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1993 EDITION (ignore the star rating) : not the place to start for me
on 19 January 2014
---I now realise that this book has been so thoroughly updated, I will probably buy the new edition! however, I will still share my experiences with these exercises.
--- I've got the new book and it appears completely different. It progresses far slower; in comparison, the old book felt starting at the deep end. But I can't say anything for certain until I've spent more time comparing them and trying these exercises, I can only say again, from my experience, as soon as I got close enough to the basic standing posture my awareness "shifted", the rest of my breathing and movement of abdomen etc. became automatic, and my mind became completely free to "observe" ie actually feel areas of tension in of my body. (To be exact, some areas I didn't have the sensitivity to feel anything). I could feel tension in areas of my body just as disctinctly as I can feel tension if I massage a bony area of my body like a finger, eyebrow, temples etc. It was exactly the same. But, whatever I thought I wanted, afterwards I decided I wasn't really ready for it. Now here's my old review where I say the same thing again. Sorry. In time I will write a review for this edition and a review for the old edition, on that product page.
~~~This is a fascinating, if challenging read, but for me, these exercises were not the place to start.
After much reading, and much scepticism, I tried the outer dissolving exercise. It was quite an experience when it first started to work! I didn't find it unpleasant to perform, although it was a challenge to not let my mind drift. Afterwards I experienced a sort of restlessness/paranoia, which is not that unusual a side effect. It only lasted a couple hours, was not so strong that I regretted doing the exercise, and didn't leave me feeling shaken. But I came to the judgement, however attractive they sounded, these exercises were not for me [edit: I had meant, at the time I was not ready for them.]. I don't think it is good to do them reluctantly or half-heartedly, and certainly not for some sort of 'novelty'. I expect that I wasn't ready for them. [and I hope to come back to them someday, but this is not on my mind.] So in that sense, two stars.
For me, the place to start with Bruce Frantzis (I do other chi gung too) was the DVD of Dragon and Tiger chi Gung, available from his website, which I have so far been using happily without either book (although I recommend the deal that includes both books). I also know, his website has a forum open to customers, and there are many teachers who can offer guidance and advice to people who may have difficulty with these exercises, as I did.
[I have now reviewed book 2, where I also write an long essay about what I gain from the dragon tiger set]