The Three Keys

This is presented with a deep bow to my fourth teacher, Dr. Roger Jahnke, who inspires with his teachings of the Three Treasures.  Three Treasures inspired the name of my school, Three Keys Tai Chi.

The Three Keys can unlock the treasures of Tai Chi and Qigong anytime, anywhere, for anyone.  The first key is the Body.  The second key is the Breath.  The third key is the Mind, which can be focused on the Body and the Breath for the present moment.

Would you like to try it?

For just a moment, forget about the past and forget about the future, and forget about all the busy-ness about you.  Turn the first key by turning your awareness to your Body and posture: lift your heart and the crown of your head, and sink your shoulders and your sacrum (tailbone.) Aligning the posture and opening the Body creates the physical space you need to turn the second key – a deep, full Breath.

Take a deep breath now, and relax, exhaling fully.  Have another – they’re free!  Enjoy the feeling of your breath sweeping in and out of your expanded body.

The third key is to unlock the Mind. Allow the mind to soften, to open, and to think of nothing more than the spaciousness of the Body  and the Breath.  The process of aligning the body, adjusting the breath and clearing the mind takes less than a minute, and has myriad benefits.  You will return to your work, and your thoughts with increased clarity, and a sense of relaxation.

Body, Breath and Mind.  Use the Three Keys throughout your day to relax and open up infinite possibilities.


In his book The Healing Promise of Qi,  Dr. Roger Jahnke refers to the Three Keys as the “Three Intentful Corrections” and the “Three Treasures.”  Following the ancient Chinese tradition, the Three Treasures are Heaven, Earth and Life in Between.  Our earthly experience is lived through the tangible Body.  Our intangible Breath, our respiration, is a gift from the heavens.  Our Life is the convergence of Heaven and Earth and our Mind allows us to choose how we perceive and experience the convergence.

In Chinese tradition, the Three Treasures are also expressed as Jing, Qi and Shen: physical, energetic and spiritual essences with which we are born, which we expend or conserve through our behavior and lifestyle choices, and which we can cultivate with the practice of Tai Chi and Qigong.

In the Tai Chi tradition, our being has three parts: Body, Mind and Spirit.  My teacher says that the Spirit is the part of us that can never be sick, will never grow old and cannot die.  It is, has always been, and will always be perfect.  The Body, however, can be sick, will most likely grow old, and will one day die.  And what is the essence of the Mind?  The Mind is where we are free to consider our perceptions and to choose our experience – so even as our body drifts toward death, two thirds of our being can be perfect – if we choose!