Posted by Christopher Chappell on 25 October, 2015
Nei Gong, (NG) often translated as Internal effort/work, is a mind led methodology of training the body from the inside out. It is direct, you gain a deep control of your body. It is an INTERNAL EXERCISE, in contrast to mere muscular or cosmetic exercise. NG works at the levels of, ligaments organs and bone.
NG is an approach to working with the Body and its inherent life force, producing an nterface with the mind and nervous system which an experiential precursor to what science today calls nuero-plasticty. This approach has been heavily influenced by Taoist philosophical thinking.
By cultivating impeccable balance, internal alignments, deep diaphramatic breathing and a concentrated mind the practitioner rids the body of unnecessary tension and in the process creates a functional body capable of great power expressed in a fluidly effortless way through what is essentially a core led process. ( Similar but not exactly the same as Western core training )
This nei gong approach is the foundation of arts such as Tai Chi Chuan. Genuine Tai Chi belies its outer appearance of softness and one can easily underestimate the true capabilities of the practitioner who can issue great force where necessary. Hidden power if you like.
In actuality a Nei Gong practitioner must not focus on feelings of strength or the outward appearance, nor of being superior to others, or of being concerned with what others think . nor of winning. In fact thought, tension or feeling anything that gets in the way of spontaneous expression is going the exactly opposite direction to where a NG practice can take you.
If one really gets the message of NG one can have an exercise that makes you feel great after practice being both energized and focused, not wired and anxious. Actual effort in NG training is conjoined with awareness and relaxation.
Is your body (Mind ) fit for what you want it to do.
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 1 May, 2015
Working with your Limitations
Is your Body (Mind) fit for what you want it to do.
I see in a weekly basis people struggling through a lack of range if motion, tension, poor posture, unhealthy obsession with looks, exercise neurosis and of course the Cognitive Dissonance of having a body at all ( Denial of the body ) This has motivated in me the wish to help others see through this delusional veil, the self induced yet media fed landfill that inhabits our existence and to free up the body in the smartest way. This freeing up process can seriously reflect well on consciousness itself.
Having a body is arguably the greatest obstacle to that freedom, over the years i chose to research as best I could within my chosen field and also into other disciplines and approaches of movement, whether is hands on bodywork or self directed bodywork performance led movement, It’s ALL BODY . I have developed a certain curiosity as to how our limitations our greatest asset play out over supposed time and offer the best opportunity for inhabiting a body that is free and healthful.
NUMBER ONE is to help people identify, feel and change negative patterns. NOT negative in the sense of good or bad. On a physical level to actually WAKE UP the nerves and release locked up vertebrae and clogged visceral tissue. That is an art that runs deep. A body that runs deep and an ability to feel Deep and the RELAX and then LET GO means you are now ready to move. Clean Out the engine and then road test yourself. This is the smart way to work.
Is what you are learning stripping away the non essential, meaning the physical, emotional and mental debris from your consciousness. In fact what is your motivation or purpose in doing anything. A dear friend of mine John Osborne Hughes describes the motivation regarding the art of acting as a method to raise the consciousness of humanity. This I think can be applied universally to everything .
How to apply and Identify what your strengths are and identify what you weaknesses are!
We are SO conditioned by our life history, ( we are encouraged by society that everything is real and exists independently of us, yet it only seems to exist because our consciousness interacts with objects of our attention !! ) Our Historical story really does not exist in this moment other than a resonant feeling, which again we think is real and we make it a permanent self labeling tool enslave ourselves ( this comes as a is visceral and body sensation, which again we attach importance too ) There is only this moment and this breath. Whatever is in your immediate field of consciousness could really be the last thing you ever see, so WAKE UP right now and rest in an Open awareness. Determine to stay in that awareness and accept whatever arises in it without judging.
I had the great privilege to teach Rutger Hauer Wu Style Tai Chi back in the 92 whilst he was in London filming the movie Split Second. Back in the day, with no phones with cameras, ( no mobiles ) and never walking around with a camera I missed out on great photo moments.Ever the consummate artist, de Niro getting stuck in like the average Joe can't. Let's hope he keeps it up !!
Rutger was a great student as was his co-start Alistair Duncan, totally focused, many mornings we spent in St James Park or in an empty gym at the hotel. Rutger was learning Tai Chi and some meditation with me out of pure interest, not for the role in his movie ( more the pity ). He put it to me that gym work was not inspiring since working on the martial arts sequences in the movie, ‘Blind Fury’ ( and he hoped for a Blind Fury 2 ) and that he liked the idea of something along those lines, something holistic integrating his using his mind and body...
On teaching Rutger: Rutger was a great student as was his co-start Alistair Duncan, totally focused, many mornings we spent in St James Park or in an empty gym at the hotel. Rutger was learning a Wu Tai Chi Short Form and some meditation, really out of pure interest, not for the role in his movie ( more the pity ). He put it to me, that gym work was not inspiring since working on the martial arts sequences in the movie, ‘Blind Fury’ ( and he hoped for a Blind Fury 2 ) He liked the idea of something along those lines, something holistic integrating his using his mind and body...
I remember vividly Rutger and I both finishing a body centered meditation guided meditation ( felt sense consciousness meditation ) when we finished I noticed tears were gently rolling down that incredibly gentle yet strong face. ( it instantly reminded me of that scene at the end of Blade Runner ) Rutger smiled and said it was a wonderful exercise. I was overwhelmed by his instant ability to let go whilst practicing something completely new! and also thinking, ' could I do that in any new circumstance'.
He also told me that he came up with the ending for the movie, you know the dialogue. 'I have seen things you people wouldn't believe....
and so I leave you with you with this iconic ending and whatbhe told me as he lamented that the movie really should have ended there at the end of the speech !! Chris Ray Chappell 2014
MINDFULNESS MEETS SCIENCE and MINDFULNESS GOES TO WAR !!
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 3 September, 2014
MINDFULNESS MEETS SCIENCE and MINDFULNESS GOES TO WAR !!
The Buddha was a Consummate Scientist The video link is to a conference labelled. "The emerging Science of Consciousness". ( They still open this conference with understanding how the brain works instead of how consciousness works ) that statement tells you off the bat that what we call science is still embedded in materialism. The other aspect that bothers me is when science and the military industrial complex highjack the mindfulness training and misuse the technique.
There are 8 stages of Mindfulness expressed in Buddhist teaching leading to the calm state and being the experience of emptiness and bliss. The pay off is to realize the impermanent and empty nature of the mind. The ethical benefits are that one can become spontaneously compassionate and have ability to be free
Go to 50 minutes to get her take ! Is this an Inappropriate use of Buddhist based techniques ??
Much too polite and naive reply form Kabat- Zinn. In my opionion, WAR is not compatible with mindfulness. Teaching soldiers mindfulness will indeed make them better Killers. It will not alter their perception to killing or make them better people. They are conditioned to kill and any study would merely mean that they can mitigate stress on site on the field. These guys will still be as messed up by brutality they are witness too. Mindfulness needs to be taught to Senators and Politicians to lessen the knee jerk recations that their conditionung affiords them. Does anyone really think that the Department of Defense is interested in the mental health of soldiers. They want soldiers not to break, if it helps keep them on the front line then so be it.
The lady on this panel is Amishi Jha, Principal Investigator Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Contemplative Neuroscience, Mindfulness Research & Practice Initiative, University of Miami. Her research focuses on the brain bases of attention, working memory, and mindfulness-based training. She has a grant form the dept of Defense in the USA to bring mindfulness to war !!
Mindfulness goes to War. Contemplative neuroscience is being used to promote resilience in high stress cohorts on the battlefield by strengthening the brain’s attention networks. the ethical implications, the reaction from traditional Buddhist teachers and from from vets who’ve practiced mindfulness on the battlefield. ( One would hope that if your really did that, that soldiers would not fight economic wars for the elite and walk away)
Amisha Jha makes a Fuax Pas, easy to make even for a professor. She says that the mind is the body !! This is understandable when viewed from a psychological perspectives say regarding on psycho-somatic illness. The mind is body and visa versa, at one time I accepted this myself. !! The way she describes mind as the brain is interesting.
In both Buddhism and Taoism The view is that the mind is not body but it does of course interact with the body. This really changes the debate. But the problem with some academics is that they are not realized teachers. They remain addicted to their story.
Mindfulness is a part of what Buddhists and Taoists, have been doing for many centuries. Taoists sought to commune with the Tao, the state that cannot be named or limited by concepts or description. The Buddhists meditate to liberate oneself from cyclic existence integrate with the natural mind beyond concept.
This is enough from me. Super Soldiers and Mindfulness are strange bedfellows for sure !!
Hun Yuan Qi Gong Essentials : September Retreat France
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 7 July, 2014
This Special retreat will focus on essential breathing and body alignments and the meditative state of mind neccessary to move your Qi Gong practice to the next level.
For this retreat we will be focussing on the relationships between Qi Gong and other movement modalities. I will use any and all all aspects of movement to help us go beyond and let go of restrictive patterns. Anything in fact to help you find your sweet spot in movement. We will explore the ground between externally driven streches and implicitly mindfully motivated stretching with the goal of finding your perfect balance.
“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” ― Bertrand Russell,
I mentioned to students of mine that I never do any weapons practice outside of the studio. I do not trust the public at all to have any discrimination between legitimate use of a practice sword and exercise with that implement. I trust even less the officers of statute who have even less common sense in dealing with the Tai Chi player going about his exercise. The growing trend of marginalising and demonising martial arts practitioners is now of epidemic proportions.
There was a case, not so long ago when a man on Hampstead Heath was surrounded by the Para Military wing of the police force, all because some person of low IQ, infected with media fear, reported to the police that a bloke with a sword running about the Heath. In actuality the man in question was going through a fluffy slow moving straight sword Tai Chi form. ( clearly a plastic sword and clearly an exercise ) His back was facing the stealthy Para Miltaries closing in on him. So utterly frightened for their safety and eager to defend the realm they ordered the man " Put down your weapon , " scared shitless the Tai Chi warrior turned slowly to witness a group of super cops training their sights on him. "it's a plastic Tai Chi sword" the man whimpered!! ...."Drop the weapon or we WILL shoot " My thoughts about acts of structured cretinism need no amplification at this point.
On a more serious note: if that can happen to someone exercising with a plastic sword then this more next example should make you think seriously about never going outside with your practice weapon and never with a shiny metal replica sword, no matter how blunt. In this next case the man arguably was lucky to get away with his life. We live in a world now where warnings may or may not be given by armed police units and we run the serious risk of some andrenalised officer letting off a round or two to probably to avert the next Boxer Rebellion.
In this next case the Tai Chi player gets a custodial sentence for practicing in some woodland with a metal practice sword. (A conditional discharge is where an offender is not punished at the time of sentence, but receives a period of grace, often for 12 months. If the offender were to be convicted of another offence during the period of discharge, they face being sentenced for that offence, as well as the original offence.) I am disgusted that this even went ti court let alone that the poor man be treated as a criminal, which clearly the judge said he was not and yet sentenced him as if he were.
For martial arts practitioners it is not illegal to possess or practice with a blunt metal practice sword. I tell my students that I no longer go to the park even with a wooden sword as I know only too well what kind of world we live in.
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 24 February, 2014
Motivation is the key to getting things done. Without a motive factor nothing will occur. Let’s face it we are generally motivated by security and making money to provide that security. If you think this is not so then be unemployed and see if your creative expression flourishes during an patch of no income.
We all have stories because we need motive factors to live. Does the story we run serve me well or hinder me. The thoughts behind my story are the motive factors. Does a person who wants to be a policeman do so to help people, or does he/ she want a career where he/she can have power over people. What is the back story, what motivates the Copper, Soldier, Politician or priest. We make assumptions based on our own story about what motivates them based on personal experience or mostly borrowed stories from others and we side with the story that fits our thinking. Where does someone else’s story end and my own begin. Can you really trust what you think. Do you really know if what you think based on anything that is personally experienced and thought through or just what is pumped in via readimng the newspaper.
During times when we have some spare time we could do spiritual practice, meditation, yoga and tai chi, painting, perhaps write a novel or a screenplay or maybe make great strides in awareness because we have the time to practice. But if you have been in such a situation where you have time and no money, you may notice a subtle story going on in the back of your mind that goes a bit like this , “one day when I am secure in job and income and therefore have enough to have the peace of mind I will then be able to pursue what I desire to do”.
The mind is brimming with old and new stories that stain and obscure and can produce in one a distinct lack of flexibility to life situations. These stories are self limiting. Our external situtaion is constantly changing and yet somehow we tend to simply react in predictable ways, even in ways that others can predict.” I knew he would do that”, “I knew she would do this and react that way”. How we take life is usually preordained because we match the world to these self stories where we have the starring role and like a petulant star when life does not match the story we freak out.
The main point is that what limits beings in every way are stories. In the developed world we have it easy because we have opportunity to learn many many things and to create avenues for our creative expression. if you have creative leanings and are not producing and if you have time on your hands and yet do nothing but create obstacles in your mind, then, when alone and quiet ask what story am I running? if you see the story then maybe you will see the negative feelings within your self that created the story as a defense against the world and you can let it go.
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 12 February, 2014
'Relaxation is the crying need of our age, but what it is and how to attain it are still unanswered questions" Mabel Elsworth Todd 1937
Has much changed since Mabel uttered these words?
What does relaxation really mean and is such a state meaningful or even achievable?. I think that the collective ego of our Corporate Gods wants the little ego of individuals to be so involved in distraction that we choose more distraction as a substitute for real relaxation. If you want to see the collective face of misery then ride the London tube, a seething mass of mental health problems masquerading as life.
Relaxation is a lack of unneccssary tension in repose and in effort. An instant and complete felt sense of ease. It is expedient effort, pure balance, a state that is experienced without having to create it, it arises out of aware activity. When we cease our activity we can be genuinely at rest and ready again for movement. When we are addicted to our life story and are not being aware in the moment it is easy to miss the perpetual opportunity to relax. What comes first letting go or relaxation? or do you have to first relax to get space or do you let go and then experience relaxation?
What is clear to me is that we must to want to relax. We have to be prepared to lose our attachment to tension, our addiction for seeking out trouble. Tension will always attract more tension !
Do we approach our day in a relaxed way, or we are agitated, frustrated and charged up, endlessly looking for the next sugar fix. Food is saturated with so much sugar, preservative, additives thatany normal level of anxiety we have goes off the scale once we consume everyday processed food..
The action to relax is a felt sense experience. To relax is a sensation and a feeling, in essence it is an experience. Move through life at the speed necessary to get things done and leaving room inside for repose. If you are stressed out and brushing shoulders with your breaking point, the last thing you want to do is hit the gym, run home from work or plan a jaunt up Kilimanjaro in some vain effort to create pseudo relaxation or even to placate your own egotistical ideals ( or the ideals of others ) when really it would be wise to discover whether you are relaxed enough to engage in strenuous physical activity at all.
We were not born tense, we certainly experience tension but we do not have to own it or become it because one day it will make no sense at all to hold on. If we can encourage the feeling of relaxation at every turn of events then whatever we attempt to do, we can do in a relaxed way. If we keep some awareness of our energy levels then we will have a better chance to actively relax. Aspire to be relaxed and get used to the experience.
There seems to be a lot of false ideas about how to relax. A relaxing break away. So we jump in our car and we book a B&B in the country only to discover that the roads are so busy and the weather so incumbent that by the time we get through with the relaxing break we need a holiday to get over the stress. This is a false idea that we have to do something else to create the state of relaxation, when what we can do is try to breathe a bit deeper and let our body relax and if the weather is incumbent we relax a bit more. Take a holiday inside yourself, so that you can relax at will.
We can exercise our mind whilst focusing on good posture, gentle observation of breath and a healthy dose of intelligent movement that balances our vital energy/ the life force. We can develop relaxation simply by keeping a natural posture. Yeah, the one we all forget about..
stage one practice : when alone ( in any position, lying down, sitting or even when standing, let your whole skull and face go limp, ( I am doing this as I write, it is out there for the experiencing ) utterly let your face, eyes , ears , nose, lips, jaw and throat relax and notice what happens to the sensation of your whole body, do this for 60 seconds with complete conviction! let the feeling course through every nerve and tissue of your body, this may cause you to spontaneously breathe deeply. Now remember this feeling and recreate this attitude and feeling when you next feel stressed. Catch the moment and imprint the feeling .You do not need to dissolve your face in public, but in private reinforce the feeling frequently.
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 23 January, 2014
Below is a good blog link written by a top London Acupunctirist Dan Maxwell on the topic of Corporate Health and the emotive tag line of deception. We need to keep talking more and more about this topic. The image of health is seen as the Holy Grail, rather than encouraging ( mindful, intelligent exercise ) as Daniel clearly points out, being stressed compounded by quick fly by intense Gym work burns energy, which especially impacts the hormonal system and the nerves. If you start to burn your reserves of vital energy, you will end up with no reserves.. High impact exercise led to an epidemic of ruptured bodies in the 80's. The pathetically unitelligent Aerobics craze, did it just go underground to resurface in disguise as new high impact exercise.