Posts Tagged ‘longevity’

T’ai Chi and Your Immune System

Friday, February 21st, 2014

T’ai Chi and Your Immune System

T’ai Chi practitioners know that they experience better overall health, but what are the mechanisms involved?  Dr. Peter Wayne, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School is inclined to believe that movement, breathing, attention, visualization, and rich psychosocial interactions, make Tai Chi a powerful, multidimensional tool for improving  one’s health.*

T'ai Chi, Immunity, Immune system,shingles,T Cells,diabetes,qigong, tantric qigongAccording to a recently published article in Asian Fortune Magazine, T’ai Chi can be a powerful force for improving the functioning of your immune system.** Tai Chi can create more efficient, deeper breathing and better blood circulation, allowing antibodies and cellular components of the immune system to better reach marauding pathogens and neutralize them.

 Shingles  The University of California – Los Angeles conducted a research study that found that 25 weeks of consistent T’ai Chi practice improved immune response to the shingles virus compared to people who received shingles vaccinations but did not practice Tai Chi.  When Tai Chi practice was combined with vaccination, the seniors’ immune response was twice as high as vaccination alone.*** This level of immune response would be comparable to a person thirty years younger, thus T’ai Chi can lead to a kind of “re-youthing” effect.

Improving T Cell Function and WBC Counts  Chang Kung University in Taiwan found that the regular practice of Tai Chi Chuan enhances T cells function in the immune system. This is of particular importance to the T cell function of patients with type 2 diabetes.****  The Chinese Culture University in Taiwan found that Tai Chi Chuan helped increase circulating myeloid dendritic cells, whose main function is to process antigens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) and help the T cells of the immune system to recognize the invaders.  They kind of “out” the invaders so the T Cells can find and attack them. The researchers also noted that “white blood cell (WBC) count in the entire TCC group was greater than that of the controls.”*****

Preserving DNA Integrity A study at the University of Kebangsaan in Malaysia suggests that the regular practice of t’ai chi chuan can reduce damage to one’s DNA. 35 adults over the age of 45 who had practiced tai chi at least 7 years were compared to 35 individuals who did not practice T’ai Chi The individuals practicing T’ai chi had increased levels of normal DNA and lesser levels of damaged DNA compared to the control group who did not practice T’ai Chi.******

 The weak can overpower the strong; the flexible can overcome the rigid, the whole world can perceive this, but does not put it into practice. Tao Te ChingLao Tze

The consistent and steadfast practice of T’ai Chi Chuan promotes increased vitality, flexibility, improved mobility in the elderly and those recovering from illness or accidents, better emotional balance, and a greater sense of overall well-being. © 2014 Keith E. Hall and Inner-Tranquility.com  All rights reserved.

*Wayne, P The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind Harvard Health Publications and Shambhala; April 9, 2013

 **Can Tai Chi Boost Your Immune System?  Asian Fortune Magazine Dec. 23 2013

 ***Irwin, M.R., et al. Augmenting immune responses to varicella zoster virus in older adults: A randomized, controlled trial of Tai Chi. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2007), 55(4):511-517

 ****Yeh, et al, Regular Tai Chi Chuan exercise improves T cell helper function of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with an increase in T-bet transcription factor and IL-12 production  Br J Sports Med 2009;43:845-850 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2007.043562

*****Chiang J, et al, Tai Chi Chuan increases circulating myeloid dendritic cells. Immunol Invest. 2010;39(8):863-73. doi: 10.3109/08820139.2010.503766. Epub 2010 Aug 18.

******Med J Malaysia. 2008 Oct;63(4):319-24.

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T’ai Chi and Longevity

Monday, August 12th, 2013

T’ai Chi and Longevity

A five year study of mortality in 61,000 men has determined that practitioners  of T’ai Chi were less likely to die than non-practitioners.

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Dr. Zhang noted that the findings are consistent with other studies that found health benefits related to this form of qigong (chi kung, chi gong) exercise.  “It combines slow motion exercise and mind concentration to focus on movement. That itself can reduce your stress and, of course, it will increase your flexibility and endurance,” said Dr. Zhang.  Zhang said the findings support tai chi as a healthy activity, “I think for the elderly people, especially to maintain flexibility and balance, this is a good option for people to consider.”**

Research has shown T’ai Chi can be performed in as little as 10 minutes a day,  is beneficial for persons with many chronic conditions, including, but not limited to fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, menopause, insomnia, stress and mental health in students, and by improving balance among the elderly.

Dr. Chenchen Wang, director of the Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, told Reuters that the results are interesting, and “they provide a very important foundation for future research.” © 2013 Keith E. Hall Inner-tranquility.com All rights reserved.

*American Journal of Epidemiology, doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt050  online June 27, 2013.

**Reuters online editon, Thursday July 18, 2013

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Qigong and Blood Pressure

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Qigong and Blood Pressure

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It is well known that moderate exercise and relaxation are helpful in the reduction of hypertension. Qigong (Chi Kung), with its gentle movements and coordinated breathing patterns, might seem to be an ideal exercise candidate for reducing blood pressure. Calming, centering and mildly aerobic in the sense of continuous conscious breathing, qigong has obvious benefits in promoting a relaxation response. But does it actually lower blood pressure?

There have been several interesting medical studies done on this question. BM Cheung, et al of the University of Hong Kong conducted a randomized controlled trial to study the effect of Guolin qigong on blood pressure.   88 patients with mild essential hypertension were recruited for a four month qigong and exercise program. they found at the conclusion of 16 weeks of training that their patients had lowered their blood pressure by an average of  11 points. they also found that “General health, bodily pain, social functioning and depression also improved…”*

MS Lee, et al did a study of 58 volunteers with essential hypertension split into a qigong group and a control group to investigate the efficacy of Qigong as a non-pharmacological treatment.  After 10 weeks of qigong training both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure significantly decreased. The researchers observed “a significant reduction of norepinephrine, epinephrine, cortisol, and stress levels”  in the Qigong group. The authors conclude that “these results suggest that Qigong may reduce BP and catecholamines via stabilizing the sympathetic nervous system.  Therefore, Qigong is an effective non-pharmacological modality to reduce BP in essential hypertensive patients.”**

Reporting in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Lee’s group of researchers also noticed improved breathing among the qigong patients participating in this study. “The ventilatory functions, forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume per sec., were increased in the Qigong group but not the control. These results suggest that Qigong may stabilize the sympathetic nervous system” and improve “ventilatory functions in mildly  hypertensive middle-aged patients.”***

These studies show the efficacy of qigong practice in reducing blood pressure, pain and stress levels, increasing lung capacity and breathing, and improving social functioning, depression and general health within 10 – 16  weeks. (c) 2013 Keith E. Hall and www.inner-tranquility.com All rights reserved.

*Cheung BM, Lo JL, Fong DY, Chan MY, Wong SH, Wong VC, Lam KS, Lau CP, Karlberg JP. Randomised controlled trial of qigong in the treatment of mild essential hypertension. J Hum Hypertens. 2005 Sep;19(9):697-704.

**Lee MS, Lee MS, Kim HJ, Moon SR. Qigong reduced blood pressure and catecholamine levels of patients with essential hypertension. Int J Neurosci. 2003 Dec;113(12):1691-701.

***Lee MS, Lee MS, Choi ES, Chung HT. Effects of Qigong on blood pressure, blood pressure determinants and ventilatory function in middle-aged patients with essential hypertension. Am J Chin Med. 2003;31(3):489-97.

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Qigong, Osteoporosis and Bone Density

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Qigong, Osteoporosis and Bone Density

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In an study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion and the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials was undertaken to determine the health benefits of Qigong, including various T’ai Chi forms.  T’ai Chi is a more recent moving form of the ancient practice of  Qigong.  This article deals specifically with results pertaining to osteoporosis and the ability to recover bone density.

The usual recommendations for increasing bone formation and strength are resistance and weight bearing exercise. Although Qigong does not usually involve significant resistance in the muscular sense, and only nominal weight bearing, four separate studies revealed positive effects on bone wellness.  This was particularly noticeable in post menopausal women. Bone loss was slowed and fractures were less common. One study showed improved bio-markers for bone health.  More specifically, bone density actually increased in women.  Additionally, H H Chen showed that a 12 week program of training in The 8 Treasures (Baduanjin qigong) showed significant improvements in bone mass compared to a control group.

This results may seem counter-intuitive for practitioners steeped in the western allopathic model. How can bone mass increase with no resistance training and only minimal weight bearing? This one of the very many mysteries to the western mindset of these ancient Taoist practices. It may very well be possible that these outcomes are related to the stimulation of the endocrine system via the channeling of vital energy (qi, chi) through the chakras, which have partial control over the functioning of the endocrine glands. We study this in some depth in our advanced levels of Tantric Qigong training. (c) 2013 Keith E. Hall and www.inner-tranquility.com  All rights reserved.

Jahnke, et al. A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi. Am J Health Promot. 2010 JUL-AUG; 24(6): e1–e25.
US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health PMC3085832.
Chen HH, et al. Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(5):741-7.   PMID: 17080541

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History of Qigong

Friday, December 10th, 2010

The Origins and History of Qigong

Prehistory

The origins of Qigong are shrouded in mystery and the mists of time and mythology. In prehistoric China, the precursor to Qigong (Chi Kung, xiwang, tantric qigong, 8 treasures, eight section brocade, ba duan jin, 8 pieces of silk, 8 twists of silk, 8 brocades, qigong, self mastery, self-responsibility, qigong for self mastery, qigong for enlightenment, enlightenment, self actualization, self realization, spiritual awakening, spiritual evolution, kriyas, kriya yoga, kundalini, kundalini yoga, kundalini awakening, kundalini activation, kundalini rising, meditation, kundalini meditation, wu wei, t'ai chi, taiji, t'ai chi chuan, t'ai chi chuan yang style, long form, qigong meditation, Vipassana, Zen, inner tranquility, inner peace, Emotional-Spiritual Intelligence, bioenergetics, neo-reichian, Reich, orgone, qi, chi, ki, vitality, life force, chakras, tumo, dumo, dantien. tan tien, hara, bagua, Taoism, taoist, taoist tantra, tantra, tantra yoga, dakini, daka, goddess, tantrika, tantrik, stress, stress management, 10 minutes, 10 minute exercise, 10 minute stress, 1 minute stress management, 1 minute meditation, 60 second relaxation, 60 second stress manager, personal growth, spiritual growth, yoga, Sifu, classes, instruction, workshops, seminars, Intention, Manifestation, power of Now, Presencing, Being Present,The secret, Yoga Nidra, Higher Consciousness, The Law of Attraction, What the bleep, Buddha, Buddhism, Tantric Buddhism, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Aspen Hill, silver spring, Brookeville, sandy spring, Laytonsville, Potomac, Derwood, Montgomery County, Frederick, Germantown, Maryland, District of Columbia, Washington DC, guided meditation, visualization, Theta brainwave entrainment, guided relaxation, online programs, meditations CDs, meditation downloads, meditation mp3, ambient nature sounds, ocean surf, pheromones, self healing, qigong yoga, energy yoga, chakra yoga, chakra qigong, chakra chi kung, Chakra meditation, Howard County, Columbia, Frederick, Baltimore, Northern Virginia, Prince Georges CountyChi Gung) and other Taoist practices was basically shamanistic in nature. In northern China and Mongolia shamans studied nature in order to enhance their basic survival. They observed that when the energies of Earth and Heaven were in balance, things were good. Their perception of floods, blizzards, droughts and earthquakes was that they were caused by a temporary imbalance in the Earthly and Heavenly energies. Close observation revealed that humans could reflect the relative balance of natural forces within themselves, thus affecting their mental, emotional, and physical health. Later this led to the development of the theories of Taoism (Daoism) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Like T’ai Chi, it is thought that the original qigong-like dance movements were developed by mimicking the movements of animals.

Central to the development of Qigong and Taoism in pre-historical times is the mythical figure known as The Yellow Emperor (Huang Ti, Huangdi) circa 2700 BC. Although there may have been a historical Yellow Emperor, much of his legacy must be considered to be mythos. He is credited with such super human feats such as single-handedly raising China (or at least the primitive people of the Huang He River valley) from stone age barbarism to a civilized society, the invention of agriculture, herbology, astronomy, the wheel, acupuncture, and more. He is said to be the author of the classic text known as “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine”, also known as “The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Jing” or “Huangdi Neijing,” although modern scholars feel that this work is probably a compilation created at a much later date. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine contains the first account of the idea of Qi (Chi) or life force known to be written. Upon his death, he was said to ascend to heaven and became a Xian (Hsien), an immortal. Even more miraculously, the Yellow Emperor was said to have entertained a harem of 1,200 women. And survived.

It is thought that Huang Ti practiced a form of exercise called Tao Yin (Dao-In, Tao-In, Do-In), which involved breathing exercises and movements to stimulate and guide the Qi (Chi). These exercises were also known as T’u Na, which means “exhale, inhale.” Much like what we know now as Qigong, the movements of T’u Na or Tao Yin were coordinated with the breath and it is this mindful coordination that guides the circulation of air, blood, and Qi, creating much of the benefit. The breathing guidelines of Tao Yin are said to be based on the principles of Yin and Yang, and the 5 Elements (Wu Hsing).

Stephen Chang asserts that the original untranslated name for these Taoist Exercises of Revitalization was “Yang Shen Shu,” developed by Huangdi to cure and prevent disease and promote longevity through the balancing of the internal organs.

Tao Yin / T’u Na Qigong exercises create a variety of effects that are both relaxing and stimulating while building life force and cultivating inner harmony, higher consciousness, and spiritual awareness. T’u Na is still practiced widely today in Japan as Do-in, and was introduced in the United States in 1968 by Michio Kushi of “Macrobiotics” fame. © 2010 Keith E. Hall Inner-Tranquility.com . All rights reserved.

History of Qigong: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

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Babaji

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Babaji

Mahavatar Babaji is the name given to an Indian saint by Lahiri Mahasaya who met Mahavatar Babaji between 1861 and 1935. These meetings were described by Paramahansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi, including Yogananda’s description of his own meeting with Mahavatar Babaji.

Yogananda described Mahavatar Babaji’s calling thusly: “The Mahavatar is in constant communion with Christ; together they send out vibrations of redemption, and have planned the spiritual technique of salvation for this age. The work of these two fully-illumined masters–one with the body, and one without it–is to inspire the nations to forsake suicidal wars, race hatreds, religious sectarianism, and the boomerang-evils of materialism. Babaji is well aware of the trend of modern times, especially of the influence and complexities of Western civilization, and realizes the necessity of spreading the self-liberations of yoga equally in the West and in the East.”

Babaji is said to have been alive for thousands of years, living in caves in the Himalayas, appearing sometimes for some particular goal and always watching over the well-being of mankind. Many people saw him in both the 19th and the 20th centuries, appearing as a young man. His appearance seemed to vary even when observed by more than one person simultaneously. He spoke little, seldom ate or slept. He often appeared and disappeared suddenly. He had great strength was sometimes seen lifting huge rocks. Sometimes he was seen with several Tibetan Lamas wearing a Tibetan cap on his head. He spoke several languages including Nepali, Hindi, and Kurmachal. Whenever he talked to someone, he spoke to them in their own native language.  He had siddhis (Yogic powers) and occasionally performed miracles, but usually people were atracted to him because of the bliss they experienced when in his presence.

According to Yogi S.A.A. Ramaiah, “In the year 203 A. D. boy Nagaraj was born in what is now the seaport town of Porto Novo on the eastern coast of India. While still a youth he was kidnapped by a Pathan and taken north to Dacca. He was later released and migrated to Benares where he shone as a Sanskrit scholar of great eminence.

Discontent with this early success and destined for a greater end, he sailed by boat to the powerful shrine of Katarigama on the southern coast of Lanka. For 18 months he plunged into meditation where, with his astute intellect, he analyzed the different philosophical systems threadbare. Drawing inspiration from the great Siddha of Science, Boganathar, he was able to appreciate and understand the full significance of Siddhantha Yoga and Soruba Samadhi and he accepted the challenge of attaining this mystic goal….

Following the inner call, he wondered throughout South India and was extremely fortunate to be initiated into the mysteries of Kundalini Yoga by the great Tamil Siddha, Agastya Maharishi at Courtrallam. Now retiring to a lonely Himalayan cave, he remained absorbed in intensive Yogic sadhana for years at a stretch, finally to emerge LAUGHING AT THE LIMITATIONS OF DEATH.

There are two distinct ways of life – materialistic and spiritualistic. The former is mainly physical and followed extensively in the Western hemisphere and the latter is mainly mystic, prevalent in the Eastern hemisphere. Occidental materialism denies the independent existence of spirit and maintains that there is but one substance -MATTER. Oriental spiritualism, on the other hand, emphasizes that the spirit (or soul clothed with the sheaths of the mind) has a real, perhaps the only lasting existence apart from matter. The core of materialism is science, the quest of material TRUTH with the aid of a laboratory, while the core of spiritualism is Mysticism, the scientific art of realizing eternal TRUTH (Creator or Soul, call it what you may) and its message.

These two ways of life, one harping only on the creation and the other the Creator, are incomplete and the pages of history have proved beyond doubt their inadequacy to solve the vital problems of life and usher in the millennium. The scientific West has mastered the forces of the physical plane but is yet not happy, groping in the dark for PEACE, material and mental. On the other hand the mystic East which has produced Buddhas, Christs, Ramakrishnas and Sages has badly neglected the material aspect of existence to be subjugated and exploited by powerful material nations and denied their birthright of freedom which has prevented them for centuries from playing their rightful part in deciding the destiny of the globe.

It is with pleasure we note the change for the better in world thought today. The impact of western materialism on eastern spiritualism is profound and deep. Oriental politics is waking up from its age long slumber and westerners have started sitting meekly at the feet of mystic Masters in quest of eternal peace and bliss. Very slowly but steadily the world is taking to SCIENTIFIC MYSTICISM which is another name for Kriya Yoga.

Kriya Yoga, the most ancient system of Yoga…was revived by Kriya Babaji about 1794 years back. Kriya Yoga is a five-fold path of Kriya Hatha Yogum, Kriya Vasi Yogum (pranayam), Kriya Dhyana Yogum (meditation), Kriya Mantra Yogum and Kriya Bhakti Yogum (the Yoga of Love and Devotion).

Jnana means knowledge, mystic and material, and refers to Kriya philosophy. The proper outlook and mental background are essential for progress, otherwise the precious teachings of the Kriya Yogi will go to waste and fail to sprout like seeds sowed in barren ground. The flower-bed must be tilled and prepared to yield the beautiful blossoms of Kriya. Hence the aspirant must necessarily pass through the none-to-pleasant preliminary stage of being examined, studied, and trained by the Guru before being accepted.

Mantras are sacred formulae meant to be repeated over and over again; that is japa. The sadhak will have to chant these mantras till the end in view is attained to the satisfaction of the master. Mantra Sastra is a vast, scientific art with different-grades or steps.

After one attains mantra siddhi (perfection) one is fit for Dhyana and the aspirant is led step by step into the deeper mysteries of concentration to realize God and attain perfection.

The fourth facet of this soul-stirring Gospel is Kriya Kundalini Pranayam, a form of Raja Yoga which has been in existence for centuries and the technique varies from master to master….This Kriya technique should not be published and given recklessly…If practiced under an able experienced master the benefits are immense…

The last phase and climax of the sadhana is Sathguru Dheeksha (initiation and blessing by the Sathguru). A Guru (master) is one who has realized God and can dispel the darkness of ignorance. He can show the path to God whereas a Sathguru like KRIYA BABAJI of the Himalayas can actually show God to a fit disciple with a touch, glance, or mere wish. In the final stages the Kriya sadhak may reach the goal with one leap after receiving Sathguru Dheeksha.”

How much of Babaji’s history is mythos, and how much is historical fact is open to some debate. There appears to be evidence of several incarnations or physical rejuvenations. Many people report having a personal experience of Babaji coming to them. Sometimes a physical appearance, sometimes in a dream or some other psychic form. One can meditate or gaze upon his picture and get the sense of something beyond a two dimensional representation. I invite you to try this and see what comes your way. © 1997 – 2010 Keith E. Hall Inner-Tranquility.com All rights reserved.

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Babaji

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Learning Self Mastery.

.Chakra Balancing

Learn Tantric Qigong™ for Self Mastery:

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Instruction available in the Baltimore / Washington, DC area, contact us if you would like to bring a workshop to your area.

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The Three Jewels of Taoism: Shen

Friday, April 30th, 2010

The Three Jewels of Taoism: Shen
Heaven abides so that we have virtue. Earth abides so that we have Qi. When virtue flows and Qi is blended there is life.Huangdi Neijing

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If we think of Jing as your computer hardware and Qi as the power, then Shen is the data and graphics that are transmitted to the screen. In the Enlightened person, this data will manifest itself as Wisdom and Spiritual Presence.

Using the analogy of a candle, if Jing is the wax, and Chi (Qi) the energy of the candle, then Shen would be the light or radiance given off. In Taoism, it is thought that it is through Shen that we “radiate” ourselves into the external world. This spiritual effulgence creates wisdom, virtue, and inner peace, while generating and preserving balance within ourselves. Just as the light that radiates from a candle is dependent upon wax, wick, and flame, so a healthy, luminous Shen is identified with the cultivation and balancing of both Jing and Qi.

In The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, Huangdi states  “…that which cannot be fathomed (in terms of) Yin and Yang is spirit.”  This can be construed to suggest that Shen is immaterial and that its nature is therefore transcendent.

Talking about Spirit can be tricky given its non-material and ambiguous character. Is spirit composed of emotions, mind, or something else?  Most religions do not define Spirit very well. Taoism attempts a definition, although varying schools of Taoist philosophy have somewhat different views of this.  The Five Element school of thought claims that Shen includes:

– Shen – Mind, defined as consciousness and thought, and is said to reside in the Heart.
– Hun – Eternal Soul, akin to some western concepts of spirit, residing in the Liver.
– Po – Corporeal soul, Soul of the body, sometimes said to be akin to the vital force or “animal spirit”, centered in the Lungs.
– Yi – Intellect, memory and intellectual functions, resident in the Spleen.
– Zhi – Will, as in Intention and willpower, dwelling in the Kidneys.

The associated five elements are Wood (Hun), Fire (Shen), Earth (Yi), Metal (Po), and Water (Zhi).

In terms of the ancient Taoist view of embryology, Hun and Po join with Jing (seminal essence), their union catalyzing the emergence of Shen (spirit). Also, notice that these five aspects are associated with somatic structures: the organs of the body. Taoism makes no distinction between mind and body; they are always regarded as two contiguous expressions of one essence. Thus, the metaphysical affects the substantial and the substantial affects the metaphysical.

Shen may be adversely affected if we fail to preserve our vitality through good diet and exercise or if we indulge in excessively violent emotion. When Shen is in disharmony it often manifests itself as:

– Discord between one’s personality and the life one is living.
Insomnia, forgetfulness, heart palpitations, dullness of the eyes, poor cognition.
– Dearth of inspiration, intuitive awareness; deadness; no joie de vivre.
– Ambivalence, contradiction, the person has no “center”.
– Chaotic activity, anxiety, restlessness, fatigue.
– Little or no sense of your path in life.
– Little internal inquiry, self-reflection, discernment.
– In extreme conditions, neurosis, mental illness, e.g. depression and mania.

Shen can be strengthened and balanced through meditation, acupuncture, and certain herbal courses of treatment.  Somatic disciplines such as T’ai Chi and Qigong are particularly effective.  Qigong, of course, has become world renown for its health and medical applications, and justly so. It has had much documented success as a therapeutic modality within the secular health care system in China.

Shen is quite naturally empowered as one’s Jing and Chi are reinvigorated through the daily practice of Qigong.  However, it does seem to me that in our technological culture, there is much to distract or confuse the mind, emotions, and spirit, and the quantity and pace of these distractions are increasing.  There are so many aspects of our modern life that are in direct competition with, and deleterious to, the development of Spirit and Inner Peace.

In addition to the spiritually negative influences of our techno-culture, there is also reluctance on the part of certain groups, e.g. the Chinese government, to acknowledge the part Qigong has to play in the evolution of spirit.  So, some Qigong organizations may be persecuted if they have an overt spiritual and political agenda.  Combine Eastern authoritarianism with Western materialism and fixation on the external, and one can begin to see that the spiritual aspect of Taoist discipline currently receives short shrift in comparison to the health and medical aspects.

One needs a strong spirit in a strong and emotionally balanced body to persevere on the path of conscious evolution.  That is why I have developed this particularly efficient and potent style of Tantric Qigong.  The conscientious practitioner receives well-balanced spiritual sustenance as he or she nurtures and rebuilds Jing and Qi. © 2010 Keith E. Hall, www.inner-tranquility.com All rights reserved.

The Three Jewels of Taoism: Jing, Qi, Shen.

Our classes and meditation / stress management audio programs can help you create a core of empowered Being within!

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Tantric Qigong Classes

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Tantric Qigong Classes

Learn how to improve your health and well being in as little as 10 minutes a day!
Boost your immune system, rejuvenate yourself, and create serenity within.

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Tantric Qigong, Sedona

The 8 Treasures system of Tantric Qigong can be learned by almost anyone, regardless of his or her physical condition. Practicing these simple exercises results in increased vitality, flexibility, mental focus, and alertness.  Tantric Qigong will noticeably reduce stress levels, and is a gentle non-impact aerobics routine for cardiac and respiratory health.

The class will employ elements of Taoist and Bioenergetic practices. Classes may also include some aspects of T’ai Chi, pranayama (conscious breathing), and meditation forms for creating a relaxed body and mind. You will learn to develop your vital energy and personal power to nourish your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Upon completion, you will be eligible for certification.

Tuition: $149 (includes Training Manual & Log)

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Learning stages of Tantric Qi Gong include:
1. Relaxing & aligning the body
2. Controlling the breath
3. Focusing the mind, Transmuting the
emotions
4. Moving the Chi
5. Development of the Spirit

Rev. Keith Hall has taught T’ai Chi, Qigong, Tantra, and meditation for 30 years.  He is a senior student of Master Yung-ko Chou, with permission to teach. Rev. Hall has studied at various Mystery Schools and with Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, S. Saraswati, and others. He has also taught Bioenergetics, Tumo, Vipassana, Zen, Spiritual Bodywork, various Yogas, and other Eastern and Western psycho-spiritual disciplines. Rev. Hall has published articles on East – West disciplines in numerous journals.

We have Tantric Qigong Classes in Washington, DC metro area, Rockville / Gaithersburg, MD.

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Personal training is currently available as well as classes and seminars for your professional or spiritual group.

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See the CBS WUSA TV 9  interview with Keith Hall, Andrea Roane, and Jeff Besougloff about T’ai Chi for stress reduction and self-mastery here.

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The Three Jewels of Taoism: Qi

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

The Three Jewels of Taoism: Qi

In traditional Chinese culture, the second of the Three Jewels (also known as The Three Treasures) is Qi (Chi), an active energetic principle that is part of all living organisms.

Chi or Qi can be thought of as life-force energy – the energy which vitalizes our bodies, and which empowers our movement.  This movement consists not only of locomotion, but also includes the movement of the breath and lungs, the coursing of our blood through the heart, lungs, and blood vessels, digestion, and the functional movements of all of our organs.

Qi is associated most particularly with the Liver and Spleen organ systems. If we think of Jing as a candle, then Chi is the candle flame – the energy produced via the transformation of the wax into fire. In our computer analogy, if Jing can be said to be your computer hardware, then Qi is the electricity that powers the system. Qi is the energy or life force that “boots up” our bodies.

Tantric Qigong, qigong, inner tranquility, 8 Treasures, eight section brocade, ba duan jin, self masteryIn Tantric Qigong, we say that there are three types of Chi: Heavenly Qi, Earthly Qi, and Personal Qi.  Heavenly Chi is the robust energy that resides in the air or atmosphere and is sometimes known as the solar principle. Heavenly Chi is related to the naturally occurring negative ionic charge that is generated by the atmosphere and its interaction with solar radiation. One reason we feel revitalized in the mountains or at the beach is that these areas are naturally abundant with Heavenly Qi. In some systems, Heavenly Chi is thought to be closely related to the evolution of Cosmic Consciousness. It is sometimes thought of as the Masculine Principle.

Earthly Chi is resident in the earth and may be more naturally accessible in geographic areas with crystalline formations or vortices, such as those near Sedona, Arizona. Sometimes thought of as the Feminine Principle, Earthly Chi seems to have a grounded, generative, and healing quality. In Tantra Yoga, this earthly polarity is said to be directly linked to our sexual energy, so it would have some direct interface with what the Taoists call Jing (Ching).

Ordinarily, in persons not trained in Tantric Qigong, Earthly Chi is absorbed and transported within the body through the digestion and metabolization of food. Heavenly Qi is absorbed unconsciously through the process of autonomic breathing. Part of Tantric Qigong training and discipline is to learn how to master and absorb these energies more consciously and powerfully through certain Chakras and meridians. In some forms of External Qigong, Qi is the energetic force which can be radiated from a Master’s hands for healing purposes. This type of Chi is called Emitted Qi.

Earthly Qi interacts with Heavenly Qi to form our Personal Chi, which is a combination of these energies that abide within our bodies vitalizing our Soma and empowering our Psyche.  The relative levels of our vitality, intelligence, and the plane that our consciousness evolves to are partially determined by our ability to consciously absorb, transmute, and direct this Qi. Thus, one who masters the absorption, generation, and direction of Qi will have a tendency towards improved health, higher intelligence, and ease of spiritual evolution. © 2010 Keith E. Hall, www.inner-tranquility.com All rights reserved.

Next: The Three Jewels of Taoism:  Shen

Jing, Qi, Shen

Presencing – The Power of Now

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The Three Jewels of Taoism: Jing

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The Three Jewels of Taoism: Jing

The Three Jewels (sometimes called the Three Treasures) – Jing, Qi and Shen – are energies cultivated through the practice of Tantric Qigong (Chi Kung, Chi Gong), T’ai Chi, and certain Yoga and Tibetan disciplines. Jing (Ching), Qi (Chi) and Shen, may be translated as Essence, Vitality, and Spirit.

Heaven & Earth, Tantric Qigong, 8 Treasures, Ba Duan Jin, Qigong, Eight Section brocade, Tantra, Taoist Tantra A Tantric Qigong practitioner studies techniques to convert Jing into Qi and then into Shen (the path of transmutation) – and also to transmogrify Shen into Qi and Jing – (the path of generation or manifestation). The Three Jewels can also be thought of as three frequencies of a common energy. Practitioners of the Inner Alchemy of Tantric Qigong (Neidan or Neigong) learn to control and transmute the frequency of their energy and consciousness along this spectrum – choosing the wave length they desire as we might we might choose a particular TV or radio station.

Jing
The most concentrated or densely vibrating energy is Jing. Of the Three Jewels, Jing may be the one associated most closely with our physical body. Jing is said to reside in the lower dantian (Tan Tien), or the Kidney System (sometimes thought of as kidney essence), and manifests itself partly as the reproductive energy of the sperm and ova.  Jing can be stored in the kidneys and is the most primal energy within the body (Chi or Qi and Shen are progressively “lighter” or more refined in their vibration). Jing is said to be the basis for our physical bodies and is yin in nature, which means it is nourishing and cooling to the body. Jing is also thought to be the vehicle of our heredity – a concept similar that of DNA.

Jing is often considered the root of our life force, the physical substance out of which our life evolves. Jing may be likened to a wire through which the electricity of Qi is transmitted. One can also think of Jing as being analogous to the hardware of a computer – the physical foundation of an operating system. In this metaphor, Chi would be the electricity, and Shen the data that appears on your monitor.

Jing is consumed continuously by the activities of daily life, stress, illness, substance abuse, sexual excess, fear, pain, anxiety, etc. In addition to the practice of Qigong and T’ai Chi, Jing can be restored through dietary and herbal supplements, and balanced through acupuncture.

In women, Jing can be depleted through abnormally heavy menstruation and pregnancy. Some Taoist lineages promote exercises to diminish menstruation, reserving and recycling the energy that would be lost through the menstrual blood. There are corresponding Taoist and Tantric exercises for men.

In men, generation and replacement of semen lost through excessive sexual activity resulting in ejaculation contributes to the depletion of Jing. Some ancient texts actually define Jing (Ojas in the Tantra Yoga tradition) as semen, although this metaphor is not quite accurate.  Semen contains and is energized by Jing energy, but Jing can also be expressed as ova, sexual energy in general, and bone marrow. In addition, through the practice of Taoist sexology and certain Tantric Kundalini techniques, the Jing or Ojas can be withdrawn from the semen, preventing its depletion.

Most ancient masters consider Jing to be the raw material of Qi (Chi), though some have said that Jing is an expression of Chi. Obviously, vitality and sexual energy are closely related, so it may be a bit pedantic to argue which came first, sex or life force, chicken or egg. Even in the Tantra Yoga tradition, these energies of the lower chakras are so closely related and wired together that artificial distinctions are ordinarily not that valuable. © 2010 Keith E. Hall, www.inner-tranquility.com All rights reserved.

Next: The Three Jewels of Taoism: Qi

Jing, Qi, Shen.

Presencing – The Power of Now

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