What are the basic mistakes people make in practicing chikung?

The teacher, method,and principles will be the most important factors affecting people who are interested in practicing chikung. Therefore, if they go through the right teacher, method and principles they will learn the safe and correct way to practice chikung. The problem is that since they do not have the knowledge or experience to do so, they are not able to distinguish who is the right teacher, which is the good method, or what are the right principles.

To help them in their selection of the right teacher, method and principles, these people need to learn something about the history of chikung. For instance, in the Taoist and Buddhist types of practice, chikung is classified into four major levels. The first stage covers the basic foundation of strengthening of body and the combination of breathing, stretching, and mind control. The second stage covers the development of our wisdom in accordance with the changes of our inner experiences at different times. This is accomplished through strengthening our mind by unifying the forces at the physical and mental levels .

The third stage follows with the strengthening of our spirit from which supernatural powers will be developed at a steady rate as a way to enlightenment from the viewpoints of different levels. The fourth and final stage combines our real self and nature as one, unifying the secret of the Tao between man and nature, theory and practice, spirit and mind,and mind and body.

In this way, we may understand that the first choice for all chikung beginners should focus on the practice of strengthening their body. If we want to strengthen our body, the way we adopt should be something much more concrete and solid, such as the five animals practice ( ) which strengthens the internal organs and meridians of our body through muscle stretching and abdominal breathing. Such a practice requires much emphasis on the concentration of the whole body instead of just using the mind to imagine the flow of something.

However most popular chikung methods promoted around the world mainly train the consciousness, using visualization or automatic movement chikung, hypnosis, spiritual resonance or pure relaxation. Such trainings will make our brain more sensitive to any external stimuli resulting in a frenetic and hyper state of mind which makes it difficult to acquire emptiness, balance, harmony, and enlightenment. Such sensory practices of chikung draw popular attention because they provide a strong chi feeling which satisfies most people who think chikung works in this way. However, the principle of a right path to chikung should focus on the elimination of all sensory activities. In other words, we should enter into a state of absolute emptiness which prevents all distractions and external stimuli and which is able to withstand all impact or changes which suddenly break through our emptiness shield . Only by entering the state of chi, will we be able to develop ourselves step by step, correctly and safely.

The other reason those teachers teach such sensory types of chikung may be they want to draw in more students or they don't understand that the way they teach is not fundamental and will be dangerous for students. In this way, the teacher is one of the most important factors in helping beginners to enter into a right way and understand the theory.

The method is not as important as the level at which a beginner starts. If you enter into a higher level which is not suitable for you, you may not be able to strengthen yourself physically, mentally and spiritually; instead you will experience inner hazards and interruptions.

The principles for chikung are exactly like the Tao explained by Taoist or Buddhist. The problem people face in understanding the real Tao of chi is that they use a modern type of mind to interpret or translate the ancient wisdom of the Tao. This wisdom focused on combining both action and thought together to form an enlightened wisdom beyond the understanding of most modern people due to deficiencies in their own languages and training.

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Chi Kung Culture Society of TAIPEI