Reflections in Chi (Prana)

Feeling Chi: Self development thru Yoga, Tai Chi or QiGong

My Tai Chi instructor, Lou Kleinsmith, used to repeat this phrase often. “With your feet firmly planted in the ground, your head suspended as if hanging from the heavens, your mind concentrated in tantien (your center of gravity, located approximately 2” down from your belly button and 1/3 from the front to the back of your body) what more could there be? It took me many years to understand the meaning, as I first had to experience for myself the actual experience of putting myself in this posture. Basically he was saying that he was experiencing an illumination similar to a phase of Samadhi found in yoga.

The theory behind the states of Samadhi is for the chi (energy intelligence which runs the universe) to gather at the base of the spine and when the mind has reached a state of thoughtlessness for it to move up the spine to the top of the head and out into the universe, at which point the practioner experiences his or her connection with nature or God. But what does this really feel like? I can only take you as far as my experiences have brought me as I have never experienced the physical sensation of the chi (called prana in yoga) moving thru the top of my head into and merging with the chi of the universe.

In internal methods of self development such as Yoga, Tai Chi or QiGong this energy plays an essential part of the practice. At first when you begin your practice you are physically stiff and the chi is locked up throughout your body. Picture your body as a large jigsaw puzzle. At first the pieces of the puzzle are far apart. As the body relaxes and the pieces start to come together the chi begins to circulate in the body. The more relaxed the practioner the more chi is liberated and attracted to the center of gravity of the body. The chi feels like electrified air or club soda moving thru the body in certain patterns. As the chi grows it becomes more powerful. It will manifest as heat or cold and often moves right into the head causing the eyes to tear. The physical and mental movements of Tai Chi, Yoga or QiGong cause the chi to move thru the meridians of the body. This is the way acupuncture was discovered. The chi moving thru the meridians of the body could be charted by drawing lines on the surface of the body, and then pressure could be applied to judge the depth of the acupuncture points. How do I know this? I can feel it.

Slowly, after much practice the Chi pulsates throughout the body. As the body relaxes, the mind calms and the breath lengthens. Thoughts start to appear as small clouds moving thru your psyche. The world starts to look a little different. You become aware of the connection between everything. Your priorities change and happiness draws closer.