What is Nei Gong?
Those of you who have been coming to Bonhays for some time and studied meditation with me have noticed the complete change to my teaching. I have been immersing myself as deeply as i can in this study of Daoism and can only teach that which I practice. So I decided to write this short piece outlining the basics of what Nei Gong is to hopefully answer some of those questions :)
Nei Gong, coming from the Daoist tradition, manifests the philosophy of Daoism into a systematic process of internal change. Generally translated as ‘internal skill’, Nei Gong is a less known aspect of the internal arts to its counterpart of Qi Gong.
The term Nei Gong describes a process of internal change, rather than a set of physical exercises. We use the exercises and forms of Qi Gong and Dao Yin as tools to facilitate this process. In the beginning stages this includes the opening of internal energy movement, release of stagnation within the body and awakening the energy system. Ultimately the practise aims to bring us into the deepest levels of our being beyond the egoic layers of the mind, where truth and freedom become revealed.
Nei gong is a systematic process, beginning with the densest manifestation of creation (the body) and gradually aiming to refine our vibrational makeup towards spiritual cultivation. This process gives the practitioner increased health and prepares the body and energy system for the faster/stronger frequencies connected with spiritual opening. Thereby enabling our human expression to be in balance between Heaven and Earth.
To do this we use various methods such as body conditioning, standing postures, Qi gong and Dao Yin forms. It is the combination of correct alignments, breath work and intention combined with the transmission of the teacher that ‘awakens’ the Nei Gong process inside the body. This sets the practitioner off on a journey of transformation, which is then up to them to continue and cultivate.
One of the key principles of Nei Gong is learning the art of letting go, a lifetime study. The training involves various forms of practice with the body, breath and mind that bring us in one way or another to our edge, so we experience the tension and resistance holding us away from the release into stillness. This edge is hugely important; as it is only there that real transformation can occur.
Working with the body as the foundation for spiritual cultivation is a classical Daoist process. Our bodies face us with ourselves in a way that some pure consciousness practises do not. The early stages of the Nei Gong process teach us to stay open and release emotional and physical toxins from within our system. We come to see that perhaps we are not so skilled as we think at being spiritual when standing in some uncomfortable position for a long time! It prepares us for life, which sometimes purely sitting traditions do not. (Although sitting practices are very much part of the system).
Stress and discomfort are part of all of our lives, although we live in a time of comparatively high levels of physical comfort; emotionally most people are at war with themselves and suffering terribly. Learning to relax and release resistance and tensions through the body and mind is an incredibly valuable skill. This, amongst many other things, are some of the benefits of Nei Gong training.
This is particularly relevant for modern spiritual practitioners, practising, and therefore increasing our sensitivity, within modern life. We are practising amongst all the nonsense and difficulty of western daily living rather than the rarefied environment of a monastery/nunnery. The Nei Gong process gives an efficient means of releasing these toxins physical, emotional and mental from our body and mind. Through regular practice our relationship to discomfort and stress transforms, and our capacity to remain open when faced with difficulty increases and becomes embodied,
producing resilience of the most enduring kind.
The Nei Gong process I teach at Bonhays is taught in the systematic way I have learned from my teacher Damo Mitchell of Lotus Nei Gong. A step-by-step learning of inner cultivation. I am teaching beginners and Level one courses for Lotus Nei Gong at Bonhays all of next year. We aim to keep diving deep, learning from each other and having much fun and nonsense along the way! If you are new to Nei Gong details of the next Foundation Retreat at the end of January 2017 can be found here.
For Sophie’s Nei Gong retreats next year please click here
Or look around Sophie’s website…
Or Lotus Nei Gong website….