Gang Gyok is an ancient practice of Tibetan yogic running techniques. It is the practice of the “fast feet.” However, because of the deep interconnectedness of the body and mind, this practice, like all Tibetan Tantrayana practices, works with all dimensions of mind, breath and body to achieve its amazing results.
We are able to generate energy in the body through the power of the mind. This energy can then be used for speed and power in running. We will become faster and less easily tired through the Gang Gyok practice, but we will also develop mindfulness, our inner warmth and overall vibrant health.
To prepare oneself for the actual Gang Gyok technique, we first do preliminary practices. These preliminaries address three important aspects that have large effects on our energy—our food, our breath and our mental power.
We want to maximize nutrients in the body, so the type of food we eat as well as its quality is very important. We also need to eat the right amount of food—too much will cause channels to break and too little won’t provide enough power. Generally, we say that one-third of the stomach should be filled with food, one-third with water and one-third left empty so that the wind can flow and aid digestion. Our water is also important, as there are different qualities of water. We drink boiled water because this will help relax the body and mind, a crucial factor for generating energy.
Next, we work with the wind, or our breath. There is a correct way of breathing and retaining the breath that will create more energy. On the other hand, if we breathe improperly, we can very quickly lose energy. So we need to learn to work with the breath and practice holding it while doing special exercises.
Finally, we need to develop our mental power. This is done through visualization, which by itself can even bring us energy. Visualization helps us to develop mindfulness, which then helps us to meditate. Through meditation and visualization, we can cultivate our inner fire. This inner fire brings our elements into balance, which is very important for good functioning of the digestive system. This has a direct impact on our health, as most diseases are associated with a sluggish digestive system. And meditation and mindfulness allow us to enter the stillness of the mind.
During the Gang Gyok practice we generate energy by holding the breath in a special way in the navel chakra while running. This energy then spreads throughout the 72,000 channels of the body. If any channels have become blocked or twisted, this energy helps open them. In this way, the energy of the breath flows in the whole body, generating a deep, inner warmth. This inner warmth generates our “happiness” hormones. These hormones help the mind become still. When the mind is still it is much easier to control, and then we can generate even more power.
So, Gang Gyok, the yogic running technique of the “fast feet” will indeed make us faster and stronger with explosive energy, but along the way we will also develop robust health, a calm, clear mind, and happiness.