MIND BODY BREATH
BECOMING ONE IN TAOISM WITH SUNDO'S THIRD PRACTICE LEVEL
We cannot truly be generous to others if we do not take time to tend to ourselves. We cannot have meaningful activity without periods of rest. We cannot understand true strength without allowing ourselves to be a little vulnerable. And many of the victories we’ve enjoyed could not have been achieved without the failures that shaped us along the way. This belief in necessary opposites is captured by the familiar Yin and Yang symbol.
SunDo, an ancient Taoist art native to Korea, contains the necessary tools in its third level of practice to unite dualisms and cultivate wholeness on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels. Taoist scholar Ron Catabia says of the third level postures with rhythmic breathing, “All stages of SunDo practice engage yin and yang ki [or qi in Korean]. However, the stage called Keon Gon Dan Boup, is primarily directed at developing and harmonizing yin and yang energy in the human body.”
This harmonization gently removes the boundaries between mind, body, and spirit and provides a path towards human wholeness and oneness with the universe.
Harmonizing the Individual with the Whole
Human beings aren’t the only things that have yin and yang energies — all things and all aspects of the natural world have their own unique energy configurations. Times of day, the seasons, hot and cold — these are all common environmental conditions that can have significant impacts on how we’re feeling.
Some of us just aren’t morning people; some of us have difficulty staying alert as the day progresses, and many of us find falling asleep to be a great challenge. Some of us are always hot or cold, and we can often feel depressed or more energetic at certain times of year.
These are ways that our internal conditions can be out of sync with the yin and yang energies of the world around us. SunDo’s third level postures allow us to adjust the energy balance between our bodies and the outside world, cultivating greater adaptability in any life situations we encounter.
Enriching the Spirit
Yin and Yang is also thought of as the divine balance between earth (Gon) and heaven (Keon), and this is reflected in the 22 postures that comprise SunDo’s third level practice. The complete set, based on the formation principle of the universe, includes 10 celestial stems, associated with yang energy and upward movement, and 12 terrestrial branches, associated with yin energy and downward movement.
For us to achieve our full potential as natural beings rooted in this universe, we need to open ourselves to the energies that both ground us in this world and pull us toward the divine. The celestial stem and terrestrial branch postures give practitioners an opportunity to reconnect on deep level with this important balance of spirit that influences all of our actions.
SunDo’s third level postures hold the power to soften barriers by starting with the sources of conflict (ourselves) and changing us through complete mental, physical, and spiritual transformations.