["When I began studying Qi Gong (Chi Kung), one of my classmates who had been at it for a while, said that when
it comes to feeling your Qi moving within your body, it will take two years to feel anything, and five years to believe it".
"While taking two years to feel the Qi wasn't exactly right, the essence of his comments
are still very true. Qi Gong is a path, not a destination, and along that path are many signposts that you will pass. Feeling the Qi,
believing you feel the Qi, learning to direct it with physical movements, learning to direct it with just your mind's intent,
directing it somewhere in the future, in the past, etc... are all steps along a never ending path".
"The article that follows is designed to prepare you for a life of discipline, not instant
gratification. The only true gratification that comes from doing Qi Gong is to enjoy the activity while your doing it, no matter what your level. Gratification that is dependent
on obtaining any sort of power will only get in the way of the most sacred of all side-effects of Qi Gong, and that is enlightenment itself".
The Twenty-Four Rules for Chi Kung Practice
"In this section we will list the twenty-four rules which have been passed down by generations
of Chi Kung masters. These rules are based on much study and experience, and you should observe them carefully".
Don't be Stubborn about Plans and Ideas
"This is one of the easiest mistakes for beginners to make. When we take up Chi Kung we are enthusiastic
and eager. However, sometimes we don't learn as fast as we would like to, and we become impatient and try to force things.
Sometimes we set up a schedule for ourselves: today I want to make my Dan Tien warm, tomorrow I want to get through the tailbone
cavity, by such and such a day I want to complete the small circulation. This is the wrong way to go about it. Chi Kung is
not like any ordinal-v job or task you set for yourself -- YOU CANNOT MAKE A PROGRESS SCHEDULE FOR CHI KUNG. This will only
make your thinking rigid and stagnate your progress. EVERYTHING HAPPENS WHEN IT IS TIME FOR IT TO HAPPEN. IF YOU FORCE IT,
IT WILL NOT HAPPEN NATURALLY".
Don't Place your Attention in Discrimination
"When you practice, do not place your attention on the various phenomena or sensations which are
occurring. Be aware of what is happening, but keep your mind centered on wherever it is supposed to be for the exercise you
are doing. If you let your mind go to wherever you feel something "interesting" happening, the Chi will follow your mind and
interfere with your body's natural tendency to rebalance itself Do not expect anything to happen, and don't let your mind
wander around looking for the various phenomena. Furthermore, don't start evaluating or judging the phenomena, such as asking
"Is my Dan Tien warmer today than it was yesterday?" Don't ask yourself "Just where is my Chi now?" When your mind is on your
Chi, your Yi is there also, and this stagnant Yi will not lead the Chi BE AWARE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING, BUT DON'T PAY ATTENTION
TO IT When you drive a car, you don't watch yourself steer and work the pedals and shift gears. If you did, you'd drive off
the road. You simply put your mind on where you want to go and let your body automatically drive the car. This is called regulating
Avoid Miscellaneous Thought Remaining on Origins
"This is a problem of regulating the mind. The emotional mind is strong, and every idea is still
strongly connected to its origin. If you cannot cut the ideas off at their source, your mind is not regulated, and your should
not try to regulate your Chi. You will also often find that even though you have stopped the flow of random thoughts going
through your mind, new ideas are generated dung practice. For example, when you discover your Dan Tien is warm, your mind
immediately recalls where this is mentioned in a book, or how the master described it, and you start to compare your experience
with this. Or you may start wondering what the next step is. All of these thoughts will lead you away from peace and calm,
and your mind will end up in the "Domain of the Devil." Then your mind will be confused, scattered, and very often scared,
and you will tire quickly".
Hsin (Shen) Should not Follows the External Scenery
"This is also a problem of regulating the mind (Hsin). When your emotional mind is not controlled,
any external distraction will lead it away from your body and to the distraction. You must train yourself so that noises,
smells, conversations and such will not disturb your concentration. It is all right to be aware of what is happening, but
your mind must remain calmly, peacefully and steadily on your cultivation".
Regulate your Sexual Activity
"You should not have sexual relations at least 24 hours before or after practicing Chi Kung, especially
martial or religious Chi Kung. The Essence-Chi conversion training is a very critical part of these practices, and if you
practice Chi Kung soon after sex, you will harm your body significantly. Sex depletes your Chi and sperm, and the Chi level
in the lower portion of your body is lower than normal. When you practice Chi Kung under these conditions, it is like doing
heavy exercise right after sex. Furthermore, when your Chi level is abnormal, your feeling and sensing are also not accurate.
Under these conditions, your Yi can be misled and its accuracy affected. You should wait until the Chi level regains it normal
balance before your resume Chi Kung. Only then will the Essence-Chi conversion proceed normally and efficiently".
"One of the major purposes of Chi Kung is to increase the Essence Chi conversion and use this Chi
to nourish your body. Once a man has built up a supply of Chi, having sex will only pass this Chi on to his partner. As a
matter of fact, many Chi Kung masters insist that you should not have sex three days before and four days after practice.
During sexual relations the female usually gains Chi while the male loses Chi during ejaculation. The woman should not practice
Chi Kung after sex until her body has digested the Chi she has obtained from the man. There are certain Taoist Chi Kung techniques
which teach men how not to lose Chi during sexual activity, and teach women how to receive Chi from the man and digest it.
We will leave the discussion of this subject to Chi Kung masters who are qualified and experienced in it".
Don't be Too Warm or Too Cold
"The temperature of the room in which you are training should not be too hot or too cold. You should
practice in the most comfortable environment which will not disturb your mind and cultivation".
Be Careful of the Five Weaknesses and Internal Injuries
"Five weaknesses means the weaknesses of five Yin organs: the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, and
spleen. When you realize that any of these five organs is weak, you should proceed very gradually and gently with your Chi
Kung practice. Chi Kung practice is an internal exercise which is directly related to these five organs. If you do not move
gradually and gently, it is Like forcing a weak person to run 10 miles right away. This will not build up his strength, instead
it will. injure him more seriously.
For the same reason, when you have an internal injury your internal Chi distribution and circulation
is already disturbed. If you practice Chi Kung your feelings may be misled, and your practice may worsen your problem and
interfere with the natural healing process. There are certain Chi Kung exercises which are designed to cure internal injuries,
but to use them properly you need to have a very good understanding of the Chi situation of your body".
Avoid Facing the Wind when Sweating
"Don't practice in the wind, especially facing the wind. When you practice Chi Kung you are exercising
either internally, or both internally and externally. It is normal to sweat, and since you are relaxed, your pores are wide
open, If you expose your body to cold wind, you will catch cold".
Don't Wear Tight Clothes and Belt
"Always wear loose clothes during practice because this will help you to feel comfortable. Keep
your belt loose, too. The abdomen is the key area in Chi Kung practice, and you must be careful not to limit the movement
of this area because it will interfere with your practice".
Don't Eat too Much Greasy and Sweet Food
"You should regulate your eating habit while you are practicing: Chi Kung. Greasy or sweet food
will increase your Fire Chi, making your mind scattered, and your Shen will stray away from its residence. You should eat
more fruit and vegetables, and keep away from alcohol and tobacco".
Don't Hang your Feet off the Bed
"In ancient times the most common place in Chi Kung practice was sitting on your bed. Since most
beds were high, if you sat on the edge of the bed your feet would hang off the side of the bed above the floor. When you practice
Chi Kung your feet should touch the floor. If they do not, all of the weight of your body will press down on the lower part
of your thighs and reduce the Chi and blood circulation. Furthermore, when you practice you should nor put your feet up on
the table, because this position will also stagnate the Chi and blood circulation".
Don't Practice with a Full Bladder
"You should go to the toilet before you start your practice. If you need to go during practice,
stop your practice and do so. Holding it in disturbs your concentration".
Don't Scratch an Itch
"If you itch because of some external reason, such as an insect walking on you or biting you, do
not be alarmed and keep your mind calm. Use your Yi to lead the Chi back to its residence, the Dan Tien. Breathe a couple
of times and gradually bring your consciousness back to your surroundings. Then you may scratch or think of how to stop the
itching. However, if the itching is caused by Chi redistribution in the Chi Kung practice, remain calm and do not move your
mind there. Simply ignore it and let it happen. Once it has reached a new balance, the itching will stop. If you scratch this
kind of itch it means that your mind has been disturbed, and also that you are using your hands to interfere with the natural
rebalancing of your body's Chi".
Avoid Being Suddenly Disturbed or Startled
"You should avoid being suddenly disturbed or startled. However, if it does happen, calm down your
mind. You must absolutely prevent yourself from losing your temper. What has happened has happened, and getting mad cannot
change anything. What you should do is prevent it from happening again. Most important of all, though is learning how to regulate
your mind when you are disturbed".
Don't Take Delight in the Scenery
"It is very common during practice to suddenly notice something that is going on inside of you.
Perhaps you feel Chi moving more clearly than ever before, or you start to sense your bone marrow, and you feel elated and
excited. You have just fallen into a very common trap. Your concentration is broken, and your mind is divided. This is dangerous
and harmful. You have to learn how to be aware of what is going on inside you without getting excited".
Don't Wear Sweaty Clothes
"This happens mostly in moving Chi Kung practice, especially in martial Chi Kung training. When
your clothes are wet from sweat you will feel uncomfortable, and your concentration will be affected. It is better to change
into dry clothes and then resume practice.
Don't Sit When Hungry or Full "
"You should not practice Chi Kung when you are hungry or when your stomach is full. When you are
hungry it is hard to concentrate, and when you are full your practice will affect your digestion".
Heaven and Earth Strange Disaster
"It is believed that your body's Chi is directly affected by changes in the weather. It is therefore
not advisable to practice Chi Kung when there is a sudden weather change, because your practice will interfere with your body's
natural readjustment to the new environment. You will also be unable to feel and sense your Chi flow as you do normally. You
must always try to remain emotionally neutral whenever you do Chi Kung; even if you are disturbed by a natural disaster like
an earthquake, you must remain calm so that your Chi stays under control".
Listen Sometimes to True Words
"You need to have confidence when you practice Chi Kung. You should not listen to advice from people
who do not have experience in Chi Kung and who are not familiar with the condition of your body. Some people listen to their
classmates explain how they reached a certain level or how they cured a certain problem, and then blindly try to use the same
method themselves. You need to understand that everyone has a different body, everyone's health is slightly different, and
everyone learns differently. When the time comes for you to learn something new, you will understand what you need. Play it
cool and easy, and always have confidence in your training".
Don't Lean and Fall Asleep
"You should not continue your Chi Kung training when you are sleepy. Using an unclear mind to lead
Chi is dangerous. Also, when you are sleepy your body will not be regulated and will tend to lean or droop, and your bad posture
may interfere with the proper Chi circulation. When you are sleepy it is best to take a rest until you are able to regain
Don't Meditate When You Have Lost Your Temper or are Too Excited
"You should not meditate when you are too excited due to anger or happiness. Since your mind is
scattered, meditation will bring you more harm than peace".
Don't Keep Spitting
"It is normal to generate a lot of saliva while practicing Chi Kung. The saliva should be swallowed
to moisten your throat. Don't spit out the saliva because this is a waste, and it will also disturb your concentration".
Don't Doubt and Become Lazy
"When you first start Chi Kung, you must have confidence in what you are doing, and not start doubting
its validity, or questioning whether you are doing it right. If you start doubting right at the beginning you will become
lazy, and you will start questioning whether you really want to continue. In this case, you will not have any success and
your practice will never last".
Do not Ask for the Speedy Success
"This is to remind you that Chi Kung practice is time consuming and progress is slow. You must
have patience, a strong will, and confidence to reach your goal. Taking it easy and being natural are the most important rules".]
['From the book entitled "The Root of Chinese Chi Kung, The Secrets of Chi Kung Training", YMAA Publication Center, Jamaica Plain.']