Sunday, November 16, 2008

Walking Meditation

“In Bodh Gaya, India, there is an old Bodhi tree that shades the very spot where the Buddha is believed to have sat in meditation on the night of his enlightenment. Close by is a raised walking path about 17 steps in length, where the Buddha mindfully paced up and down in walking meditation after becoming enlightened, experiencing the joy of a liberated heart.

In his teachings, the Buddha stressed the importance of developing mindfulness in all postures, including standing, sitting, lying down, and even walking. When reading accounts about the lives of monks and nuns in the time of the Buddha, you find that many attained various stages of enlightenment while doing walking meditation.

In walking meditation, the primary object of attention is the process of walking itself. In other words, to sharpen awareness and train the mind to concentrate, you pay close attention to the physical act of walking, the way you take one step after another. Thus the object is more obvious and tangible than in the more refined meditation techniques, such as focusing on the breath or a mantra, which are often used in traditional sitting meditation. Focusing the mind on this more obvious object helps to avoid sleepiness (or restlessness) that meditators sometimes experience during their sitting meditation.

The guidelines for walking meditation are similar to that of sitting meditation: Choose an appropriate time and decide how long to meditate; for beginners 15 to 30 minutes may be suitable. The walking path can be either inside or outside, depending upon your preference and the area available. Also, whenever possible, it is better to practice in bare feet, although this is not essential.

Stand at one end of the path and hold your hands gently together in front of your body. The eyes remain open, gazing down along the path about two yards ahead. The intention is not to be looking at anything in particular but simply to see that you remain on the path and know when to turn around.

You should now try to center yourself by putting aside all concern for the past and future. In order to calm the mind and establish awareness in the present, abandon any preoccupation with work, home, and relationships, and bring the attention to the body. The meditation exercise is simply to walk at a slow, relaxed pace, being fully aware of each step until you reach the end of the path. When you arrive at the end of the path, stop for a moment and check to see what the mind is doing. Is it being attentive? If necessary, reestablish awareness. Then turn and walk back to the other end in a similar fashion, remaining mindful and alert. Continue to pace up and down for the duration of the meditation period, gently making an effort to sustain awareness and focus attention on the process of walking.”
- John Cianciosi, Yoga Journal

Green Way Wisdom - Walking Meditation

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Yoga and Taijiquan Class Schedule

Current Taijiquan Class and Practice Schedule
Mike Garofalo, Instructor

Outdoors, Monday, 7:00 - 8:30 am, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Center

Indoors, Mondays, 5:30 - 6:30 pm, Tehama Family Fitness Center

Outdoors, Friday, 7:00 - 8:30 am, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Center

Indoors, Saturday, 9:30 - 11 am, Tehama Family Fitness Center

Outdoors, Sunday, 7:00 - 8:30 am, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Center

We practice the Yang Style of Taijiquan (24 Form and 108 Form), 32 Sword Form and Eight Immortals 36 Cane Form in the Yang Style of Taijiquan.

Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.

Green Way Blog

Cloud Hands Blog

Cloud Hands Website

Valley Spirit Taijiquan Curriculum, Instructors, Class Schedule


Current Yoga Class Schedule
Mike Garofalo, Instructor

Starting Thursday, November 13, 2008:

Yoga Class, Thursdays, 5:30 - 6:45 pm, Tehama Family Fitness Center

Yoga Class, Saturdays, 11:00 am - 12:15, Tehama Family Fitness Center

Yoga Class, Tuesdays, 5:30 - 6:45 pm, Tehama Family Fitness Center


Yoga Information

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Standing Meditation

“Let me keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still,
learning to be astonished.”
- Mary Oliver, Messenger

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Standing still in the circle of trees, in the sacred space,
one wet and chilly morn,
feet rooted, turtle toes clawing the earth, sunk deeply down;
twisted like a dragon, alert, poised, ready to fly;
settled like a bear, strong, full of power, gathering;
looking through the tiger’s eye, mind-intent, penetrating;
embracing the World of Body, Mind, and Spirit,
as ancient as Now, the Three Realms, all still, all one.

From the edge, the cosmic circle opened,
Chang San-Feng slipped inside, smiling,
he stroked his long black beard and spoke softly,
“Ah, another old man standing so still in San Ti Shi.
Continue, my friend, stand in peace, touch the mind.
Xuan Wu guards the Gate, the Turtle chants, the Snake rises, and
The subtle winds of understanding blow down the centuries.
When still, soar like the Blue Dragon; when moving, walk like the Mountain.
Tame the Tiger within, ride the Tiger to the temple, and roar in silence.
Awaken like the Bear from the winter of the soul, and rise like a Man.
Feel the vital energies from bone to brain,
Sense the Great Tao before you Now,
Drop delusions, enter the Gate of Mystery,
Embrace the Center, Empty, unattached, ready to be filled
With boundless beauty, everything There, marvelous beyond words.”

The cottonwood leaves spoke with the wind,
the sun rose over the shadows,
my legs shook a little;
the cosmic circle trembled,
Xuan Wu’s sword flashed in the sun,
Master Chang disappeared in the trees.”
- By Michael P. Garofalo, Poetic Reflections on Chang San-Feng.

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Mike Garofalo and San Ti Shi Posture

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A commonoly used standing posture in internal martial arts is the San Ti Shi. This is the “Trinity Posture, Three Bodies Posture, Union of the Three Realms, the Three Legged Posture….” For a description of the posture, photographs of the posture, and the purpose of standing postures visit my notes on the webpage San Ti Shi, Three Body (Heaven, Man, Earth) Standing Posture

Zhan Zhuang (Standing Like A Tree)
Rooting Deeply Into Tranquility, Power and Vitality
A Chinese Meditation and Qigong Discipline
By Mike Garofalo, 137 Kb.

Chang San Feng, Taoist Master, Circa 1300 CE

Sacred Circle

Meetings with Chang San-Feng. Poetic reflections by Mike Garofalo.

Xuan Wu Dadi, Dark Lord of the North

Standing Meditation: Trinity Stance

Cloud Hands Blog

Monday, November 03, 2008

Tai Chi Chuan Practice Schedule

Current Taijiquan Class and Practice Schedule

Outdoors, Monday, 7:00 - 8:30 am, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Center

Indoors, Mondays, 5:30 - 6:30 pm, Tehama Family Fitness Center

Outdoors, Friday, 7:00 - 8:30 am, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Center

Indoors, Saturday, 9:30 - 11 am, Tehama Family Fitness Center

Sunday, 7:00 - 8:30 am, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Center

We practice the Yang Style of Taijiquan (24 Form and 108 Form), 32 Sword Form and Eight Immortals 36 Cane Form in the Yang Style of Taijiquan.

Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.

Green Way Blog

Cloud Hands Blog

Cloud Hands Website

Valley Spirit Taijiquan Curriculum, Instructors, Class Schedule