Monthly Archives: September 2013

Heavy Metal: United Tai Chi digest 9/25/13

copperkettle

  • Autumn. Soon a time of crunchy multicolored leaves underfoot.  This past Saturday afternoon ushered in a change of season, a change of temperament.  In the Five Elements of Chinese medicine, autumn is associated with METAL.  It signifies the ascendance of yin and inward movement, introversion. The afternoon of the day, grief, middle age of the human life cycle.  Organs paired with Autumn/Metal are the lungs (regulation of qi and defenders against invasion of illness) and the large intestine (elimination of impurities). And just as in the other elements or seasons, Metal imbalances have emotional impact. A deficiency may manifest as fatigue, inability to complete projects, repeating the same destructive patterns of behavior, perfectionism, fear of being harshly judged. An excess could highlight rigidity, neatness, precision, persistent grief or being overly judgmental of others. Gail Reichstein writes in Wood Becomes Water: Chinese Medicine in Everyday Life, “A balanced metal element allows us to move beyond the situations that disappoint us, cutting through pain and grief to isolate the wisdom each experience holds. We recognize that loss is a part of life and do not cling to what is no longer within our grasp. Healthy metal keeps us present in the moment.”  I can’t decide if I err more on the side of metal in excess or deficiency, as I can see evidences of both. Perhaps someone from the outside looking in could spot it better than myself (ah, but please don’t judge me harshly).  What is it that you still cling to or haven’t moved beyond? Or, perhaps, you are present in the moment with a healthy metal balance.  In a feng shui sense, bright copper kettles can balance you (but alas, no mention of raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens).  Add some root vegetables and some Qi Gong and Bob’s your uncle.

 

  • Wrap-up of the past week’s classes:  Took an in-depth look at the combination posture Grasp the Sparrows Tail (ward off, neutralize, press, wipe off, push).  John C, I’m not sure if he said “a fish distance” or not, but it gave me a chuckle.  Fran our long time yoga practitioner reminded us of the breaths per minute cycle. The yin versus yang components of several postures. Looked at the earth hand palm transitions in Brush Knee. Thirteen postures. Started some drills on the Eight Powers.  Looked at weight shifts and hip positions in Split/Ward-off and also the Parry Re-direct. Eight pieces of brocade.  Repeat drills on individual postures (my right thigh just developed an allergy to cranes). And speaking of upper respiratory health, blessings to all of our snifflers and coughers this week.

 

  • Shares/Finds:  From to book Iron and Silk (Mark Saltzman); this kind of reminds us of learning Tai Chi, no?  “In Chinese calligraphy, a single dot requires as many as five distinct motions of the wrist and shoulder to be formed properly, and that same dot will be formed differently depending on which of the several tens of established styles you are studying. Once you are able to brush the dots, lines, hooks and circles, you must learn how to put them together into aesthetically balanced characters. After that, you learn to write the separate characters as if an invisible, unbroken line existed between them, to give them continuity and life.”   

 

  • Student News and Upcoming Events:  Join us for another Qi Gong workshop at Kerr Park in Downingtown, Saturday September 28, 2pm, $25 (bring a mat and a water bottle). DVD night coming soon.   Welcome new student Mary, welcome back Jaclyn, safe travels Cosmo, and we’ll be keeping Ron & Joy’s family in our good intentions this week.  Nice start to the fall session with Chester County Night School this week. Some years back, Saturday Night Live  had a sketch called “Deep Thoughts, With Jack Handy”.  Well I want to thank those of you who have responded with your own ‘deep thoughts’ in response to last week’s newsletter on spirituality in internal arts. It is tremendously gratifying, both as a Tai Chi student and a writer, to get that kind of feedback and to see a seed that you planted germinate into a larger dialogue (thanks Deborah, Claudia and Christian).  Welcome new WordPress follower lukescott313 – you may want to visit his site at  http://derekcheyyim.wordpress.com    one of the videos on there is a lovely Tai Chi 24 form. 

 

  • Weekly Schedule:

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

M / W / F

7:30 AM

AFTERNOON

Eagleview YMCA …699 Rice Blvd  Exton PA

Tues/ Thr

4:45 PM

EVENING

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90   minute, small class attention, separate   fees apply]

Thursday

7:00 PM

 

  • Follow these links to our social media presence on the web:

FACEBOOK   http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

TWITTER       http://www.twitter.com/unitedtaichi     

PINTEREST   http://www.pinterest.com/unitedtaichi

 

Have a great week, and may all your armpits have tuna sandwiches.

Kathleen Rice  unitedtaichi@gmail.com    

Spirituality in Internal Arts: United Tai Chi digest 9/18/13

  • Spirituality.  A loaded word, a hot button topic, as spirituality means so many different things to different people.  Tai Chi and the internal arts leave a door open for spiritual pathways and often cultivate a greater appreciation for the divine.  Several books have touched on this topic.  Tai Chi: Health for Life (Bruce Frantzis): “Spirituality involves the process of exploring, finding and remaining in a divine or spiritually open state all the time—often referred to as enlightenment. The capacity to concentrate deeply is one major essential ingredient needed to become enlightened. In this regard, tai chi helps you develop extremely subtle concentration abilities.”  The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi (Peter Wayne) lists one of the eight active ingredients as Embodied Spirituality – “Tai chi creates a practical framework for practicing living with more holistic Eastern philosophy that integrates body, mind and spirit. It can also be a powerful vehicle to add spiritual dimension to your life. Also the ritualistic practices of Tai Chi may help amplify and sustain its therapeutic benefits.”  The Wandering Taoist (Deng Ming-Dao) talks about the humility/selflessness component of spirituality; “Use your knowledge in the service of others, but expect nothing in return. Never seek a reward for your labors, for that is a sin.”  Likewise the naturalism bent (communion with the outdoors and studying the meditative and self-healing nature of animals) inherent in Tai Chi lends itself to the devine. Chang Tao-Ling and Lau Tzu speak of the energies of heaven, earth and man as The Three Pure Ones and “by receiving these spirits into the microcosm of the body, one becomes a child of the Tao” (Mantak Chia, Awaken Healing Light).  The Taoist view of spirit, or Shen, is related to one’s attitude or emotional energy.  How have your internal arts practices impacted your exploration of spirituality?

 

 

  • Wrap-up of the past week’s classes:  Several opportunities to expand the depth of your practice these past few days. Discussing heaven’s bridge and the unbroken circle. Finding answers to a posture in the martial application of it. Stories about the Phoenix and how each of us in the warm-up circle represents a feather that has been dropped by the mother-figure; then we in turn drop feathers of new students we bring.  Reasons to augment your Tai Chi practice with complementary arts like Bagua and Hsing-I.   Of course, topped off by our on-going Tai Chi studies including how to find room for your tuna sandwich under your armpit by turning the elbows out (armpit = the kwah of the shoulder). Growing like a tree Qi Gong.  Eight Pieces of Brocade. Relaxing the knee of your weighted leg for balance.  Ten breaths discussion/tips/movement explanations. Harmonies –e.g., the elbows and kidneys are “cousins who are good friends.”  Kidney breath. Dragon tongue kick. 
  •  Student News and Upcoming Events:  Welcome new students Wanda, Gloria and Alma; and welcome back Ellen and Jay.  John C saw his son off into matrimony this weekend. Christian’s next Qi Gong workshop is Saturday September 28, 2pm –invite friends, all levels welcome  (Kerr Park, $25, or $5 discount if wearing our United Tai Chi shirt).  If you bought course # 13FFH710 through Chester County Night School, Christian starts those Monday night sessions on 9/23.  Internal arts DVD Night –coming soon. TaoistHealingEnergetics.org in Berkeley is a new Twitter follower, try and check out their site if you are curious about Chi Nei Tsang.  Some people don’t like a birthday acknowledgement, so an early Feliz Cumpleanos to one who’s name rhymes with “Ron”. Likewise a happy belated to Deb, and an (early) Bonne Fete or Joyeaux Anniversaire to Chris S!  Glad to hear there is renewed interest in the night class at the natural pharmacy via email inquiries and current afternoon students—excited to share that with those looking to augment and broaden their study. Ray thanks for the LinkedIn endorsement.  And hey, I got a reminder on this auto health tip this weekend –car batteries don’t last forever.  Martina, Liz and Claudia: thanks for the advice, praise and/or social engagement these past few days.
  • Etcetera:  Let me know which of you would like that Lyme disease treatment report from local chiropractor Dr. Ned Culbertson. I will get an E-distribution-list together and spot send to just those interested.

 

  • Weekly Schedule:

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

Eagleview YMCA …699 Rice Blvd  Exton PA

Tues, Thurs

4:45 PM

EVENING

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 minute, small   class attention, *separate fees apply]

Thursday

7:00 PM

 

  • Follow these links to our social media presence on the web:

FACEBOOK   http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

TWITTER       http://www.twitter.com/unitedtaichi     

PINTEREST   http://www.pinterest.com/unitedtaichi

 

Have a great week, and may all your armpits have tuna sandwiches.

Kathleen Rice       unitedtaichi@gmail.com     

Group Rate: United Tai Chi 9/11/13 digest

One of our students practicing abroad.

One of our students practicing abroad.

  • Connecting groups.  Small group discussion. Study groups.  Earlier this spring we talked about one of the eight “Active ingredients” that Peter Wayne mentions in The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi (social and community interaction). Even Saihung in The Wandering Taoist has two acolytes –Sound of Clear Water and Mist Through a Grove, as he starts his exploration.  Though sometimes we like to practice alone, in the quiet of our own internal spaces, we cannot deny that part and parcel of our Tai Chi practice is the effect of others and the shared experiences of a group dynamic.  Why were at least 75% of congregants wearing the color blue at a service this weekend? There was no memo, nor email, phone-tree, smoke signal, et al, saying ‘Hey everyone were blue at 9am’.  There was not a special Blue holiday that I was aware of. No cookie monster nor Blue Man Group tribute.  And yet, just like with our fellow Tai Chi players, we were somehow part of a shared experience or connecting path, a sociological phenomenon, a mystical telepathy that keeps us stitched to one another.  How were you impacted by groups this week?

 

  • Shares/FindsInteresting article about how even the way you chop and prepare your food or your posture while standing can utilize Tai Chi influence to impact the result of the meal  http://yang-sheng.com/?p=9311    You can listen to Tai Chi instructor and blogger Bean Curd Boxer (Paul Read) wax poetic on “What is Rooting” in this audio podcast http://teapotmonk.podomatic.com/entry/2013-09-02T07_16_26-07_00  Bruce Frantzis of Energy Arts is promoting colleague Paul Cavel’s program launch of “Five Keys to Taoist Energy Arts” by rolling out a small video once a week, starting with (1)Circling Hands and (2)Building your qi with standing QiGong.  See http://www.energyarts.com/blog

 

  • Wrap-up of the past week’s classes:  Welcome new students Dolores, Cosmo and Peter.  Two parts of Yang 108 Tai Chi form, ten breaths, thirteen postures. More tai chi walk/balance practice. Left foot transition options in Dragon Tongue Kick (beginner vs advanced; thanks Ron). Scissor step discussion for Play the Pan Pan. Practice testing your ability to block out radio/TV noise or monkey mind intrusions.

 

  • Student News and Upcoming Events: Thanks Rim for sharing your note about using your Tai Chi breathing practices during physical therapy. Welcome B.M.A. Italy @baguacademy to our Twittersphere. It is nice to see Christian back again after being sidelined last week. Jaclyn thanks for the update (and photos) from abroad –setting a fine example with your travel Tai Chi practice.  Happy belated birthday Irene.   Boot Road Park Monday nights…your last class is 9/16.  Thanks Deb for your comments on proprioception (9/4 Wordperess) and emptying (9/9 Facebook), and good luck to your dad.  Next week: another wayward summer traveler back in town?  Christian’s next Qi Gong workshop is Saturday September 28, 2pm –talk it up!

  

  • Etcetera:  Liz, I did not hang on to the railing this weekend, thanks.  Baby steps.

 

  •  Weekly Schedule:  (note Monday night wind down soon)

 

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

Eagleview YMCA …699 Rice Blvd  Exton PA

Tues, Thurs

4:45 PM

EVENING

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

  [90 minute, small class attention, *separate fees   apply]

Thursday

7:00 PM

Monday night beginners

Beginners  at Boot Road Park (last   class 9/16/13)

110 W. Boot Rd  West Chester     $10 drop in rate.

Monday

6:00 PM

 

  • Follow these links to our social media presence on the web:

FACEBOOK   http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

TWITTER       http://www.twitter.com/unitedtaichi

PINTEREST   http://www.pinterest.com/unitedtaichi

 

Have a great week, and may all your armpits have tuna sandwiches.

Kathleen Rice       unitedtaichi@gmail.com    

The Advocate: United Tai Chi 9/4/13 Digest

Qi Gong workshop Kerr Park 8/31/13

Qi Gong workshop Kerr Park 8/31/13

  •    Advocacy.  Are you sharing your enthusiasm for internal arts with friends, or rather do you sometimes feel like a Tai Chi nerd inside a bubble. We had a guest speaker at my church this weekend who related a story meant to convey his earlier social awkwardness inside what he called a Christianity bubble. When he was younger he spotted recording artist Dave Matthews in a shopping center parking lot and chased him down into a chocolate store, whereupon, having finally gotten to meet the performer he admired and ask for an autograph, could only think to say to him ‘You did a concert at my university last year, I heard it was a really good show. I did not go because the tickets were $75 and I thought that was too expensive.’  In his early years belonging to a faith or a group, Shelby felt a social awkwardness that sometimes left him feeling un-relatable or nerdy, but he eventually came to be a speaker/writer/advocate of what he was interested in.  I have been fortunate to witness that transformation in many of you students of the internal arts (and indeed myself)– the need to share, discuss and promote what it is that you have come to experience over time, inside yourselves. Thank you for continuing to be advocates of the mental, physical and emotional health benefits of Tai Chi to your community.

 

 

  • Wrap-up of the past week’s classes:  Tai chi walk, ten breaths, thirteen postures (worked on the wipe off, sink and push) and part I of Yang 108 done to the left.  Thursday, worked on our transitions between ward off postures or single whip; and another go at part I of the form done to the left. Holiday break.  Tuesday:  Thank you for your calmness and assistance and this was a place/moment for your healing energy intention.
  •  Student News and Upcoming Events: Thank you to Christian for the cleansing, healing and thoughtful Qi Gong workshop this past weekend in the park, and a big shout out to those who shared the day with United Tai Chi – Chris S, Chris M, Linda, Deborah, Judith, Martina, Steve, Phil, Jay, Al, Ellen and myself.  If you were unable to attend, be sure and catch the next one (and bring a friend).  Thanks Jay for the book download.  Thanks Ron for the Twitter follow. Books I’m navigating this week:  “Awaken Healing Light” (Mantak Chia) and soon pending shipping, “The Wandering Taoist” (Deng Ming Dao).  Thanks Judith for the free advertising at the mall–sporting our shirt out in public. Welcome Sifu Karl Romain to our FB page, nice to find you on that Dr. Oz video. For those of you who missed it, here is the link http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/boost-your-immunity-tai-chi  One of the things I learned so far in “Awaken Healing Light” is that 2 of the ways we lose some of our ‘original qi’ are whenever we menstruate, and when we are talking too much – so you know what that means…I need to stop menstruating (ha!)

 

  • Vocab word bonus: Proprioception  –“an inner sense that works the central nervous system. The ability of your brain to communicate and coordinate the movement of different parts of your body. Your reflexes working to keep your body in balance. Nerve endings sense your body’s location and muscle spindle fibers communicate information to allow the muscles to maintain proper tension to support the joints. Good exercises to improve proprioception are those that challenge your balance and equilibrium—like tai chi.”  (courtesy of YangShen.com)

 

  •  Weekly Schedule:

 

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

Eagleview YMCA …699 Rice Blvd  Exton PA

Tues, Thurs

4:45 PM

EVENING

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

  [90 minute, small class attention, *separate fees   apply]

Thursday

7:00 PM

Spring/Summer Evening

Beginners  at Boot Road Park (weather permitting)

110 W. Boot Rd  West Chester     $10 drop in rate.

Monday

6:00 PM

 

  • Follow these links to our social media presence on the web:

FACEBOOK   http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

TWITTER       http://www.twitter.com/unitedtaichi

PINTEREST   http://www.pinterest.com/unitedtaichi

 

Have a great week, and may all your armpits have tuna sandwiches.

Kathleen Rice       unitedtaichi@gmail.com