are major key perspective points. if you become familiar with them and move from that point of view, movement with become more natural. or I play with the awareness between dantians and it brings my body in balance. thoughts and intents translate efficiently into movements. honest expression happens.
The more and more I look into myself, I learn new things, and usually if I do a search on my own new "discoveries" i find that someone else has already discovered this knowledge. It seems most of these discoveries have been ancient discoveries lost in time by the current generation who are so distracted by technology and "outside" knowledge. people are so quick to look outside themselves and divide and separate things in pursuit of knowledge, that in this day in age, people forget to explore the internal/eternal knowledge. I really think the classics do a great job and describing the indescribable.
my topics of interests:
stages of kung fu development:
zhe shu: know movements by heart
song kai: can efficiently store "power" and release
dong jin: comprehend yin yang balance in orbits in body
yu dong jin: from dong jin, break through into shen ming
shen ming: achieve glimpses of physical enlightenment, movements are done in total awareness with no thought needed with understanding of total body relatedness.
-complementary body structures:
the clavicle, scapula, mandible, humerus balance as it relates to pelvis, sacrum, femur balance
how sacrum is to sternum
how pelvis is to mandible
-iching and the Dao, inner alchemy, 6 elements, exploring the main channels vessels and meridians
-kung fu healing as complementary to harming (knowledge base is same for both!)
this is another way to describe the connection of upper and lower dantian. awareness of upper and lower dantians unifies the spine and solidifies the middle dantian. once this is achieved the spine and back can now be considered one unified structure. in the goal of "moving as one" in tai chi, unifying the spine is a major step in that direction. my goal for each day is to increase the harmony of the 3 main dantians, my main methods is tai chi /qigong with dao/tibetan/buddha breathing while in the state of shen ming.
my personal milestones:
- my cranial-sacral postural connection is increasing everyday. I would say it is at expert level now. I can balance it relative to the relation of middle and lower dantian. head feels weightless when i center and root meself. Ding Tou Xuan achieved.
- upper dantian is now open. I now understand how severely disconnection my upper dantian was. It is no wonder that the pain in my neck is what forced me to finally take notice of my own body. I still need to work on relation at clavicular level.
-My middle dantian is now open. and by open i mean am aware of it as to be able to relate it to the rest of my body in terms of connectedness. this continues to be my most challenging dantian to understand. I think I have many injuries relating to this area.
-My lower dantian awareness level is very high. physically the lower pelvic floor is not optimized. I have not reached a level of awareness of this area due to up stream blockages or "being lost in a path in my inner realm" Qi Tie Bai not mastered. umbilicus is sticking but more awareness and control desired.
- my current fascination is with spiral "body trains" and how it relates to kung fu and the Dao
- becoming aware of total body related-ness and body folding with every move (i relate this to orbit aware-ness)
-i catch myself reverse breathing as my natural breath! very excited about this.
-understanding of the eastern mind and philosophy. kung fu as it relates to how buddhism is passed gives clarity on language and methodologies. I may be a good bridge for some western thinkers.
-my body awareness is good enough that i may be able to describe some hard to translate experiences.
-I can perform Blood Washing by using my lungs not only for air movement but blood movement. and by controlling and coordinating my body chambers i can direct the flow of blood in my body (i sound crazy right?!?!?!!?!?!?!) a major benefit of reverse breathing is learning breath control as a way to unlock and control body chambers.
I"M RAMBLING ABOUT SO MUCH RIGHT NOW SORRY!!!!
glad to join, will look forward to learning more, i have no idea how off base i might be, but I feel like i'm on to some major shit! I need local master in seattle to practice with. btw, ALL of those health issues i mention above are all gone!!!! practicing proper IMA opens your channels and meridians! still working on some lower pelvic floor stuff though.
Last edited by bruised
on Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:44 am, edited 4 times in total.