3 Layers of Neigong Practice and Taoist Meditation with Paul Cavel

In this episode of Qigong Radio, Energy Arts Senior Instructor Paul Cavel explains the 3 different layers of neigong practice:

  • Beginner or Foundational Practices — Dragon and Tiger, Opening the Energy Gates, and Heaven and Earth
  • Intermediate or Power-Production Practices — Spiraling Energy Body and Bend the Bow
  • Advanced or Integration Practices — Gods Playing in the Clouds

3 Layers of Neigong

Paul explains what to focus on at each level and how your learning spiral takes you back through them over time.

I found Paul’s explanation of the relationships between the sets particularly useful. Specifically, understanding Energy Gates as direct preparation for Spiraling — first you clear the downward flow of chi, then you strengthen the upward flow. Similarly, in Heaven and Earth you learn to expand the body (through opening/closing the joints and lengthening the soft tissue) before you really go into deep internal compression in Bend the Bow.

As we discussed the meaning of “integration,” Paul explained how neigong is the basis for Taoist meditation and where neigong shows up inside your meditation practice.

In the episode, we talk about the great training resources available on PaulCavel.com, including the Inner Quest Journal (download a free issue here). If you get the chance, please let Paul know how much we all appreciate the high quality material he is putting out.

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  1. I find when I do dragon and tiger first movement before circling hands it protects my knee.
    It was the rocking from heel to toe and tuning into the downward release when my heel presses that
    Allowed circling hands to get my knee opening again. I was practicing cloud hands to often on an already compressed knee which did some serious knee grinding. Now from time to time after sinking my chi I softly test my leg twisting and really only go to 40% . Again this all was gained from Paul’s insights from his Inner Quest Journal. Going to do some daoist natural breathing now.

  2. The previous QR where Paul went into the Soft Tissue, and the progressions seemed to set the stage to go into the overall structure concepts…. great that the conversation developed to this “integration” discussion (about Integration of Neigung πŸ™‚ Tu-Earth element of WuXing)

    Thx for creating this- asking and recording this…. and for presenting this.. I’ve found insights in some of Paul’s articles elsewhere (especially Bagua “concertina” as he called it) of great eloquence and value.. not just for informative value, but inspiration (ie a bit of a kick in the butt ~ refresh) cheers

  3. Nice, guys. We’re lucky to have Paul as a resource!

  4. Bob Hughes says:

    Thanks Dan (and Paul),
    Great “internal spice!”
    The complexity of energy arts is daunting.
    Paul’s analysis helps me see the big picture more clearly;
    it helps me break out of being “a legend in my own mind whilst just moving my arms and legs around.”

    And it throws new light on one of my debates with you, Dan, about the role of martial arts in developing spiritual awareness. With Paul’s Venn diagrams I can more clearly see how training in power production/martial arts (intermediate level) can enhance the integration level. I can see how training in martial arts can really create more space in presence and awareness.

  5. I realized recently that I’ve never heard of spontaneous qigong and/or shaking practices in Bruce’s curriculum. Does anybody know if he teaches them?

  6. Yes, Bob, I think these three layers really capture how to practice with different goals — building a container, filling it up, and then smoothing it out — and that model guides you through all kinds of applications, as you’re point to.

    Igor, on spontaneous qigong, I’ve heard Bruce say that while he thinks some of the techniques can be useful, there’s a big x factor: you can trick yourself into thinking you’re releasing a lot, but you might just be reinforcing the noise into your system. My sense was that he didn’t think the process was as clean as dissolving or maybe not as safe on a large scale.

  7. Makes total sense re spontaneous qigong. I’ve seen experienced practitioners doing spontaneous qigong and they’d do in fact the same set of motions time after time. The impression was they got stuck there, so I was curious to what extent the qigong was spontaneous.

  8. πŸ™‚

    In a sense we have the same challenge when we repeat the forms over and over again, but I think the framework Paul presents here really shows you how to enliven the internal content, for different aims, so that your practice never stagnates.

  9. Really cool interview! It helped me understand more clearly the specifics and scope of each qigong set of Energy Arts’ system. Thank you!