Audiences around the world have lauded every performance. Some are moved to tears others are left completely speechless. This art form seemed to resemble both ballet and gymnastics, they said, but, they explained, ballet and gymnastics had in fact borrowed the traditional techniques of Chinese classical dance.
The dancers were showcasing a tradition that was thousands of years old, they went on—a tradition that had been single-handedly rejuvenated by Shen Yun. It was impossible to see a show like this in China, because of the Communist regime, they told us. It was hilarious to me, and so ridiculous, and, in a way, it inspired me to write this history in my book. Wilcox told me that Chinese classical dance is one of the predominant forms of dance in the contemporary Chinese art world. She then pointed me to several Chinese-classical-dance performances on YouTube , all of which were markedly more expressive and nuanced than what I saw at Shen Yun.
On a freezing evening in early March, I took the train uptown for my second viewing of Shen Yun. I got to Lincoln Center early and began chatting up strangers. The crowd was heavily Asian; little girls with long black hair were running around in poofy department-store dresses. The first two groups I approached did not speak English. A fiftysomething man with a Turkish accent told me that he and his wife had come for his birthday.
A stylishly dressed black couple told me that they usually bought tickets to Alvin Ailey for birthday celebrations, but this year they had decided to try Shen Yun instead. A white couple in their seventies from Long Island were also celebrating a birthday. I asked them all what they were expecting from the show.
I also asked what had prompted them to buy tickets. Some people mentioned the billboards, others the TV ads. A representative for Blanchett did not respond to a request for comment.
Does the ubiquitous dance troupe really present five thousand years of civilization reborn?
As the Epoch Times later noted , the theatre was full. When the curtain went up, white fog rolled off rows of smiling female dancers, and everyone gasped. The dance program was exactly what I had seen in Houston. The two hosts were identical to the previous hosts in manner and bearing, down to their pauses and gestures. They brought to mind hologram flight attendants on a plane that would never land. On the digital backdrop, the heavens were constantly opening up. The colors reminded me of early-two-thousands going-out tops, and Lisa Frank, and the glittery posters of fruits and vegetables that I used to see at the bazaar when I lived in Kyrgyzstan.
Everything was as monotonous as a screen saver, until the hosts began talking about persecution. A quarter of the audience started filing out of the theatre during the bows; others gave Shen Yun a standing ovation. Culture Desk. Her nurturing attitude and ease with facilitating readings made me comfortable and passionate about the knowledge she had to share with me.
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During her recovery from a serious illness in , Laura exhausted western medicine approaches and realized her deep passion for holistic methods, becoming an even greater advocate for personal development and healing. The energies of this Harvest Full Moon have brought some deep magic my way this week. One of my strengths is the ability to see pattens. However, it is typical for the deep state to follow on a set of preliminary practices. This is followed by the Guarding the One meditation. Body enhancement and health enhancement are always associated with transcendental practices in the Chinese Qi cultivation tradition.
Of the One , the Two and the Three, the One is Primal Origin, the Source — everything comes from it, is contained within it and returns to it. However, it is not necessary to understand the One, it can not be named or known, it is mysterious and incomprehensible.
In the more advanced phases of Qi cultivation the ultimate ideal is to merge with the One — to become the One. Any realizing of the One allows the realizing subject to become what he or she was originally meant to become, to fulfill his or her proper destiny in the cosmos. The true nature of human beings is to be healthy and long lived, to participate willingly in the changes of the world. Practitioners of guar ding the One should become incomparably richer in primordial harmony and they should become healthier and increase their life spans, if not become as immortal as the One itself.
Because the meanings of these words are so unique and filled with implication in Chinese culture, and so unfamiliar to the European culture, they cannot be reasonably translated. Yet, these words are very key to our understanding of Qigong, Tai Chi and Chinese medicine. The concept of Yin -Yang has vast implications. These words are representative of an immense and highly descriptive domain which is directly applicable to Qigong.
Like Qi, Yin — Yang is representative of an entire world view.
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Yin — Yang is the foundation of an essential Chinese theory of how the world was created and how it works. It goes a long way toward describing how the One — Dao — operates and is used to create descriptions of the state of the Qi. In Chinese medicine, the Yin — Yang theory remains the highly respected foundation of Asia systems of philosophy and medicine, thousands of years after its origination. Yin — Yang contains secrets.
In Qigong it is not so very important to actually understand Yin —Yang with all its subtle and far reaching implications. These secrets are inherent in the practice. They will reveal their meaning to you over time. Here, we will do just a brief exploration, enough to inspire you and give a few impressions that you can carry with you into your practice. Your awakening to these ideas through your experience of Qigong and Tai Chi will potentially become keys to deeper secrets.
Embodying and experiencing Yin — Yang through your practice can trigger revelation and cause you to evolve. The applications of Yin — Yang are diverse and will emerge in your relationships, your work, your quest for health and your ability to make decisions based on a growing, insightful sense of the deep and subtle workings of the world. Soon, they will begin to communicate with you. Inherent in the Yin-Yang concept are balance and harmony, which are major keys to our success in Qigong and life. In health we are neither too cold nor too hot, we are neither too asleep nor too awake.
Soon, you will find Yin and Yang everywhere — together. Seeing the Sun Yang we remember the moon Yin. Feeling cold Yin we remember ways to seek warmth Yang. The importance of rest and restoration Yin is implied in every activity and energy expense Yang. The balance and harmony of Yin — Yang is a primary secret of understanding the function of the natural world, human events and the health of the human being. Think of your world without the balance of work and play, activity and rest, silence and sound. It is easy to see how meaningful Yin -Yang could become in your life.
As you pursue Qigong the teachings of Yin-Yang will spontaneously be revealed to you. Simply stated Yin and Yang are opposites. In temperature they are cool and warm or cold and hot. In texture they are smooth and rough. In density they are soft and hard. In their original form as Chinese characters Yin describes the shaded side of a mountain — the north, Yang represents the slope that gets full sun — the south. Together they make the whole — the whole of mountain, the whole of temperature, the whole of brightness and shade.
From practical features — temperature, texture, density, Yin — Yang graduates toward the realms of the profound. Yin is mystery — hidden, Yang is revelation — revealed. Yin is absorption, Yang is radiance. Yin is gravity, Yang is levity. As you can see, Yin — Yang cannot be translated into English and yet its place in our quest for power and understanding is enormous. When one is neither too hot nor too cold one is comfortable — balanced. When one is neither too sad nor too happy the nervous system experiences well being.
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Science calls this homeostasis, the Chinese call it balance. When one is neither too hungry or too full of food, one is nourished and energetic — balanced. These expressions of balance are necessary for harmony. Using knowledge of Yin — Yang you can enhance your wellbeing and your potential. Even the fundamental essence of the universe and yourself — the Qi — has a Yin aspect and a Yang aspect. When Yin and Yang are in balance, health is prevalent. The essence of acupuncture, herbal medicine and massage, as well as Qigong, is based on recovering and sustaining the state of balance and harmony in the Yin — Yang realm.
The Yin — Yang symbol represents Yin and Yang and their constant interactivity. Seeing this symbol brings the entire philosophy and science of Yin — Yang to mind. This symbol is the best translation of Yin and Yang, it tells the whole story of the universe in one image. It appears on the national flag of South Korea and it has been used by many organizations, particularly in Chinese medicine and Qigong, as a logo. The famous physicist Neils Bohr adopted the Yin — Yang symbol in his personal logo — to represent his theory of the universe. The state of balance in the Yin — Yang symbol, reflecting harmony where the black and the white components are exactly equal, is called Tai Chi Tai Ji.
You already know that Tai Chi is one particularly famous kind of Qigong. In fact, Tai Chi is not is not just a popular exercise in China. Tai Chi is actually the name of the Yin — Yang symbol. The exercise is named for this extraordinary concept, where opposites are in a dynamic state of balance and harmony. When people practice Tai Chi they are actually investigating universal forces and activating Yin and Yang to produce harmony within and between themselves. As you can see, exploring Yin and Yang and seeking ways to bring them into balance and harmony is a worthwhile pursuit.
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That is why millions of people are in the parks every morning in China doing many forms Qigong, including Tai Chi. That is why many millions of people in countries all over the world are learning these practices. The benefits of balance and harmony are radically alluring.
Take a few moments and explore this list of Yin and Yang concepts. It is not important to understand everything here — Qigong will teach you about this over time. I have been involved with these concepts since my first Tai Chi class in , and even now I learn more each day. Just allow yourself to marvel at the nearly boundless range of possibilities associated with the framework of Yin and Yang.
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Worry, like frustration, anger, fear and all of our other stressors are known to disturb the Qi and cancel the benefits of the Qigong state. Let this worry go and simply enter into and enjoy the practice. Qigong and her sister traditions, Tai Chi and Yoga, are the most effective, eloquent and poetic systems for cultivating our optimal health, maximum empowerment, peak performance and inner peace ever developed. Without straining to understand Qi or these ideas on Yin and Yang with your mind, you will come to understand them in your being.
Simply do the practices, the obvious as well as the hidden meanings of Yin — Yang will spontaneously arise.
Mercedes Nunns (Author of A Little Book of CHI - Cosmic Healing Inspiration)
Follow the direction in Qigong that is easy and fun for you. Enjoy working and playing with the Qi, the rest — the health, the power — will arise from that. Jing naturally transforms into Qi, Qi naturally transforms into Spirit, and Spirit naturally transforms into pure openness, uniting with cosmic space. This is called returning to the root, returning to origin. The path of everlasting life and eternal vision is complete. This makes it very obvious that the healing and self-improvement systems, Tai Chi and Qigong, are far more than just body improvement exercises. They are, rather, multidimensional meditations toward enlightened living which include health and peak performance as a desirable side effects.
Wuji — One is cosmic unity, Taiji — two is the cosmic duality — the mutual interplay of opposites. San Bao includes life. It is the point in the nature of things where life arises and we — the humans — become a part of the map of things. This is significant. The Ten Thousand Things are all of the complexities of life from the multiple components of your body to the list of things you think you should do or would like to do.
Your health is one of the Ten Thousand Things along with your state of mind. The implication is that by managing your relationship with the One, the Two, and the Three through the practice of Qi cultivation, the Ten Thousand Things will be most favorably arranged. If we attend to guard the One, balance Yin and Yang and mindfully cultivate San Bao — Body, Mind and Spirit Jing, Qi, Shen , the promise is that we will have more health, more power, more wisdom, more peace.
You will find that there are numerous systems of correspondences that are frequently used in the realms of Chinese medicine and philosophy as well: the Four Seasons, the Five Elements, the Six Levels and the Eight Principles and the Ba Gua. In Qigong, especially of the highest order, the Three Treasures system provides a master key to insight that is very deep and profound.
Using the system of correspondences of the Three Treasures provides the foundation of Integral Qigong and the system of the Ten Phases of Cultivation and Mastery. And, like the Yin — Yang system the Two that we have just reviewed, the Three Treasures will continue to teach you subtle lessons and provide you with countless revelations through your practice in the future.
The list of the San Bao — Three Treasures — correspondences below is not conclusive. It is intended to give a feel for the Three Treasures paradigm, the San Bao medical-spiritual system. It provides a reference that you can return to occasionally to deepen your exploration or confirm insights that arise through your practice. In a typical text on Qigong in traditional China this list could be twice as long, reflecting that the Three Treasures Correspondences penetrate into all aspects of life. Over time instead of finding new ideas on this list you will find yourself adding to it. As noted earlier, the Three Treasures are not something that you must learn or understand.
Your practice plus your intention will uncover them, exactly like uncovering treasures. To do so it is important to get optimal nutrition, clear water and rest, and conserve Jing. Jing is the sperm and semen in men and the ovum in women, along with the subtlest biological factors including DNA, hormones, neurotransmitters and enzymes. Protecting Jing requires that we limit the negative effects of stress and accelerate restoration.
Qigong is the perfect tool. To allow the Qi of Heaven and Earth to merge in the HeartMind Dan Tian, honestly express your emotions to remove tension and resistance from the HeartMind which effects the entire nervous system, all of the Qi channels and most importantly the character. To strengthen and empower the Heaven Dan Tian accelerate activities that reflect your spirit and cultivate wisdom over time to discontinue the things that sabotage your natural creativity.
It is your self in its purest state. Explore Natural Flow Qigong spontaneous remembrance of unity with origin and the ideas presented earlier in the discussion on Guarding the One. Heaven Dan Tian is not easy to discuss. Spirit Shen is the aspect of yourself that is universal. If this is an area of interest for you, a sense of longing to give greater expression to and make greater space for your Shen Qi will naturally occur over time.
Your spirit is already working on this, use the Qigong practices that feel right. Your ultimate self will reveal itself at the perfect pace.