Moving Your Energy to Soothe Your Mind

Dejota Apostol moving chi with Dragon and Tiger QigongIn this episode of Qigong Radio, I thought I was going to get a report about the Dragon and Tiger instructor training.

Yes, the six instructors who joined me for the episode talked about the training. If you missed Maui, you’ll get a sense of what it was like.

But they also shared some true qigong gems with us, that I think you’ll be able to apply to all of your energy practices.

Specifically, we discuss:

  • Relaxation in the West vs. Qigong perspective on relaxation
  • The way stagnant chi impacts your mind and how a tense mind freezes up your chi
  • How Dragon and Tiger helps relax the mind into a feeling state as opposed to a thinking state
  • How Dragon and Tiger’s emphasis on chi circulation transforms other practices like Tai Chi and Ba Gua

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Thanks to everyone who participated:

They all teach regularly in their local areas, so if you’re looking for a live class to attend, but sure to check them out.

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  1. Kevin Hartwell says:

    It was cool to hear the different perspectives on the Maui training. I think it was Eilleen that commented on how Bruce told her to use her sword fingers and eyes to better feel chi. I’m curious to hear a bit more about what Bruce meant by using the eyes specifically. Maybe Eilleen, you could possibly comment on this further or someone else.
    Thanks to everyone who participated in the episode and for sharing their experience.

  2. gary kaufman says:

    I see that Bruce has announced that he will be publishing a second D&T book that will be dealing with the movements on a deeper level than the first book (can’t wait to read it). I enjoyed the radio broadcast but would have liked to have had you ask some different questions than you did. For instance what movement of the seven improved (or changed) the most as a result of the seminar. Or what mistakes were you making in the movements that the seminar corrected. Or how did your understanding of D&T change because of the seminar. Maybe you can have others who attended (or the same people) on for another show and explore these questions.

  3. Hi Gary,

    Great questions!

    In my case, the weakest understanding of a movement was no 7. I could not quite get its internal logic or purpose and my body felt a bit reluctant to doing it. What made it work for me during the seminar and after was a clear sense and understanding of what Bruce called ‘The Golden Thread’, particularly the ability to keep contact with the projected chi. Feeling the wei chi through the body is greatly aided/facilitated by the movement of the hands but the only way to keep the thread going while you project and absorb into the field is to feel it with the mind. Just like the Chinese ribbon dancers have to keep their attention on how far the unfolding of the tip will go, to its speed and direction so that they do not get entangled into, so it is with the projection and absorption of chi from the etheric body. The feeling awareness and intention of the mind is what keeps the thread together and what ultimately helps me organize all movements. This aspect was very clear to me during the seminar.

    As for a corrected mistake, in No. 5 while I was circling the Dai Mai I would inadvertently stop the movement of the shoulder blades when my hands returned to the side on their way to the Dan Tian. The result was that instead of completely clearing out the chi of my arms, I would only do it half way which produced very unpleasant sensations. By moving the shoulder blades consistently to the front and back, the release of stagnating chi became easier and more organic.

    Before the seminar I looked at Dragon and Tiger as a pleasant, different and, for the lack of a better word, benign Chi Gung set. I enjoyed practicing it but was not necessarily in awe of it. During the seminar my views changed completely!

    D&T is not benign – Bruce demonstrated several martial applications using its movements, all very efficient! D&T is not only pleasant but powerful and replenishing because it works on the model of emptying what is full so that the circulation of chi through the body can increase and give the sick the ability to heal and make the healthy vibrant. In contrast with the other subjects that Bruce teaches, D&T is indeed different but it offers an invaluable tool for progress for those who encouter difficulties with the ‘inside -out’ approach of the other disciplines; it works from the ‘outside-in’ which provides the practitioner with a different access point towards the same goal. Options are always good! I also found that the skills I learned and practice are highly transferable to other disciplines I do – Longevity Breathing, Tai Chi, Gods, Heaven and Earth, Energy Gates, etc…

    In any case, I will stop here. I hope this was helpful to you.


  4. Kevin Hartwell says:

    Hi Gary,
    Where did Bruce announce the upcoming DT qigong book? Is there a link you could possibly share ?

  5. gary kaufman says:

    Ana, thanks for the response. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I’ve completed the Tiger Crouches movement (the squatting version of it not the folding one) only to be challenged (and humbled) by the difficult next movement Tiger Separates Her Cubs. I find that D&T offers a myriad of physical movements that test and refine one’s movement skills. Kevin, Bruce sent out an email that mentioned the upcoming D&T book.

  6. Hey All,

    Good questions.

    Kevin: I’m not sure if this is what Eileen was talking about but here is my understanding from your question. Usually you start to practice pushing and pulling qi on the inside of your arms. There were people who couldn’t feel it unambiguously so Bruce had us feel our faces because the face is more sensitive than the arms, to get what it feels like unambiguously. It is easier to feel the qi with sword fingers because it concentrates the qi more strongly into a smaller stream. To help with the pushing and pulling of the weiqi, you bring qi in and out your hands (to each knuckle progressively, the palm, the wrist, etc.), this really helps to grab the weiqi. You can also use your eyes, though he did make it clear that it wasn’t the eyes that moved the qi in and out (i.e. bugging your eyes out or going almost catatonic with them) but the brain that pulls the qi in and out the eyes. This was used to help with the projection and moving the weiqi. I hope that helps.

    Gary: My experience is a little different than Ana’s. Dragon & Tiger was the first thing I studied in Bruce’s system and I quickly realized that I could spend the rest of my life studying it and continue to go deeper into it. It’s helped me tremendously through a couple illnesses and it has been invaluable to me as an Acupuncturist and bodyworker, in terms of feeling qi, projecting, and clearing especially. I’ve also been doing Dragon & Tiger almost daily for over 13 years and in that time I’ve developed bad habits, corrected them, developed more bad habits (different bad habits), corrected them again. Certain movements have gotten easier, then more difficult, then easier, etc. With that being said, I made had some common mistakes that I was able to improve. On #1 and #6, make sure you come down to the kwa before going to the outside of the leg. At one point, for some reason, I followed the daimai around and didn’t go all the way to the kwa. On #4, when you slosh, it’s important to keep your hips level and it’s a little too easy to raise the hip of the unweighted leg if you’re not present and paying attention. If you keep the hip level, the sloshing feeling is a lot stronger. It’s also easy to lift the entire body in #5 instead of bending in the kwa as your legs lift. I agree with Ana that I also found that the skills were highly transferable and immediately saw some improvement with my other practices. We were able to experience some level 5 and 6 material the one day and I just have to say that I am truly amazed and in awe of the little taste I got of how deep you can go with Dragon & Tiger and to think there are only 4 people who have done the full level 3 and there are 9 levels.

    Hope that helps. Practice well.


  7. gary kaufman says:

    Dejota, can you give me a glimpse into what these higher levels were about? With the kwa bending in movement five as you are raising up on your toes what initiates the downward movement?

  8. Honestly, I’m not capable of giving you a glimpse. It was one of those moments where Bruce transmits so we get a taste of it. It’s not really of any value to intellectualize it or even attempt to put it in words without the feeling. The only thing that would really be useful right now is that when you project out, especially in #6 and #7, is to be relaxed and fully present in that stream as it goes out and comes back in, the Golden Thread that Ana mentioned. To do that, you need all the baby steps of pulling in and out of the hands a small distance at a time (even if you can easily project further) until that feeling is unambiguous and strong, without gaps or holes at each step.

    In #5, the downward movement is initiated by gravity and your ability to sung, relax. You release your muscles and kwa, lower dan tian (LDT), and butt especially to let gravity do the rest. It’s really that easy. A common mistake I see is as the hands come back to the LDT, people will lift them up, lift their body up a little more and then throw the hands down and project the body down. There is no wind up. It’s more like those rides at the amusement park where they take you straight up and then drop you. That drop is because all the tension that was holding you up was let go and gravity kicks in. The ride doesn’t shoot you down, it just releases. The difference is that the ride stops you suddenly with more tension whereas in movement #5, your alignments let the ligaments work so there is a spring at the end of the drop. The other key is to make sure there is a full release.

  9. Thx to Dan for this posting, as I listened to it when I first saw it, now returning after some time is passed I see the comments that were posted by Ana and Dejota… buried treasure comments.. thx to both of you (Ana I love the comment: “it is not benign” πŸ™‚
    I relate to that, at times I’ve practiced a set of Dr&T, with reduced reps, and then a set of Gods Playing with reduced reps (1 set) flowing into a second G Playing set (linked and stacking upon the first) and then flowing into a second set of Dr&T… trying to feel it (and plan the beginning as mellow, so that each “step” stacks upon the previous… with the Physical Effort and “Stretching” very minimal and mellow…
    it really feels like “underwater movement of arms creating whorls-swirls” and evoking Spiral EBody flows…. which seem to ripple and release in me for quite a while after (doing a “pracitce” – do this do that, is actually less impactful for me, than this sort of action = sit/stand after)

    in a seminar Bruce taught feeling a circular (Spherical) flow- where you are aware of both halves, and yet you pay attention to 1 half, and the other is there but fully released- and then switch (just as the soft tissue is referenced very concretely, but I sensed it like a conveyer-belt- going out and in- so even when feel the “firehose” water/air releasing outward- there is a “passive linkage” through the loop out around and back in to the out, and then when switch to “it flowing inward (water/air pouring into) feel/follow it to Centre- around and out ward which loops at “extreme pt” arcing-connecting to “inward flow”.. and how to do that without it being “concept-picture” and without any effort- and it gets stronger
    also how the “golden thread” sews the different levels- like a stack of different “freqs of cloth” so there is “deeper layers” at each pt of the loop- in addition to further away/clloser in (and thus “eventually” πŸ™‚ the practice of different Energy Bodys / and/or 8 trigram influences of change E / link together via the “threading” smooth-connected-even

    Just a quick note so that may not be as clear- wish I’d been there, the implications of those comments above thx to those at ChiGungRadio πŸ™‚