Archive for May 2010

Memorial Day   2 comments

We owe our way of life to our fallen heroes

Remembering those that have fallen to preserve our way of life…

What ever our desires, hopes and dreams may be, Americans are uniquely blessed with freedom to do so.  These days we are losing our freedoms little by little, it has been said, “Every day congress meets, we lose a little bit of our freedom”.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day it read, “If you can read, thank a teacher. If you read English thank a Vet”.

Holding to your values, principles, and traditions is not always easy or popular.  Even in our home lives and among friends and associates we are challenged constantly.  I say: Without temptation, there is no claim to virtue.  Warriors know these things, even if they do not “think” about them.  No one wants to die for his country and yet without a peaceful homeland we cannot raise peaceful people.

Keeping America safe is a noble honor.  Keeping babies, women and children, families and homes, towns and cities free requires a strong commitment to our country. No one is more committed to this cause than our warriors and they have my deepest respect.

Yet we are all challenged by temptation to doubt and apathy from preserving the virtue of our spirits.  Every challenge we meet is an opportunity to practice our skills. To be a scholar-warrior is a calling to protect ourselves from the assaults of life.

Stand up for who and what you are, be plain spoken and kind, speak the truth, be firm but flexible.  Forgive and overlook other people’s shortcomings on the spot.  Do not be affected by things out of your control. Do your part and be brave and strong in the face of everyday challenges. Live a free life, one of opportunity and pursue happiness and;

Remember those who gave their lives so that you can.

Posted May 31, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in Uncategorized

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Qigong & Taiji Sets for All Students   1 comment

"Tiger" from Dragon & Tiger Yiquan

“I don’t have time for Taiji!”

So many times, I have heard this, usually from “non believers”, but occasionally I myself am guilty of such thoughts.

Well now…… If you have been training with me, you have been exposed to a variety of Qigong and Taiji sets.  It is important to keep in mind that eventually, as you assimilate the principles into your life, everything will be Taiji. Yet in the beginning, we all need some ‘forms’ to direct us in the Way.

This page is just a list of some of the forms that I have shown to my classes and some for advanced students.  With so many options, it is easy to just pick one or more depending on your goals or time frame.  All of my beginner students have been doing the first four or five on this list, and I consider these a “core group” of practices. Over time, I will show everyone all of these sets.

Now, I wouldn’t want anyone to get bored, so add the others in occasionally as you want to.  There is always time to get in a quick “Soaring Crane” or some Zhan Zhuang practice anywhere any time.

Some of the Qigong and Taiji sets for beginner and advanced students

1.)    “Wuji” a standing qigong for overall health, perform for one minute to as long as you wish!
2.)    Dong Family “Warm up Qigong” strengthens the posture and opens the joints. Takes about 7 to 8 minutes to perform.
3.)   Wudang Daoist Abdominal Breathing Qigong, five simple exercises that form the foundational skills for all qigong, taiji  and meditation practice.

4.)  Dong Family “Basic Qigong Set” builds and distributes qi through the whole body. Takes about 7 to 8 minutes to perform.

5.) Taiji Walking

6.)    “Dong (Yang) Style Taijiquan” The first section of the long form of Taiji (Tai Chi). A total body and mind Qigong and martial art form. Takes about 6 minutes to perform.
7.)     The Dong Family “Hard Qigong” A zhan zhuang practice that builds structural integrity in your physique. These ten postures can be done in as little as 5 to 10 minutes or as long as you wish.
8.)    “Dong (Yang) Style Taijiquan” The second section of the long form of Taiji. Takes about 12 minutes to perform.
9.)    “Soaring Crane 1” is a medical qigong set to strengthen your overall health. Takes about 5 minutes to perform. See video here: Soaring Crane with Master Dong
10.)    “Tiger Mountain” AKA “Taiji Gong” an assemblage of some postures from Yang style Taiji set. Takes 5 to 10 minutes to perform. See video here: Tiger Mountain
11.)    “Zhan Zhuang” or “Standing like a post qigong” Strengthens your stances and internal energy; I suggest just picking any of the postures from the Taiji form and stand still as long as you can comfortably. Take at least 2 to 10 minutes or as long as you wits to perform. See photos of Yang’s Taiji postures here: Yang Cheng Fu
12.)      Yiquan Zhan Zhuang. Eight basic standing postures and a few other simple postures designed to open the hips and strengthen the legs and back and build structural integration into your physique Takes from 5 to 40 minutes to perform.
13.)    “Dong Sitting Qigong, Long Form” From Master Dong Zeng Chen. A total mind and body Qigong for meditation, thrusting vessel, small circle qi and upper body strengthening. Takes about 30 to 40+ minutes.
14.)    “Dong Sitting Qigong” From Master Dong Hu Ling. A simple sitting routine for the upper body qi, the mind and the eyes.

15.)  Five Elements Qigong, Wu Xing Qigong is a nine form set that is a medical qigong toning the internal organs and meridians. See video here: Ziranmen Five Elements Qigong.

16.)  Muscle and Tendon Changing Classics, Yi Jin Jing is one of the oldest known set of gigong, originally authored by the famous Da Mo.

17.)  The Eight Brocades, Ba Duan Jin is another old classic set.

18.)   Zi Fa Gong, spontaneous Qigong comes when you have figured out some of these basic sets  then you let your qi body lead you to move or not to move.

19.)  Wudang Daoist (Hun Yuan) Primordial Qigong, a new set I have been showing and will be writing out soon…

20.)   Wudang Five Animal Forms, another new set I will be showing in 2012

Over time I will expose everyone to parts or all of these forms, just keep coming to class and reading online and most importantly: PRACTICE

Do some Qigong everyday!  Keep it simple but……Do it!

Understanding Reality, Being a “Real Human”   1 comment

The Universe

“The sage sees the whole universe without going out the door”

If you only learned to meditate, it would be the most valuable experience of your life.  To gain understanding, a wordless gift of knowing that you’ve always had, but haven’t used is a profound thing indeed. I am paraphrasing Roy Masters work “Be still and Know” and yet there is so much more going on when we do qigong.

By combining physical exercise and meditation, we gain more than can be had by just “exercising” or “meditating”.  The synergy is further enhanced by the other attributes of qigong, like the way we exercise, opening up the joints, and skeletal system and the sequential opening and closing of the muscles and energy pathways within our bodies.  There is really no other “exercise” like qigong; in my opinion there is no better exercise, and yet it is so much more.

Dissolving your mind and body using qigong also has a calming and strengthening effect on our emotions as well.  To liberate your mind from the emotional prison that has kept the real you locked up without your knowledge is not an insignificant gain!

The understanding gained from proper practice gives insight to all things. The meaning of the quote from the “Tao Te Ching” written above is this: Within everyone, there are elements of all things; a celestial world, we are a microcosm of the universe. Every atom is like a minute solar system, all our cells are virtual galaxies, and our consciousness is like God, indeed, if you can truly know yourself, then you can understand the whole universe.

I often wonder what if we all could expand our understanding in this way.  Yet it was once the normal way for humans. Our convoluted lives have dulled our sense of reality; learning to get in touch with our true objective self is to understand a separate reality, a primordial knowledge that is the “Way” we were intended to be….. Freedom from contrivance, like an un-carved block of wood, becoming what Nature (God?) intended for us.

If you have a goal in life, make it to be a fully integrated human being by being balanced in each realm of human functioning. Don’t be a “spiritual person” or an “intellectual”, and do not be a slave to your emotions and don’t ignore or indulge them. Stop always seeking physical gratification or obsessing about your body.  To be a “Real Human” you need to be in control of all of these things.

Balancing all these separate things naturally into one universe is, for me…..The Way, Taiji the “Supreme Ultimate” and qigong is the path to the Way….. The Way to divinity, to freedom, to perfect health, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Qigong Lesson #4 Discerning Two Qis   2 comments

Yin AND Yang separated

In the first three lessons, I discussed how we align our physical bodies with the forces of Heaven and Earth. This lesson is about learning the difference between the two main aspects of our Qi using the concept of Yin and Yang.

Realize that there are two major forces acting upon us at all times, the first and most obvious is the force of gravity, we all understand what that is. There is however another, balancing force in play as well, that of centrifugal force.  As the earth spins at about 6000 miles per hour trying to throw us off it, we are at the same time held fast by gravity. (Physicists would disagree,  but I’m just illustrating a point)  In another way of viewing it (the Taoist way), we are suspended between the two forces of Heaven and Earth.

Think of “Earth” as the pull of gravity, pulling directly towards the center of the planet. Know it is Yin and, elemental, sinking and compressing downward, everything heavier than air flows towards it. The only way we know which way is up is because we know which way is down!

Think of “Heaven” as that centrifugal force that is lifting us directly away from the center of the Earth; in Qigong parlance, “the golden thread from Heaven” this force is Yang, and ethereal. Lifting and expanding upwards, everything lighter than air, including electrical energy floats weightlessly.

Beginners on the way of Qigong first learn to feel and understand these two different aspects of energy, adepts move beyond the understanding of discerning yin and yang to get to a point where they harmonize yin/yang.

To better learn how to feel Yin and Yang, consider two main types of qi, Yeng qi and Wei qi. Yeng qi is all that stuff that sinks down through our bodies as we relax and let it sink, things like blood, lymph, muscles, organs, a thick viscous downward flow of all our soft tissue.
Think of Wei qi as all that stuff that floats like our electrical signals our nervous system releasing neutral density neurotransmitters into our system like endorphins… our emptied muscles and bones and our breath.

After you understand this concept, you are ready to apply the knowledge to Qigong exercise.

When you relax your body, the blood and lymph and all the soft tissues sink lower into your body; this is the Yeng qi sinking. As this material sinks down, the blood filters through the lymph nodes, and the fascia tissues relax and a curious event occurs. The Wei qi is displaced and it rises up giving you a buoyant feeling. The more you can sink and relax downward, the more you can expand and feel buoyant going upwards.

You are learning to flow all the Earth (Yin) elements (Yeng qi) downward causing the complimentary effect of all the heavenly (Yang) elements (Wei qi) to rise and expand. These dynamics act like an energy pump, sinking down stimulating a return to an upright posture, you are learning to discern Yin and Yang: a major milestone on the qigong path.

More Here: Qigong Lesson #5