Setting the Heart into a Quiet Place with Shaolin Arts

Setting the Heart into a Quiet Place with Shaolin Arts

The teacher appears when the student is ready. Or when the algorithm does a thingy. 

I came across a video of a Shaolin master teaching qigong, 释恒義 (Shi HengYi). Hmm, I thought, always wanted to get into qigong but never really did fully. I do a bit here and there from time to time but not regularly. Then I came across a talk the Master gave. Some wheels turned and I went back to the qigong video. 

The teaching was very clear, straightforward and simple to follow. It was a big yes for me. 

I had been experiencing a great deal of anxiety and negative thought patterns but after this I felt calmer. In Chinese there is an expression “定心丸 (tranquil pill)” – it is not an actual tablet but just something that helps a person to feel settled. The words 定心 literally means to set (put into order) the heart. This practice seems to work like that for me. It has provided me so much relief.

I also felt my energy levels were replenished and my body more healthful. I don’t know that I looked any different but I felt like I should be practically glowing and shooting sparks afterwards (in a good way – I feel like I need to add this).  

Over this weekend there were live sessions and the time difference was alright. The morning session worked out to be noon for me and the afternoon session was 9pm. I slept SOOOOOOO deeply and peacefully. After the morning/noon session I was tranquil and balanced. Hopefully there will be more live sessions to join, in the meantime I will practice from what is already available (there is plenty). 

If you are worried about your fitness levels, the sessions from this weekend can even be done seated. In my experience, the energy cost was much lower than the benefit afterwards. A very fair exchange!

It is my goal to improve the atmosphere (vibe if you want to use that word) around my person so when you come near me or know me you can feel better. Obviously we are all responsible for our own selves so how much a person can benefit another in that way is ??? But I would like to try to improve myself in this manner, in the end it will only help even if it is just myself who gets the benefit.

All this is not to say oh, definitely, yes, you should or you must try this out or even try the teachings from this Master. There are other teachers who provide this teaching. I’ll just add that 释恒義 is the Headmaster of the Shaolin Temple in Europe. Just because someone is a Headmaster does not always mean they are a good teacher but in this instance, he is a great teacher. The main thing (for me) is the skill at transmitting the lesson.

In the end the aim is to take this practice and make it your own to continue. All I can say is, this is what I’m doing. I have been practising for a brief period and I will continue doing this practise as it has already been very beneficial to me. If you already practise a form of breath based movement like yoga or Pilates this may be of interest to you to include in your life. 

This is not intended to be a long thing, I just wanted to share what I have been studying, this is available to everyone, this is free and here it is. 

By the way, you will need to move the start time a bit further along until the session actually starts, around 20-30 minutes or so.

I wish you balance and harmony. Have a great day! 

EDIT:

I have been doing Qi Gong everyday following the videos uploaded on the channel I mentioned in the last post, by Master Shi Heng Yi. I noticed that the video I linked in my last post is not available now, hopefully not gone forever. In the meantime here is an alternative one you can use. I do this when I am very short on time many things to do, at least 20 minutes were for my practice, then I go take care of my tasks, practice some more later in the day and evening. There are many minutes in 24 hours!

Are you a good meditator? One tip to become a good, even great meditator.

Are you a good meditator? One tip to become a good, even great meditator.

So what is a good meditator? The one who meditates.” – Allan Lokos

Just start! Even one minute of meditation is better than nothing. If even one minute seems like forever start slow, try counting to ten, next time to twenty, slowly increasing the time you spend in meditation. You are a good meditator the moment you start to meditate!

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3 Minute Meditation for a Day of Bliss

3 Minute Meditation for a Day of Bliss

3 minute meditation for bliss

Here is a very simple meditation exercise you can practice this weekend.

  • Set a timer up for 3 minutes and sit comfortably.
  • For the next three minutes with eyes closed, practice the following:
    • As you breathe in, “I am peaceful.
    • As you breathe out, “I am glad.

You can say the words out loud in a whisper or with gusto or simply think them to yourself.

Anytime you realise your mind has drifted, come back to “I am peaceful. I am glad.

  • When the time is up, sit quietly for a few breaths before you open your eyes. 
  • Thank yourself for making time to look after yourself. 
  • Throughout your day you can even remind yourself that “I am peaceful. I am glad.

3 minute meditation for bliss

Peaceful and glad are a great combination for a blissful day.

Try it and see if it makes a difference to the interactions you have that day. Share your experience down below, I’d love to hear from you! May your weekend be full of bliss. x

3 minute meditation for bliss

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3 minute meditation for bliss

Prescription for Joy: Radiate Love and Light – 40 Day Practice

Prescription for Joy: Radiate Love and Light – 40 Day Practice

B and I started a 40 day practice this month. Usually we have our own activities we like to do in order to feel good: mine would be yoga, Pilates, watching old TV shows, and his would be basketball (REAL and XBOX). This month we decided that the New Moon would be the perfect time to start a shared daily practice for 40 days to boost our energy and spirit levels.

We are STILL doing our favourite activities, naturally!

Everyday we practice a set sequence of yoga postures, followed by mantra meditation and we drink a green drink that I labelled our ‘Elixir’. This last part is major because B has never been on board with drinking anything green although I feel like that’s being very picky since he is slightly colour blind anyway? For all he knows it could be pink? SUDDENLY he can tell it’s green. I mean.

Anyway.

The mantra we chant is personal to each of us but I’ll share mine with you below. We chant out loud and with confidence, 11 times and then we sit quietly and let things marinate.

Somedays we do our practice in the evening like last night when we came home from a wedding party. We showered, changed and stepped on our mats. Then we had our green drink. We slept like babies even with both of us recovering from the flu.

It feels wonderful!

To go along with our 40 day practice we also cut out coffee. I typically drink a lot of coffee, alarming amounts even, but I’ve never had any issue with stopping. I never even get headaches if I go without coffee but it’s that comfort factor that I like. I love comfort! So when I want a warm drink I’ll make myself a Coconut Maca drink. I’m having one righttttttt now. 

 
I’m very lucky I’ve never enjoyed soft drinks and I drink a lot of room temperature water. Even warm water in a mug can be comforting. I make a ritual out of heating the water up, choosing a favourite mug (B and I both like to hog the same mugs) and then enjoying the steam puff up. It’s all about the ritual and process! Aren’t humans funny?

We started out as a very small community of just two, but in just over a week a few of our friends have started to join in. One of my girlfriends asked for a shopping list so she could run out and grab all the ingredients for the ‘elixir’ the very next morning.

Which is great! The more the merrier, and slowly little by little we generate more good vibes. If you would like to join us (we’d love to have you!) feel free to come up with your own mantra, or use mine:

RADIATE

Be well and be radiant! xoxo

Peaceful New Year’s Eve

Peaceful New Year’s Eve

“Your strength is how calmly, quietly and peacefully you face life.”~ Yogi Bhajan

   
 
This year has blessed me with a rich bounty of joy, health, love, wealth, success, mistakes, pain, grief, change, challenges and many lessons; somethings I asked for and plenty that I did not. I learned a few things, promptly forgot my lessons, relearned them, forgot some, remembered some. Some challenges I faced calmly and many ungracefully. Some change I accepted and some I resented. This year has been like every other year but I turned to meditation more than ever to learn acceptance. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not at all. I learned just how highly I value peace. I am learning how to be strong enough to always remain at peace within myself and brave enough to trust what I cannot yet know. I am the only one truly responsible for my happiness. So much to learn! I will try harder next year to do better. I could not have wished for a better year.

And you, friend? How was your year? I hope you have a marvellous year in which you meet with unlimited joy.

Video

Yoga to Move into Stillness

So legend has it that when you can’t sleep at night it is because you are awake in someone else’s dream.

Please stop dreaming about me whoever you are.

Aaaaaaaahahahahaha allow me to cackle away merrily whilst you take the time to roll your eyes.

I’ve been struggling to sleep properly and it seems to be some sort of excess nervous energy from prepping to go home for the holidays. This time next week I will be back home and ohmigoshonlyafewmoresleepstogoooooooooooooosomanythingstodosolittletimetodoitin.

You know those jitters? 

Verrrrrry similar to the kind a kid gets the night before Christmas. Who could possibly sleep?! It’s just all too exciting. TOO being the keyword. Too much going on. Around us and inside our heads. Without an outlet to channel all the excitement into, those sensations spill over everywhere and amplify existing feelings. 

There is a lot happening during holiday season and all that change can be stressful on a body. 

Resisting the change causes friction which leaves me restless and kinda twitchy. Then as I lose sleep I become tired and cranky. The cycle continues on a loop. When I was younger I couldn’t figure out how to settle myself down and found myself buffeted along by the things that kept happening TO me no matter how hard I tried to avoid them or take full control. I felt so resentful and frustrated. Did I have a target on my back?

Now I kind of understand it is up to me to decide if I want to struggle and kick my way along or flow through change. But the way is always THROUGH the obstacles or the change. And whilst I can control some aspects there are many others that I can’t. Discerning what I can and can’t change, much like the serenity prayer, are key to giving me the space I need to regain a sense of calm.

Try reading the next two paragraphs out loud slowly and with intent:

I remember that I can control my breathing. I can inhale fully and exhale completely. I can move my body as I breath slowly and deeply. I can give complete attention to moving my body with my breath. 

And with that I feel my heart rate calm down, my stomach ceases to twist into knots, my eyebrows unfurrow and my mind quietens and I move into stillness. Then I can sleep soundly and deeply. I wake up feeling joyful and excited about my days. I will nourish my body with fuel so I have energy to go about my day. I will move my body because it feels good to be active. I look forward to anything that comes my way. I feel content with the present moment because it is perfect. 

I hope following along to this short video helps equip you with a sense of calm as you go about preparing yourself for this holiday season. Please practice safely and take good care of yourself. 

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Namaste. 

 

Video

Meditation for Beginners (Breathing) and a Zen Story

Good morning!

And I’m getting through that pile of videos to edit. *pow pow* If you had read what I wrote last week about procrastinating you would nod and be like *high fives screen* and then I would high-five you back and be like, “Thanks!”.

So there is an old story about a rich man who goes to the zen master asking how to become enlightened. He’s got the money, no sum is too big, how much. 

Hmm, free. Plus two years, if you meditate everyday for one hour so says the master. 

Whuuuuuuuuuuuuut. Okay, okay. How about if I meditate everyday for five hours? How long then, huh? 

Oh yes, that will be very good. Twenty years. 

HUH!$*&%#@$?! 

That isn’t exactly how the story goes, there are a few variations. That’s my take on it.

And how about this expression:

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes each day. If you are too busy then sit for an hour.”

I love the humour in these stories and sayings. A person can interpret these stories in so many different ways. I’ll have to share with you some of the comments a few people made about one particular zen story I came across sometime, remind me? 

In the meantime, I have  a meditation video for you! It is thirteen minutes long but if you want you can skip through the introduction and chat straight into the practice portion. But it’ll take you twenty years.

Kidding!!!

I’m a big fan of the two minute format. Here’s the link to my two minute yoga video Hurrah for Yoga in Pyjamas. Big fan of anything I can do in pyjamas too.

If you’re all “Nah, I got time to hang” then stay tuned for the outtakes. There are many. I was waiting for my washing machine to finish before I started recording and it kept whirring promisingly as though it was wrapping up. And then I’d hit record and the washing machine was all “Haha no.” But it ended eventually. 

Ready? Here we go: 

Here is a quick starting point for people who want to get into meditation and have been meaning to but always say they don’t have enough time. One day, I will get around to meditating. Ha! Today is that day!! After my washing machine finished spinning hahaha.

If you’re anything like me, your daily to do list can stretch as long as your arm and then some. When it comes to actually tackling things you start to wonder where exactly to start. Too much happening so many feelings! This is the BEST time to meditate so that you can resume (or start) work feeling focused and calm.

A lot of us think we need hours set aside to get meditation right but sometimes a minute here a minute there and just quiet breathing is all we need to notice a huge difference. This is where we start today, the breathing, which is the most important part. If we can turn all our attention to our breathing, there is nothing else for our mind to do and everything becomes oh so still.

You can repeat this short breathing exercise as many times as you like, be sure to keep the body and face as relaxed and tension free as possible to really get the benefits. Anytime you feel as though things are getting too much during the course of your day, you can turn to this breathing exercise. I hope this makes a difference!

The exercise starts at 5:32 if you want to jump ahead, please do so. We finish with a very light bit of self massage to our brow area. When we first wake up the area can often feel quite heavy and puffy. This is also an area that often remains tense throughout the day without our realising. If you’ve been worrying about something this will be especially helpful in helping you to feel energised and ready to face the day. 

Thanks so much for watching. Please let me know if you enjoyed that and if you have any special requests, comment down below. X