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Practices of Yi Chuan

Yi Chuan exercises are soft, slow and gentle, involving a minimum of physical effort while requiring significant mental effort: concentration, directed attention, patience, persistence, imagination, and visualization. The mind does more and the body does less than in external exercise, and the result is that a kind of surplus energy builds up in the body. The hallmark of Yi Chuan is the concentration on various "standing post" postures for the development of the framework of "internal strength." The Taoist philosophy is the primary foundation of Yi Chuan. One of the main Taoist principles states that the true essence of nature is simplicity and nothingness. Therefore there are no forms in Yi Chuan.

The stance work peculiar to the internal martial arts systems differs from the more external variety in that it treats the body as a single framework and unit-organism similar to a strand of pearls. Through continued practice, your body is strengthened and healed both externally and internally from inside-out. The sustained postures develop not only an extraordinary whole-body framework, but also a subtle emanation of chi can be felt.

The Practices of Yi Chuan are very approachable. One can practice while one is standing, sitting, walking and lying down. Through steadfast practice, one can soon experience a surge of vital energy throughout the body.

At its highest level, Yi Chuan is intimately linked with the concept of self-cultivation. Liberating the mind through self-cultivation enables the practitioner to develop a more intuitive consciousness - a central aspect of Taoism and Buddhism. By relaxing the mind into its own state, the Yi Chuan practitioner strives to regain the mind's original, self-existing pristine awareness. This awareness is thought of as the essential unchanging ground from which all things arise.

 

*For a reference of Yi Chuan practices, see Master Dong's book: Still As a Mountain, Powerful As Thunder : Simple Taoist Exercises for Healing, Vitality, and Peace of Mind