Cosmos Chi Kung
What is Chi Kung?
Chi Kung is a way to become healthier and happier. It can be translated as ‘energy work’, ‘energy cultivation’ or ‘skill in using energy’. These phrases can sound a little ‘new age’ or vague but what do they really mean?
We all know we are happier when we are energised and are also more resistant to stress and illness. Over 2000 years ago in China this simple idea was developed into a practical, powerful, usable art. Chi Kung is a direct way of increasing your energy levels. It also includes the skills to use this energy to deal with the things that cause physical, emotional and mental stress and illness.
At Fully Alive we talk a lot about energy flow. Most of you have experienced it in everyday life. Those moments when there are no worries, no thoughts or physical problems intrude and whatever you are doing just happens easily. Modern medical science knows that many things can get in the way of a healthy body and mind too. Chi Kung works directly on the energy in each of us that powers these systems – clearing things that cause a problem. It contains the skills that makes clearing and flowing a reliable, repeatable process. This isn’t an intellectual idea but a practical reality for us. We have been lucky enough to experience it ourselves and have practised it for long enough to be able to teach it to others.
What can it do for you?
At the most fundamental level Chi Kung can clear illness – including many of those which western medicine finds so difficult. We have either direct personal experience or seen evidence of people clearing depression, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, insomnia, varicose veins, anxiety, chronic back problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, addiction, migraines as a result of practising Chi Kung.
People who practise Chi Kung stay well – physically, emotionally and mentally. Our experience is that the niggly little problems like colds, stomach bugs and headaches just don’t stick. Also, we know that emotional stress can manifest as tension in the body and prolonged stress can lead to a depleted immune system, poor health and low moods. Chi Kung breaks that unhelpful spiral. Chi Kung practice releases the tensions that lead to stress related illnesses.
One of us teaches Chi Kung regularly in psychiatric settings treating addictions and other serious psychological conditions. The consistent feedback is that people feel less mentally and physically stressed when they practice. A typical comment is that their mind feels clear. As you can imagine this is a huge benefit for someone whose mind has tended to keep up a constant unhelpful mental chatter, often for many years. Chi Kung directly teaches this skill of creating mental clarity.
Chi Kung also increases well-being. The benefits are feeling more energetic and having a greater capacity to enjoy life. As the effects build the pressures of life become easier to deal with and the little things that once wound you up now flow over you. We have found other people noticed the effects on things like us looking happier, healthier – even younger.
How does it work?
Western medicine and psychology has tended to go down the route of specific cures for specific illnesses. That is why the ideas behind Chi Kung can seem a little far-fetched. How can one thing alleviate conditions as diverse as depression, chronic back problems, anxiety, fibromyalgia, varicose veins, carpal tunnel syndrome etc? And at the same time increase immune system functioning and resilience to stress? It just doesn’t fit into the way we look at illness, it seems too good to be true.
One way of helping to understand how it works is through an analogy. Imagine a business suffering the stress and strains of a recession. There might be lots of problems - difficulty in getting good staff or materials, low staff morale, poor delivery service, overstressed/overbearing managers. Each of these difficulties is likely to affect and be affected by the other. It can be difficult to know where to start. Even if a problem seems to be solved it can be often be dragged back down over time. However, if revenue increases and cashflow improves often the problems seem to work themselves out.
It is the same with human beings. Even if a backache is solved through massage, if there is an underlying emotional stress it often returns. Increased stress levels weaken the immune system. Illnesses come more often and the symptoms are worse. Regular illness has an effect on the mood, which in turn can affect things like breathing and cardiac coherence. These things have a knock-on effect on things like sleep quality and resilience to stress. And so it goes round and round.
The old Chi Kung masters found there was a way to get to the heart of this problem. Their direct experience was that certain mind/body exercises solved these difficulties at the root. People got well, stayed well and their overall health generally improved. They developed a whole medical paradigm out of these direct experiences. It encompasses the ideas of meridians, Yin/Yang harmony, energy blockages etc. These are important ideas but the skills of increasing energy and getting it to flow properly are what get people well. Chi Kung works because it works directly on the underlying problem – more energy, flowing beneficially. Health and happiness flows from that.
Cosmos Chi Kung
There are many forms of Chi Kung and we have each practised different kinds. Some work more on building energy, some more on clearing blockages. Some have specific uses e.g. martial arts and others require different problems to be targeted separately.
Some years ago all of us were lucky enough to learn Cosmos Chi Kung. It was taught originally in the famous Shaolin monastery in China. The monks practising it needed to be physically and mentally healthy enough to undergo the rigours of their martial arts and spiritual training. Cosmos Chi Kung needed to work at all of these levels.
Much of the Chi Kung practised today is gentle physical exercise - useful in its own right but not operating at the energetic level of the body and mind. We were lucky enough to learn from a modern master who is part of a long lineage that has preserved the essence of Cosmos Chi Kung teachings. This means it operates at the physical, energetic and mind levels. It can also sound a bit mysterious but it basically means it teaches skills at each of those levels – more basically it means you get more benefits.
The underlying skills developed in Cosmos Chi Kung include: deep relaxation, chi kung state of mind, generating energy flow, building internal force, self-manifested chi movement, massaging organs, flowing and exploding force, generating an energy shower, one pointed mind. The forms we teach are the traditional Eighteen Lohan Hands.