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on 27 August 2011
This book provides a comprehensive account of Nei Gong - a very little known subject in the West. Relying on his lifetime experience in the martial, medical and spiritual arts of Asia, Damo Mitchell breaks down the various stages of the Nei Gong process. The book benefits from the author's compelling grasp of Daoist literature, which stretches from quintessential texts such as Laozi's 'Dao De Jing' through the more recent writings of Daniel Reid.

Damo Mitchell's 'Daoist Nei Gong' offers a concise overview of the Daoist theory of creation and then goes on to look at the different aspects of the physical, energy and consciousness bodies and how they interact. The author demonstrates how, through simple Qi Gong exercises, it is possible to awaken your energy system, with particular emphasis on the lower Dan Tien - the energy centre that sits in the lower abdomen. Crucially in my opinion, the book provides practical information on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle (Yang Shen Fa), an essential aspect of Daoism that any internal artist should consider seriously.

The book also addresses more advanced practitioners of the internal arts as it investigates further stages of spiritual development, following the awakening of the energy system, such as the conversions of Jing to Qi and Qi to Shen and the complex topic of Internal Alchemy. Damo Mitchell is a rare writer in that he manages to combine both practical and academic skills, thus providing an invaluable blend of first and second-hand information on Nei Gong.
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on 11 August 2011
This is an excellent read. The information is clearly set out and gives the logic behind the practice of internal energy work. It explains the processes through which a practitioner may progress if they apply themselves and train regularly. It answers alot of questions about many aspects of Nei Gong and gives guidance on exercises. As someone new to internal energy work I think this book is an invaluable guide, however I am sure this book will be just as relevent to more advanced practitioner as the stages discussed progess to a very high level.
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on 15 December 2011
What Damo Mitchel has achieved with this work is an excellent overview of the process of nei gong as used in Daoism as a part of the process of internal 'alchemical' change, ideal for readers at a entry level cultivation. Mitchel focus's on the process of nei gong from begin to end explaining each stage in spiritual progression. The effect of this is to help tire together the large mix of energy and meditative practices and put them into perspective in the larger scheme of cultivation (although this book excludes wujia (external arts), diet, ritualization etc).

The books starts with a fairly detailed and imo honest summary of Daoist philosophy with respect to neijia (internal arts) provided alongside some dubious translations of the Dao De Jing, then he talks through various practices included 'sung breathing' and provides a entry Qi gong set to help open your energy gates and correct body alinement. He then discusses the various 'teaks' that should be applied to Qi gong to move it from medical only to energetic and meditative. He finishes the book with a discussion of qi gong meditation and basic Neidan sitting meditation.

Throughout the book there are plenty of diagrams to help explain points, some are rather superfluous but they don't detract from the flow of the book. The Qi gong set is well illustrated with photo's and arrows and a good description of each exercise. He provides key markers throughout the book to gauge your progress and provides examples of what not to do as well as do.

However I do have some strong criticism's of this book, even though it is a 5 start buy it could be improved. First off is the total lack of a diagram of the meridians and acupuncture points yet Mitchel refers to them continually (by number and name) throughout the book but only describes them at there first mention. He provides a flow chart of the movement of acquired qi in the body in the appendix but no Diagram of the energy network.

Next the much boasted 'sung breathing' is described in no detail at all. The philosophical idea behind it is, the benefits and key markers are but the process itself is not. This is especially bad considering 'sung breathing' is the proposed mode to connect to your energetic body and consequently is vital to the rest of the progression. Just a few pages extra here would have improved the book massively, instead you get the token 'watch your breathing' and 'observe your bodily tension' instruction.

Unfortunately this sets the benchmark for much of the rest of the book (with the exception of the qi gong set)as often what should occur is explained without how to get it to occur. This becomes especially self evident in the final chapters which refer to the sitting mediation.I would have also like to have seen each of the Qi gong exercises broken down into simpler forms to assist learning, although only a couple are complex enough to warrant this.

However I would stress in saying this that you could (and indeed people have) write whole books on each stage in the process. What Mitchel has done with this book that is rather helpful and unique ( in the west at least) is provide the reader with a nei gong road map, a starting point to do further reading and an overall course syllabus.

I would recommend this book to anybody interested in Daoist cultivation and is new to the combined practices of qi gong and meditation, especially if it was to be combined with some of the excellent works by Bruce Fantzis, Denis lewis, Mantak Chia, Yang Jwing-Ming and Lan Kam Chuen. For those that have perhaps read or experienced more advanced practices this book will be less useful although I dare say there will still be the odd thing you will learn from it.
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on 4 September 2011
The author Damo Mitchell has written a fascinating study on the lesser well know Daoist Art of Nei Gong, providing the Internal Arts student with a clear and concise understanding of this Daoist Process of self cultivation.

The author speaks from a sound knowledge of the Martial Arts which he has been studying since he was a child, we see this by how he places great emphasis on the conditioning of the physical body to become flexible and soft, and how the mind and body cannot be separated.

His knowledge from his actual experience and his insight into the Classics has produced a very accessible guide which stays true to original Daoist philosophy and ideas but for a Western mindset.

He talks of the Three Bodies of Man, and how to awaken the Energy System, activating the Lower Dan Tien, Yin and Yang and vibrational frequencies, the Daoist theory of Creation, Sung Breathing techniques, the Meridian System and also advanced and controversial Nei Gong practise.

What I really admire about the authors words is that he regards himself as a perpetual student of the way, when he speaks of the final stage of conversion of Shen to Dao he freely admits that 'here my understanding ends' as he is currently working on this stage himself, he knows the future stages theoretically but would rather talk only about what he has directly experienced. This for me shows his humility and the dissolving of the ego and gives great confidence that we can reach this stage ourselves through as he says 'having an open mind and heart'.
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on 3 December 2011
This is a book I will come back to time and again, this I already know.

..."Nei Gong can be translated as 'Internal Skill'. Defined simply it is 'the process by which a person may condition their physical body, cultivate their internal universe and elevate their consciousness. ..." (Damo Mitchell ~ Daoist Nei Gong).
This short excerpt is a demonstration of a principle put into practice; that of a teacher who knows their art and what they have to say so well that they can explain it in a straight forward way.
Damo Mitchell openly offers his knowledge and experience to readers in this book in a forthright but compassionate way; at no point are false promises made, the honesty of the work speaks for itself, and this speaks of the honesty of the author.
The clear message of this work is that of having belief in yourself, that you can achieve what you set out to; you just have to practice, and take the time to understand...
Whole-heartedly highly recommended read for anyone who wants to delve deeper into the beautiful world of the self and the Daoist arts xxx :)
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on 4 August 2011
This book is a fantastic introduction to the art of nei gong, it contains more detail than any other book on the subject that I've read whilst being readable enough for total beginners of chi gung/meditation etc.

The author describes many layers of theory including the daoist process of creation, the nature of the energetic substances; jing, qi and shen, the functions of the three dantien and the anatomy of a meridian to name a few. If these topics are unfamiliar to you then rest assured they are explained modestly and concisely. In addition Damo Mitchell describes one of the main breathing techniques used in the internal arts and outlines a set of exercises to soften the body and awaken the energy system, as well as explaining some of the sensations and experiences one has in advancing along the nei gong process.

The book contains many details concerning the theory and practice of nei gong without coming across dry, textbook-like or confusing. The author has clearly spent a significant amount of time training in nei gong and he does the ancient and rewarding art justice in his book. Most importantly it was a great read, very few books have me up until half two in the morning finishing them! Reading this you'll come away with a solid theoretical knowledge of nei gong and you'll hopefully want to take up the art, or if you have already it will renew your enthusiasm for your practice.
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on 19 November 2013
An incredible book packed with information on Daoist theory and practices. The Author Damo is the real deal, I have numerous books on Chi Kung and to be honest most are not very good or worse have dangerous practices in them. This book is a very intelligent and safe introduction to Doaist internal development, there is a lot of theory in here, however the author has also included some exercises, including the wonderful, powerful and safe set of Qi Gong exercises Ji Ben Qi Gong. The author has also kindly demonstrated these exercises for free on Youtube. Damo presents as a very experienced, humble and intelligent writer of Chinese internal arts, there are few that come close to his knowledge, however what I like most about him is that he comes across as being very honest and lacking in ego and he de mystifies the Internal arts to produce a book that is useable by anyone.
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on 4 August 2011
Nei Gong being the controversial and secretive subject that it is, naturally there are hardly any books which deal with and detail the theory, let alone provide a systematic and technical guide throughout the whole Nei Gong process itself! The author covers the subject in such detail that simply cannot be found in other sources, be it English or Mandarin, yet in a way which is perfectly accommodating to a veteran and a newcomer to the subject alike. The information usually found on the subject uses extremely symbolic language which usually results in many misinterpretations and misunderstandings as to the finer details of the practice. Damo demonstrates a logical and practical approach to decoding the symbolic nature of the ancient Chinese spiritual tradition in way that can be understood and utilised by the western mind. The quality of his martial arts and chi gong demonstrated in his youtube videos reflect the fact that the author is truly dedicated and passionate about his training; all of which is clearly apparent throughout the book. Simply a must have for any serious practitioner of the the eastern spiritual traditions.
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on 3 August 2011
It is rare to find a book about this subject that has so much detailed information and theory about Nei Gong and Daoism. I think any person who studies the Internal Martial Arts, Meditation or Qi Gong will find the book useful. He talks in depth about information which very often just is mentioned.
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on 7 August 2011
Congratulation for the author of the book,an organize mind and spirit.Allover the book is reveal a good sense,clarity,understanding of the explained phenomenons,attention to every detail,wich to the cinese authors is not always present (most of them represent tradition,continus secrecy,lines of interpretation,desired un-clarity).Beeing at the 14-th red book about Qi energy,Qi Gong and Nei Gong,I consider that it is really the best book written about,and surprise,it was sinthesized and written by a western author.Very usefull for us,congratulation again to Damo Mitchell!
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