Author Archive

Relax, Peace is within you…   6 comments

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Each day is a new beginning.
I believe many people today are arriving in the “New Millennia” finding out that everything has changed!
We are all fully realized in the material world. How else could you be reading this now?
It seems to me that we should want for nothing material anymore. The human race has definetly mastered materialism.
Today the world finds itself in many conflicts of culture and ideology, numerous countries are coming apart as well.
This time in human history we have more important things to resolve as we evolve as humans.
I believe spiritual and scientific paradoxes, if reasoned out, can be the breakthrough that transforms the human race.
Qigong, is spiritual and scientific, Taoist philosophy resolves and harmonizes all paradoxes.
Qigong can bring the human race to a new awakening like no other discipline in history.

Train each day,
Know that every breath is the spirit returning,

Reduce your desires and cravings…
Simplify your involvements in the world…
Calm your mind and let go your burdens.

Enter the enlightened age of peace and harmony through Taiji!

Copyright Cory Williams 2013

New Beginnings on the Winter Solstice   3 comments

Copyright Danilo Pivato

Copyright Danilo Pivato

Aloha, it is time for new beginnings. To Taoists, the winter solstice signifies the culmination of Yin energy: a nurturing of our life force. It is also when the days start to get longer and we start a new solar year.

With each passing year I find more energy within, and you will too if you believe it is possible. Those of you that have joined me on the Way know what I’m saying. Those of you that are new to the Way can learn from the example set by so many that have persevered on their journey. Notice how your love for all things grows…how your acceptance of the way things are sustains your spirit…and the depth of your understanding becomes enlightening.

Those of you that know these things to be true will renew your dedication to studying the way. As always, I am here to help coach you on your way, think of me as your hiking guide, helping you to take your body, mind and spirits on an inward journey to find all the mysteries of life. I know in my heart that I am not overstating this, and you know in your heart that there is so much more to discover as we move through this life.

Keep training…practice, practice and practice some more! To help you, I have dedicated my life to the Way, and this year I will be offering more and more training. For 2013, in addition to my current 15 weekly classes, I will be bringing you many more opportunities to expand your understanding of the great mysteries that lie within each and everyone of us.

This year will be better than ever before!
January 17th and 18th I will be repeating the Tai Chi for Arthritis workshop with help from the other TCA instructors at Kaunoa.
February 9th I will be Demonstrating Taiji and Tai Yi at the Chinese New Years celebration at the Maui Mall at 9:00 AM.
Master Dong’s Camp is March 22nd to the 30th on the Big Island.
Master Dong will also be coming to Maui again in August.
Shifu Fong Ha will be here again in September.
I am hoping to get Master Liu De Ming the creator of the Five Elements Qigong that many of you love so much. That may happen in October.
I am planning on a new sitting Qigong & meditation class early this spring.
I am working on putting together one or two classes on the Eastside and Kula.
The Wudang Class is working on the third section of that form and I will be teaching a beautiful form called Tai Yi Wuxing Quan to them soon.
Also I will be bringing a new system of spiritual & medical qigong called Sheng Zhen Gong to selected classes.
I will also be expanding students knowledge of Chinese Medicine theory and how that can increase your understanding of the Way.
My two other web sites will be flowing with information on Qigong specific topics and Taoist stories and Philosophy.
AND… I am working on more things yet too soon to announce.

We all have within us, all that we need to bring ourselves to higher levels of understanding. The future is bright for followers of the Way. Come and join me, I promise you will never get bored!
Remember…

Your focus determines your destiny!

Copyright Cory Williams 2012

Posted December 21, 2012 by The Maui Taoist in News and Events

World Taiji and Qigong Day 2012   3 comments

This Saturday, April 28th, is World Taiji Day when we celebrate the birthday of Wudang Taoist monk Zhang Sanfeng.

I’ll be at Kamaole Beach #III at 9:30, look for me near the south end of the parking lot and we’ll find a shady place to do our thing.

Legend has it Zhang Sanfeng invented what is now known as Taiji and thereby achieved enlightenment. Every year practitioners the world over gather on this day and do qigong and Taiji at 10:0 am local time. The idea is, if we all do Taiji and qigong for an hour, then as the world turns, the next time zone will start as soon as we finish; creating a huge wave of Taiji around the planet!
Anyway, it should be fun, and a great excuse to get together and do Taiji.

Posted April 23, 2012 by The Maui Taoist in News and Events

Wudang Taiji & Qigong on Maui 2012 Workshop   1 comment

Master Zhou and Julie are coming back to Maui soon! Here is the flyer with the schedule. I will post again soon with more details, but this is a quick outline of events;

Sunday Morning we are going whale watching! I will let everyone know what boat/harbor and how many spaces we will have available as well as the price. This should be lots of fun hanging out being social and checking out whales.

Sunday Night  join us for a pot luck luau on the beach, location to be announced soon. This was a fantastic night last year!

Monday’s Class will focus on Qigong and will be semi private for my students at a small venue perhaps a private home in Kihei, the cost is $35.00

Tuesday Master Zhou will be at Kaunoa for a “just for seniors” qigong group lesson, the last I checked (Jan. 31) there was room for 6 more students. The cost and payment is at Kaunoa $17.00 call 270-7308 to book.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be our exclusive Taiji Workshop. There will be two  2 & 1/2 hour classes each day focusing on Wudang Taiji principles and form.  Any Taiji student will gain a lot of personal time and instruction from Master Zhou regardless of what forms you know already or are learning or your level of experience. Wudang methods will help you take your Taiji to the next level. There will be plenty of time for questions and a lunch break between the two sessions each day. The Cost will be $35.00 per class or $70.00 per day and will also be at a private venue in Kihei.

For information about getting a private lesson from Master Zhou, contact him directly at his web site:  Here or email him @ Info@DaoistGate.com

Please help us by supporting this fantastic “Second Annual” workshop with a living treasure from China. Those of you that have never met master Zhou are in for a real treat! Those of you that came last year already know Xuan Yun and Julie are more than emissaries from Wudang Mountain…they are personal friends.

The best way to reach me is to go here and leave a comment.

Copyright: Cory Williams 2012

Posted January 18, 2012 by The Maui Taoist in News and Events, Wudang Arts

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This is Tao…   10 comments

The Lotus Flower is a symbol of compassion opening in the heart like the bloom of the flower from the swamp in which it grows

The desireless one sees the essence; (the soul)
While the desiring one sees only its manifestation. (the superficial)

Desirelessness is a matter of respectfulness.

Contemplate these statements, ponder them, meditate on them, and if you could have only one desire, make this be your goal:

Overcome your desires and show love to others.

What gift would you offer God? What does the creator of all things need with desires? Tao creates endlessly, it gives away everything it creates and wants for nothing. Is this not love? Wants, desires, expectations, wishful thinking, willfulness, these are all contrivances of ego. True love comes from a place of no desire.

Have you ever heard the expression he or she is “in love with love”? Ah yes, here is a nugget of truth for me. True love is not desire for a person or thing; it is given in the spirit of the thing itself. Wanting nothing for self, only the best for others is love. When two people are “in love with love” there is no desire per se’, there is a spirit of letting nature take its course.  When you feel “in love” the love is in you! If that involves another person or thing, then it is desireless towards that thing. When two spirits find each other, that love is beyond desire, that is a Taoist’s view of divine love.

Only when you feel no desire for something, can you truly love it. When the love for all things fills you, it is like a flower blooming inside your heart. As your energy rises up from the earth it opens your heart, it expands outward, filling the whole universe. Your compassion for all things will grow, your love will know no limits; you’ll prosper in all your ways.

The desireless one can discern the true, (soul) essence of things, not limited to only seeing and desiring that which essence has made manifest (superficially) in the material world.

You will learn the true meaning of love, you will gain respect for all things, you will move forward into an understanding of how everything is connected. This is love and fulfillment, this is infinite compassion, this is true understanding…
This is Tao

Copyright Cory Williams 2012

This is Taiji…   2 comments


The Dragon dwells in Heaven, roaming amongst the stars… drifting in and out of the clouds. Aloof from the world, he is always observant of it. Enigmatic and free, the Dragon soars effortlessly, adrift in time upon an endless sea of tranquility. He is clarity and calm, peace and emptiness. Like a mysterious cloud, the dragon caresses the Earth, always sensitive to the subtleties of the relationship between Heaven and Earth.  In heaven, he is yin as yin is within yang… and yet there is a yang spirit hidden within….

Gliding over the Earth, melding into the forests and mountain tops, the Dragon gathers Earth qi within, mixing Heaven and Earth, building and focusing his Heaven qi to interact with the Earth.

In an instant, the Tiger emerges, like a thunderbolt from Heaven. Heaven and Earth qi combine and the Tiger is born from the union. The Dragon’s energy transforms.  The Tiger pounces, Heaven and Earth are manifest. Entering the Earthly realm, the Tiger strikes and fulfills the needs of everything he encounters. He is action and strength, motion and power. Like a wildfire, the Tiger creates magic on Earth. On Earth, he is yang as yang is within yin, and yet, there is a yin spirit hidden within….

Sleeping by the lake, the gentle Tiger rests his yang…
Peacefully nurtured by the guidance of the Earth qi…
The Tiger’s spirit floats across the lake, rising in the fog…
His yin qi carried aloft bringing with it the resting yang energy, transforming, recombining, and emerging once again as the Dragon.

This is Taiji


Copyright: Cory Williams 2011

Taoist Breathing Lesson #1 Tuning the Breath   Leave a comment

Taoists use a skill called “Tu na” to tune their breath before doing qigong and meditation.  Natural Breathing  (Shun Hu Xi) is the best place to start.

Effective meditation and qigong both require good breathing skills; this lesson will give you a method that you can use every time you start your practice. This exercise takes about 5 or 6 minutes to learn, and after a few times you can tune up in about 2 minutes.

I should begin by saying to just breathe naturally, beware of complicated methods; they are not necessary and can even be harmful. In addition, know that generally Taoist breathing is subtle and you should not even hear yourself breathe. In this method make each inhalation and exhalation of equal duration and breathe in and out from your nose.

Like a fine musical instrument, no mater how well it is played, if you want to make beautiful music you need to tune it up first, until it is harmonious within itself it will not give quality results.

Begin by standing in Wuji Stance, now bring your arms just slightly around in front of you and allow them to hang with the hands in front of your thighs.  The first step in tuning the breath is to pay attention to each one of the points along the journey of the breath. Just like a guitar with six strings, a musician tunes one string and then the next in sequence tuning the instrument to a playable condition; I have identified six locations along the path of the breath to assist you in tuning your breath.

Once each location is dialed in we can follow the breath through each one sequentially as we breathe;  just like strumming the six strings of a guitar chord. Then we will feel the body resonate; the whole body vibrates just like the body of a guitar. This vibration will float the arms and pull the legs straight as we feel the energy rising with each inhalation.

First we start with the nose, and then continue down to the back of the throat just behind the tongue and then moving further down we come to the trachea. The next step down from there are the actual lungs and then the diaphragm and finally the dantian.

All I want you to do initially is to stand still and breathe in and out your nose. Pay attention to the air going in and out of the nose and you may notice the nostrils flaring and the hairs inside the nose moving back and forth and even whatever scents are in the air coming in. Just take a few breaths to get comfortable noticing that part of your breath path, just breathe in and out…

Next, bring your awareness to the back of the mouth where the tongue starts its descent into the throat. Feel the air cascading over the back of the tongue and epiglottis, it may feel just a little raspy as the air goes over this area. Another sensation you might feel is saliva welling up in the heavenly pool beneath the tongue. Just like before, take a few breaths with your awareness on this location until you can feel the breath there.

The next location on the journey from the nose to the dantian is the trachea. With each breath you will feel the windpipe expanding and you may even notice slight pressures on the thyroid gland as the trachea expands. Feel the air moving through the larynx and the windpipe expanding slightly as the air reaches the lungs.  Again, take a few breaths at this location until you are comfortably aware of these sensations.

Now you should feel the air entering the lungs and the top of the lungs expanding slightly.  As the air enters your lungs feel the sternum rise and the rib cage expand slightly, keep your awareness here for a few breaths and pay attention to these sensations.

As the lungs fill with air, bring your awareness down slightly lower to the diaphragm muscle at the solar plexus. If you pay attention here you can feel the diaphragm muscle descending upon each breath just as the air starts to enter the lungs. Keep your awareness at this location until you are sure you can feel the diaphragm muscle moving down and up with each breath.

Beneath the diaphragm, bring your awareness to the dantian, now you are in the abdominal cavity. Notice the pressure the descending diaphragm puts on the internal organs. This gentle massaging motion causes your abdomen to move out slightly. Just keep awareness at this location until you can feel the diaphragm pushing on the internal organs and notice that your belly rises and falls with each breath.

Your awareness of each part of the breath is in now enhanced and you are almost all tuned.  Like the individual strings of a guitar; one by one each area is in tune with the one next to it.  Now bring your awareness back to the nose, this time, follow each breath as it goes through the nose, past the tongue at the back of the throat and moves down the throat and trachea into the lungs. Notice how the diaphragm moves down and up and the dantian moves out and in with each breath.  Continue to follow the breath with your awareness as you do all of your various practices that follow.

Now that you have tuned each area and you have followed the path of the breath from top to bottom and from bottom to top you should notice a resonant frequency in your body.  Remember your hands lying just in front of your thighs, with the upper arms slightly against the side of your chest? With each breath and subsequent expansion of your abdomen your arms will rise approximately 1 inch away from the dantian.  Follow this rising feeling of each inhalation as you inhale and the chest expands, feel the chest rising and the hands floating upwards slightly. Simply let this rising feeling pull the legs slightly straight; remember you were standing in wuji stance with bent knees but now the expanding nature of the breath lifts the whole body up and the legs straighten slightly. When you exhale bend the legs slightly, just allow the hands and arms to float down from their elevated position as the air leaves your lungs and the rib cage returns back to its contracted position.

Each time you breathe you will feel the air come in the nose, past the throat, through the windpipe into the lungs the diaphragm moving downwards and the belly moving out and the hands and legs slowly rising as you fill with air.  Each time you exhale as the abdomen contracts and the arms descend, bend your knees slowly back to the beginning position.

Congratulations, you have tuned your breath and you are now doing basic qigong. All you need to do now is continue to pay attention to the tuning of the breath and let the body move in a rhythmic fashion.

I suggest you tune your breath while standing before doing seated qigong and meditation as well. It is much easier to feel the expanding contracting nature of the breath and body while standing. Once the system is tuned and playing along harmoniously with the body moving rhythmically you may commence doing any qigong form that you wish. Simply breathe slower or move the arms and legs faster to keep the timing consistent and with a little practice to be able to do all the qigong you want while keeping the breath tuned continuously.

Whether moving or still, all qigong and meditation practices are more effective by tuning the breath before you proceed; remember, just keep breathing steadily.

Copyright Cory Williams 2011

Next, try here: Qigong Lesson #1

Longevity Science   6 comments

The picture above shows the 100 Chinese characters for longevity. They are all the same character for longevity, but each one is written differently. A person in Beijing has spent over 40 years to collect the writing of the Chinese character for longevity. So far he has found over 15,000 ways to write the character for longevity. It is amazing that a Chinese character can be written in so many different ways artistically.

I was watching TV yesterday and there was a fascinating show on Discovery’s “Curiosity” about “could we live forever?” Now we all know that this has always been the holy grail of everything about life. Interestingly, this show was right after a documentary about Apple’s creator, Steve Jobs. In just the last few years of his life he came up with the I-phone, I-tunes and the I-pad, these inventions have touched hundreds of millions of people!  Mr.Jobs was undeniably one of the greatest geniuses of human history and yet for all his knowledge and vision he died at fifty-six years of age. Maybe there is a lesson here: what if he had been focused on longevity instead of computers and entertainment?  Perhaps a poignant observation that!

But I digress…. In the show about longevity, hosted by Mythbusters star Adam Savage, he undergoes a series of transformations as he ages and technology emerges at the same time: a very real possibility in this day and age.  One of the first things that happens is he gets connected to a machine that filters all of his blood and removes all the “old cells”. The premise being that as cells replicate they mutate and acquire changes and toxins. This yet to be invented machine takes out all the mutated and contaminated cells.

Years later his brain starts to shrink as is known to happen as we age.  Part of the problem is that his memory becomes full. In the show he gets an external memory device installed. But why do all that if he could just “delete” the old unneeded and harmful old junk that was clogging his brain? I could go on about all the things in this show but I’m just making a point here.

Everything about longevity science in this show has already been addressed by Taoists. All this “new technology” has roots in Taoist practice. The disappointing and truly sad thing about this show was its focus on “mechanical technology” and no mention of “human technology”.  It was all about “what if” and “someday” instead telling people the truth about what is known and available NOW.

Today, after a neighbor showed some curiosity in my qigong practice, I was showing her how I can flow blood to my hands using my mind, and explaining how qigong leads to a longer happier life, she just sort of nodded and walked away. “Funny”, I thought that some people can be shown the elixir and walk away.  As I was walking to my home I thought…What would someone give for one more second when they are at the end of their lives…? I understand some people are suffering and death seems welcome to them, but what if they were not in pain?

Pardon my incredulity for pondering these things, yet we can filter our blood and we can regenerate youthful cells in our body, and we can delete old files in our brain and learn new skills. It is possible to age gracefully and maybe even painlessly.  What then, what would you give for one more hour on this earth?  Or one more day, month, year or decade? We all know it could be over in an instant or life could go on for many years. The technology (qigong and meditation) exists today to improve the quality of our lives and isn’t that alone like living longer? That same technology helps to extend the length of our lives; Taoists know that human life should be at least one hundred years long.

When will the world at large see the light and learn qigong and meditation? Rebuild your life from the raw materials of Heaven and Earth. It is never too late to start, and the sooner you do the sooner you will be adding time to your life. What might Steve Jobs have produced if he had lived for another forty-four years? Maybe it’s a good thing some people don’t go on living too long, like killers, but surely we all would want enlightened people to live longer… oh that’s right, enlightened people do live longer!

Start now and never stop, practice everyday. Don’t be limited by a false belief that you cannot feel and look younger or live better and longer. Have a positive attitude and follow the Way.  Study the Way, there is a wealth of life-sustaining knowledge there. Walk the Way always and forever.  Recreate yourself!

New “Tai Chi for Arthritis” Class at Kaunoa   1 comment

Dr. Lam with some of his students

Update January 2012:

I have just received my newest certification to teach the entire Tai Chi for Arthritis program fully sanctioned by the Arthritis Foundation of America

Millions of people have benefited from Taiji training and yet many have not been able or have not felt able to participate. Now almost anyone can participate in a Taiji program.  For years, I have done classes at retirement homes like Roselani Place and Kalama Heights and I had found a way to bring Taiji to those that have a limited range of movement by simplifying the form. Many of my students cannot stand or walk and yet it has been possible for me to share these life-changing arts with them in this way.

Recently Dr. Paul Lam has designed a system specifically for students in this situation and I have received training from one his trainers. I feel this is an excellent program as it allows everyone to learn some Taiji and is fully accredited by the Arthritis Foundation and backed up with medical evidence as to its efficacy. Having this accreditation is important for application to people with “special needs”.

I am pleased to announce that I will be offering this program at Kaunoa in Sprecklesville starting immediately every Wednesday from 1:00 to 2:00 PM.  For many new students this will be a boon, finally giving them an opportunity to benefit from Taiji.  If you have been holding back because you have felt unable to join before, now is the time to check it out. In addition, for existing students, please tell your friends about this new program it is so simple they can even participate while sitting down.

This program uses a very simplified set of Qigong movements and Taiji form. Derived from the “Sun” (pronounced “soon”) Style it roughly follows the same structure as the Yang style and a beginner could easily learn this style and then segue into Yang Style later. Frankly, I enjoy doing this form as it is performed very slowly and with a minimal amount of stepping which gives it a feeling almost similar to zhan zhuang training.  Proponents of zhan zhuang like Fong Ha and those of you that attended my workshop with him will understand what I am saying.

This program is not intended to replace any of my other training options. I feel Yang Style is still the best for most people and I would not recommend you give up on that practice. Still, my heart goes out to those that up until now have not been able to do my regular classes, and so, at last I have a sanctioned option for those people to discover the wonders of Taiji.

For more information about this program click: Tai Chi for Arthritis

The Ultimate   6 comments

Would you go?

What if you searched your whole life for something; what if you invested everyday and night, thousands of days, tens of thousands of hours, year after year in a quest towards a goal and when you finally did everything you were told and after years of waiting, and then, you found out, there was nothing?

What if someone suggested to you to dedicate your whole life, practice diligently and someday you would find nothing, and you knew that going into the journey; would you be interested in going then; doing all the practices, training endlessly and even though it was a blissful journey, only to find out that there was no end goal, would you still go?

What if you could grasp the concept that everything and nothing are made from the same thing…would you go then?

Tao unravels all the mysteries to truth, peace, contentedness and salvation and yet, in essence, there is nothing there. Everything is possible from nothing; nothing and everything define each other. The journey is all there is, the path to non-doing starts at doing.

Practice long and diligently, then you will find your qi….
Continued practice and dedication will guide you to your spirit…
Practice, practice and practice some more and eventually you will find nothing.

Jing, Qi, Shen is the Way to return to the source…Tao

The spirit dissolves into Tao, just as your practice dissolved your body into qi and then continued practice dissolved your qi into spirit…

A place where all things merge into nothing is waiting for you. After years of practice you will find the truth; eventually bringing you back to the source of all things.

 

Copyright 2011 Cory Williams

Dong Family Qigong Set   Leave a comment

Dong Zeng Chen showing "Single Whip"

Here is a written description of how to perform the Dong Family warmups and qigong set. Italicized comments are from Cory Williams.

I call this “The Basic Set” and it is the first thing I show all of my students.

Shifu Dong told me once; that his grandfather did the “Hard Qigong” set, and his father created the Taiji Gong, “Tiger Mountain” (both sets are still part of our training ) and he created this set I think of as the, “Dong Family Basic Qigong Set.” These are the three basic standing qigong sets , but we all started with this one!

Hat tip to Chip Ellis for transcribing all of this.

Dong Family Practice Aids
Warm Up and Qigong
From Dong Zeng Chen’s Practice
March, 2004
By Chip Ellis
Below is a description of the warm up and qigong routines that are part of the Dong family practice as portrayed in the March 19-21, 2004 seminar in Monterey, California.
WARM-UP

First salute, step up and position yourself in Wuji stance.

Most movements take place while you are standing in an upright position with your feet about shoulder width apart. Body is relaxed, and movement is fluid.
1. Arm Swing – (Master Dong told me this is called “Awakening the Qi”)  – Raise both hands overhead, shoulder width apart. Using your body motion, swing your hands down while bending your legs so that your body assumes a squatting position. Using your body, swing your arms up over your head again and repeat.
2. Left / Right Arm Swing – (We always called this movement the “Chinese Drum”) – While in a standing position with feet about shoulder width apart, use your body / waist to swing your arms from left to right at about waist level. Use a relaxed motion. Your arms should move with a whip like action.
3. Left / Right Arm Swing with Shoulder Touch – Continuing the arm swing above, increase the force of the body movement and direct your hand to the opposite shoulder. In other words, swing and tap your shoulder area.
4. Head Rotation – Stand upright and swing your head through a circle – down in front, toward the right shoulder, up and backward, and toward the left shoulder. Repeat several times, then reverse the direction so that you start by going toward the left shoulder.
5. Shoulder Rotation – Stand upright and rotate both shoulders up, forward, down, and back. Repeat a few times then reverse. Note that when you move your shoulders back you should be “pinching” your shoulder blades (slightly) together.
6. Waist Rotation – Standing upright, place your hands on each side of the small of your back. Move your hips to the right, back, left, and forward. Repeat a few times.  (15 to 20 reps) While you move your hips, keep your head stationary above your feet. Reverse by moving your hips to the left, back, right and forward.
7. Knee Rotation – Assume a squatting position. Place your hands on your knees, then rotate your knees so that they move in toward the center, back, outward, and forward. Repeat a few times. Then reverse the direction so that your knees start by moving outward instead of inward.
This completes the physical warm up movements. Next is the warm up qigong. Move smoothly from the knee rotation to the first qigong movement by moving your hands slowly up from your knees and into the first movement.
QIGONG MOVEMENTS
With all these movements you are moving your energy throughout your body. The movement goes in concert with your physical movements – hands up / chi up, hands down / chi down, etc. The energy movement is too complicated to describe here – work with someone who knows the exercises.  (Read  “Tuning the Breath”, Qigong Attitude” and the qigong lessons on this site.)  The description below is just a memory aid. The names or the moves are from Dong Zeng Chen by way of Janet Bond.
1. Up / Down – Qi Shi Tiao Xi – (Master Dong told me this is called “Floating Hands”) – This exercise involves moving the hands and arms up and down in an ever larger range of movement.
a. Starting from the knee rotation exercise, move your hands up your thighs while you straighten your legs, so that your legs are straight and your hands are at chest level.
b. Bend your legs and move your hands down toward the ground and slightly behind your legs. Keep your hands at about shoulder width.
c. Move up again, this time with hands at about eye level. Down
again. Then up above your head. Then down. Then up so that you stretch your arms up and your heals lift off the ground. The feeling is like someone is pulling you up by the wrists.
2. Open / Close – Ying Yang Jiao Ti – (Master Dong told me this is called “Exchanging Yin and Yang Energy”) –  Separate your feet to slightly wider than your shoulders and point your toes inward slightly.
a. Bend forward with straight legs and bent arms. The motion is like
what you would use to grab up a big armful of hay off the floor.
b. After your hands grab the “hay” and come together, bend your legs and move your hands up the center line of your body. Palms are facing upward, one over the other.
c. Raise your hands over your head, palms moving so they face
downward at that point. Stretch upward.
d. Then separate your hands and bend your fingers so that they point toward the center of the top of your head. As you bring your hands down feel like you are compressing the energy between your finger tips and your head. Move your fingers so they almost touch your head.
e. Then open your arms and lean backward, head facing upward.
The movement is like a flower opening.
f. Then straighten your back and move back to an upright position
while extending your hands out toward each side at shoulder level,
fingers point up, energy in your palms. That completes one cycle.
To repeat, bend your arms, bend your waist, and pick up some
“hay” again.
3. Small Circle of Energy – Xiao Zhou Tian – (“Small Circle”) – This is simple circular movement oriented toward the front.
a. Start in a standing position with feet about shoulder width apart.
Hands are one over the other at chest level, almost touching, with
palms facing in toward your body.
b. By bending at the waist, move your hands down your front
center-line, then down the inside of your legs.
c. When you get to your feet move your hands out to the sides in a
circular motion.
d. Continue the circular movement as you straighten your body and bring your hands up and around like you are gathering in energy all around you.
e. Hands go up over your head and then back to the starting position.
4. Big Circle of Energy – Da Shou Tian – (“Large Circle”) – Start the same as the small circle of energy above.
a. When your hands get to foot level squat as low as you can and
move your hands parallel to the floor, a few inches above the floor,
and toward the front.
b. Then move your hands in a circular fashion toward the outside and behind your heels.
c. Then up the backs of your legs, while your body is bent over, with the backs of your hands almost touching your body.
d. Move your hands up the back of your legs, over your hips, then
toward the front by your belly.
e. Then continue to move the backs of your hands up and around
your shoulders and behind your neck until they meet behind your
head.
f. Moving upward your palms change position so that they touch, like you are praying, above and behind your head.
g. Then continue in the “praying” position and bring your hands
forward over your head and down your face to the starting position.
5. Mix of Internal and External Energy – Hun Yuan He Yi – (Master Dong told me this one is called “Gathering Outside Qi”) – This one is like doing giant circles with both hands from right to left and from top to bottom.
a. Start in an upright position with feet at about shoulder width.
b. Bend forward with hands about shoulder width apart so they are
close to the ground.
c. Using your waist movement, move both hands to the right in a
circle, then up, then left and down to complete the circle. Repeats
a few times. Then reverse direction and go from bottom, to left, to
top, to right. Once you loosen up you can use your waist movement to swing your arms around.
6. Opening and Gathering of Chi – Yi Qi Kai He – (Master Dong called this one “Open and Close”)  Start in a standing position with feet about shoulder width apart.
a. Open your arms wide, with bended arms.
b. Then bend down from the waist and bring your arms together as
you gather in your chi.
c. Then bring your hands up the center-line of your body to your chest.
Repeat the cycle a few times.
7. Looking Left and Gazing Right – Zuo Gu You Pan – (“Look Left, Look Right” as  “Look Left and Gaze Right” is a different move from the second section of the long form) – This move is like
“brush left knee” and “ brush right knee”. (Alternatively it can be preformed , as if it is  “brush knee and rollback”)
a. From the upright standing position, turn your right foot outward to an angle of about 67 degrees. (That’s about half way between 45 degrees and 90 degrees.)
b. Step forward with your left foot, with a slight toe in, similar to the standard foot position in the Yang style slow set or Dong style long form. The movement is similar to brush knee:
c. Move your right arm rearward in a circle while your left arm remains toward the front.
d. In a circular movement bring your right hand near your right ear.
e. Then twist your waist toward the left as your right hand moves out forward. The feeling is like someone is pulling your hand toward the front. It’s not a push, although it looks like one. Feel the
connection between your palm and the little triangle space at the
base of your spine. Stretch. Your eyes first follow your right hand.
f. Once your are fully extended, then rotate your waist further to the left, drawing your left hand back in a big circle. Watch your left
hand.
g. Then in a circular motion bring your left hand to your left ear. Your right hand is toward the front and turns palm up.
h. Then move your left hand forward and your right hand toward the rear, in opposite motion.
i. With right palm up continue to move your right arm rearward in a circle and repeat the movement. To change to the other side move like you would while you are doing the Taijiquan set to transition from brush left knee to brush right knee.  Then repeat the qigong movement on the other side – mirror image.

Finally this brilliant, life changing set of movements has been put into words and posted on the internet. In Taiji on Maui’s  classes we call this the “Basic Set” and it is the core group of movements to be learned by all students and the main practice for beginners. For years I wanted to write this down and now, come to find out, it has been done wonderfully for us. For more information on everything about  “Dong Taiji” go to Chip Ellis’  excellent web site

For more information on various qigong forms that are a part of Taiji on Maui’s curriculum click here: Qigong Sets

Posted September 30, 2011 by The Maui Taoist in Dong Forms, Qigong

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Fong Ha Workshop on Maui 2011   2 comments

Sifu Fong Ha comes from our lineage.... Starting his Taiji training from Master Dong's grandfather in 1953

Join Taiji on Maui and learn from Sifu Fong Ha at our exclusive Workshop this month.

On Sunday September 25th for four hours Master Ha will give detailed instruction in his methods of Qigong and Taiji principles. Starting at 10:00 AM until 12:00 and from 1:00 until 3:00 PM we will be training at a private residence in Maui Meadows.  This class is for students of all levels. We are very fortunate to get a semi private workshop limited to about twenty students for the very affordable price of $25.00.

Fong Ha will be on Maui for a whole week starting on Thursday morning the 22nd at Kamaole beach # III at 6:00AM to 9:00 and 5:15 to 6:30PM.

He has always let folks come and hang out with him and get in some free practice at the beach. I believe we should give back to him by attending the workshop and getting the full class and paying him for his instruction; all proceeds will go directly to him.

Please join us at the workshop and also at Kamaole beach # 3 for the whole week (except Saturday and Sunday) for practice of what you learn at the workshop.

Fong is a very generous and fun man that is a living legend; do not miss this opportunity to train with a genuine Taiji icon. Master Ha started his training in 1953 with Master Dong’s Grand father the great Tung Ying Chieh, he is world renown, and we are blessed to have him for this special workshop.

To Sign up E-mail me @
MauiTaoist@Gmail.com

Or Call 250-4663 or 344-2532

Master Dong Zeng Chen On Maui   2 comments

Master Dong will be here Aug 6, 7 and 8th.

Reminder….

For three days Master Dong will be at the Pukalani Community center.  As we have talked about in class, the best day for most of my students is Saturday morning form 9 to 12. This class will be the first and second sections of the long form.

Here are some Photos from last years workshop:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

________________________________________

The deadline  is now to sign up.  I have already sent the following form to everyone but if you didn’t get the e-mail, here is another copy:

☯ Pukalani Community Center Taiji Workshop Registration ☯
August 5-7 , 2011
Name: _________________________________________
(Print Name: First, Last)
Phone numbers: Home: ________________________ Business/Cellular: _________________________
Email address: ______________________________ Mailing Address: ____________________________
Emergency contact name and phone number ___________________________________________________
Attending: ((( FINAL DEADLINE — JULY 26, 2011))))))
DATE FORMAT TIME AND FEE AMT PD
Friday – Aug 5 Weapons : 9a-11a – Sword ($45) ______
1p-3p – Knife ($45) ______
3:30p-5:30p – Short Form ($40) ______
Entire day ($130 includes lunch) ______
Saturday-Aug 6 Long Form: 9a-12n -Section 1 & 2 ($50) ______
(Lunch NOT provided) 3p-6p All Section (1,2 &3) ($50) ______
Entire day : $100 ______
Catered: Dinner $20 ______
Additional dinner guest(s): ($20 @) ______
Sunday: Aug 7 Advance Sets: 9a-12n Fast Set ( Fa Jin) ($55) ______
2p-5p Slow Set ( Kai He) ($55) ______
Entire day ($110 includes lunch)
DEADLINES (You attention and cooperation to this are appreciated):
• For the entire workshop, please pay $325 before July 4, 2011
• For payments received after July 4, 2010, the amount due is $340.00
• Dinner count and payments for Sat dinner by July 26, 2011
Total Enclosed: ________
Lunch is provided on Friday and Sunday for those participating in the entire workshop. Dinner will be
catered on Saturday evening (Catered dinner -additional fee) We will provide water on all 3 days.
A 3 break is scheduled on Saturday for participants to enjoy a drive down to the beach, sight see in the
upcountry area ( lavender farm, winery, Haleakala), pick up Maui items to take home, enjoy a massage or just
relax. There are restaurants or eateries within walking distance from Pukalani Community center such as
Serpico’s ( Pizza, Salads and Sandwiches), Pukalani Superette ( Bentos), Wei Wei (Chinese), Subways,
Foodland (Deli fare), Starbucks, Minute Stop ( Chicken, Sandwiches), Mc Donald’s & Pizza Hut ( take out
only) If you have a car – La Provence, Polli’s, Casanova’s, Rodeo General Store have wonderful lunches and
more.
Menu:
Friday – Lunch : Sandwiches ( Fish, Spinach Nut Burger or Turkey and Chips)
Saturday – Dinner Menu – to be advised
Sunday- Lunch: ( to be advised)
Please make checks payable to : Audrey Allencastre
Mail to : Dong Tai Chi Maui 286 Kolohala Drive Kula Hawaii 96790

OR e-mail me (corygw57@yahoo.com)  if you have to sign up late and I’ll try to get you in touch with Geri or Audrey

Posted July 28, 2011 by The Maui Taoist in News and Events

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Wudang Taijiquan Long Form   Leave a comment

Single Whip with Master Zhou

Here are the names for all the moves in the Wudang Style long form for your reference.

Wudang Taijiquan Long Form
Part One

1.    Preparatory Posture (Primordial Chaos; Wuji)
2.    Beginning (Birth of Yin and Yang)
3.    Step Backwards with a Snapping Force
4.    Grasp the Peacocks Tail
5.    Single Straight Whip
6.    Lift the Hands and Step Forward
7.    The White Crane Spreads its Wings
8.    Brush the Left Knee and Turn the Leg
9.    Hands Strum the Lute
10.    The White Crane Spreads its Wings
11.    Brush the Left Knee and Turn the Leg
12.    Brush the Right Knee and Turn the Leg
13.    Brush the Left Knee and Turn the Leg
14.    Hands Strum the Lute
15.    Step, Parry and Punch
16.    Closing Off
17.    Cross Hands
18.    Carry the Tiger Back to the Mountain

Part Two

19.    Step backward to drive away Monkey
20.    Double Palm Thrust
21.    Diagonal Palm Thrust
22.    Grasp the Bird’s Tail
23.    Diagonal Single Whip
24.    Under Elbow Punch
25.    Brush the Right knee, Bent Leg Step
26.    Step Back and Whirl the Arms
27.    Diagonal Flying
28.    Empty Step, Pushing Palm
29.    Lift Hands and Step Forward
30.    White Crane Spreads its Wings
31.    Brush the Left Knee, Bent Leg Step
32.    Needle at the Bottom of the Sea
33.    Dodge, Step, Parry and Punch
34.    Open the Window and Watch the Moon
35.    Grasp the Peacock’s Tail
36.    Single Straight Whip
37.    Cloud Hands
38.    Single Straight Whip
39.    Pat the Horse
40.    Lion Kick with the Right Heel
41.    Lion Kick with the Left Heel
42.    Turn the Body, Brush the Left Knee, Bent Leg Step
43.    Brush the Right Knee, Bent Leg Step
44.    Step Forward to Tame the Tiger with a Punch
45.    Dodge to Strike the Back
46.    Step, Parry and Punch
47.    Small Capturing Hold
48.    Right Leg Kick
49.    Beat the Tiger, Left Side
50.    Beat the Tiger, Right Side
51.    Right Leg Kick
52.    Thrust Both Palms Downward
53.    Strike the Ears with Both Fists
54.    Cross Hand
55.    Mount the Tiger
56.    Stand on One Leg
57.    Step, Parry and Punch
58.    Closing Off
59.    Cross Hands
60.    Carry the Tiger Back to the Mountain

Part Three

61.    Step backward to drive away Monkey
62.    Thrust Both Palms Downward
63.    Diagonal Palm Thrust
64.    Grasp the Peacock’s Tail
65.    Single Whip
66.    Part the Wild Horse’s Mane
67.    Grasp the Bird’s Tail
68.    Single Straight Whip
69.    The Fair Lady Works at the Shuttle
70.    Grasp the Peacock’s Tail
71.    Single Straight Whip
72.    Cloud Hands
73.    Single Straight Whip
74.    Push down on the Left with the Single Whip
75.    Push down on the Right with the Single Whip
76.    Single Punch to the Throat
77.    Step back and Whirl Arms on Both Sides
78.    Diagonal Flying
79.    Empty Step, Pushing Palm
80.    Lift Hands and Step Forward
81.    The White Crane Spreads its Wings
82.    Brush the Left Knee, Bent Leg Step
83.    Needle at the Bottom of the Sea
84.    Dodge to Strike the Back
85.    Straight Punch
86.    Step, Parry  and Punch
87.    Grasp the Peacock’s Tail
88.    Single Straight Whip
89.    Cloud Hands
90.    Pat the Horse
91.    Diagonal Palm Thrust
92.    Right Foot Diagonal Thrust
93.    Brush the Left Knee, Bent Leg Step
94.    Lion Kick with the Right Heel
95.    Brush the Right Knee, Bent Leg Step
96.    Left Cutting Palm
97.    Punch the Chest
98.    Grasp the Bird’s Tail
99.    Single Straight Whip
100.    Push Down with the Single Whip
101.    Seven Star Forward Step
102.    Step Backwards to Mount the Tiger
103.    Place the Lotus
104.    Flex the Bow to Shoot the Tiger
105.    Step, Parry and Punch
106.    Apparent Close-up
107.    Cross Hands
108.    Carry the Tiger Back to the Mountain

Posted May 12, 2011 by The Maui Taoist in Taijiquan, Wudang Arts

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Wudang Taoist Taiji & Qigong Workshop Training   4 comments

What an amazing week many of us just had! Personally I am still coming to grips with all that we did and all that I learned after living side by side with Master Zhou and his wife Julie for an entire week.


Thank you Master Zhou for your dignity and grace throughout the week sharing your life changing energy with all of us.

Thank you everyone that supported this adventure into the mysteries of Tao. From the philosophy, the story of a humble upbringing, the history, the spiritual practice and all the way to Qigong and Taijiquan practice it has been quite a week. We are so very blessed to have Xuan Yun as a teacher. We are working on getting another visit next year and this is entirely because of your love for these traditional arts.

If you want to continue (or start) working on Wudang Taoist qigong and Taijiquan, I’m meeting students for a new “Wudang Program” on Saturday mornings from 8:00 to 9:30 AM at Waipuilani park in north Kihei.  In addition, I will be showing some of the Qigong at my regular classes and at next months Kaiser classes.  I am also adding links to a new “Wudang Links” sidebar here on this site. Stay tuned here for future posts and information about “Wudang Taiji on Maui”

Thank you Julie for making it all possible!

The Cloud Traveller

 

Posted April 26, 2011 by The Maui Taoist in News and Events, Wudang Arts

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Taoist Meditation Lesson #8 Heavenly Sojourn   Leave a comment

Connecting the planets

Completing the Small Circle

In the previous lesson, I outlined the basic idea of the Small Circle or Microcosmic Orbit meditation.  Learning to connect your internal solar system will give you much insight into your internal energy. The last lesson leads you through a series of points in your energy system. The point was to bring qi down from the minds eye to the perineum at the bottom of the torso. This involves bringing your awareness to each point along the way for a sufficient length of time that you can feel it at each point before moving to the next one, Basically you were learning the “Yin path“, the downward, relaxing, nurturing and frankly the easy path of energy flow.

If you have become adept at this skill, you are ready to learn the other half of the process, bringing energy up the “Yang path”.  I hope that you noticed how the energy “wants” to flow down the yin path almost as if gravity were pulling it there and in a way, it is. Just to be real about it, there is a mechanical reason for this. By sequentially relaxing downward, your body is allowing blood and lymph as well as the flesh to sag and drain downward towards the earth. Keeping your back straight while this is happening aids the flow by assuring that all the necessary passageways remain open to that flow; slouching or having any misalignment or muscle tension will interfere with this process.

The yin path starts at the tip of the tongue and descends through the tongue, past the thyroid, thymus, heart, solar plexus, dantian, sperm (ovarian) palace, and ends at the perineum. Purists might know that the “Ren” channel ends, and the “Tu” channel starts at the ovarian palace, but the Tu channel “emerges” at the perineum and that is why I start there. These eight places are one-half of the microcosmic orbit, the other seven points are the topic of this article, the “Yang Path“.

In my method, the “Yang Path”  starts just under the skin at the perineum but it is at the coccyx or tailbone where it moves up to the “Ming Men”, gate of life  located just below where the thoracic spine joins with the lumbar spine. It then goes up along the tendons covering the spine, past the kidneys and adrenal glands. From there the path goes between the shoulders at the “Shen Dao”, the path to the spirit, opposite the heart center on the spine i.e.. the third thoracic vertebra near to the thoracic/cervical junction. The next place of wonderment is called “Da Zhui”, the great hammer. Da Zhui is about the C-7, the thoracic/cervical junction, on the spine opposite the throat. From this point, the qi moves upward, goes past the “Jade Pillow” at the top of the spine joining the skull and moves over the skull, up to the Crown Point, and then terminates at the palate just under the minds eye.

When you have completed the yin path and are completely relaxed and all the energy has drained into your hips and pelvis it will coalesce near the premium. You are now ready to bring qi up the spine and recycle the energy via the “Yang path”.

This is a new skill and it can be confusing depending on how you interpret what you are doing in the moment. Just to clarify that statement, some teachers will tell you to “pull the qi to the tail bone using your anus and collect it there“. I would say this too, but invariably pulling and pushing qi up the back channel is not the most effective way to do it, in my opinion. It does work, and you can get started doing it this way and yet if there was an easier way, you might want to try it.

Just tuning the breath and “listening” you may be able to sense the energy moving thought the small circle, that would be very nice indeed. Just sitting quietly and observing the energy flow is fantastic. I would say that is a high achievement. “Moving” qi through the circulation is controlling it. Both are valid and have different applications, for example I like to move qi through the body with my mind so that I can learn how to feel it moving when I’m not moving it!

Before any practice I recommend Tuning the Breath

I recommend that you start to access the back channel (yang path) by first starting at the Crown Point. Just lift up on the Crown Point and feel the head lifting off the shoulders and the spine lengthening and this will pull the tailbone into a vertical alignment, which also opens the pathway at the rear of the anus towards the back. Ah, see now the whole channel is open and now you can pull the energy to the anus and it will be sucked up the spine all the way to the top!  In the beginning, you may still need to coax it up by using your breath and muscle contractions, but as you get better at it, you can reduce the effort and concentration that you apply and spend more time enjoying the results. Each time the qi is at the bottom (Hui yin), open the crown, and allow the qi free access to the top.

From the bottom of the torso, pull up the PC Muscle (this muscle runs from the pubic bone to the tailbone) and you will feel a rush of energy there; this is a simple way of developing perineum power.  This is when you want to gently pull up around the anus and feel the energy go around the anal sphincter muscle to the rear of the anus. The energy is now at the tip of the tailbone. Learn to feel your internal musculature here and you can very gently contract the muscles there and actually create a wave of qi that will move up the sacrum to the lumbar spine and it will collect at the top of the lumbar region at a place known as the “Gate of Life”.

Bring qi up the Du Meridian

It may take a few tries to do this but keep at it and soon you will feel qi gathering at the Ming Men. You may need to rock your hips slightly to open the lower gate, this will help avoid stuck energy there.  Some say it is like “sipping through a straw” each time you take a breath the energy descends some being pulled back up on the next breath. By using a combination of first pulling the spine up from the top, and then going through a series of muscular contractions and breaths you can apply mental energy to move the qi up, up, and up…

Over time, you will feel the energy moving up through the kidneys, and the Shen Dao,  Da Zhui, through the jade pillow and up to the crown.  When you get used to bringing the energy to the Ming Men you will find it has enough inertia to just rather shoot up through the other points.  The yang path may flow fast as the qi rushes up to the top or, hopefully in a more controlled way. This can be a beautiful and rewarding release of energy that can thrill you when you feel it. Remain calm, and enjoy this energy release as you might enjoy a sexual energy release as it its related to that same feeling.  This is also do to the Chong Mai or thrusting vessel (that is another story) that runs deeper directly through the center of your spine.  Once you get used to these types of experiences you may never be the same again, you are gaining control over your energy.

I would not try to analyze this or focus on each individual point on the back channel at this point in your training. These skills can take awhile to acquire, and unless you have been doing this for some length of time, it may be meaningless for you to get too esoteric about it. It is not how much you know, or think you know about “meridians” and all that, what really matters is that you practice often and you keep it simple.

Many of these spine points can be blocked by accumulated postural  stress and may require qigong movements to open them, particularly prone to being blocked are the Shen Dao and Da Zhui. Come to class, or find a good teacher in your area for help with these two places. You do not want a blockage in “the path to the spirit”!

Even though you can now complete the circle, you are still just at the beginning of a new journey. Do not be in a rush, just work on these new skills for a while and get good at “circulating the microcosmic orbit”. You will find that as you get to know this skill you will be able to use this all the time, like when you are doing sitting or standing meditation or while doing moving soft qigong, or Taiji or even use this skill during sex. This is a start of a new level of qigong training, truly “going internal”.  While all forms of qigong training effect you internally, learning the small circle is the beginning of what we call “nei gong”. You are now moving into a higher level of meditation, where meditation and qigong come together and move your mind and body into the realm of pure energy, yet another step on the path of “Spiritual Alchemy”.

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Tai Chi Classes on Maui   2 comments

2013 Public Tai Chi Class Schedule

Current schedule, click here

Schedule notes for January 2013

  • Two New Qigong practice sessions each week!
  • January 17th & 18th I will be doing a Tai chi for Arthritis Workshop at Kaunoa, call 270-7308 to sign up!

Monday at the West Maui Senior Center on Lahainaluna street in Lahaina.  

  • Intermediate Level I Taiji  9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
  • Beginner Levels I & II Taiji    10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
  • Sitting Qigong/Meditation   11:30 PM to 1:00 PM

Monday at Mai Poina ‘Oe  Ia’u Park in Kihei … more info

  • Qigong Practice Session  5:00 PM to 7:30 PM 

Tuesday at the Hui Aloha area (down near the beach road) inside Keopuolani Park in Kahului.  

  • Advanced Level I  Taiji 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM
  • Beginner Level II Taiji  9:00 AM to 10::00 AM

Tuesday at the Kaunoa Senior Center (seniors only) in Sprecklesville Maui.  

  • Intermediate Level I Taiji  11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
  • Beginner Level I Taiji 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM

Wednesday In Kihei-Wailea area; Semi-private: Space available, contact me for more information.

  • Qigong & Taiji, All levels   8:00 AM to 9:30 AM

Wednesday at the Kaunoa Senior Center (seniors only) in Sprecklesville Maui. 

Thursday at Mai Poina ‘Oe  Ia’u Park in Kihei … more info

  • Qigong Practice Session  6:00 AM to 8:30 AM

Friday at the Kihei Community Center’s Aquatics Center classroom next to pool.

  • Beginners & Intermediate Level I  Taiji    7:45 AM to 9:00AM                 
  • Intermediate Level II Taiji  9:00AM to 10:00AM

Saturday at Waipuilani Park in North Kihei   

  • Wudang Qigong & Taiji  Styles  8:00 AM to 9:30AM

Private and Semi-Private Classes available, contact me  here and leave a comment.

Qigong Lesson #5 Harmonizing Yin and Yang   Leave a comment

This is Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do Symbol                                          “Using no way as way” & “Having no limitation as limitation”. The arrows represent the endless interaction between yang and yin

The focus of the last qigong lesson was to introduce the properties of Yin and Yang in the human energy system as it pertains to Qigong practice.  One of the first things qigong students learn is the difference between the way yin and yang manifest during practice. This basic understanding is the starting point to getting to know your energy. Eventually this awareness of yin and yang will be discerned in all of your energy systems.

There are many different “energy systems” in the human being and all of them have yin and yang elements. For example in basic qigong practice the most obvious energy system in the physical body are things like muscles and bones; pneumatic (breath) and hydraulic (blood and lymph) but there are others such as mental, emotional, spiritual, electrical (nervous), and chemical, like hormones and neurotransmitters.

The reality of life is there are no absolutes; energies are always in ebb and flow.  In the last lesson I used a diagram showing the separation of yin and yang, this is only to get a basic understanding of the rise and fall of the energy; this symbol could be called Yin AND Yang. The Taiji symbol is sometimes called the Yin/Yang diagram. Do see the difference between the two? Yin and Yang or Yin/Yang, the difference is the first one defines yin and yang as distinctly different and separate things; the second one shows the harmony between the two.

In the title to my web site, I say “Balance and Harmony for a better life.” Balance and harmony is a common phrase; some people reverse the two words however saying “harmony and balance.”  To my mind though, you need balance before you can have harmony.  This is an important point for you to realize in your training as qigong and Taiji works on us to first balance our energy so that we can harmonize with reality. Again this is true whether we are talking about emotions or our bodies…. For example, if we have balanced emotions then we can harmonize with others.

Harmony is what we get when we have all our energy systems working together in a synergistic way. Synergy is a good word, it is when the sum is greater than the parts; you know, sort of like one plus one equals three.  Now while some of our energies may be “Yang” there will be others that will be “Yin.”  For example, my mind may be yin while my body is yang, while at the same time my legs may be yang while my arms may be yin and my emotions could be yin while my spirit is yang!

Yet it all works together in harmony. When the thinking mind is softened and yin, the spirit fills with energy and could be considered yang. When I am moving my body upward there is energy coming up from my legs which could be considered yang at that moment yet I keep my hands soft (with my mind) making them effectively yin. Yang leads and yin nurtures. For example my intention (yang) tells my body to relax (yin) the relaxed body attracts energy to flow into it, yang.  Lets say for example, the energy (in the form of blood pressure) is down in the legs, (yang) then, when we relax the hands (yin) the energy will flow into them, and back and forth filling and emptying.

While doing qigong notice how you can control the flow of energy when doing the movements by sequentially relaxing and expanding. As you are alternately flexing and relaxing different groups of muscles, you can lead the qi through your body. Remember, the energy wants to flow into emptiness just as electricity seeks a ground or water (and air) flows from high pressure towards low pressure.  In the great source book of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu tells us, “The sage leads by following, by putting himself beneath others they all flow towards him.”  Can you see how the philosophy of Taoism teaches us how to be better people?

Learning to be both yin and yang at the same time (yin/yang) is like bringing together the two halves of who you are. We all have yin and yang elements in play in every part of who we are. Proper qigong and Taiji is all about learning to first balance our energies and then to harmonize all these different energies so that we can find the reality that we need not be so polarized in life as to lose sight of the “big picture”

Like two horses…. The mare and the stallion, named yin and yang…
The stallion leads the way with the nurturing mare just behind him, giving him encouragement and moral support. She wants him to lead, and he enjoys doing the hard work of blazing the trail and such. The clever mare knows how to get him to lead where she wants to go by using her soft nurturing way, and he is glad to go where she wants him to. The two move in harmony due to the balance of their complementary energies.

Go to Qigong on Maui web site

Nothing means anything… You do not “know” anything…   3 comments

To be real we must get over our perceptions that we know things. Knowing, in a way is prejudice, when we think we know something we shut down our awareness and stop being open to the moment.

Who we are changes each moment… we exist as a being not just in a physical form but as an entity in time, the moment by moment perception of reality defines who we are.

As such “who we are” is always in flux if we are always sensitive to the changing circumstances. Whenever I am fixed in my perception of who I am, I forget to take every situation as is comes to me. For example if I perceive myself as a “teacher” then I will act out by trying to educate…..  If I perceive myself as being “helpful” then I will act out by thinking I am above a situation.

I often hear people say……”I help people”  but this in effect is coming from a place that says…..”I am better than the people that I perceive as needing help”

Or for example “I teach” … In reality, no one teaches anymore than the student’s capacity to learn…and so learning is a higher skill than teaching. In this regard the student only “learns” what he wants to from a given experience, the teacher only shows the student whatever the “teacher” thinks is important coming from the teachers perspective.

When a person thinks they are teaching they are putting what they do above the student who is actually doing the work of “learning”.  After all, it is the learning that is important, not the teaching.

Thinking that things “mean something” disrespects the spirit of the moment in that if we are always learning then we must be open to the possibility that maybe “it” means something else…..Every moment has different possibilities. Getting over our perception that somehow we “know“ the meaning of something is a way to finding harmony in a new reality of infinite possibility.

These concepts are a subtle learning we get from Taiji practice. Indeed, it is somewhat arrogant to always be so sure we know what something means.  When we are so sure we know something, we show our lack of understanding that “things are not always what they seem”.

The Nature of Love   4 comments

"Love"

Sensitivity, Understanding, Forgiveness, Compassion, Detachment, Liberation, Nurturance, Heaven

These are some thoughts about love from my Taoist perspective; that compassionate detachment is the highest virtue and discontentment the greatest misfortune and understanding that even “joy” is not always a good thing and that often “sadness” is. Finding a balance with our emotions keeps the qi balanced within our internal organs; indeed unchecked emotions lead to “stuck qi”, the root of most sicknesses.

Some say love is an emotion; I think not.  Emotions, largely, are calls to action, fear, anger, worry, sadness, loneliness, frustration, guilt; all these things are actually telling us what we need. To my mind, “love” is what I would call a “state of being,” the catalyst that facilitates our understanding of our emotions. My previous post about the nature of evil tries to explain how unchecked negative emotions tend to escalate, culminating into a state of being I call “evil”. I did not get this from any book or anything, these are just my personal opinions based on my observations.

Love then, would be the opposite of evil, in that when we respond to emotions in a positive way we move in that direction.  This love is not that “romantic love” that is often controlling, manipulative, and selfish and even at times leads to evil; think of the love/hate relationships many people suffer through.  No, true love is something far greater than that. True love is something many people will never know, oh, they think they know about love, but seldom follow a truly loving path. It can be a very sad thing when one mistakes a greedy, needy, clingy, self-serving definition of “love” for the truth about what is means to really love.

If you reread the post about the nature of evil, you will see I outlined several emotional steps that progressively twist normal emotional signals out of harmony with the truth. Each time we move along the chain of emotions and fail to choose the correct action we unwittingly take a turn each time towards the dark side.  Collectively choosing the “negative” options for each subsequent emotion leads us farther and farther away from ’love” and closer and closer to evil. I attempt to illustrate this with a sliding scale moving from Evil on the left to Love on the right.

Remember the steps leading to evil?
Fear… Anger… Resentment…  Hate… Prejudice…  Domination… Destruction…and Hell.  Today I will give you my corollary to that progressively sick, evolution of animal’s way of dealing with our emotions. The answers are simple really; each negative emotion has an “antidote” so to speak that will (if followed) take one away from the darkness and into the light. Consider the following comparison of each negative emotion and its opposite, one choice leads to Heaven the other leads to Hell.

Fear……………………..…Sensitivity
Anger………………………Understanding
Resentment….……………Forgiveness
Hate………………………..Compassion
Prejudice ………………….Detachment
Domination……………..….Liberty
Destruction…………….…..Nurturance
Hell………………………….Heaven

I know all this is a very common sense thing and yet is seems nothing is so rare these days as “common sense.” Before you let an emotion take you on a ride towards the dark side apply these simple solutions:

Next time you feel fearful, be sensitive to the situation and keep your awareness. If you feel anger rising up, understand that maybe your rules are too strict or maybe you need to explain them better to others or just get out! Instead of resenting others, forgive them immediately, on the spot; resentment is a major pivot point towards evil. Before you find yourself resenting, judging, and hating someone, just find your compassion for whatever may be driving your harsh judgment that leads to hate. If you feel hate it may develop into prejudice about a person or a situation. The answer to these hateful feelings is to just detach from it, no matter how loathsome you may think something is, you can at least be glad that it is not you or about you!  When judging and hating others, people often start controlling and manipulating in an attempt to dominate them, maybe because they feel out of control themselves. Liberate them instead!  Just let it go or get yourself out… Give them all the freedom you would hope for yourself. True love never gives ultimatums or forces people to comply with rules; this applies to government as well. Instead of acting out of frustration at your failed attempts to control and coerce, (and thereby destroying your relationships or your communities) instead be nurturing of the other’s right to be free. All these responses are loving ways to relate that could save your family, nation and our world, if only people would choose them.

Even if only for yourself, follow these principles. According to Chinese medical theory, uncontrolled emotions cause energy to stagnate and damage the organs, for example:

Fear can damage the kidneys and bladder
Anger can disrupt the liver and gall bladder
Passion can upset the heart and small intestines
Worry can damage your stomach and spleen
Grief may lead to fluid in the lungs and obstructions in the large intestine.

Balanced emotions actually benefit each of the organs; healthy emotions cure each other. Later I will explain how healthy anger can cure fear, and how a little passion can help you get over anger; that worry can save you from excess joy and passion, and some grief is a good way to let go of your worries. Coming full circle, some healthy fear can pull you out of grief.

And what makes this all work? What magic element, process, elixir, or “emotion” turns the “wheel of emotions”? You guessed it I am sure. By living in a “State of Love” remaining, Sensitive, Understanding, Forgiving, Compassionate, Detached, Liberating, and Nurturing in all your dealings you can stay forever in Heaven, forever contented and forever loving.

See also:  The Nature of Evil