Serge Augier (AKA Urban Daoist) is the heir of the Taoist tradition of "Ba Men Da Xuan", which came from China to France with the Master WTX, his teacher. This tradition has a precise lineage going back to the year 510 in Kunlun.
It is a universal teaching, which is not limited by culture: it is the study of the human being and its qualities. This tradition benefits everyone and is still relevant today.
Serge teaches and practices the five arts of his Taoist school:
- The cultivation of the Human Qualities (body-mind-breath)
- The knowledge of the Changes of the World (Yi Jing)
- The Science of Destiny (Bazi, Ziwei Du Shou)
- Taoist Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine
- The Art of the Forms (Feng Shui and Morphopsychology)
The core of the Daxuan system lies on the cultivation of our human qualities: Body (Jing), Mind (shen) and Qi (energy/breath). We have a practice for each of these qualities, and we also have practices that combine 2 or even all 3 of them. Our fundamental practices for the famous three treasure of Daoism are:
外功 Waigong - Physical Training
In our lives good physical health underpins everything that we do. It is essential that we develop a strong physical structure so that we can function to the best of our abilities. The Yin (structure) facilitates the Yang (function). Our physical practices are designed to relax and unify our bodies, re-educating us to use our system more efficiently.
The ancient Taoist's developed these methods primarily to enable them to spend many hours meditating in static postures without developing physical problems. An amazing by-product of these health practices was the capacity to express immense force with a unique taste. Combine that refined power with the mental clarity and stability afforded through the mind training and you have the combination which lead to the famous Chinese internal martial arts.
We develop and express the qualities we look for in the school through the three classic internal arts, Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua Zhang and Xing Yi Chuan, as well as Ziranmen (Natural Boxing).
Long term practitioners start to take on a style that is unique to them and so can each look very different to the outside viewer, but the underlying qualities are always present.
The qualities we establish in the beginning are:
– Grounding: This quite simply means being difficult to push over and more capable of holding your ground against incoming force. Developing your grounding aids in building self-confidence and capacity to confront difficulties in life.
– Structure: We learn to align the body so that no unnecessary tension is used – in motion, expressions of strength or against external forces such as gravity. It’s essentially learning how to do physical activities without fighting your own strength.
– Strength: This one is pretty straight forward; being strong is always good! However we develop our strength in a particular way so as not to go against the other qualities.
– Coordination: Knowing where your body and joints are in space, being able to clearly feel which direction they are moving in and being able to move each part in harmony with the centre are all capacities which are trained to develop the coordination as a whole.
– Relaxation: All of the above qualities contribute to an increasingly more deeply relaxed experience of the body in general and also within expressions of power and strength. This is quite a magical feeling that is rarely seen in other methods of physical training, and obviously has huge implications in dealing with our hyper stressed modern world.
內丹 Neidan- Internal Alchemy
Daoism is known for its deep work on breathing and internal alchemy. In Da Xuan we have many practices that develop the breath directly.
We start with the primordial breathing methods. These are basic exercises to become familiar with the different ways of breathing such as conscious breathing, abdominal breathing and reverse abdominal breathing. There are also exercises that develop the lung capacity, challenge the rhythm of breathing and free the lungs and diaphragm from restrictions.
Once the basic breath work is done, it is possible to move onto the internal alchemy practices. Da Xuan’s internal alchemy comes from the Ge clan, who joined 8 other clans to form the Da Xuan tradition. It’s a way of circulating the breath along specific pathways (typically the ren, du and central channels) to open the centres and realise the full potential of our being.
Internal Alchemy is typically only useful for dedicated practitioners, however everyone can enjoy the benefits that come from the practice of primordial breathing!
神功 Shengong - Mind Training
In out tradition we deliberately use the term mind training in place of meditation to eliminate confusion between the different elements of practice which involve the mind. The meditations of our school and the Shendan, the work of the spiritual elixar, are the real deep spiritual practices we work towards, however we can only access those practices once we have the mental capacity for attention and intention.
To build the foundation for those practices we have the Shengong, a series of methods to understand and develop our capacity for and longevity of attention, to understand the structure of our mind (Shen) and the patterns of thought, and to develop our presence in the moment, often called mindfulness in other traditions.
Through regular Shengong practice we calm the Yi (mental/intellectual mind) and interupt the pathogenic thought cycles which unconsciously dominate our minds, freeing ourselves to interact with the emergent present in the moment.
Da Xuan Qigong
Qigong (also called nei gong – internal training) is a practice that combines basic physical motions with breathing, work on sensations and exchange. As such it acts as a bridge between the physical training and the pure training of the breath.
The Da Xuan Family Qigong is a specific approach that will develop the internal qualities in a clear and methodical way with no need for esoteric fluff and misdirection. We have no time for fantasy and so there are plenty of tests to make sure that the experience is manifested in reality. The internal qualities are:
– Feeling: We develop sensitivity to internal sensation of both the physical structures (our physical limits/skin, muscles, connective tissue, bones and eventually organs) and circulation. In the tradition we say tension blocks feeling, so we learn to relax deeply to feel more and more intricate details of the internal landscape.
– Uniting: By tractioning and grabbing in a particular way, we begin to repair broken links to unite the body. A united body moves in complete harmony with greatly increased circulation and superior structural strength. This makes you both stronger and more resistant to injuries as any impacts are efficiently spread across the system rather than getting stuck in weak links.
– Grounding: This is the felt counterpart of the physical grounding – learning to make the body feel either extremely heavy or light as a feather. As this aspect of grounding grows, more possibility for deeper work becomes available and ignites a general feeling of being very settled. It also serves to reinforce the physical grounding!
Proficiency in these foundational capacities allows one to explore deeper aspects of the Da Xuan Family Qigong: absorb, project, disappear, test, release and finally returning to natural expression.