(Picture retrieved from Falun Dafa at Columbia University website)
As an avid yogi, I am always looking for health and wellness activities to improve my wellbeing. At a recent event, I met a woman who told me about her Falun Dafa practice and I became immediately intrigued. I didn’t know anything about it so I decided to research it.
Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) is an advanced practice of self- cultivation based on truthfulness, compassion, and patience. This practice has been used by ancient eastern philosophers, monks, and martial artists for years and was publicly established by Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992. Although a very peaceful practice, it spurred a great deal of controversy in the late 1990s with the Chinese government.
This Chinese spiritual practice combines meditation and Qi Gong exercises including a coordinated system of movement, breathing, and meditation. It is practiced at the Buddhist School and incorporates elements of Taoism. The goal of the practice is to release any attachments to the material items in order to reach enlightenment. This practice differs from other schools of thought in that it does not require participation in any given community and does not have any formal rituals. Instead, there is a greater focus on morality and the theological nature of its teachings. Both physical and meditation practices are intended to properly refine a person’s moral character. This also helps to improve a person’s karma in this life and the lives to come. There are four main physical poses and one meditation that complete the practice.
(Picture retrieved from Wikipedia)
- Buddha Stretching 1000 Arms - intended to facilitate the free flow of energy through the body and open up the meridians.
- Falun Standing Stance - involves holding 4 static poses each of which resembles holding a wheel for an extended period. The objective of this exercise is to enhance wisdom, increase strength, raises vibrational frequency, and strengthen divine powers.
- Penetrating the Cosmic Extremes - involves three sets of movements geared toward the expulsion of bad energy and absorption of good energy into the body.
- Falun Cosmic Orbit - seeks to circulate energy freely throughout the body.
- Mediation - performed in a seated lotus position to reinforce supernatural powers. The meditation is intended to be maintained as long as possible. Part of the meditation activity is to emit righteous thoughts intended to reduce persecution in the spiritual plane.
The benefits of Falun Dafa have been said to enhance immunity, down-regulation of cellular metabolism, and rapid resolution of inflammation; supernatural capabilities include telepathy, and divine sight via the third eye.
I find it so fascinating how ancient eastern practices have diffused across regions. The more I study yoga the more I realize how much of this practice is a blend of other rituals as well as how much it has influenced later established practices. Overall, the goal of any physical practice is to improve the body’s ability to withstand environmental stresses that impact our mental and emotional wellbeing. I know that for myself, incorporating a yoga and meditation practice has helped me to hone in on my intuition and decision making skills. I used to have a hard time trusting myself but overtime and through the strength I developed, I became a stronger more capable version of myself. In terms of attachment, I realized the importance of experiences over material items. I began living a much more minimalistic lifestyle because I realize how our environment really does affect our psyche.
I also find it fascinating how many theological practices are based on self cultivation and connection with a universal consciousness. Many theologies encourage giving over receiving and practicing non-attachment. I believe that part of the goal on this physical plane is to evolve from our animalistic nature into more spiritual awareness. However, that is accomplished through increased self awareness, positive thinking and doing, and compassion towards others.
Have you tried Falun Dafa? If so, what was your experience? What do you think about the different physical and meditative practices?