Tai chi Y2D278:

My friend Hollie continues to travel across the south and west. You can read about her adventures here, at jvagoddess.wordpress.comgo check out her journey. She’s been to the Georgia Guidestones recently, and some caves, and Memphis, TN. She’s also seen the Nobel prizes in Atlanta on this trip. Pretty cool….

I barely left the house yesterday. Winter storm clobbered us all. Getting out for some lunch was challenging; but I wound up making dinner from the food in the house. And today I’m not sure if I can get the car out of the driveway. We’ll see in a half hour or so what’s possible.

Tai chi today was easy. It usually is after a snow day. I feel well rested and primed, and I usually get enough sleep. One of the key indicators for tai chi is sufficient sleep, and I rarely meet that requirement. Working on that is a good idea, though. Insufficient sleep is a potential cause of serious health problems down the line.

One thing I’ve had trouble with lately is keeping the order of movements straight in my head. Not the qi gong forms, which are pretty well fixed in my memory, but the tai chi form. I learned the tai chi form first, and in seven or eight discrete chunks. Yet for some reason of late, my body wants and tries to do those chunks out of order, or do six of them instead of all eight. I wonder if this is an artifact of how I learned the form, or if it’s just my body’s way of coping with the boredom of doing the same routine day after day.

Boredom is a risk. No, that’s not the right way to say it: Boredom is normal. . If you’re doing the same practice daily, there are going to be days when it feels so old and so familiar that it’s unbearable to get up and do it. Do it anyway. And lo and behold — you instantly feel better. Move past and through the boredom to the challenges specific to the day. Keep going. You’re doing fine.

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  1. Yeah, and there’s more. From a purely physical perspective, chanting meditation vibrates the skull which in turn stimulates various glands. Some of those glands atrophy “normally” with age, but in people who chant, the atrophy is less, or not present (see “Meditation as Medicine,” Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD.) There’s a story about a catholic monastery that chanted Gregorian chants daily. They were told to stop when some of the reforms of recent decades were put into practice. The monks began to fall ill. The monastery’s doctor advised to reinstate the chanting. When they did the monks recovered their former health and vigor. Worth thinking about. And then there’s the chanting of the “seed syllables” (according to Hinduism, Ayurveda, and Buddhism) each of which are related to ideas, spiritual aspirations, and also to body parts both physical (those glands again, plus organs) and energetic (nadis, acupuncture meridians, chakras, etc.) so chanting those seed syllables, things like Om, Hu, Sa, Ha, etc., either individually, or as a part of a mantra, is supposedly even better than just any chanting.

    But silent meditation, seated or standing, can also allow one to reach the same brainwave levels that one reaches in sleep, some say, even deeper levels. During sleep is when the body secretes some of those all important hormones, same with meditation, some claim. One of my qi gong teachers from Chinese medicine school claimed that if you could reach a certain deep level of meditation (sitting meditation) for just 8 minutes you would get more benefit than from an entire night’s sleep.

    It’s really difficult to meditation, even to think about meditating when one is tired, but supposedly, you will accomplish more rest if you can meditate than sleep. Again, I cannot speak to this from my own experience as I cannot seem to do it, but I have heard it over and over again from sources I believe to be reputable. If you try, I want to know what happens.

    • I know about that catholic monk story. I think it’s probably true. And I agree that meditation is one of the best things out there — for a personal practice, for an energetic practice, or for a spiritual practice, or for a magical practice. I can also attest, from personal experience, how difficult it is for a person in the Western world to take up that practice and succeed at it.

      That said, my community does a fair bit of singing and chanting. I wish we did more on the occasions we get together. But, again, we seem to spend more time wrangling about what to sing than actually singing. Maybe I’ll start chanting in the shower?

      • If you are up for it, I recommend the Audible version of that book, Meditation as Medicine, because Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, the author, leads a few chants aimed specifically at those glands and organs. His chants are out of the Kundalini Yoga tradition of Yogi Bhajan’s lineage, which I understand is not your lineage, but it’s with seed syllables that are supposed to specifically activate those glands and organs and he has research to back up his chants. Your own may work as well, but there’s no actual data, (I assume?) That’s what I tell myself, at least, when I am resisting Dr. Dharma’s unfamiliar chants. If you try this, I’d like to know what happens… perhaps you can inspire me to practice more myself 😉

  2. RE Sleep: It is said that meditation, deep meditation, can accomplish the same physiological (and perhaps psychological) things as sleep, more profoundly, and in less time. I cannot comment of my own experience, however, when one considers that many religious orders both Christian and Buddhist, now and throughout the past couple thousand years, promote meditation and allow very little sleep, and yet the monastics seem to age slower and often achieve great age… well, it’s an interesting thought.

    • It IS an interesting thought. I think there’s probably a connection between deep breathing and attentiveness and in-depth understanding of a system of Mystery teachings — and long life and health.

      Exactly how it’s generated, I don’t know. But I see it present.

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