Winter is cold.

There is snow in the sky.

The squirrels gather nuts.

The wild geese fly.

The fluffy red fox has his coat to keep warm.

The bear’s in her cave

Sleeping all through the storm.

I’m meditating so leave me be

Unless of course your bringing a cup of tea. 

Happy Holidays! 

The Do Re Me of Meditation

You need to do it for it to work, you need to know what to do for it to work, you need an idea of what it is to know where and how to start doing it….

So many reasons why people struggle with the idea of meditation…you actually have to do something, something that requires structure, discipline and a proactive approach to an activity that for many is intangible. Practice is full of contradiction and encourages us to take responsibility for our actions, it’s as much about life as it is the moment, the former enriched through the latter.

So every day, start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start.

When you read you begin with A-B-C

When you sing you begin with do-re-mi

When you meditate you begin with me – me – me

me – me – me, me – me – me

The first three thoughts just have to be

me – me – me

Then sit – connect – and breathe

Lets see if I can make this simple so it’s easy to repeat.

Me, without me I cannot start, I am at the heart of this important part,

Sitting is something I can easily do, on the bed a chair or in the front room,

Connect with self, moon and sun, eight directions all become one,

Breath is life and life is breath, meditation implies no less,

Now people, me – sit – connect and so on

are only the ingredients we use to build our song,

Once you have these actions in your head,

you can sing a million different tunes by developing them,

the tools with which to best evolve are many and much devolved,

but I think you’ll find the simplest way is always easiest to obey,

life is busy with much to do, keeping it simple gives more space to you.

With your health intact you will in fact

find a life that sings, feeling no need to act,

songs of all kinds factual and fiction free from regret, delusion or  confusion,

life is for singing so don’t waste your breath,

Meditate as and when but remember… simple is always best.

Mountain Qigong and Meditation (Da Shan Qigong) Sunday 3rd November 2013

Da Shan Meditation is a powerful, accessible meditation set that uses posture, breath and intent to calm the mind and strengthen the body to develop self awareness, discipline and inner calm.

Rest, relax and rejuvenate. This Meditation and gentle Qi Gong day will enable you to connect with your body, relax your mind and strengthen the flow of energy through your body.

Sunday’s seminar will look in more detail at the sitting and standing elements of the meditation. Exploring the physical structure and foundation of the body whilst further developing visualisation exercises to gain the most from the practice.

Running from 10am-1pm, in the beautiful Lakes, means we get to meditate at a key part of the day and allows you to go and explore a little as well.

Look forward to seeing you there. 

Success

Determining what is successful or progressive is not easy even when there are tangible means of assessment, you can only look to yourself. The words of others may offer comfort and direction but only you can know for sure. For a warrior toughness should not be measured by physical prowess alone but by their mind intent and spirit. To trust, persevere and overcome in meditation of spiritual and martial nature requires diligence and discipline. I feel blessed to know and train with such a person, Michael Horley GB Judoka.

Press play, don’t press pause, believe, progress, march on. 

Positive habits and the habit of practice

The habit of being healthy and it’s associated behaviour poses a challenge for lots of us. When asked I often recommend that people start with five minutes gentle exercise each morning.  Five minutes is be no means an optimal duration for practice but it provides a gateway to adopting a healthy habit. Commencing and progressing practice without any initial time related hesitation or obstruction is a powerful tool and an important step to establishing new healthy habits.

In reality people rarely spend as little as 5 minutes exercising, once the body and mind are in a state conducive to practice and we realise we are enjoying it we tend to spend more time. For those who need a tight time frame to justify, assess and adopt the new regime I believe a little is better than nothing at all. Even more importantly a little every day goes a lot further towards establishing new habits than a lot once every now and then.

In an article I read recently sports psychologist Helen O Connor described “A habit is an action or behaviour that we do automatically and regularly, without consciously thinking about doing it. This behaviour is associated with some cue that initiates the habit.” 

The process involved in prior to, during and after our 5 minutes of Qi Gong are all part of formulating our positive habit. Providing a context to look at our mind, body and breathing from a fresher, healthier more informed perspective. The knock on effect of that may be far reaching, but without changing our habitual behaviour we will never know.

Most people have tried new diets or exercise regimes only to find once the honeymoon period is over they revert to their old ways. One of the main precepts of Qi Gong is the development of self-discipline but there is an element of chicken and egg involved in that process. I am a great believer in things being enjoyable and fulfilling and always maintain that if Qi Gong, as you have experienced it, is neither of the above then find something that is.  

The content of your practice is also relevant to the formation of new habits. Unsurprisingly research suggests more complex behaviour takes longer to absorb than simpler ones. This again supports the idea that less can be more and that the simpler the practice the greater potential for gains and healthy habit formation.

In Western society we are not taught to meditate and so by it’s very nature Qi Gong and Meditation can present initial complex learning challenges. That is not a reason not to start. On speaking to a teacher earlier today they expressed with remorse that many of the children in there charge seemed to have an inbuilt, default setting to give up when ever the going got a little tough. Their generation did not have the pleasure of listening to Billy Ocean’s When the going gets tough, but we all too often fall into the same behavioural pattern. Out habits and their associated triggers are so deeply engrained through our experiences of life, the media and mass marketing that at times we are unable to break the mould.

Overcoming old habits with positive new ones is a challenge, Empowering yourself is not always easy but it is worthwhile. One of the great things about Qi Gong and Meditation is that they give you tools to address the psychological and physical challenges you may encounter en route.

 

For some of the research behind the thinking have a look at the article referenced above is located at:

http://www.thesportinmind.com/articles/how-long-until-this-becomes-a-habit/

The Treaties on Tai Chi Chuan

T’ai Chi [Supreme Ultimate] comes from Wu Chi [Formless Void] 
and is the mother of yin and yang. 
In motion T’ai Chi separates; 
in stillness yin and yang fuse and return to Wu Chi.

It is not excessive or deficient; 
it follows a bending, adheres to an extension.

When the opponent is hard and I am soft, 
it is called tsou [yielding].

When I follow the opponent and he becomes backed up, 
it is called nian [sticking].

If the opponent’s movement is quick, 
then quickly respond; 
if his movement is slow, 
then follow slowly.

Although there are innumerable variations, 
the principles that pervades them remain the same.

From familiarity with the correct touch, 
one gradually comprehends chin [intrinsic strength]; 
from the comprehension of chin one can reach wisdom.

Without long practice 
one cannot suddenly understand T’ai Chi.

Effortlessly the chin reaches the headtop.

Let the ch’i [vital life energy] sink to the tan-t’ien [field of elixir].

Don’t lean in any direction; 
suddenly appear, 
suddenly disappear.

Empty the left wherever a pressure appears, 
and similarly the right.

If the opponent raises up, I seem taller; 
if he sinks down, then I seem lower; 
advancing, he finds the distance seems incredibly long; 
retreating, the distance seems exasperatingly short.

A feather cannot be placed, 
and a fly cannot alight 
on any part of the body.

The opponent does not know me; 
I alone know him.

To become a peerless boxer results from this.

There are many boxing arts.

Although they use different forms, 
for the most part they don’t go beyond 
the strong dominating the weak, 
and the slow resigning to the swift.

The strong defeating the weak 
and the slow hands ceding to the swift hands 
are all the results of natural abilities 
and not of well-trained techniques.

From the sentence “A force of four ounces deflects a thousand pounds” 
we know that the technique is not accomplished with strength.

The spectacle of an old person defeating a group of young people, 
how can it be due to swiftness?

Stand like a perfectly balanced scale and 
move like a turning wheel.

Sinking to one side allows movement to flow; 
being double-weighted is sluggish.

Anyone who has spent years of practice and still cannot neutralize, 
and is always controlled by his opponent, 
has not apprehended the fault of double-weightedness.

To avoid this fault one must distinguish yin from yang.

To adhere means to yield. 
To yield means to adhere.

Within yin there is yang
Within yang there is yin.

Yin and yang mutually aid and change each other.

Understanding this you can say you understand chin
After you understand chin
the more you practice, 
the more skill.

Silently treasure knowledge and turn it over in the mind. 
Gradually you can do as you like.

Fundamentally, it is giving up yourself to follow others. 
Most people mistakenly give up the near to seek the far. 
It is said, “Missing it by a little will lead many miles astray.”

The practitioner must carefully study.

This is the Treatise

Attributed to Wang Tsung-yueh [Wang Zongyue] (18th Century)

Positively Refreshing – Qi Gong Daily

A hook, an in, a catch

A connection, point of contact, a reminder

A rhythm for the day

A pace

A datum point

A means to positively and calmly commence the day, a gentle awakening for the body, breath and mind, a gradual call to action

A foundation on which to build

A base to which you can retreat

A place of positive beginnings…starting as you mean to go on calm, happy and centred.

Meditation and Qi Gong have daily practical and health benefits that are easily accessible, if you can spare three minutes sitting on the side of your bed each morning then you have the makings of a all of the above.

Daily practice of simplified Deer, Crane and Turtle exercises followed by a simplified traditional Longevity set such as Li Ching Yuen’s 6 exercises will get your day of to a refreshing start. 

Songs of the Eight Postures

The Song of Peng

What is the meaning of Peng energy?
It is like the water supporting a moving boat.
First sink the ch’i to the tan-t’ien,
then hold the head as if suspended from above.
The entire body is filled with springlike energy,
opening and closing in a very quick moment.
Even if the opponent uses a thousand pounds of force,
he can be uprooted and made to float without difficulty.

The Song of Lu

What is the meaning of Lu energy?
Entice the opponent toward you by allowing him to advance,
lightly and nimbly follow his incoming force
without disconnecting and without resisting.
When his force reaches its farthest extent,
it will naturally become empty.
The opponent can then be let go or countered at will.
Maintain your central equilibrium
and your opponent cannot gain an advantage.

The Song of Chi

What is the meaning of Chi energy?
There are two aspects to its functional use:
The direct way is to go to meet the opponent
and attach gently in one movement.
The indirect way is to use the reaction force
like the rebound of a ball bouncing off a wall, or
a coin thrown on a drumhead,
bouncing off with a ringing sound.

The Song of An

What is the meaning of An energy?
When applied it is like flowing water.
The substantial is concealed in the insubstantial.
When the flow is swift it is difficult to resist.
Coming to a high place, it swells and fills the place up;
meeting a hollow it dives downward.
The waves rise and fall,
finding a hole they will surely surge in.

The Song of Ts’ai

What is the meaning of Ts’ai energy?
It is like the weight attached to the beam of a balance scale.
Give free play to the opponent’s force
no matter how heavy or light,
you will know how heavy or light it is after weighing it.
To push or pull requires only four ounces,
one thousand pounds can also be balanced.
If you ask what the principle is,
the answer is the function of the lever.

The Song of Lieh

What is the meaning of Lieh energy?
It revolves like a spinning disc.
If something is thrown onto it,
it will immediately be cast more than ten feet away.
Have you not seen a whirlpool form in a swift flowing stream?
The waves roll in spiraling currents.
If a falling leaf drops into it,
it will suddenly sink from sight.

The Song of Chou

What is the meaning of Chou energy?
Its method relates to the Five Elements.
Yin and Yang are divided above and below.
Insubstantiality and substantiality must be clearly distinguished.
Joined in unbroken continuity,
the opponent cannot resist the posture.
Its explosive pounding is especially fearsome.
When one has mastered the six kinds of energy,
the applications become unlimited.

The Song of K’ao

What is the meaning of K’ao energy?
Its method is divided into the shoulder and back technique.
In Diagonal Flying Posture use shoulder,
but within the shoulder technique
there is also some use of the back.
Once you have the opportunity and can take advantage of the posture,
the technique explodes like pounding a pestle.
Carefully maintain your own center.
Those who lose it will have no achievement.

Attributed to T’an Meng – Hsien as researched by Lee. N. Scheele