Starting Anew

Fall Session Begins!

This week was the first week of classes after our long break and move to a new studio. It was great to be back into a class routine, to meet new students and to feel the softer, quieter energy of the new digs. In all classes, we focused on new entrance and exit procedures, grounding our energy in the new space and getting reacquainted with our practice and each other. Both Qigong and Taijiquan also focused on Standing Meditation, alignment and rooting. Qigong classes further highlighted regaining our flow individually and as a group and acquainting our new students with the movement patterns. In addition to our forms we practiced self-massage techniques. Taijiquan classes further highlighted weight change (move from behind) and waist turn (turn from the front) and how this is applied to each individual movement.  Please spend a few minutes on a regular basis reviewing these principles within the movements that you know as well as observing how they play out in your daily life.  It is as important to take one or two movements and study them as it is to memorize choreography. It is also important to observe your movements in your day to day life, how your alignment is, your relaxation and tension patterns, your state of mind, and so on. All these approaches will bear fruit in your study of Qigong & Taijiquan.

Recommended reading: 

Qigong as a Portal To Presence
The Root of Chinese Qigong, Chapter 3 

The Five Levels of Skill in Taijiquan
The Essence of Taijiquan, pages 96-103

Coming attractions: The Dantien, External Harmonies; Dui-la


One of our students asked how my recent Pilgrimage along the Kumano Kodo might spill out into my teachings. I don't know yet really; I'm actually just beginning to digest the experience. I was however recently sparked by a discussion on a Face Book page I'm connected with regarding the KK. A couple people mentioned they found it somewhat "touristy." I found that really odd; that was not my experience at all. I rarely saw others, all the Innkeepers and other Pilgrims really contributed to the sacredness of the experience, but really, the trail itself defined my experience. It was so difficult I just don't see how anyone can think it is for tourism. It is true, I and others I met had serious obstacles to overcome to even get on the trail: Typhoons, Earthquakes, Pouring Rain, Injuries, along with the slick thousand year old steep stone and gnarled thick tree root paths we had to walk up and down most of the time in strong rain, sometimes 1/2” an hour downpours. Perhaps there are times when the weather and all circumstances would be "perfect" and I suppose then a "tourist" would be happy. At the same time, it is a Pilgrimage, and for over 1000 years, defined as such. And so.... it is about obstacles, not tourism. And also, this was my intention. To have a Pilgrimage, not a tourist experience. 

It occurs to me that our life, our practices are like that too. The "Trail" (whatever it is) & One's Intention define one's experience. What do we want? To be a Tourist or a Pilgrim?

This musing reminds me of something our Taijiquan teacher Chen Xiao Xing said one time to a student, asking of the Laojia Yilu (Mother Form), "How long will it take me to learn this form?" CXX replied, "I can teach it to you in an hour, is that what you want?"