Da Xuan is a family Daoist (often also spelt ‘Taoist’) lineage under the leadership of Serge Augier, which has been established for over 1,500 years. Daoism is a practice of self-cultivation and spiritual evolution that asks us to explore the way we function and our relationship with ourselves and the world around us. There are many different types of Daoism, and while the Da Xuan tradition shares similar origins to other Chinese traditions of religious or temple Daoism, our tradition is specifically non-cultural and non-religious. We are concerned with the development of human qualities, and as such our practices are open to anyone of any culture or belief.
In Da Xuan we are primarily interested in engaging in a personal daily practice that will progressively reveal more details about how we function, while simultaneously building an excess of personal resources and energy that will keep us full of vitality while we undergo our search. While there are various philosophies that frame what we do, students are not asked to take on particular beliefs, but rather to continue practicing so as to discover what the framing ideas are pointing to – through direct, personal experience. Practice leads to more information, more information leads to better decisions, and more energy helps us to confront the challenges of life with vitality.
We approach our practice in a balanced and centered way – Daoists are, after all, most famous for the Yin Yang symbol which pictures opposite forces moving around a central point in harmony with each other.
The first port of call is to consider the spectrum of Yin and Yang in the human being – the physical body (Yin), the breath/circulation (Yin + Yang), and the mind (Yang). To create balance in ourselves, we treat each aspect as being of equal importance and as such give them the same amount of attention in our practice. When we develop qualities and capacities related to each of these aspects, rather than choreographed performances, we are able to discover the possibility of fully expressing our own individuality, rather than becoming a copy of the teacher.
A simple overview gives us an idea of what this looks like:
Practices of the Mind & Spirit (Shen)
Train our mind to focus, help it to relax, understand how it functions and the various tricks it uses.
Practices of the Breath & Circulation (Qi)
Increase our breathing capacity for more vitality, improve the circulation, clear stagnations, develop the exchange with the environment.
Practices of the Physical Body (Jing)
Build strength by training the weak points of the structure, improve alignment and coordination, help unwanted tension relax, learn how to use our structure and relaxation to hold our position and become grounded.
The types of training used in the tradition to address each of these aspects includes:
- basic physical training (wai gong);
- lying exercises similar to yoga/pilates (dao yin);
- internal martial arts (taiji, bagua, xingyi, ziranmen);
- internal training (qi gong, nei gong);
- breath work & internal alchemy (nei dan);
- emotional training (xin yi dao yin fa);
- training the mind (shen gong); and
- deep meditation (shen dan).
THE BIGGER PICTURE
- Training ourselves is only one part of the broader view we take into account. Our tradition has 5 major branches of study, which are briefly introduced below. Please follow the highlighted links to my teacher’s page for more information on any of the topics.
The cultivation of body, breath and mind already discussed above, symbolized by the image of the mountain, which sits firmly on the earth while it reaches up to touch the heavens.
The science of destiny makes use of tools like Bazi and Zi Wei Du Shou to understand the way we each relate to fundamental archetypes. These tools allow us to understand the relationships we have with ourselves and the other more thoroughly so that we may work with our innate traits and not against them.
The study of the changes of the world allows us to understand the possibilities of a given situation and help us decide on the best course of action using the Yi Jing (the Classic of Changes that depicts situations using combinations of Yin and Yang, called Trigrams in their set of 3, and Hexagrams in their set of 6) and Qi Men Dun Jia.
The arts of Feng Shui and Morphopsychology teach us to observe how shapes, space and timing can be strategically used to help position ourselves skillfully in the world. Far removed from the distorted new-age ideas that decorating our house with golden cats will bring prosperity, traditional Feng Shui is a precise art that requires deep calculations and contextual understanding of the situation, and produces real measurable results while keeping our common sense alive.
- Even though I am training in all of these arts myself, I do not currently offer formal teachings on anything except studies of self-cultivation/The Mountain.