Summary: Read "Taoist Yoga:: Alchemy and Immortality" instead, or also!
Comment: If you want to understand what Taoist meditation is all about, and help yourself avoid the many dangerous obstacles of this very unique and wonderful - yet very serious - practice, you should at least read the book i suggested, as well. I can see people are deriving some benefit from Chia's book, but just from reading the table of contents and the first few pages, I can honestly recommend that you should study the methods of cultivating essential nature and eternal life from an immortal master of the advanced training methods, which Chia speaks of in the sample. The benefits you will derive from Charles Luk's translation of "The methods of cultivating essential nature and eternal life," called "Taoist Yoga..." will far surpass anything you will attain from Chia's, and incidentally help you avoid the many potential problems that can develop in this type of spiritual training. There are also some misconceptions about Taoist meditation in Chia's book that I can see right off the bat, and if you take my word, and check out Luk's book, you will at least be able to practice Chia's more effectively, and less dangerous! Take this sincere advice from someone who hasn't read but the first few pages of Chia's book, but who has actual first hand experience with the TRUE (complete, as opposed to Chia's incomplete) mechanisms of the generative force, vitality, spirit, the microcosmic orbit, and the original cavity of spirit, etc., etc., etc.. One thing I can't tell from the book is whether the whole method is based on turning back the flow of generative fluid, which is what real Taoist meditation is based on. One definite gross misconception that is readily available to view in the sample of Chia's is that Taoist meditation is not dependent on stopping the flux of thoughts in your mind while practicing. If you are TRULY SERIOUS about spiritual growth, progress, and prolonging and enjoying your life, then you must obtain and study Luk's book (AT LEAST as a companion to this one), which also warns against taking advice from the wrong guide, on numerous occasions. If you are NOT serious about attaining the many wonderful benefits that this advanced training method can give, I suggest you not practice Tao Yoga at all, and focus on something less serious for now. Those are my sincerest words, and I stand by them. I feel a responsibility to at least tell you my perspective, so you can make a more intelligent, wise decision.
Summary: Mind Training - Energy Circulation
Comment: This book describes the circulation of chi through the body. It is extremely helpful in pinpointing areas where the chi naturally builds. I have been using the techniques described in the book for several weeks now and feel more relaxed, food digests more readily as well as feeling more energetic.
Summary: Great book on energy practice
Comment: I am working through this book.
The main practice is the microcosmic orbit which uses the prenatal energy system. When you were in the womb you received all your nourishment and energy through the navel and this followed an energy pathway to the base of the spine and all the way up to your head, and back down the front to the navel to the dan tien where it is stored.
This exercise trains you get the pre natal energy flowing again.
Normally, as you go through life your energy does not flow upwards properly and becomes blocked contributing to the ageing process etc.
If you have any interest in energy practice, you should work with the microcosmic orbit. The only trouble is it may take a while before a conscious flow can be felt.
I recommend the five tibetans, which is a simple exercise routine you can do in five minutes. These are also referred to as the fountain of youth exercises. This also brings the energy up to your higher centers or psychic vortexes, and restores their function to youthful levels, thereby retarding the aging process. You can feel the kundalini (base of spine) energy being activated.
If you are new to energy, I recommend you also get Quantum Touch, which has some great exercises and visualizations which can literally have you moving energy within minutes.
Combining a few different methods has worked well for me. As with anything, the more you practice, the more you improve.
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Summary: Great Book!
Comment: I can't recomend this book enough! As I was dealing with the after effects of a kundalini awakening I found the exercises in this book to be amazingly helpful.
Summary: Works Wonders
Comment: I have been working with Mantak Chia's materials for the past 17 years. Originally I found few of his books ine one small Chinese store, and decided to give them a shot. I was thrilled when even my very first attempt resulted in noticing the difference. While the books were wonderful I did wish to have personal instruction, too. Lucky for me, about few weeks after I purchased the books, Mantak Chia was teaching a workshop in Toronto. Even though thsee initial practices are rather simple, it helped attending a workshop, too. I have attended all the workshops he came to teach in Toronto at the time. In the meantime, videos came out, so in time I got those too.
You may or may not want to attend a workshop, but if for any reason you don't feel comfortable proceeding on your own, you may consider getting Mantak Chias videos. I like them very much (I have just about all of them) Another excellent resource is the book Qigong Empowerment.
The focus of this book, Awaken Healing Energy Through Tao, is learing to circulate the energy through Microcosic Orbit. It is the essential practice for all future practices in Taoist Alchemy. The book also gives an overview of practices you can do if you wish to continue with your studies and practice.
It is not hard to do. It is really simple. If you are new to this, the more complex part than the practice may be the use of different names in chinese for different points and a lot of theoretical information behind the practice.The practice essentially involves guiding the energy with your imagination - generating it, circulating it and storing it in your body.
You can experience many benefits of this practice from the very beginning. What I experienced from the very beginning is a sense of calm. If I were ever upset and then begin doing microcosmic orbit, the upset would immediately disperse and dissolve. Doing microcosmic orbit practice had a centering effect. The practice is very, very simple but the benefits are far greater than may be initially apparent.
As you keep on storing the energy, whenever any part of your body (organs) need more energy, they can use the energy you have stored instead of depleting the energy from other parts of your body. This in itself contributes to health. However, if you choose to continue your learning, there are many more advanced practices designed specifically for healing.