Saturday, August 30, 2008

Busy as Bees

I've been quite busy lately. I returned to working three days each week for the Corning Union Elementary School District. I returned to teaching yoga and taijiquan four days a week at the Tehama Family Fitness Center. I've been working on putting in the pipelines and electrical for the new well. Karen has returned to work for the Tehama County Department of Education. It has been very hot (110F yesterday) in Red Bluff, so we must spend more time watering our garden. Little time seems to remain for blogging.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Five Animal Frolics: Bear

“Breathing in and out in various manners, spitting out the old and taking in the new, walking like a bear and stretching their neck like a bird to achieve longevity - this is what such practitioners of Dao-yin, cultivators of the body and all those searching for long life like Ancestor Peng, enjoy.”
- Chuang-Tzu, Chapter 15, circa 300 BCE.

Five Animal Frolics Qigong
This document includes a bibliography, links, resources, and quotations about the Five Animal Frolics. Some descriptions of various movements of the Bear are provided.

“Chinese medical chi-gung emphasizes soft, slow, rhythmic movements of the body synchronized with deep diaphragmatic breathing. The purpose of these exercises is to stretch the tendons, loosen the joints, and tone the muscles, to promote circulation of blood, and to regulate all the vital functions of the body. The medical school adapted many forms of ‘moving meditation” exercise for
therapeutic use, including the ancient Dao-Yin and ‘Play of the Five Beasts’ forms based on animal movements, martial forms such as ‘Eight Pieces of Brocade’ and Tai Chi Chuan, and special exercises developed specifically to treat various internal organs.”

- Daniel Reid, A Complete Guide to Chi Kung, p. 52.

Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong
This large document includes a detailed description of each movement of the Eight Section Brocades, benefits of the movements, and alternatives and options for each movement. It also includes the largest bibliography, link list, and resources list for this popular Chinese exercise set. A historical introduction to the form is provided. A few of the movement descriptions include animated graphics. One of the movements is called “The Big Bear Turns from Side to Side.”

Turn from side to side like a big bear looking for autumn berries.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Walking with the Druids

"Many of the Anglican meditation manuals used by Druids in the early years of the Revival gave special instructions for meditating while walking in a garden or some other quiet area. To meditate while walking, choose a route over level ground where you won't have to bend, climb stairs, duck around trees, or do anything else that will interrupt your thoughts. A paved or gravel path in a garden is ideal. It should lead in a circle, so that you can keep walking as long as necessary. Walk slowly and smoothly, taking relatively small steps at a steady rhythm. As with the seated posture, you spine should be straight without being stiff, the crown of your head level, and your eyes lowered. Let your arms move easily and naturally at your sides."

- John Michael Greer. "The Gruidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth."

The Ways of Walking: Quotes, Poems

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sword Taijiquuan, 32 Standard, Yang Style

32 Sword Form, Simplified, Yang Style, Taijiquan Jian. By Michael P. Garofalo. This popular webpage includes a comprehensive bibliography, scores of links to webpages; an extensive listing of the names and name variations for each movement in English, Chinese, French, German, and Spanish; a detailed analysis of each posture and movement sequence with explanations and numbered illustrations and detailed instructions; selected quotations; comments on 20 Taijiquan sword techniques; a comprehensive media bibliography; a chart of performance times; and, a comparison of the 32 and 55 sword forms in the Yang style. This is the standard, simplified, orthodox, 1957, 32 Taiji Sword Form, in the Yang Style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. © Michael P. Garofalo, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California, January 2008. 245Kb+.

32 Taijiquan Simplified Sword Form

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tai Chi Chuan 24 Standard Simplified Form

Taijiquan Standard Simplified 24 Movement Form in the Yang Style

Research by Michael P. Garofalo

- Bibliography, Links, Online Videos, Resources

- List of 24 Movement Names in English, Chinese characters, Chinese Pinyin, French, German and Spanish. Source references for movement names.

- Descriptions of each of the 24 movements with B&W line illustrations.

- Performance times, sections, quotations, notes on learning.

- Standard, simplified, Chinese National, Orthodox, 24 Movement Form in the Yang Style of Taijiquan.

- List of Movements

Updated in March 2008

300Kb, HTML

This webpage was served to over 48,000 persons in 2007. It is one of the more popular webpages on the Cloud Hands Website

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Positive Mindset

"What are the qualities that make one's mindset positive?
They include being able to:

Think in a calm, pacified, and reflective manner instead of being disturbed, agitated, and impulsive in one's reactions.

Put ideas together rationally and arrive at the right judgment even in the absence of obvious evidence or proof.

Decide, plan, and execute a course of action in a patient, persistent, and disciplined manner.

Recognize the changes and be flexible in adapting to them.

Observe and perceive things with a sense of humor instead of outrage, indignation, and anger.

Let go of useless and counterproductive thoughts, desires, and ambitions instead of being preoccupied with them.

Relax and meditate or rest.

Resist temptation and coercion."

- Michael Fekete, Strength Training for Seniors, Hunter House, 2006, p. 36

Livestyle Advice for Wise Persons

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Share K. Lew Workshop

"Sifu Lew Cloud Hands Qi Gong Workshop taught by Master Share K. Lew
Sunday, August 24, 2008 in Redding, CA

The exercises that Master Lew teaches are part of the "internal system" of the martial arts, known as Nui Kung or energy cultivation. These exercises strengthen the circulation of the Chi (vital energy), which increases vitality, health, and sensory perception. All of these exercises have traditionally been kept secret. Daily practice of the exercises will give the student a tangible experience of Chi energy.
The Cloud Hands set is the beginning set of Nui Kung (internal energy cultivation) which builds a foundation for both better health and further Nui Kung. The Cloud Hands consist of five relatively non-strenuous movements along with quiet seated meditation. These Taoist exercises help the body maintain good health and increase vitality. The time required for practice will fit into anyone’s schedule.

The Instructor
Share K. Lew, now in his nineties, is a Taoist priest with over 70 years experience in the traditional Taoist arts. Master Lew received part of his education at Wong Lung Kwan, a Taoist monastery on the Luo Fo mountains near Canton, China.
Master Lew studied at Wong Lung Kwan monastery for 13 years. During that time he trained in the full range of Taoist healing and martial arts. At the core of his training was the secret system of cultivation known as Qigong (Chi kung). Master Lew was the first person to openly teach authentic Taoist Qigong to non-Chinese, beginning in Los Angeles in 1970. Master Lew’s monastery style, the Tao Ahn Pai (Taoist Elixir Style), dates back over 1300 years to Lu Dung Bin, who was born during the Tang Dynasty, and became one of the Eight Immortals of Taoism.
For information and reservations call (530) 223-4849 or email:
Date: Sunday, August 24, 2008
Time: 10:00 to 4:00 pm, with lunch break from 12-2:00 pm
Location: Redding Ju Jitsu Academy
3092 Bechelli Lane
Redding 96002 (behind Village Cycle)
Fee: $100

Reservations: Pre-registration is recommended. A deposit of $100 will reserve your space. Class size is limited.
• Bring a small pillow to sit on
• Make checks payable to Share K. Lew.
• You can sign up in advance at:
East Earth Trade Winds
144 Hartnell Avenue, Redding (in the Raley’s shopping center)"

From the Riverlands Blog

Thursday, August 07, 2008

New Yoga and Tai Chi Chuan Teaching Schedule

Starting on August 9, 2008, I will begin the following new teaching schedule at the Tehama Family Fitness Center in Red Bluff, California:

Yoga (Hatha, Vinyasa, Qigong), Tuesdays, 5:30 to 6:45 pm

Tai Chi Chuan (Yang Style - 24, 108, sword), Wednesdays, 6:30 to 7:30 pm.

Yoga (Hatha, Vinyasa, Qigong), Thursdays, 5:30 to 6:45 pm

Tai Chi Chuan (Yang Style - 24, 108, sword), Saturdays, 9:30 - 11 am

Yoga (Hatha, Vinyasa, Qigong), Saturdays, 11 - 12:15 am

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Human Body and the Chinese Mind

I will be given three lectures at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Museum in Redding, California. This is coordinated with The Bodies Revealed Exhibit at Turtle Bay.

Tai Chi
Sundays, August 3, 10 & 17, 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Michael Garofalo, M.S., Taijquan, Qigong and Yoga teacher, will lead three Tai Chi sessions. Sessions cover The Human Body and the Chinese Mind, Fitness Concepts in the Chinese Mind, and The Body and Mind Connection in the Chinese Mind. Includes take-home information.
Cost per session: members $10, nonmembers $15. Children are half price. Guarantee your place by prepaying for all three. To register, call 242-3108.
Turtle Bay Museum Classroom

Here is an outline of my first talk:

The Human Body and Chinese Mind

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Health Practices

Presented by Michael Garofalo, M.S.
Cloud Hands Website:

August 3rd (Body), 10th (Mind) and 17th (Spirit), 2008, 10 – 11:30 am
Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Museum, Redding, California
Coordinated with the Bodies Revealed Exhibit

Qi or Chi, pronounced “Chee,” is a general term in Chinese referring to “energy,” and, more specifically, the energy that sustains life, keeps us alive, and provides us with strength and vitality. The Qi in our bodies moves or flows along meridians or channels inside of the body. Qi can be discovered, gathered, circulated, purified, directed, conserved, stored, transformed, dissolved, and transmitted. The Qi energy system is comparable to our vascular system moving blood (which carries glucose and oxygenated red blood cells) through arteries and veins; and, the bio-electrical impulses of our central nervous system which move in nerve fiber pathways to all parts of our bodies.

Traditional Chinese medicine used medical Qi theory, herbal and other natural medicines, massage, therapeutic exercise, rest, acupuncture, diet, Five Elements (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and Metal) theory and Yin/Yang theory, and mental/social health practices to help people stay healthy and recover from illness and disease.

In addition to the internal organs of the body such as heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, stomach, etc., the traditional Chinese view included Qi storage areas (lower, middle and upper Dan Tien - Field of Elixir), Qi channels, and energy gates or Qi focal points (e.g, Bubbling Well on bottom of foot).

Qi Gong or Chi Kung is a method for training the body to improve and increase our Qi, which results in good health, well being, vitality, and long life. Gong means work, practice, routine, mastery, and skills. There are many styles of Qi Gong, and there is considerable writing and clear archeological evidence of Qi Gong practices in China before 250 BCE. Qi Gong has much in common with mind-body arts like yoga and tai chi chuan.

The Eight Section Brocade, Ba Duan Gin
Qi Gong
Exercise Set

1. Pressing the Heavens with Two Hands
Many Chinese healers believe that this exercise helps regulate and improve the heart, lungs, stomach, and spleen. It stimulates the internal organs in the upper trunk area. The Triple Warmer or Triple Burner (Sanjiao) refers to the heart, lungs, and stomach.

2. Wise Owl Gazes Backward
This exercise benefits the Qi in the lungs, large intestine, eyes and neck; as well as being a tonic for the entire immune system. It exercises the neck and eyes.

3. Draw the Bow and Let the Arrow Fly.
This exercise benefits the Qi in the kidneys and spleen. It exercises the arms, shoulders, waist, eyes, and legs.

4. Separating Heaven and Earth

This exercise benefits the Qi in the spleen and stomach. It exercises the shoulders and upper back.

5. Big Bear Turns from Side to Side

Most of the qigong and traditional Chinese medical literature says that this exercise benefits the heart, and gets rid of "heart fire." Exercising the lungs (metal) helps absorb the heat and control the fire, the heart fire - heartburn (Hsin For - heart fire). It exercises the waist, back, and legs.

6. Expel the Stale Chi, Punching with Angry Eyes

This exercise benefits the Qi in the liver and gallbladder. It exercises the legs, back, shoulders and arms.

7. Bouncing and Shaking the Body; Cure the 100 Ailments.
This exercise benefits the Qi in the entire body and is a tonic for the entire immune system. It exercises the legs and calves.

8. Bowing to Our Honorable Ancestors; Touching Toes and Bending Backwards.

This exercise benefits the Qi in the kidneys. It exercises the lower back, hips and legs.

Recommended Reading:

Kenneth S. Cohen, The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing
Yang Jwing Ming, The Root of Chinese Chi Kung
Mike Garofalo, Eight Section Brocade,
Books by Daniel Reid, Roger Jahnke, Bruce Kumar Frantzis, and Jerry Alan Johnson.