Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner
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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr »

Getting back to things in here as the COVID pandemic continues to rage out there, it is and remains my belief that all things happen in life in the order that they will happen ...

As for me, one brief moment back in 1969 was to change my life forever, when the warhead of an RPG-7 rocket grenade exploded right behind my head ...

As a result, I was to learn a whole lot about our "system of health care" here, and early on, I came to the conclusion that if I was to depend on that "system" in any way, it would be to my detriment, because I found it to be totally undependable, unless you want a load of pills, which it has a lot of to dispense a lot of those ...

However, a doctor who I did trust told me point blank that if I started on pain-killing pills way back then, it was going to be a long way down after I took the first one, and it would not be pleasant ...

So what to do, then?

What to do, indeed!

Turn inwards, perhaps?

Utilize the power of the mind?

And how?

How do you find out how to do that?

Now, of course, it is many years later, and well, I can do things that I could not do in my forties, and I am still here, still vertical, which is where it all starts, for me anyway, and the "vehicle" by which much of that has happened is an ancient Chinese art called "t'ai chi", which over the years, I have been lucky to learn a considerable amount about, thanks to the "universe", I guess, and its kindness towards people like me, who have been harmed by life, but wish to keep living it, despite that.

And so, what I have been doing in this thread is taking some time and describing my own "journey" in the world of "natural healing", as it were, in the hopes of clarifying both t'ai chi, and chi gong, to an American audience that can benefit greatly from this ancient art, which is firmly grounded in science, as well, and acute knowledge of how the human body can function, when in sync with the power of the mind, and that is a possibility that must be "actualized", because it is latent, until activated, and that is what the teaching methods of t'ai chi are really all about, which is something that I now understand, and appreciate, and can relate, after some thirty years of study on this subject, to not only keep myself alive, but with quality of life, as well.

Knowledge should be shared, not hoarded …

Hence this thread!
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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr »

Patience is an enormously supportive and even magical practice.

It's a way of completely shifting the fundamental human habit of trying to resolve things by either going to the right or the left, labeling things "good" or labeling them "bad."

It's the way to develop fearlessness, the way to contact the seeds of war and the seeds of lasting peace - and to decide which ones we want to nurture.

- Pema Chodron
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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr »

If we want there to be peace in the world, then we have to take responsibility when our own hearts and minds harden and close.

We have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid, to find the soft spot and stay with it.

We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibilty.

That's true spiritual warriorship.

That's the true practice of peace.

- Pema Chodron
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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr »

Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.

Feeling Unstable? Try These 4 Suggestions

It is estimated that one in three Americans over the age of 65 falls each year, and two-thirds of those will fall again within six months.

Falling has the potential to cause serious injury such as broken bones, and can also damage one’s confidence, sometimes quite significantly.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to help prevent dangerous falls:

* Remain physically active.

Simple daily exercise will help improve and maintain muscle and bone strength.

Look for high quality shoes that offer enough support to keep you moving comfortably and securely through your exercises and daily movement.

If you feel even slightly off balance, speak to your physician about getting a referral to a physical therapist.

They can help evaluate areas of weakness and guide you to improving both strength and balance to get confidence back in your step.

* Try Tai Chi.

It helps teach balance and coordination.

Yoga and dancing can also be beneficial.

Find a local class or start online and plan regular sessions

* Do a home safety check.

Eliminate throw rugs and floor clutter, add grab bars to your bathroom, and have one phone that’s accessible from the floor in the case of a fall.

* Check your medicine cabinet.

Know the side effects of any medication, prescription or otherwise.

Many medications have lightheadedness or vertigo as a side effect.

Another hidden cause can be the nutrients potentially depleted by common medications.

For example, acid suppression meds can deplete iron which can lead to a common form of lightheadedness, anemia.

Speak with your doctor about better options.

If that conversation does not go very far, consider seeking out a trained integrative medicine provider from our University of Arizona Fellowship Program to have a deeper discussion about alternatives. ... uggestions
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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr »

Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.

Loneliness & Health: The Risks Of Social Isolation?

I live alone and was alarmed to hear that “social isolation” is a risk factor for heart attacks and other causes of death.

Is this true?

A study from Germany presented at a medical meeting in Vienna in May (2020) showed that people who are socially isolated are almost 50 percent more likely to die from any cause than people who have strong social relationships.

Study leader, Janine Gronewold, Ph.D., of Germany’s University Hospital in Essen, noted that we’ve known for some time “that feeling lonely or lacking contact with close friends and family can have an impact on (our) physical health.”

The study included 4,316 individuals whose average age was 59.1 years.

None had cardiovascular disease at the outset.

All were followed for an average of 13 years.

Initially, the researchers collected information on the participants’ marital status and cohabitation (if any), contact with close friends and family, and membership in political, religious, community, sports or professional organizations.

During the following 13.4 years, 339 participants had heart attacks or strokes and 530 of them died.

After accounting for other influencing factors – such as known cardiovascular risk factors – that might have contributed to the deaths, the researchers determined that a lack of social integration increased the risk of future cardiovascular events by 44 percent and the risk of death from all causes by 47 percent.

They also reported that a lack of financial support was linked to a 30 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events.

Dr. Gronewold noted that we don’t yet understand why socially isolated people have sub-optimal health-outcomes “but this is obviously a worrying finding, particularly during these times of prolonged social distancing.”

Her associate, Professor Dirk M. Hermann, M.D., added, “What we do know is that we need to take this seriously, work out how social relationships affect our health, and find effective ways of tackling the problems associated with social isolation to improve our overall health and longevity.”

These findings reinforce the fact that while we certainly can be happy by ourselves, staying connected with others can make us both happier and healthier.

Prolonged isolation can lead to sadness, anxiety, disease, and ultimately to premature death.

The opposite is true when we are connected to others and involved as an active member of a community.

Research shows that close, authentic relationships are the key to both physical health and happiness and that people who show the greatest satisfaction with their relationships at age 50 are the ones who are healthiest at age 80.

Close relationships are better predictors of a long and healthy life than IQ, genetic makeup, money, fame or social class.

In fact, the level of satisfaction with one’s relationships is a better predictor of physical health than cholesterol levels!

To me, this affirms how critical our relationships are in life and why staying connected is so important.

Andrew Weil, M.D.


Janine Gronewold et al, “Association of social relationships with incident cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality.” EAN Virtual Congress 2020. ... 0Isolation
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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr »

Sifu Amin Wu - Competition 42 Form Tai Chi Sword
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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

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Yangsheng Taichi Palm I by Master Zhao
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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

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Wuji (Wu Chi) — Always

February 9, 2017 Pam Dye

Wuji (or Wu Chi) is a classical Tai Chi posture known in most styles of Tai Chi Chuan.

The literal translation means “nothing, nothingness, or empty” for Wu and “limits, end, extreme boundary” for “chi or ji (the “chi” is the same life force of “chi” but it has a different connotation).

The two words used together mean emptiness in any movement, thought or activity; “nothing separates me from my surroundings” as our Sifu told us many times.

Some people refer to Wuji as the quiet time before a form starts and after the form ends.

It is the ultimate state of relaxation.

Standing in a meditative state of mind with the body properly aligned can help increase chi circulation and open up energy channels.

Despite its seeming simplicity refining Wuji proves to be an evasive and difficult accomplishment.”

Practicing Zhan Zhuang (“Standing Like a Tree” or “Standing Post”) incorporates the very essence of Wuji through body-mind connection while standing in a meditative posture.

The Wuji posture is an important foundation of your Tai Chi practice.

Adding standing meditation 10-20 minutes a day will not only enhance your rooting in Tai Chi forms, but also increase chi flow in the body.

Contemplating a Wuji posture during your busy life can also help you relax your mind and body.
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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr »

The Wuji posture is where one goes to begin the t'ai chi forms, or qigong forms, and it is where one returns to at the end of the form ...

In the Wuji posture, the body is straight, which is to say, aligned, with the hands hanging down by the sides, so the shoulders are very relaxed ...

The shoulders should hang naturally with no force being used to press the shoulders down ...

As Sun Lutang does the form, he has his feet making a 90-degree angle ...

That involves relaxing muscles in the area of the front of the hips called the Kua ...

Don't force that posture, however ...

Reach it by relaxing ...

The toes do not grip the ground (floor) with force ...

The idea is to stand with the weight distributed gently and evenly along the soles of the feet, and your mind should be sunk all the way down to the soles of the feet to experience what is happening down there, as the feet in turn affect the hips and your balance ...

Your body and mind are not yet aware of any opening or closing movements ...

In traditional schools, the time spent standing in this posture, without the use of force or focused intent, is considered to be the most important part of the form ...
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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

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Benefits of Standing Meditation – Improve Health and Fitness

January 2, 2015 by Editorial Staff

During a seminar in the United States, Chen Qingzhou (Ching Joe) was asked: what was the most important thing that someone could do to improve.

He responded:

“I will tell you exactly what to do and it will improve your health, tai chi, your martial and mental abilities, and will only take you three minutes a day."

"But you won’t do it.”

Are you on the edge of your seat?

We were.

“Why won’t I do it?” he was further probed.

“Because I have said this many times and no one follows through.”

“What is it?” we asked.

“Stand,” and he assumed a Zhan Zhuang (post stance) posture as an example.

Did I heed his words?


He was right.

I started out strong for a few weeks but eventually began to skip and then abandon the practice.

Also understand that we spent a weekend working with him and had direct correction.

Theoretically, I was given the key to improve my practice, I received precise instruction, and the time investment seemed completely doable.

Why did I fail?

Without buy-in no one sticks with any practice.

Benefits of Standing Meditation

So while the standing practice did not stay with me initially, Chen Qingzhou’s challenge did.

I did research to try to understand why practitioners of standing arts (Chen TC, Qi Gong, Yiquan…) are so adamant about the benefits of standing meditation.

I’ve come around to understand the value of standing and why his words are excitingly true.

This is the second half of a two part essay where I initially defined Zhan Zhuang and will now present some science and theory behind why standing meditation 1) improves health, 2) improves your martial abilities, and 3) reprograms the body.

Truth be told, standing meditation can be boring and painful.

The accumulated knowledge that follows created the buy-in necessary for me to commit to practice for a series of days until the benefits could be felt.

1. Gain more benefits of standing meditation by employing deep postures to improves your health

Here is the overview.

You assume a posture which is like you are about to sit in chair that does not exist.

Your spine is erect and you are breathing deep into the belly.

Your thighs start to burn, you begin sweating, and your back may ache a bit.

Your mind rebels and you have to fight to slow your breath down and remain in the posture.

Yes, all in 180 seconds.

Here is what is happening physiologically:

Bone marrow is the spongy tissue found inside your bones.

In the larger bones — such as your spine, breastbone, hips, ribs, legs, or skull — bone marrow contains cells that produce approximately 500 billion white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets per day (hematopoiesis).

During deep standing meditation, you are asking your large bones and posture to take back your body weight when it is normally held up by furniture and stabilizer muscles.

This creates intense pressure on these structures and acts as a catalyst for activity.

Zhan Zhuang puts a flame under the caldron that is directly responsible for your immunity and rebuilding tissue.

500 billion blood cells!

The magnitude of the bone marrow’s task is unequaled.

Pretty elegant training system.

2. The benefits of standing meditation: Improving Martial Abilities

“As we continued our visit: Hall of Abbot, Hall of Damo."

"On the uppermost level of Shaolin Temple sits the One Thousand Buddhas Pavilion."

"From the outside, it seems a quite ordinary hall of weathered gray planks and stone, but inside 48 indentations in the stonework of the floor immediately grab the attention."

"Careful examination reveals they are set in pairs and positioned in straight rows, each depression approximating the size and shape of a human foot."

"In fact, decades of stamping feet of practicing monks eroded the stone slabs."

A 70 years old master said: “During the past Chinese dynasties monks used to practice post standing but later this practice was forgotten."

"You should take this as an important indication.”

- Shaolin, top martial art of past Dynasties- First edition 1982

The best summary of martial improvement from pole standing can be found in Yu Yong Nian’s 201 page “Zhan Zhuang and the Search for Wu.”

Benefits of Standing Meditation

- Yu Yong Nian

1. You can improve very rapidly your physical condition.

2. With very good basic techniques you can easily grasp application movement, as movements are direct extensions of stances.

3. Solid basic techniques are the necessary foundations for top level techniques.

4. They can avoid you from getting harmed or injured during training.

5. They can prolong the duration of practice.

Through accurate and regular basic techniques training, practitioners can still continue to practice even in advanced age.

6. Basic techniques training can enhance the quality of your movements, improving every joint’s elasticity and every muscle’s control.

As a result, your movements are more harmonious, presenting their own beauty and in a word your body reaches a state of “highly adaptive while being in perfect control.”

3. How Standing Meditation Reprograms the Body

Hey, hey, I was with you with on the health and martial topics, but reprograms the body?

Getting all mystic are we?

I have to admit that I was slow to accept this “grand” assertion until I started getting physiological feedback that I couldn’t explain and heard the same explanation from two different sources.

Here is Wang Xiangzhai in his explanation of Zhan Zhuang.

“Yangshengzhuang (health nourishing postures) is a form of cultivating health, kind of basic exercises of internal training."

"Because the postures and movements conform with physiology of human body, nervous system is resting and is being positively regulated, and at the same time body is trained, the goal of cultivating health and healing can be achieved (it has been proved in practice already).”

Here is Chen Youze, paraphrased from a lecture on the benefits of standing and tai chi over physical exercise.

“The heart is a strong muscle that provides all of the blood to the entire body."

"Deep postures stress the body in good ways to make it stronger and increase blood flow and clean the body through sweat."

"Running or other exercises do the same thing but stress the heart."

"Work and life also stress the heart."

"If we are doing exercise that stresses the heart and have life stress, the heart never gets to relax."

"Standing [meditation] gives us all the benefits of changing our posture and strengthening the body without stressing the body.”

Back to the original question: How do I simultaneously improve my health and martial ability in 3 minutes/day?


You already knew the answer by now but hopefully I provided the needed buy-in to make the practice valuable.

As a side note, the initial conversation with Chen Qing Zhou took place six years ago.

Eight months ago his son, Chen Youze was teaching a seminar on qi gong and meditation.

When asked about whether the sets could/should be performed standing or sitting he responded that the sets should always be performed standing except in temporary (injury) or cumulative (age) circumstances.

It is hard for everyone at first, but your time will increase.

He highlighted some fairly talented masters of Ba Gua and Yang Tai Chi who were now in their eighties and had mobility issues.

He felt that this was partly due to the breaking of the posture at the inguinal crease that sitting causes and lack of strengthening the legs.


Zhan Zhuang and the Search for Wu by Yu Yong Nian

Zhan Zhuang by Wang Xiangzhai

The Way of Energy by Lam Kam Chuen

Wikipedia: Bone Marrow ... editation/
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