An “Alchemy” of Dragons

It keeps getting better. 

Each year I say that, and somehow that is exactly what happens. And this chapter in the TCA story was a wonderfully coherent and exhilarating exploration into “What else is possible?” Everyone came with a clear intent to make the magic happen, and happen it did. There was the outpouring of love and mutual respect that we have come to expect at TCA, and that was enhanced further by our shared curiosity. Including me. I had been experimenting in how to share some esoteric Nei Gong with people who do not have forty plus years of Gongfu. And this was to be the first time I taught it this way. I didn’t know how it would go over. 

It started with the theme: “Feed Your Dragon.” I introduced a very rare Bagua Qigong form called the “Grass Dragon.” It is a powerful, expansive energy exercise that introduces internal elements that can transform all your internal practices. In just a couple minutes of focused practice it generates a surprising vitality and whole-body connection that heals and rejuvenates. Its simple movements make it accessible to virtually anyone, and its internal alchemy can elevate anyone’s game to a whole new level. Here’s the group practicing part of the form for the first time: 

The Grass Dragon integrates the Wood, Water, and Earth elements. It activates the “Qi vortex” in your energy channels: amplifying the resonance in the Ren, Du, and Chong vessels. The feeling in the body is palpable and pronounced. It cleanses the bone marrow and nourishes the brain. To make it work you have to embrace the “spirit” of the dragon. And that means letting go of some deeply held patterns. That process is aided greatly by how much fun it is.

It is easy to become fascinated by the powerful, expansive Yang Qi that gets generated by the Grass Dragon form, yet full realization of its benefits only comes with a deep-dive into the Yin. Many students confuse Yin with passivity and collapsed structure. They have no understanding of the power of Yin Qi, which requires structure to do its work. Without structure to lead it, the energy is unfocused and dispersed. To get a felt-sense of Yin, we toggled between Yang and Yin. Learning to control the dynamic balance between the two is advantageous to improved health and well-being. 

“A Wee Bit of Alchemy with Rick Barrett #164” will give you a taste of the Yin/Yang exercises we did on the banks of Oak Creek. Bring it into your daily practice.

This was our third year at Los Abrigados Resort and Spa, and we are settling in nicely. The accommodations are clean and comfortable. We still get in five or six hours of training each day, but in a more relaxed atmosphere than our go-to spot at Mago Garden. Classes finish by 3 each day, leaving plenty of time to explore the local sites, soak with friends in an Olympic size hot tub, and dinner at one of the many fine restaurants. Quite civilized.

Ultimately, though, it is about the people. TCA attracts open-hearted, curious people who embrace and love you exactly as you are. Even after 28 years I am still amazed about how much our potential as humans is elevated when vanity gets parked at the door and a group unites for a common purpose. 

Thank you all for supporting this crazy experiment! Shall we do it again next year?