Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Doing microcosmic through tai chi nei-gung

Tai chi Nei-gung (太極内功) invented by a prominent Taoist has strong affinity with Taoist meditation. In a previous post (Doing microcosmic without doing it), I talked about Tai chi Nei-gung has a method doing microcosmic circulation without consciously stimulating one's pelvic floor muscles, like a Neidan practitioner does. The method is the fourth Yin-style of 24 styles tai chi nei-gung. It is called "Jade rabbit looking up at the (Golden) Flower" (玉兔朝華).

In Wu-style tai chi master Wang DiXian's (汪棣賢) Tai-chi quan nei-gung: Yin Yang 24 styles (太極拳内功:陰陽24式), master Wang mentioned briefly the style's benefit as "stir up one's Dantian" (丹田鼓盪).  He also explained clearly to his readers his version of how to practice this style.

With all due respect to Master Wang, I believe he failed to recognize the connection with Taoist meditation and hence the way he taught the style cannot reap the benefits of using this style to do microcosmic circulation (in a clever way). In Taoist classics, jade-rabbit (玉兔) is a common metaphor for the male element within the trigram Kan - 坎 (the middle solid line inside the two broken lines in Kan: please refer to diagram below). It's position is in the lower abdomen (north in Taoist classics, but geographical south as we know it today, i.e. towards the bottom of a human torso).

And in Taoist classics, (golden) flower signifies Golden elixir, pill, or embryo (ref: "The secret of the Golden Flower" 太月金華宗旨). Just by looking at the name of the style, one who is familiar with Taoist meditation can immediately recognize this style as a training of moving one's chi upwards along the spinal cord to the top of the head and down the front to reach the Dantian again (i.e. opening one's Ren and Du mai :任督二脈). The completion of this circulation is the foundation technique in creating the golden flower (elixir, pill) or embryo.

Going into details the mechanics of this style will not be practical with this post. Interested readers however can refer to Wang's book, and if they are intelligent practitioners, they can certainly figure out how to adjust Wang's method with the objective of doing proper microcosmic circulation. 


  1. Hi, I read some posts on your blog and am interested in taoist neidan/alchemy. I have already made some decent progress on my own through following certain exercises, but am wondering if you have additional info on the 8 psychic channels and specific ways to open them? Look forward to hearing from you.


  2. Thanks for your interest, I shall share my views on the subject in some future posts. In Taoist Yoga as translated by Charles Luk, there is a chapter on the subject (chapter 3: Clearing the eight psychic channels).


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