Posts Tagged ‘Tibetan Tantrism’

Cobra Breath Methods

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Methods of Practicing Cobra Breath

There are four main classes of technique for practicing Cobra Breath. Two require partners; two can be done by oneself. Two are sexual, two are non-sexual.

Solo Practice

Version 1: Probably the most popular, or at least the most practiced, form of Cobra Breath sadhana is to practice Cobra Breath as a meditation technique by oneself. No particular materials are required; one just practices the Cobra Breath as a meditation and internal energy technique for awakening the higher chakric centers, particularly the third eye and the Mouth of God. Fourteen repetitions daily of this breath are recommended, though more can be done as you like.

The indications, in addition to being initiated into Cobra Breath, are that one have a quiet space to practice, be able to sit without excessive movement, know the forward position of Khechari Mudra, and keep the spine very straight. Keeping the spine straight will ease the flow of energy and prevent the re-grooving of karmic patterns.

 

Version 2: It is possible to do the Cobra Breath sexually by oneself. This can add a bit more energy to the practice, and perhaps accelerate the development of cleansing Kundalini energies. To do this, one self-pleasures to near the edge of orgasm, and then performs the Cobra Breath with a very tight root lock. Generally, one to three repetitions of Cobra Breath are enough to transmute the sexual energy to the higher chakras and prevent ejaculation.

 

Partner Practice

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Yab Yum Pose

Version 1: To practice non-sexually with a partner, one needs to be deep in their energy field. There is a certain level of energy intimacy involved here. A mild form of this practice would be to sit back to back and perform the Cobra Breath with both of the partners synchronizing the breath. Having the spinal nadis in alignment and touching each other tends to create an energetic balance which can deepen one’s experience of this practice. Alternatively, two partners can perform Cobra Breath in the Yab Yum position. An advantage of this position is that partners often can get the first and second chakras physically closer, which can add a bit more energy. When the energy of Cobra Breath reaches the third eye, this position allows to the partners to perform the Tantric Kiss, which further stimulates the energy of Ajna.

 

Version 2: This is the version of Babaji’s Cobra Breath that gets all the press. Using Cobra Breath sexually with a partner holds the potential for the highest level of energy generation and transmutation. Yab Yum is the position usually recommended, although any position that allows the spine to be straight and also allows for the performance of the Tantric Kiss will work just fine. Yab Yum has a certain advantage in that the orientation of the position allows for the lower chakras to be aligned with the polarity of the Earth, and the head chakras are aligned with the heavens. This puts the entire spinal system and nadis in a straight line, resulting in an ease of energy flow between the Earthly and Heavenly chakra energies. The electromagnetic fields of Earth and Sky strengthen and cleanse one’s own bio-magnetic field. This practice is best done with a partner of similar spiritual vibration, or at least the ability of both partners to raise and synchronize their vibratory fields. To state this in another way, care should be taken that your partner is at a similar stage of evolution as you are, or surrendered enough to follow the vibratory energies to be in harmony. The same general indications of the other three versions apply here. © 2011 Keith E. Hall. www.inner-tranquility.com All rights reserved.

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Cobra Breath

Monday, November 1st, 2010

The Cobra Breath is one of the most powerful tools for spiritual awakening on the planet. Originally transmitted by the Mahavatar Babaji, Cobra Breath is an advanced, powerful Kriya method for transmuting primal energy that can lead to Cosmic Consciousness and Self Realization in one lifetime.  It has been said by Kriya masters that a million disease-free years are needed to evolve a human mind capable of experiencing Cosmic Consciousness.  Cobra Breath practice enables one to move at a greatly accelerated pace as one repetition of the Cobra Breath is equal to one year of spiritual practice.

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Cobra Breath Kundalini

The Cobra Breath is an esoteric, sacred tradition only transmitted orally from teacher to student  through direct lineage from Babaji.   The true Cobra Breath has never been written down or recorded. When receiving Cobra Breath, it is important to be properly prepared and have an appreciation of this gift when being initiated. Cobra Breath is a powerful method for quickly opening Ajna (the third eye).   As this center is awakened, you become able to perceive reality as it really is (through witness consciousness), rather than our usual manner (maya.)

Witness consciousness is the ability to maintain our center in the midst of emotional upheaval and is essential to any advanced practice of Kundalini.  Witness helps us see beyond the unconscious beliefs, early childhood patterning, judgments, and trauma, to the Divine within all of us. This brings light to our dark aspects, thus speeding our spiritual development.

The Cobra Breath pulls Shakti energy into the secret Kriya Channel, charging the spine with energy and changing the electro-magnetic properties of the cerebro-spinal fluid, allowing Kundalini to move up the spine and activate the third eye. The nervous system is transformed and you awaken to higher consciousness.

Prerequisites / Guidelines
Now, I want to be clear here. Cobra Breath is not for everyone, certainly it is not for beginners. I have seen a lot of grief and drama occur in persons not authentically prepared for this high level practice. What you are unwilling to transform within your subconscious will be reinforced by any true Kundalini technique. The Taoists sometimes call this “circling the midplane.” You have to be ready to let go of that which no longer serves your higher interest. The readiness of any given individual has to be assessed by a teacher in person. Here are some general guidelines:

Transmute your Karmic patterning
Karmic Patterns are old habits based on early childhood and adolescent trauma and imprinting. We accrue these patterns from our parents and family, persons we associate with in life, even birth trauma itself. Karma burning is best accomplished through deep meditation with a guru and, to some extent, through body centered psychotherapy such as Bioenergetics. Truly understanding and transmuting the held energies of of our Inner Child is essential. This requirement alone eliminates the vast majority of people.

Become Self-Responsible
Most people never do this. We prefer to see ourselves as helpless victims of circumstance and the actions of others. “You hurt me” “that thing you did made me so angry”; these “you” statements are an attempt to project responsibility onto others, thereby avoiding the hard work necessary to empower ourselves to take responsibility for our thoughts and emotions. If we blame others, we can never own our emotions and master our Self.

Be Present
We live in anticipation of the future while repressing aspects of our past that we don’t like. We shuttle back and forth between past and future, robbing ourselves of our life and re-creating old patterns of being. As Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Allowing our thoughts to travel indiscriminately between past and future is the scam we use to avoid doing our spiritual work and thereby staying in our dysfunctional comfort zone. True creation and spiritual evolution occur only in the moment.

There are many practices that can achieve the above goals. However, not all spiritual roads have the same speed limit. Given that the practitioner is authentic in their sadhana, the pace of awakening will depend on the level of consciousness of the individual, efficacy of the technique(s), outside cultural and interpersonal influences, and the amount of time invested. Some preparatory rules of thumb:

Hatha Yoga: at least 3 years of daily practice, 1 hour or more per day. Some Masters require 12 years. Hatha yoga alone is not enough, one must be able to enter into deep states of meditation while staying totally present. Breathwork is also essential.

Tantric Qigong / T’ai Chi: 1- 3 years of non-martial oriented practice, along with meditation. Bioenergetic analysis and Breath work can be very helpful when done in conjunction with this training.

Kundalini Yoga / Chakra Yoga: most forms now taught in the West require several years of training and daily practice. This practice is not well grounded, so one needs to master some T’ai Chi,Tantric Qigong, and Bioenergetics.

Contraindications
As I stated above, most people are not going to be ready for Cobra Breath in this lifetime. Even some who are teaching Cobra Breath have not fully prepared themselves, and thus pass on their kundalini-energized dysfunctions to their students. I have observed many astounding examples of this occurring. Here are some warning signs that a person is not yet prepared:

Blaming others: A person who feels they are victimized and others are at fault is a sure sign of that person not being ready.

Taking things personally: Like the above, we feel others are directing their “stuff” at us. Another’s drama has nothing to do with us, yet the ill-prepared student will perceive this as an attack and take it in, setting off a host of defensive mechanisms.

Depression: Depression is a suppression of life force. It is the “flight” portion of the animal “fight or flight” response. Cobra Breath will just create more sadness.

Rage / Anger: This kind of person is heavily invested in the “fight” part of the “fight or flight” response. Usually this kind of person blames others, though if he or she turns this energy inward, the ensuing self-judgment will begin to affect one’s energy system, mind / emotions, and the physical body, often creating a dangerous and unstable condition. This also holds true for highly manipulative control freaks.

Attraction to Catharsis: Neo-tantric and the now discredited Primal Scream therapies are disadvantageous practices with regard to Cobra Breath in particular, and attaining self knowledge in general. Karma merely circles the midplane and becomes even more ensconced within the psyche as it is reinforced by the indiscriminate stimulation of this high level energy. This “letting off steam”  feels like a “breakthrough” to  some people, but long term observation tends to reveal that not much changes. Drama Queens and Kings who practice this are poor candidates for Cobra Breath. I am continually amazed at the number of false neo-tantric teachers who recommend this process. Suicides and false memories of childhood trauma have been linked to practicing Primal Scream and catharsis.

Anxiety / Neurosis / ObsessionCompulsion (OCD): Fear and its compensatory mechanisms bind up large amounts of primal energy. This bound energy has nowhere healthy to go. Adding more energy with the Cobra Breath will just increase the frenzy, tipping an individual into increasingly unhealthy states of being.

Physical Contraindications: Untreated hypertension, chronic headaches, drug addiction, chronic dysmenorrhea (Cobra Breath may increase pain and blood flow), anyone who is physically very ill.

Energy Idiot-Savants: I have heard some faux teachers of Cobra Breath make statements to the effect that “only those who are prepared will be attracted to Cobra Breath.” This New-Ageism is totally fallacious. I certainly have seen persons who are attracted to Cobra Breath significantly harm themselves physically and/or mentally by insisting they are ready when they are authentically not. Usually, an unprepared person will not get much from Cobra Breath. It just doesn’t work for them. I believe this is a kind of built-in protection for the “innocent”, just like a baby would not be able to drive a truck. They’re just not big enough to reach the ignition, steering wheel, and pedals, so nothing happens.

Occasionally though, an “energy idiot-savant” may get their hands on the Cobra Breath. This is a very tricky situation. The “idiot” part has not achieved sufficiently deep inner transformation to be healthy and ready for Cobra Breath Initiation, while the “savant” portion can be surprisingly adept at moving the Kundalini energy. This is a sort of “irresistible force meets an immovable object” conundrum and big drama and potential harm can occur. This can be partly ameliorated by living in an ashram with your teacher, or at least having regular contact, support, and instruction. Thus, attempting to receive Cobra Breath long-distance, or in a one-shot weekend workshop without regular support can either be dangerous or ineffective in the long run.

Reading all the above cautions can make Cobra Breath seem a little scary. If you truly feel anxious about it, you most likely are not ready. If you are interested, make sure you develop a daily practice (see guidelines above) and stick to it. Most people will self-select themselves in or out of this practice, and energy idiot savants can be screened out by the exceptionally perceptive master. Cobra Breath remains one of the most efficacious and profound tools for Awakening available to the dedicated student of the spiritual path. © Keith E. Hall & www.inner-tranquility.com

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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

Our classes and meditation / stress management audio programs can help you create a core of empowered Being within!
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If you find this site helpful, bookmark us & share!  Tools for Empowerment  T’ai Chi Instruction

Learn more about our audio programs for meditation, stress management, and personal growth.

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.

What Is qigong?

My Teacher: Yung-ko Chou

T’ai Chi and Longevity

Qigong and Chakra Issues

ProductsTantric Qigong™: Healthy in 10 Minutes.

The Presencing Process

Tantric Qigong

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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.

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Jing, Qi, Shen

Presencing – The Power of Now

T’ai Chi and Longevity

The Benefits of Tantric Qigong

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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.

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Jing, Qi, Shen.

Presencing – The Power of Now

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Qigong, T’ai Chi, and Menopause

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

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Qigong, T’ai Chi, and Menopause

Menopause is a natural change in a woman’s life cycle that afflicts all women at some time. And the men that annoy them. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “The symptoms of menopause are caused by changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. The ovaries make less of these hormones over time. The specific symptoms and how significant (mild, moderate, or severe) they are varies from woman to woman…A gradual decrease of estrogen generally allows your body to slowly adjust to the hormonal changes. Hot flashes and sweats are at their worst for the first 1 – 2 years. Menopause may last 5 or more years…As a result of the fall in hormone levels, changes occur in the entire female reproductive system. The vaginal walls become less elastic and thinner. The vagina becomes shorter. Lubricating secretions from the vagina become watery. The outside genital tissue thins. This is called atrophy of the labia.”*

Symptoms
“In some women, menstrual flow comes to a sudden halt. More commonly, it slowly stops over time. During this time, the menstrual periods generally become either more closely or more widely spaced. This irregularity may last for 1 – 3 years before menstruation finally ends completely. Before this the cycle length may shorten to as little as every 3 weeks.

Common symptoms of menopause include:
– Heart pounding or racing
– Hot flashes
– Night sweats
– Skin flushing
– Sleeping problems (insomnia)

Other symptoms of menopause may include:
– Decreased interest in sex, possibly decreased response to sexual stimulation
– Forgetfulness (in some women)
– Irregular menstrual periods
– Mood swings including irritability, depression, and anxiety
– Urine leakage
– Vaginal dryness and painful sexual intercourse
– Vaginal infections
– Joint aches and pains
– Irregular heartbeat.

Lifestyle Changes
Women taking hormone Replacement therapy (HRT) see some benefits. But they also increase their risk for breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. The good news is that you can take many steps to reduce your symptoms without taking hormones:

– Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods
– Dress lightly and in layers
– Eat soy foods
– Get adequate calcium and vitamin D in food and/or supplements
– Get plenty of exercise
– Perform Kegel exercises daily to strengthen the muscles of your vagina and   pelvis. (The Taoist and Tantric  versions of these exercises are more developed and so potentially even more helpful.)
– Practice deep conscious breathing whenever a hot flash starts to come on (try taking six breaths per  minute)
– Remain sexually active (the extended love making techniques of Tantra and Taoist sexology undoubtedly help)
– See an acupuncture specialist
– Try relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation. Dr. Herbert Benson, author of “The  Relaxation Response,” suggests that Tai Chi is “…vitally important in PMS, infertility, hot flashes,  insomnia,…”**   He also says that “Repetition is key to creating the response.”***
– Use water-based lubricants during sexual intercourse.”*

Qigong for Abating Menopause Symptoms
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In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the symptoms associated with menopause are caused due to the body’s chi being disturbed. By practicing Qigong and T’ai Chi, this disrupted chi can be more evenly distributed and some of the uncomfortable symptoms can be ameliorated.

Regular practice of qigong and T’ai Chi can alleviate the irritability and stress associated with menopause by creating pelvic health and balancing emotional and hormonal swings.  It has also found to help increase the bone density in women, thus reducing the chance of post-menopausal osteoporosis.

Qigong may restore a woman’s sex drive, which can be decreased during in menopause. The regular practice of qigong tends to increases the levels of sex hormones thus restoring a healthy sex drive. One study showed that after a year of qigong practice, hormones were restored to near normal levels.****

A study published in the Oxford Journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine on eighteen women measured the effects of regular Qigong practice on chromic fatigue symptoms and the menopausal symptoms of night sweats, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea. The results showed improvement in the areas of sleep, energy and well-being. Qigong improved these symptoms of sleep disturbances after three months of practice.*****

Bone loss of up to 2% per year in women may occur after menopause. Prevention of includes optimizing the intake of calcium and vitamin D, exercise, and the optimization of normal menstruation. Stretching, strengthening, impact, and balance exercises are effective. As Qigong raises estrogen levels in women, this can reduce osteoporosis and heart disease. Tai Chi Chuan has proved to be successful in decreasing falls, and may restore bone density.

Kenneth Cohen states that “A wealth of anecdotal evidence suggest that Qigong tends to delay menopause and can extend the years of fertility.” He notes that female qigong masters have even been known to conceive during their sixties.******  One woman in her 50’s began practicing Qigong and after about 10 days  said, “I was amazed that my period reappeared…I celebrated it as a clear indication of rejuvenation.”*******

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References:
*www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000894.htm
**my.webmd.com/content/article/25/1728_57992.htm.
***http://www.webmd.com/news/20000530/mysterious-medication-of-meditation
****Ye Ming, et al. Relationship among erythrocyte superoxide dismustase activity, plasma sexual hormones (T, E2), aging and qigong exercise. Proceedings, Third International Symposium on Qigong, Shanghai, China.. 1990:28-32
*****Naropa J. Mike Craske, Warren Turner, Joseph Zammit-Maempe and Myeong Soo Lee. “Qigong Ameliorates Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue: A Pilot Uncontrolled Study.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Advance Access published online on August 1, 2007
****** Cohen, Kenneth S. The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing p33
******* B.G., Los Gatos, CA qinway.org/qigong_testimonial.htm

Retention and Mental, Spiritual, and Physical Health, Part 8

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Retention and Mental, Spiritual, and Physical Health, Part 8

Self-Mastery through  Tantric Qigong

From the Journal of the American Medical Association Abstract, the Leitzmann study:

“Prospective study using follow-up data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (February 1, 1992, through January 31, 2000) of 29,342 US men aged 46 to 81 years, who provided information on history of ejaculation frequency on a self-administered questionnaire in 1992 and responded to follow-up questionnaires every 2 years to 2000. Ejaculation frequency was assessed by asking participants to report the average number of ejaculations they had per month during the ages of 20 to 29 years, 40 to 49 years, and during the past year (1991).
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However, high ejaculation frequency was related to decreased risk of total prostate cancer. The multivariate relative risks for men reporting 21 or more ejaculations per month compared with men reporting 4 to 7 ejaculations per month at ages 20 to 29 years were 0.89 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.73-1.10); ages 40 to 49 years, 0.68 (95% CI, 0.53-0.86); previous year, 0.49 (95% CI, 0.27-0.88); and averaged across a lifetime, 0.67 (95% CI, 0.51-0.89).” *

Leitzmann says that until this study, conducted as a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University, sexual activity had been hypothesized to be associated with prostate cancer due to elevated levels of testosterone. Testosterone increases the growth rate of prostate cancer cells as well as male libido. It was thought that sexually active men had a higher incidence of prostate cancer as they had higher levels of testosterone.

What this means is that, although sexual activity can result in a net increase in testosterone levels, ejaculation may protect the prostate through a variety of biological mechanisms e.g., cleansing, relaxing, and revitalizing the gland and the man:

— Frequent ejaculation may rid the prostate of concentrated chemical carcinogens.

— Reducing anxiety. The stress release inherent in sexual discharge may slow or prevent pathogenesis. Yes, learning to relax deeply will help prevent dis-ease.

— Revitalize proper circulation within the gland. It is postulated that regular ejaculation will prevent the development of microcrystals (intraluminal prostatic crystalloids) that can result in congestion and blockages within the prostate.

Commenting on this hypothesis,  Martin Resnick, MD, chairman of the department of urology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, says it’s reasonable to believe that a “use it or lose it” principle may apply to overall prostate health. **

Next: Emission Control and Mental, Spiritual, and Physical Health Part 9: Is it really all good?

Ejaculation Control and Mental, Spiritual, and Physical Health Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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*Leitzmann MF et al. Ejaculation Frequency And Subsequent Risk Of Prostate Cancer. JAMA. 2004; 291(13): 1578-86.
**webmd.com/prostate-cancer/news/20040406/frequent-ejaculation-prostate


Retention and Mental, Spiritual, and Physical Health Part 6

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Ejaculation, Cancer, and Modern Medical Research

Transform yourself with Tantric Qigong for Self-Mastery

Until very recently, modern Western medical science was remarkably silent, even prudish, about sexual research. It took a thousand years of puritanical repression and ignorance in the West before Dr. Alfred Kinsey appeared at Indiana University in 1935 to give his first academic lecture on human sexual behavior. In 1948, he began to publish the now famous Kinsey reports; one of the best selling scientific reports of all time, even rising to the top of the bestseller lists of the day.
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Still, funding for sex research does not appear to be a tremendously high priority in the West, even today. Unless, of course it can result in a new, pricey pharmaceutical being patented. Most Western medical researchers seem to want to dismiss traditional Oriental research and wisdom, preferring to retain a sort of academic xenophobia that skews their paradigm. A good example is the relative prevalence of research into Qigong in China. There are many research projects, published studies, and hospitals that specialize in medical qigong in China, and almost none in the U.S.

Excluding data because it was gathered painstakingly over thousands of years by Taoist scientists in another country can only stunt and distort any hypothesis built on such a skewed data set. This leads to slow and muddled progress.  At best.

Like today’s current proponents of celibacy as a form of teenage birth control, many in the West have adhered to old wives tales about the dangers sexual expression in general and of masturbation in particular. Blindness, hirsute palms, disease, moral turpitude, even damnation, were sure to afflict the practitioner. It wasn’t until April 2004 that the Leitzmann study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, on the risk-benefit of ejaculation was published by JAMA, the Journal of The American Medical Association. © 2009 Keith Hall and Inner-tranquility.com .  All rights reserved.

Ejaculation Control, Part 7: An Ejaculation a Day Keeps the Oncologist Away

Retention and Mental, Spiritual, and Physical Health Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

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Learning Self Mastery.

.Chakra Balancing

Learn Tantric Qigong™ for Self Mastery:

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 Divine Couple

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The Divine Couple: Images and Products

Radha & Krishna

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How can Tantrism help?

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Q. Maya writes: So please tell me, how can tantrism help me and my husband?

A. Well, where to begin? The benefits of meditation with a partner or potential partner are so numerous. Most therapists acknowledge that communication is the key to a healthy relationship. While this is true, the approaches to authentic communication tend to center almost solely on mental / verbal therapeutic techniques. Certainly, skills such as active listening are very important to understanding, and I do teach and unitize these in my counseling.

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The emotions are often inflamed and in confusion. The mind may also be confused and seek to create “stories” or self directed “movies” about the experience of mental and / or emotional confusion, to rationalize, to defend our position and our confusion. When, as is fairly typical, we come to relationship “wounded” and fragmented within ourselves, this relating will always present to us “learning” or “healing” opportunities. We need to recognize the opportunity when presented and develop the skills necessary to transmute what we experience as confusion or wounding into freedom and wisdom.

The Body Never Lies
The body, on the other hand, never lies. It doesn’t know how to. Our experience, our life, is always truthfully written to the “hard drive” of the body, albeit in a “Somatic Code.” I often think of this as kind of our own personal “DaVinci Code.” This is certainly the basis of Bioenergetic Analysis, Neo Rechian, and other similar growth processes. Since the body is the repository of the truth of our experience in our lives, it would behoove ourselves to become Present and decipher the code. By doing this, we will attain ever greater freedom and wisdom.

Knowledge of Self is crucial both to spiritual evolution and high level relationships. Whether you intend to go through life solo, or to create a conscious relationship, first “know thyself.” Understanding what makes yourself tick will empower your personal responsibility, understanding, empathy, and compassion. If your partner has similar skills, or desires to, then there will be less and less energy spent in conflict, and more invested in contented bliss.

Transmute and Harmonize
We first activate Qi (Chi, life force), which powers our bodies, emotions, mind, and sexuality. We then transmute and circulate this energy via certain techniques. We attune to, and harmonize with, both our disparate “selves” and our connection to our present or potential partner. At this point we can unify ourselves and deeply come into union (Communion) with another and with the Divine. We can be Awakened, be Present, free from the past (karma), free from expectations and anxieties, whether conscious or subconscious, about what is to come. Let the journey begin! © 2006 Keith E. Hall  Inner-Tranquility.com All rights reserved.

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