BENEFITS OF YOGA Becky Watkins, MPS, CT
BENEFITS OF YOGA • PHYSICAL BENEFITS • MENTAL BENEFITS • SPIRITUAL BENEFITS
PHYSICAL BENEFITS • Creates a toned, flexible, and strong body • Improves posture • Improves energy level • Helps maintain a balanced metabolism
PHYSICAL BENEFITS • Enhances functioning of respiratory, digestive, endocrine, reproductive and elimination systems • Can reduce blood pressure • Improves efficiency of lungs • Enhances sleep
PHYSICAL BENEFITS • Promotes cardiovascular and circulatory health • Relieves pain • Improves athletic performance • Improves balance
MENTAL BENEFITS • Calms the Mind • Attunes us to the Environment • Concentration and Mental Clarity are Enhanced
MENTAL BENEFITS • Reduces Stress and Anxiety • Encourages positive thoughts and self-acceptance • Promotes Flexibility
SPIRITUAL BENEFITS • Awakens the Spirit • Builds healthy spiritual awareness • Promotes interdependence between mind, body, and spirit.
SPIRITUAL BENEFITS • Enhances the concept of Oneness of all things • Personal energy connects to divine energy
TAI CHI CHIH GLOSSARYFrom the Writings of Justin Stone • Bubbling Spring Known as Hsueh in Chinese, this refers to the sole of the foot, a key point in Acupuncture. It is the focus of concentration in Tai Chi Ch’uan teachers say that the Chi Energy is drawn up through the soles of the feet (Hsueh) and distributed by the waist, which must be exceptionally pliable.
TAI CHI CHIH • Chi This word has many meanings in Chinese, but in this case refers to the Vital Force, the Intrinsic Energy that flows through the Meridan Channels of the body. It is known as Ki in Japanese, and can be referred to as Prana, Saki, or Kundalini in Indian languages.
TAI CHI CHIH • Chih This word also has many meanings. In Tai Chi Chih, the Chih means knowledge of knowing.
TAI CHI CHIH • Chi Kung The CHI can be separated into Yin Chi and Yang Chi, and the primary purpose of Chi Kung practices such as Tai Chi Chih and Tai Chi Ch’uan is to circulate and balance this Chi. Chi Kung is the science of the circulation of the Chi.
TAI CHI CHIH • Energy Sea Around the Tan Tien, the spot two inches below the navel, there is believed to be a great reservoir of intrinsic energy, the Energy Sea where the Chi is stored. It is from here that adepts in Karate and Aikido bring the energy with a great shout when they smash their fists through blocks of wood, or perform similar stunts.
TAI CHI CHIH • Heart-Fire The physical heart is the great Yang (positive) in the body, and corresponds to the sun in the heavens. The Yang Chi (energy from the heart level) is to be brought down to the spot two inches below the navel, or to the soles of the feet in Tai Chi practice, for healing purposes. The Chi of the great Yang, the heart, is thus the Heart-Fire.
TAI CHI CHIH • Tai Chi Chih A series of twenty separate movements that strongly circulates the Chi. Based on ancient principles, it was developed by Justin Stone and first taught in 1974.
TAI CHI CHIH • Tai Chi Ch’uan First of the Martial Arts, formerly called Shadow-Boxing. Over a thousand years old in China, such disciplines as Karate and Aikido are thought to be derived from it. The classical form is a long dance of 108 movements, a true Moving Meditation.
TAI CHI CHIH • T’an T’ien (pronouncing dantienne) The spot two inches below the navel.
TAI CHI CHIH • Tai Chi Supreme Ultimate; a synonym of Tao.
TAI CHI CHIH • Tao Chinese word for Reality, seen by Chinese sages as a moving force, a flowing stream with which we should accord. It is often called Supreme Ultimate. Taoism is a philosophy that became a religion based on the concept of the all-embracing Tao.
TAI CHI CHIH • Yin /Yang Juxtaposition of any polarity, such as negative and positive. All Chinese cosmology is based on the interplay of these two types of energy, and the Moving Meditations attain their great benefits through balancing of the circulated Yin-Yang energies. It is said by some scholars that the development of the computer was largely due to the Yin-Yang theory.
Walking MeditationOn-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney • Walking Meditation is a wonderful initiation for beginners into the art of Meditation. It is easy to practice, and enhances both physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It is especially effective for those who find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time. Some people enjoy practicing in a beautiful outdoor setting, like a park. Others prefer to practice indoors, due to poor weather, or desire for privacy.
Walking MeditationOn-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney • Walking Meditation should generally be practiced for between 15 minutes to 1 hour. A 20 minute walking meditation can also be used as a break between two 20 minute sitting meditations, allowing 1 hour of meditation without placing undue demands on the practitioner.
Walking MeditationOn-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney • You can practice indoors by walking around the perimeter of your largest room. If you practice outdoors choose a scenic and quiet setting. Walk without a destination. Wander aimlessly without arriving, being somewhere rather than going somewhere.
Walking MeditationOn-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney • Start out walking a little faster than normal, and gradually slow down to a normal walking speed, and then continue to slow down until you start to feel artificial or off balance. Speed up just enough to feel comfortable, physically and psychologically. At first you may need to walk fairly fast to feel smooth in your gait, but with practice, as your balance improves, you should be able to walk more slowly.
Walking MeditationOn-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney • Be mindful of your breathing, without trying to control it. Allow the breath to become diaphragmatic if possible, but always make sure your breathing feels natural, not artificial. Allow the breath to become circular, and fluid.
Walking MeditationOn-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney • Walk with 'soft vision' allowing the eyes to relax and focus upon nothing, while aware of everything. Smile softly with your eyes (see Mirror Exercise in Vision Chapter for details). Gradually allow the smile to spread from your eyes to your face and throughout your body. This is called an "organic smile" or a "thalamus smile". Imagine every cell of your body smiling softly. Let all worry and sadness fall away from you as you walk.
Walking MeditationOn-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney • Walk in silence, both internal and external.
Walking MeditationOn-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney • Be mindful of your walking, make each step a gesture, so that you move in a state of grace, and each footprint is an impression of the peace and love you feel for the universe. Walk with slow, small, deliberate, balanced, graceful foot steps.
Walking MeditationOn-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney • After a while, when both the breath and the walking have slipped into a regular pattern of their own accord, become aware of the number of footsteps per breath. Make no effort to change the breath, rather lengthen or shorten the rhythm of your step just enough so that you have 2, 3 or 4 steps per inhalation and 2, 3 or 4 steps per exhalation. Once you have discovered your natural rhythm, lock into it, so that the rhythm of the walking sets the rhythm for the breath like a metronome.
Walking MeditationOn-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney • After several weeks of regular practice you may experiment with the ratios adding a foot step to your exhalation and later to your inhalation as well. Whatever ratio of steps-to-breath that you settle on, it should feel comfortable, and you should be able to maintain it for the duration of the meditation comfortably. After several months you may find your lung capacity improving. If you are comfortable, lengthen your breath an extra step but avoid trying to slow the breath too much or you will do more harm than good.
Walking MeditationOn-line Instruction with Charles MacInerney • Notice the beauty of your surroundings, both externally and internally. Smile with every cell in your body.
BENEFITS OF YOGAReferences www.kripaluyoga.org www.yogajournal.com www.taichichih.org www.yogateacher.com/text/meditation/on-line/walking.html "Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life" By Thich Nhat Hanh Foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama, published by Bantam Books.
Additional Resources T’AI CHI CHIH A Moving Meditation IT IS ESSENTIAL TO PRACTICE T’AI CHI CHIH ON A REGULAR BASIS. AS THE CHINESE SAY: “YOU CANNOT APPEASE THE HUNGER BY READING THE MENU.”
Rocking Motion 9,18 or 36 times Bird Flaps its Wings 3 sets of 3 Around the Platter 9 times to each side Variation of around the Platter 9 times to each side Bass Drum 9 times to each side Daughter on the Mountaintop 9 times to each side Daughter in the Valley 9 times to each side Carry the Ball to the Side 3 x left and 3 x right THE T’AI CHI CHIH MOVEMENTS
THE T’AI CHI CHIH MOVEMENTS • Push Pull 9 times • Pulling in the Energy 9 times to each side • Pulling Taffy 6 times Pulling Taffy- • 1st Variation-Anchor Step 6 sets • 2nd Variation-Wrist Circles 6 sets • 3rd Variation-Perpetual Motion 18 times • Working the Pulley 9 times to each side • Light at the Top of the Head/ • Light at the Temples 2 x each then circle 6 to 9x • Joyous Breath 3 of 4 breaths
THE T’AI CHI CHIH MOVEMENTS • Daughter in the Valley Passing Clouds 18 times to the right • Six Healing Sounds 3 times each, end with 5 “Schwee’s” • -Ho (pronounced “Ho”) Heart • -Hu (pronounced “Who”) Spleen • -Tu (pronounced “Tsu”) Liver • -Hsu (pronounced “Shoe”) Lungs
The cloud does not insist upon its form, The wave does not force its way Over the ocean, So why should you clutch so tightly Your little map? Follow your heart And know joy in all things. The path of freedom Has no markers, Yet leads to fulfillment: . The path of confusion Is crowded with signs Pointing in all directions. The Great Way is a humble, Solitary path Leading home; Follow it closely and be guided. How do you know you are on the way? When your map no longer serves you. Joy in All Things Haven Trevino
Breathe for your joy to be steady and calm. Breathe for your sorrow to flow away. Breathe to renew every cell in your blood. Breathe to renew the depths of consciousness Breathe and you dwell in the here and now. Breathe and all you touch is new and real. Breathe! You are Alive Annabel Laity
Whatever you encounter, Day and night, Is your life; You should therefore give yourself To each situation as it arises From moment to moment Use your life energy towards that purpose, so that from the circumstances that befall you, you may create a harmonious life with all things in their rightful place. Everything is Your Life • Zen matster Dogen (AD 1200-53)
Wrists Loose Back, neck and head in alignment Arms and torso moving at the same speed Elbows close to your body Sinking down before each movement Upper body held light as if hollow Head straight, not bobbing Leading from the t’an t’ien Gaze soft, focused ahead Knees flexed (soft) throughout moves Total weight shift onto each leg Concentration in soles of the feet Softness and continuity Gentle conclusion Reminders for Meaningful Practice
Softness and continuity are the Essence of T’ai Chi Chih. It is the soft water that wears away the hard rock, the tongue outlasts the teeth. Hardness and confrontation are brittle and destructive, softness and a gentle manner of thinking are life-enriching. Look at the contrast between the oak tree and the bamboo. When a storm comes, the sturdy oak stands solid against the wind until it is overcome and breaks and dies. The bamboo, however, bends with the wind, and when the storm has passed, snaps back into place, unharmed. Softness proves more durable than hardness. Assertiveness takes a back seat to gentle firmness. T’ai Chi Chih becomes a way of life. The gentle movements form a Moving Meditation and an exercise of great efficiency – exercising the inner organs and promoting healing. Eventually it goes beyond this and permeates the life-style of the practitioner. With the soft and rhythmic movement comes a quieting of the emotions. The Chi circulates and is balanced bringing one to a relaxed and meditative state. Since this is cumulative, the practice of T’ai Chi Chih in the morning or in the afternoon before dinner (or both) can become a very pleasant habit that builds up the Vital Force stored in the bones and below the navel. With this accumulation we begin to notice the rapid growth of intuition, creativity, and a strength far different from muscular strength. We find a growth of confidence, belief in ourselves and in the center of our being. Adapted fromTHE ESSENCE OF T’AI CHI CHIHBy Justin Stone • Dorene Krause, • Accredited Instructor • 201-444-9712