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SEPTEMBER 2020
 

The concept of balancing Yin and Yang is central to Daoist thought. It's this idea that orients us in our practice, asking us to not give one side of the coin more importance than the other. The Yin is more manifested, but more limited. It is the structure, the physical body, the unconscious, the closed and the hidden. Most importantly, it's slow. The yang is less manifested, and so is also less limited. It's the process, the intention, the conscious, the open and the exposed. If we look at ourselves through this lens, we can see that the body is the Yin, the Mind is the Yang, and the breath (or the qi) is the point of exchange where Yin and Yang mix. 

A simple analogy that my teacher likes is one of the bucket and the hose. The mind points the hose at things, and those things receive energy (represented by water coming from the hose in this analogy). The bucket represents our physical body, which is the structure  that stores the energy so we can use it in our lives. This is where we have the problem of the leaky bucket:

"There's no point in having immortal water if your bucket is full of holes"
~Serge Augier
 
Our modern culture does not like to hear about our problems, and we certainly don't want to hear that they take a long time to sort out. But if we want to keep our energy and vitality all the time, that's exactly what we need to attend to. In the beginning, when we go out and have a good practice we might feel great for 30 mins or an hour after practice, but we find that we quickly return to our pre-practice level of energy (or worse!). It's like topping our bucket up and it slowly drains out. To plug the holes in the bucket, we have to train the physical. Specifically, we have to train to fix the holes - which are more or less weak links surrounded by tension. These weak links are like the yin of the yin, the hidden parts of the body, and generally we cannot find them unless we put ourselves through a process of some sort. This is part of the task in training the physical body in Da Xuan, revealing the hidden tension and allowing it to relax by strengthening the associated weak links. When we repair these leaks, we find our body can hold our energy much more effectively, allowing us to keep the nice feeling from training throughout the day or longer. 

When we are full of our own energy, we are protected from the elements, from other people's shitty moods, and from being bothered by whatever the environmental situation is - busy shopping center full of stressed people? No problems! What does full of energy mean though? It's easy enough to go into fantasy with grand ideas as soon as we hear the word 'energy', but let's keep things simple and down to earth: when you do exercise and you're nice and warm and you go outside in the cold, you can feel that the air is really cold, but the cold is stopped at your skin, or even just a little outside your skin, like you're wrapped in a nice fuzzy warmth. If you stay in the cold too long, the feeling dies and slowly the cold creeps in, hopefully not all the way to the bones or you're going to be cold for quite a while! This is what I'm talking about, it's a feeling I'm sure everyone is familiar and not quite as fancy as the shield Gandalf uses to stop the Balrog with - but the interesting part is keeping it all the time. It's particularly interesting when the feeling fills all the parts of the body we usually cannot feel. Being able to feel the back, the legs, the feet, or even better the internal organs with as much clarity as we can feel our hands with is completely possible. 

When we hear about this, lots of us want to go straight to the fancy and advanced internal alchemy practices that we presume are responsible for such things. They can certainly bring a lot of energy in, but you better have a good bucket to keep it otherwise it will go as fast as it came. If you want to keep it, at some point training the simple, basic physical exercises is unavoidable. It's not terribly fun or pretty, but it certainly works well!

Speaking of repairing the structure, I have a new course coming out soon...

ONLINE COURSES

DAO YIN - Establishing the Structure (Jing)

Dao Yin appears on the outside to look very much like pilates or yoga. The practice is done primarily lying on your back, learning to extend, roll and rotate using the power of the lower center and the strength of the back while progressively reducing tension in the extremities. The practices of Dao Yin are some of the most effective for building the structure, training the weak links, and establishing the link between the center and our back, the source of our energy. Being predominantly a lying practice done on a yoga mat, it keeps us in close contact with the ground, allowing us to align our backs and feel with increasing clarity the parts of ourselves that we don’t often get to look at.

Course Dates: New Course Coming Soon!
 

DA XUAN FAMILY QI GONG - Internal Training (Jing + Qi)

The Da Xuan family qi gong is at the centre of the school, covering the most important qualities - the ability to feel energy without fantasy, the linking of the body, and grounding. This course introduces the topic and gives the participants a firm understanding of how to begin the process, bringing clarity by approaching the topic from several angles. For more information about Da Xuan Qi Gong and where it can lead, please visit my teacher's page here: 
https://www.sergeaugier.com/courses/daoist-cultivation/#qigong

Course Dates: 27th July – 20th September (currently in progress) 
 

PRIMORDIAL BREATHING - Freeing the Breath (Qi)

This syllabus covers breathing methods that will work to train the physical aspect of the lungs: the breath capacity, rhythm, freeing the airways, various methods of breathing, and opening the diaphragm. Although they are reasonably simple practices, they are profoundly effective and critical for building a strong foundation that will prepare you properly for engaging with more complex practices of Internal Alchemy (nei dan).

Course Dates: Next Course TBA
 

SHEN GONG - Calming and Focusing the Mind (Shen)

If we do not understand the way our mind functions, and cannot calm and stabilize our thinking and attention, then it will be very difficult to engage in any other topic with any degree of depth. Shen Gong trains the qualities of attention so that we may engage with all our other practices completely and without distraction. When our mind is free to focus completely on a given task, we can complete the task in full and finish with the mind available for whatever comes next - whether it be listening to family and friends or undertaking a new task. Unlike the spiritual training of Shen Dan, in which we investigate our fundamental identity, Shen Gong trains the purely pragmatic functioning of the mind.

Course Dates: 24th August – 18th October (currently in progress)
CLICK HERE FOR ONLINE COURSE DETAILS AND REGISTRATION

BOOK NEWS


My book is available!!
 
Copies are steadily rolling out, and so far the feedback has been amazing! Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy, and to all those putting the word out to their friends and family about it. 

If you still haven't got a copy, you can grab one from here: www.craigmallett.com/book/
 

 

VIDEO CONSULTATIONS


As well as in person consultations, I have also been taking video consultations. They are much the same as the in person consultations, a time where we can discuss a personal practice, how to go about orienting yourself, and for me to give you exercises to try. Exercises are pre-recorded, so you will have ongoing access to the relevant tutorials after your call (assigned to you via my Uscreen platform where all my tutorials are!).

If you're interested in connecting, just drop me a line!

You can find more on my website here: https://www.craigmallett.com/private-consultation/

FINAL THOUGHTS


I'm always harping on about training weak links, finding hidden problems and dealing with it. It makes the whole thing sound rather bleak, but that's definitely not the case. It's true many of the exercises are quite confronting, but there are certain exercises that will just make us feel fantastic and it's good to know which ones these are, so we can turn to them on our most difficult days. Again, it's a balance thing. Also, when we confront our problems and deal with them, it feels good. It makes us resilient because at some point the problems other people can make for us in the world are pretty insignificant and easy to deal with compared to the things we are used to dealing with when we dig around in the depths of our being.

It's quite a nice feeling to know that you can handle whatever is thrown your way, but it's a feeling that only comes with the experience of handling some pretty heavy stuff.  It's no small thing to train to understand the complexity of the human being, and if it could be done in a weekend I'm sure we'd all be walking around with halos around our heads. Alas, it's not so easy as a weekend course, but nevertheless it's in reach for anyone who wants to put in the effort - there are no special pre-requisites!

Happy training,
Craig
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