Previously, in my weekly post #20 [http://insidetiger.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/doll-weekly-post-20-tao-in/] I began writing about Masters Mantak and Maneewan Chias’ video Tao-In; Regaining a Youthful Body. That post shares a summary of the beginning of the video, which is footage from a workshop, explaining the reasoning behind the exercises shared later in the video. Briefly, these include strengthening the tendons, stretching and relaxing the psoas muscle and diaphragm, and releasing toxins that build up in the body including by-products of food digestion (largely carbon) as well as emotional blockages. This week I watched the next section of the video, which I was glad to learn included instructions for some pre-exercise stretching and relaxing techniques. This is my favorite kind of thing to do and lately I have not been taking the time to slow down and stretch and relax my body. Yesterday was a particularly good day for me to experience relaxing techniques as the “10% off on the 10th” sale day at my workplace is especially hectic for employees. As I followed along with Master Chia doing the relaxing stretching and breathing techniques I felt more stretched out and relaxed than I have felt in a long time. One important thing that he stresses is to inhale the color gold and exhale gray and black, as a way to release stored toxins of the emotional type. In one posture, lying down on your back, you place one hand below your sacrum (tailbone to lower back) and the other hand underneath the head. I could feel this posture helping to stretch out my spine.
Parts of the Spine [image via theuniversityhospital.com]
Many of the exercises focus on stretching the Lumbar region of the spine in order to stretch the psoas muscle. There is also an exercise to bring water energy up through the body from the bubbling spring (a Kidney acupuncture point on the bottom of the feet, associated with water) and bring warming energy down the body from the heart, which warms the kidneys and helps the psoas muscles release tension.
So far I have found this book to be useful and more applicable to my life than I had expected it to be. The author utilizes a blend of Eastern philosophy, including the principles of the 5 Elements, 8 Trigrams, Yin and Yang and Chi, as well as psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. Feng Shui translated literally means “wind & water” but it refers to the practice of aligning the environment, for example your living situation, with the energy of the earth. As stated in the book, chapter 1 Introduction, “The concept of Feng Shui is associated mainly with the Chinese. However, it may have had its roots in India and Tibet, evolving into agrarian China where harmony with the natural surroundings was of primary importance. Originally it was called “Kan Yu,” which means heaven and earth. This name shows the ancient Chinese view that the unseen world influenced the manifested world. The words “Feng Shui” mean wind and water, which, according to the ancient Chinese, are the main intermediaries between heaven and earth. It evolved into a practical study of the energetic principles of the earth, looking at how to best tap the vitality flowing into any environment. It was used later to come up with the most auspicious burial spots for ancestors so that the descendants’ luck would continue for generations… In modern times, this art is used to enhance aspects of life such as business, prosperity, health and luck by moving and placing things so that the energy will flow smoothly, without creating any blockages.” In addition to suggestions for using Feng Shui in your home environment this book is designed to use the principles of Feng Shui in your life.
Each of the 8 Trigrams corresponds to Heaven, Lake, Fire, Thunder, Wind, Deep Water, Mountain or Earth. Each also relates to one of the 5 Elements; Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. If you look at your house and line up the bagua according to directions- as pictured here, Deep Water on the bottom would face North- it can help you figure out what is best to place in each area of the house. In the book Dr. Mickle discusses each Trigram in its own chapter with one chapter also dedicated to the T’ai Chi (represented by the Yin and Yang symbol in the middle). Each Trigram also relates to an area of life and at the end of each chapter there are exercises aimed to help the reader make this part of life easier/ more functional.
Chapter One is titled “The Journey” and it discusses the Trigram meaning Deep Water, which is pictured at the bottom in dark blue in the above image (the colors relate to each Trigram). “In some sense this area represents our career, but it is more than that. This is our path or journey through life- the way we steer our course. As in good Feng Shui, when we proceed step by step, more mystery is revealed to us… In this chapter, we will look at embarking on our journey, being in the flow, finding purpose in our life, dealing with change and seeing life as a circle.”
As an exercise this chapter asks you if you could spend a day doing anything you wanted, what would it be? What is special about you? What would your perfect world be like? And “How can you use your special qualities doing the things you like to do to create your perfect world? Affirmations for this Trigram/ life area suggested are
“I am truly on the path of my heart.”
“I spend every day doing what I love to do.”
“I enjoy the present moment.”
“I move over obstacles on my path with ease.”
Suggestions for the Water part of your house, the Northern area, include a water fountain or aquarium; pictures of water; the colors black and dark blue; wavy or amorphous shapes, a mirror or glass and something that represents your career path. When I read that a water fountain or aquarium are suggested, my immediate thought was that neither of those would be a good idea, as I am still fighting a mildew problem from that area of my house being flooded (this was mentioned in my previous post from July 10th http://insidetiger.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/doll-weekly-post-17/). What is “funny” about that, of course, is that the Water area of my house was flooded by actual water. I had not realized this before and it is helping me to think about this problem in new ways. Unfortunately as I mentioned the problem is not wholly solved. As I left the house while attempting to move air out of the affected rooms with fans, it was just starting to rain, and I heard thunder. I took this as a suggestion to read the Thunder Trigram chapter, Chapter 3, “Ancestors.” This proved to be relevent, first as this Trigram is placed in the direction East and the thunder was in the East, and then because this is the chapter which talks about releasing clutter, an issue I have long struggled with.
“I release burden from my life.” (I need this one!)
“I release shame and guilt.”
“I release chaos from my life.”
“I use the helpful messages from the past to guide me in the present.”