Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | August 30, 2009

Energy Work During Seated Meditation

In taoist meditation, often, the focus is on an internal alchemy. The mind moves to the dan tien, and through diaphragmatic breathing, we breath into the dan tien, and begin converting “jing” or natural essences, into “chi,” or internal energy that circulates throughout the body, like a sort of steam, that makes you healthy and strong. This alchemization, while discussed in “folkloric” terms, has real demensions to it.

During this process, I beleive it is best to stay as motionless as possible, spine open and erect to allow for free flow of chi up the spine, then condensing and coming back down the front “channel’ into the dantien. This is known as the microcosmic orbit. Hands should be palm up, resting on the lap, arms forming a circle, as if holding a large bowl, a bowl that collects cosmic chi(that sounds mysterious doesn’t it, but the sensations are palpable so it makes it worth practicing and experimenting with).

You may experience, as I have, a spontaneous desire to practice a seated qi gong, and I encourage you to do this within reason and not all the time, as you may end up expending the energy you are storing and building up. This qi gong should be creative and spontaneous and as unconscious or wu wei as possible. Don’t use set forms all the time. Allow your arms and hands to “find” a sort of “slip stream,” and let them go where they want to go. I do recommend that you do control the speed somewhat, and that if you start to flail your arms uncontrollably or wildly, reel it in; I don’t think this serves any purpose other than to give one some sense of an ecstatic experience. But feel for it, feel the energy in the air with your palms, gather it in, and bring it into the side channels of your body. You can also position palms facing the dan tien, as in standing meditation, and begin to build the ball of energy. Manipulating this energy is possible with the wrists opening and closing the hands slightly, something akin to working taffy.



  1. This is only tangentially related, but I need to mention it somewhere. Check it out, somebody’s doing energy work on horses:

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