IS COSMIC BREATHING FOR HEALTH RECOVERY, VITALITY OR SPIRITUAL CULTIVATION, AND FOR BEGINNERS, INTERMEDIATE OR ADVANCED STUDENTS?
Is Cosmic Breathing primarily a health recovery practice, a vitality practice or a spiritual practice? What advice do you have for integrating Cosmic Breathing into their training schedule for fresh beginner, intermediate and advanced student.
Sifu Andy Cusick
Cosmic Breathing is a very advanced exercise. In an orthodox way, Cosmic Breathing, which is the most advanced of Taoist Chi Kung, is for spiritual cultivation to attain the Tao, and is not suitable for health recovery and vitality.
However, we are special. Because of our ability in energy flow, which may not be available to other practitioners, we can use Cosmic Breathing for vitality practice. In theory, we may use Cosmic Breathing for health recovery, but it is not recommended in practice as it is too powerful for this purpose. Our students can employ less powerful exercises, which are actually more effective, to recover from illness and regain good health.
This fact is of much importance to chi kung practitioners in general and to our students in particular. Due to shallow understanding, many people want to learn advanced exercises from books, and in shorter time than students learning from living masters. They end up wasting their time or harming themselves.
It is beneficial for our students to know that a more powerful exercise is not necessary more useful. As most people today practice chi kung to overcome illness, medical chi kung, which is the least powerful exercise, is the most useful. If sick people practice powerful chi kung exercises, they may harm themselves.
At the risk of appearing to be arrogant, the answer to integrating Cosmic Breathing into their practice for beginners, intermediate students and advanced practitioners depends on whether the answer is for most practitioners who practice chi kung as gentle physical exercise but they honestly think it is chi kung, or to very few practitioners who practice genuine chi kung, like our students.
It does not matter whether they regard themselves, or others regard them, as beginners, intermediate students or advanced practitioners, because all they practice is gentle physical exercise which does not bring any Cosmic Breathing benefits or any chi kung benefits.
It is not advisable for them to practice Cosmic Breathing irrespective of whether they are beginners, intermediate students or advanced practitioners. They would be lucky if they just waste their time. It would be worse if the practice brings harm.
For those who practice genuine chi kung, like our students, it is not advisable for beginners to practice Cosmic Breathing because it is too powerful. It may bring harmful effects if they practice wrongly, or over-training if they practice correctly. Either way it does not bring them benefits. However, for our beginning students, their chi flow can erase the harmful effects due to wrong practice or mild over-training.
It is recommendable for those who practice genuine chi kung at the intermediate level to practice Cosmic Breathing for vitality and peak performance. For those at the advanced level, they can practice Cosmic Breathing for spiritual cultivation.
Because we are frighteningly cost-effect, our intermediate and advanced practitioners must guard against over-training. Cosmic Breathing is a very powerful exercise, and over-training, even when it is practiced correctly, may bring powerful side-effects. An excellent way to guard against over-training is not to enter too deeply in a chi kung state of mind.
As I have often mentioned, students over-train at my regional as well as intensive courses. This happens because I want to teach many things, many of which are advanced, in just a few days. It is alright when over-training occurs once a while, but not on a regular basis. Hence, when students practice at home, they should not aim to get the best from their practice; they should aim at getting just 30% of what they obtain at the courses. To other people, it sounds like a big joke.
The above discussion is reproduced from the thread 10 Questions on Cosmic Breathing in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.
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