Okay, here goes: I am joining this forum, after gaining an interest in practicing and learning more about chinese energy skills. I'm trying to begin nei gong practice, with simple breath awareness meditation 30 minutes twice a day, to begin cultivating Sung breath. I did a buddhist Goenka-style vipassana retreat, and found the body scanning technique very effective in the silent-retreat partial fasting setting. After stopping my practice for a while, it's very difficult to get the same kind of effectiveness in my meditation. I looked for group meditation sittings in my home town of Baltimore, in the vipassana style, and found that most other vipassana styles are very different. However, while I was searching the internet I found that there are techniques used in Chinese systems, that are more similar than Goenka's technique, such as inner smile, inner/outer dissolving, water method, or Sung breath. Vipassana is straight forward, to contemplate 3 characteristics until one gains full enlightenment, but it does not focus on the energy levels of the body to support the mental focus and perserverence, character etc. that are required to successfully achieve this goal. From what I have read in a few sources, in a way the Chinese systems seem more elaborate, requiring more time to build up to the final goal of making a bid for liberation (facing the wall? parenting the independent Shen?) but in some ways they seem more comprehensive, that fill in gaps in my desire for intellectual understanding of this process of spiritual refinement, while Buddhist practice seems more...free form, or abstract. I am rambling, but I have some self-inflicted health issues that make me want to start at the ground floor, to rebuild vital reserves and my energy system, before I even think of taking on a goal like making it to stream entry. Right now I have pretty severe constriction around my breath, that responded well to body scanning on retreat, but it's back again because I tried doing abdominal breathing in a way that was forced and injurious, according to a video chi gong course. Maybe I need a real teacher!? Not too many internal energy masters who I am aware of in Baltimore. Maybe I am wrong, I hope. That said, I just left a highly stressful relationship to rebuild myself and cultivate my spirit, so I could be more mobile if I needed to be located more conveniently to capable mentorship. Well, good to be here, hope to get to know some of you soon and figure this stuff out. Trying to pick something and stick with it, seems like I can't go wrong with breath awareness so I'm going to keep at it, I am about 3 weeks in and it's getting easier but no magic yet.