WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
I did receive a few emails where friends and readers of this blog wanted to know more about the Zazen Quigong. As they had not seen it before, neither did they know that there was Quigong connected to Zazen.
To be absolutely clear with readers, there is no Quigong that is connected to Zazen. Quigong comes from Taoism and Zazen is from the Japanese Buddhist tradition. My Zazen teacher Kanetsuka Sensei was always pushing our limits in doing Zazen. This pushing of our limits did create a comfort zone in our sitting. Spaciousness became present with a more calm mind from this intensity that he demanded.
HOW WAS THIS DONE?
We normally would sit for 40 minutes but Sensei would push it to 45 minutes and sometimes even 50 minutes. When the pain and discomfort started to bite into your bones. He would shout
Strange as that command sounds, something did register in my consciousness and being with those words when I was in that 45 minute zone of Zazen in full lotus. Full lotus was his demand when I did Zazen with him. I am deeply grateful for the demands he made on my body and mind when practicing Zazen.
Over the decades I was always looking for ways to add more intensity to my Zazen, a large part of it was my way of walking on the same path that he taught Zazen. Hence when I came upon the book Ancient Way To Keep Fit and I saw Monk Xuanjian’s Physical and Breathing Exercise. I found a full lotus exercise that brought another level of intensity to my Zazen and so it is.
I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN THE QUESTION OF ITS BENEFITS
There are two primary benefits from this Zazen Quigong, the first is that there is a deeper calmness along with a spacious concentration which brings a potent enduring energy that is readily available
The second benefit is that it nourishes our core physical energy. The vibrancy and quality of food we are getting these days is not like what we had thirty to forty years ago. The soil has become more depleted of many minerals, hence our deep nourishing energy can do with some support. This Zazen Quigong set gives you that. Especially if you make it a consistent daily practice for more than six weeks.
ANSWERS ABOUT THE SET
I need to acknowledge that I have brought many innovations to the set. The sequence of how it is done is virtually the same. The exercises are labeled as Form 1, Form 2 etc.
I began the set from Form 2 which is taking 5 deep breaths as your Thumb is on the navel. The Form mentions it as palms on the lower elixir field, which is the region of the Hara or called Tan Tien in Taoist texts. I return to this Form after each Form is done. I have found that returning to the thumb on the navel after each Form strengthens the digestive system. There is much more to this thumb on the navel. The navel is linked to 72,000 nadis. These are the subtle energy channels that are deeply connected to the awakening of Consciousness, Kundalini experiences and more subtle levels of awareness. I will write more about this when I share about the Marma points and Young Living Essential oils. This is going to be fun with many magical experiences for those who participate.
This is followed by having my palms interlocked at the back of my neck as I look upwards taking 5 gentle breaths. This Form opens the Heart Chakra and brings a lot of spaciousness to our breathing.
Form 6 in the set is done my massaging your left chest followed by massaging the right chest. I have done it without touching the body. I have found doing it this way maintains a more quiet approach to practicing it. The Zazen environment is one of silence and I found doing it without touching the body brings a nourishing calmness to the body.
Form 9 in the set I left out, there was no impact on my body when I tried doing it, I left it out.
The last movement in the set is Form 12, which I did not demonstrate in the video. I do this Form at times. It is done by stamping the front foot stronger than the back foot. The instructions for doing it are; “stand with one foot in front of the other, palms on lower belly. Stamp feet alternatively with greater force on front foot as you move trunk to and fro. Change position of feet after 27 reps. This movement neutralizes stagnation of qi and cold in the spleen.”
People who are into Yoga will find this set to be one that brings a deeper stretch to the hip joints with some of the Forms. The ligaments and tendons in the hip region are deeply stimulated and strengthened. Yoga practitioners will find that it brings a meditative flow to their yoga.
Those who do endurance sports; iron man, marathons and other such activities where such extreme demands are made on body and mind. Those individuals will find this set to be profoundly supportive to their will power. It will allow them to access deeper sources of energy. Doing it on a daily basis as part of their training for their sport will give them an incredible resourcful mental edge.
Those who are seeking a mental emotional support for their day. Will find that switiching off their phones, computer and other digital devices for a half an hour, and engaging with the Zazen Quigong set. They will get a boost of freshness with a new mental landscape when they return to their daily chores and duties.
I would not recommend this set for pregnant women after the second month of pregnancy. Those who are convalescing it is best that they rest and allow their resources to return with good sleep and nourising meals.
It goes without saying that there are many health benefits from doing this set. All your internal organs benefit from doing it. You name them, it nourishes them especially when you engage with the 5 breaths as your thumb rest on your navel in between each form. Your Lungs would feel empowered, your kidneys love it as stress levels are way down. Stillness is present and the chi from the lungs is nourishing the kidneys in that mother son relationship. That restful pose with the bending forward with your head to touch the ground strengthens the back which obviously empowers the kidneys. The stretches from side to side as your head turns to look up to the sky brings a big boost to your liver and gall bladder. The deep calmness of the set brings a restful energy to the heart stabilizing blood pressure. Those deep breaths with the thumb on the navel stimulates the spleen and stabilizes blood sugar levels. Obviously I am not recommending this to replace your medication or whatever your health consultant has recommended for you. Nevertheless, such benefits awaits your body when you do this Zazen Quigong set.