Friday, November 30, 2012

Hatha Yoga Postures List and Index

Hatha Yoga Postures (Asanas) List and Index
Alphabetical arrangement by both the English and Sanskrit names of postures.
Page citations to descriptions in eight influential yoga textbooks, e.g., Light on Yoga, Yoga the Iyengar Way, Yoga Anatomy, Hatha Yoga Illustrated, Anatomy of Hatha Yoga, Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health, etc.
Information as to type and level of difficulty for each posture.  
Includes many Chi Kung (Qigong) postures used in my yoga classes.
Updated weekly
By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S. 
Valley Spirit Yoga, Red Bluff, California
24 pages in PDF (Print Only) format
December 1, 2012

Hatha Yoga Postures (Asanas) List and Index

Standing Hatha Yoga Postures List

Supine Hatha Yoga Postures List

MPG Yoga Studies Lists

Valley Spirit Yoga

Valley Spirit Qigong (Chi Kung)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 39

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 39

"The things which from of old have got the One, the Tao, are: 
Heaven which by it is bright and pure;
Earth rendered thereby firm and sure;
Spirits with powers by it supplied;
Valleys kept full throughout their void
All creatures which through it do live
Princes and kings who from it get
The model which to all they give.
All these are the results of the One, the Tao.  
If heaven were not thus pure, it soon would rend;
If earth were not thus sure, it would break and bend;
Without these powers, the spirits soon would fail;
If not so filled, the drought would parch each vale;
Without that life, creatures would pass away;
Princes and kings, without that moral sway,
However grand and high, would all decay.
Thus it is that dignity finds its firm root in its previous meanness, and what is lofty finds its stability in the lowness from which it rises. 
Hence princes and kings call themselves 'Orphans,' 'Men of small virtue,' and as 'Carriages without a nave.'
Is not this an acknowledgment that in their considering themselves mean they see the foundation of their dignity?
So it is that in the enumeration of the different parts of a carriage we do not come on what makes it answer the ends of a carriage.
They do not wish to show themselves as elegant-looking as jade, but prefer to be coarse-looking as an ordinary stone."
-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 39  

"From of old these things have obtained oneness:  
Heaven by oneness becometh pure.
Earth by oneness can endure.
Minds by oneness souls procure.
Valleys by oneness repletion secure.   
All creatures by oneness to life have been called.
And kings were by oneness as models installed.  
Such is the result of oneness.   
Were heaven not pure it might be rent.
Were earth not stable it might be bent.
Were minds not ensouled they'd be impotent.
Were valleys not filled they'd soon be spent.
When creatures are lifeless who can their death prevent?
Are kings not models, but on haughtiness bent,
Their fall, forsooth, is imminent.
Thus, the nobles come from the commoners as their root, and the high rest upon the lowly as their foundation.
Therefore, princes and kings call themselves orphaned, lonely, and unworthy.
Is this not because they take lowliness as their root?  
The several parts of a carriage are not a carriage. 
Those who have become a unity are neither anxious to be praised with praise like a gem, nor disdained with disdain like a stone."
-   Translated by Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 39  

"In mythical times all things were whole:
All the sky was clear,
All the earth was stable,
All the mountains were firm,
All the riverbeds were full,
All of nature was fertile,
And all the rulers were supported.
But, losing clarity, the sky tore;
Losing stability, the earth split;
Losing strength, the mountains sank;
Losing water, the riverbeds cracked;
Losing fertility, nature disappeared;
And losing support, the rulers fell.
Rulers depend upon their subjects,
The noble depend upon the humble;
So rulers call themselves orphaned, hungry and alone,
To win the people's support."
-   Translation by Peter Merel, 1992, Chapter 39 

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Walking in Autumn

Looking east on Kilkenny Lane near Red Bluff, California. I walk 3.6 miles on this cul de sac lane, four days each week. 

"Putting facts by the thousands,
into the world, the toes take off
with an appealing squeak which the thumping heel
follows confidentially, the way men greet men.
Sometimes walking is just such elated
-   Lyn Hejinian, Determination

Looking to the northeast on Kilkenny Lane.  Mt. Lassen (10,000 feet) in the distance is capped with snow. 

"Walking is the natural recreation for a man who desires not absolutely to suppress his intellect but to turn it out to play for a season." 
-  Leslie Stephen  


Looking west on Kilkenny Lane.  The red leafed autumn colors are from Raywood Ash trees. The Yolly Bolly mountain range (7,000 feet) is to the west of the North Sacramento Valley.  

"The interior solitude, along with the steady rhythm of walking mile after mile, served as a catalyst for deeper awareness.  The solitude I found and savored on the Camino had an amazing effect on me.  The busyness of my life slowly settled down as the miles went on.  For a good portion of my life I had longed for a fuller experience of contemplation, that peaceful prayer of the heart in which one is able to look intently and see each piece of life as sacred.  Ten days into the journey, totally unforeseen, the grace of seeing the world with startling lucidity came to me.  My eyes took in everything with wonder.  The experience was like looking through the lens of an inner camera – my heart was the photographer.  Colors and shapes took on nuances and depths never before noticed.  Each piece of beauty appeared to be framed: weeds along roadsides, hillsides of harvested fields with yellow and green stripes, layers of mountains with lines of thick mist stretching along their middle section, clumps of ripe grapes on healthy green vines, red berries on bushes, roses and vegetable gardens.  Everything revealed itself as something marvelous to behold.  Each was a work of art.  I noticed more and more details of light and shadow, lines and edges, shapes, softness, and texture.  I easily observed missed details on the path before me – skinny worms, worn pebbles, tiny flowers of various colors and shapes, black beetles, snails, and fat, grey slugs.  I became aware of the texture of everything under my feet – stones, slate, gravel, cement, dirt, sand, grass.  I responded with wonder and amazement.  Like the poet Tagore, I felt that everything “harsh and dissonant in my life” was melting into “one sweet harmony”."
-  Joyce Rupp 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Standing Hatha Yoga Postures List

Standing Hatha Yoga Postures List
English and Sanskrit Names
Indexed by Yoga Textbooks
MPG Yoga Study List #8

Prepared by Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.
5 Pages, PDF
26 November 2012

List of Hatha Yoga Postures, English and Sanskrit, Indexed by Textbooks.  
22 pages, PDF.
MPG Yoga Study List #4.
Prepared by Michael P. Garofalo.  

Hatha Yoga Study Lists by Mike Garofalo

Valley Spirit Yoga, Red Bluff, California

Monday, November 26, 2012

Movement with Attention

"Movement with Attention:  Our brains are organized through movement.  This includes movements we already know and do and movements we have yet to learn.  The move habitual our everyday movements, the less we are able to satisfy the brain's need for growth.  As we introduce new patterns of movement, combined with attention, our brains begin making thousands, millions, and even billions of new connections.  These changes quickly translate into thinking that is clearer, movement that is easier, pain that is reduced or eliminated, and action that is more successful.  As a result, new activities that we may not have even dreamed were possible, become possible."
-   Anat Baniel, Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality, p.18.

Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality  By Anat Baniel.  New York, Harmony Books, 2009.  Index, bibliography, 306 pages.  ISBN: 9780307395290.  VSCL.  

Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality
"1.  Moving with Attention, Wake Up to Life, Mindful Movements
2.  The Learning Switch, Bring in the New, Lifelong learning, Retraining
3.  Subtlety, Experience the Power of Gentleness
4.  Variation, Enjoy Abundant Possibilities
5.  Taking Your Time, Slowing Down, Not Rushing, Luxuriate in the Richness of Feeling 
6.  Enthusiasm, Turn the Small into the Great
7.  Flexible Goals, Make the Impossible Possible  
8.  Imagination and Dreams, Create Your Life
9.  Awareness, Cultivating Mindfulness, Thrive with True Knowledge"

-   Anat Baniel, Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Spirit in the Domain of Nature

"Before beginning this journey inward, we must clarify its nature.  There is a frequent misunderstanding of the journey inward or the spiritual path, which suggests to most people a rejection of the natural world, the mundane, the practical, the pleasurable.  On the contrary, to a yogi (or indeed a Taoist master or Zen monk) the path toward spirit lies entirely in the domain of nature.  It is the exploration of nature from the world of appearances, or surface, into the subtlest heart of living matter.  Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek be a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal.  For the yogi, spirit is not separate from the body.  Spirituality, as I have tried to make clear, is not ethereal and outside nature but accessible and palpable in our very own bodies."
-  B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life, 2005, p. 18

Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom  By B.K.S. Iyengar.  With John J. Evans and Douglas Abrams.  Rodale Books, 2005.  Index, 282 pages.  ISBN: 1594862486.  VSCL. 

Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health  By B.K.S. Iyengar.  London, Dorling Kindersley, 2001.  Index, glossary, appendices, 415 pages.  ISBN: 0789471655. 
Lavishly illustrated compendium of essential poses, routines, prop use, and yoga routines to help specific health problems.  VSCL.    

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Supine Yoga Postures List

Supine Hatha Yoga Postures List
English and Sanskrit Names
Indexed by Yoga Textbooks
MPG Yoga Study List #13

Prepared by Michael P. Garofalo
4 Pages, PDF

List of Hatha Yoga Postures, English and Sanskrit, Indexed by Textbooks.  21 pages, PDF.
MPG Yoga Study List #4.
Prepared by Michael P. Garofalo.  

Yoga Study Lists by Mike Garofalo

Friday, November 23, 2012

Breathing and Energy

"According to a long-held tradition, Huang Ti, the so-called Yellow Emperor, who began his rule around 2700 B. C., practiced a form of exercise called Tao Yin with the aim of increasing his life span.  The word Tao means "guide," and Yin means "leading."  These terms give a hint of how the exercise works: the movements of the limbs guide the circulation of the blood so that the tissues throughout the body can be repaired and cleansed more efficiently.  The movements also lead the breath in and out of the lungs, so that more oxygen can be inhaled to nourish and energize the body and the poisons can be exhaled more efficiently.  ...  Essential to the practice of Tao Yin was the way in which the movements of the limbs were combined with the breathing.  It is actually this combination that make the exercise so beneficial for health.  Huang Ti's exercises were also know as T'u Na.  The word T'u means "exhale," and Na means "inhale."
-   Dau Liu,
T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Meditation, 1986, p. 3.

"The form of energy composing the chakras and currents in the subtle body is unknown to science.  The Hindus call it prana, which means literally "life" - that is "life-force."  The Chinese call it chi, the Polynesians mana, the Amerindians orenda, and the ancient Germans od.  It is an all-pervasive "organic" energy.  In modern times, the pyschiatrist Wilhelm Reich attempted to resuscitate this notion in his concept of the orgone, but he met with hostility from the scientific establishment.  More recently, Russian parapsychologists have introduced the notion of bioplasma, which is explained as a radiant energy field interpenetrating physical organisms."
-   Georg Feuerstein, "Yoga: The Technology of Ecstasy," 1989, p.258.  

Breathing: Bibliography, Quotations, Notes

The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama  By Richard Rosen.  Foreword by Rodney Yee.  Illustrations by Kim Fraley.  Boston, Shambhala, 2002.  Index, notes, 304 pages.  ISBN: 1570628890.  VSCL.    

Pranayama Beyond the Fundamentals: An In-Depth Guide to Yogic Breathing  By Richard Rosen.  Includes an instructional audio CD.  Boston, Shambhala, 2006.  Index, bibliography, glossary, notes, 214 pages.  ISBN: 1590302982.  VSCL. 

Light on Prānāyāma: The Yogic Art of Breathing  By B.K.S. Iyengar.  Introduction by Yehudi Menuhin.  New York, Crossroad Pub. Co., 2012.  Originally published in 1985 in English.  Index, glossary, appendices, 296 pages.  ISBN: 9780824506865.  VSCL. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving in Red Bluff

Mike, Karen, Makenna, Katelyn, Alicia, Sean

Karen, Mick, Mike, April

Margaret, Makenna, Marcella, Katelyn and their dog friends.

Makenna picking lettuce for a salad from our winter garden.

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 40

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 40

"Reversion is the action of the Dao.
Softness is the function of the Dao.
The myriad things under Heaven achieve life in existence.
Existence arises from nothingness."
-   Translation Richard Lynn, Chapter 40 

"The motion of the Way is to return;
The use of the Way is to accept;
All things come from the Way,
And the Way comes from nothing."
-   Translation by Peter Merel, 1992, Chapter 40

"Homeward is Reason's course,
Weakness is Reason's force. 
Heaven and earth and the ten thousand things come from existence, but existence comes from non-existence." 
-   Translated by Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 40  

"The movement of Tao [in the course of time] is to return [to Simplicity];
The working of Tao is so subtle [that is ostensible effect may not be immediately] noticeable.
Myriad things and creatures on Earth [as we can conjecture] were originated from something;
This something [describable by us] was launched [ultimately] from nothing [which is beyond our description]."
-   Translated by Lee Sun Chen Org, Chapter 40  

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

A Happy Thanksgiving Day Holiday to All.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Beauty of Holiness

"to be, anywhere,
so flagrant in desire   .
The beauty of holiness,
if this it be,

is the only beauty
visible in this place

other than the view
and a fresh budding tree."
-  William Carlos Williams
Paterson, 1946, Part II, p. 71

Beauty: Quotes, Sayings, Poems

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November Garden Chores

November Gardening Chores
Red Bluff, North Sacramento Valley, California, USA
USDA Zone 9

Removing dead and non-productive summer vegetable crops. 
Turn in composted steer manure and compost into the cleared vegetable garden.
Ordering from seed and garden catalogs. 
Planting potted trees and shrubs. 
Putting winter crops in the ground and harvesting greens: onions, lettuce, radishes, garlic, beets, chard, cabbage.
Placing cold sensitive potted plants in protected areas or indoors.
Planting bulbs.
Prune and mulch dormant perennials.
Prune fruit trees.
Storing and repairing tools. 
Cleaning, storing, repairing and removing gasoline from equipment.
Fertilize with 20-9-9 or 16-16-16. 
Trees without leaves need little or no watering.  
Reduce or eliminate watering, watering as needed, depending upon rainfall, normally 3.1 inches in November.
Picking pumpkins, squash, colored corn, and other crops for Thanksgiving decorations.
Pruning grape vines. 
Picking and storing peppers. 
Raking leaves and add to compost piles and mulch layers.
Lawn care: aerate soil and fertilize.   
Digging holes and post holes in cooler weather. 
Burning dead trees and shrubs in burn pile. 
Watering potted plants. 
Reading gardening books and catalogs. 

Monday, November 19, 2012


Lying On One’s Back, Resting, Lying Down, Corpse, Sleeper
     Savāsana, Mrtāsana   SupP, Res, Mod4
     LoY422, YtIY150-154, BSYF196, HYI196, YS425     

"Steady, smooth, fine and deep breathing without any jerky movements of the body soothes the nerves and calms the mind."  
-  B.K.S. Iyengar, "Light on Yoga," 1966, p. 424  

"By remaining motionless for some time and keeping the mind still while you are fully conscious, you learn to relax.  This conscious relaxation invigorates and refreshes both body and mind.  But is is much harder to keep the mind than the body still.  Therefore, this apparently easy posture is one of the most difficult to master."
B.K.S. Iyengar, "Light on Yoga," 1966, p. 424 

Yesterday, we received a lesson on Pranayama from Tom Hess, an Iyengar certified teacher who teachs yoga in the Chico and Paradise area.  I believe he teaches at the Chico Sports Club.  He emailed us the outline of his lecture.      

The Pranayama method introduced by Tom Hess was to 1) use preparatory asanas for upper torso, 2) use lots of props, including covering the eyes, 3) uniting or joining mind and breath, 4) use Savāsana (Mrtāsana, Corpse, Sleeper, Lying on Back pose) while doing various breathing exercises rather than being seated, and support Savasana as needed with props, 5) Ujjai breathing to focus or concentrate (Dhrana) the mind, 6) complex guided instructions or visualizations allowed, 7) completely relaxing, sinking, letting go, surrendering, 8) the experience and realizations gained through practice, practice, and continued practice of asanas/pranayamas, and 9) being here and now, alert, present, attentive, witnessing.

We learned about Bandas, Koshas, Prana, Elements, Breathing Exercises, Asanas.  

Hatha Yoga Postures List by Mike Garofalo

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hatha Yoga Study Lists
By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.
Valley Spirit Yoga, Red Bluff, California, © 2012

1.  Yamas and Niyamas, English and Sanskrit   (1 page, PDF) 

2.  Hips and Legs - Anatomy List   (2 pages, PDF) 

3.  Ten Paramitas List   (1 page, PDF) 

5.  Hatha Yoga Postures Study List A   (1 page, PDF) 

6.  Hatha Yoga Postures Study List B   (1 page, PDF) 

7.  Back and Neck - Anatomy List   (1 page, PDF) 

10.  Restorative Hatha Yoga Postures Study List 10  (2 pages, PDF) 

11.  Sitting Hatha Yoga Postures Study List 11  (2 pages, PDF) 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tai Chi Sword Forms

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.

32 Taijiquan Simplified Sword Form

20 T'ai Chi Ch'uan Sword Techniques

55 Classical Yang Taiji Sword

The Wild Horse Jumps Over the Mountain Stream

Zhong Kui
Vanquisher of Demons
Protector of the Home

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 41

Dao De Jing, Laozi,
Chapter 41

"When the best shih hears Tao, he puts out great effort to practice it.
When the average shih hears Tao, he will keep it sometimes, and sometimes forget about it.
When the poorest shih hears Tao, he just has a big laugh."
If he does not laugh, it must not quite be Tao.
Yes, the 'Well-Founded Sayings' has it: The bright Tao seems dark the Tao going forward seems to be going backward the smooth Tao seems rough.
The loftiest Te seems like a valley great purity seems sullied abundant Te seems insufficient
Well-founded Te seems flimsy what is pure and natural seems faded the best square has no corners
A great bronze takes long to finish great music has a delicate sound the Great Image has no shape.
Tao is something concealed, nameless.
It is just Tao, good at sustaining a person and completing him."
-   Translated by Michael Lafargue, 1992, Chapter 41 

"When superior people hear of the Way, they carry it out with diligence.
When middling people hear of the way, it sometimes seems to be there, sometimes not.
When lesser people hear of the Way, they ridicule it greatly.
If they didn't laugh at it, it wouldn't be the Way.
So there are constructive sayings on this: The Way of illumination seems dark, the Way of advancement seems retiring, the Way of equality seems to categorize; higher virtue seems empty, greater purity seems ignominious, broad virtue seems insufficient,
constructive virtue seems careless.
Simple honesty seems changeable, great range has no boundaries, great vessels are finished late; the great sound has a rarefied tone, the great image has no form, the Way hides in namelessness.
Only the Way can enhance and perfect."
-   Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 41 

"Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, earnestly carry it into practice.
Scholars of the middle class, when they have heard about it, seem now to keep it and now to lose it.
Scholars of the lowest class, when they have heard about it, laugh greatly at it.
If it were not (thus) laughed at, it would not be fit to be the Tao.
Therefore the sentence-makers have thus expressed themselves:--
'The Tao, when brightest seen, seems light to lack;
Who progress in it makes, seems drawing back;
Its even way is like a rugged track.
Its highest virtue from the vale doth rise;
Its greatest beauty seems to offend the eyes;
And he has most whose lot the least supplies.
Its firmest virtue seems but poor and low;
Its solid truth seems change to undergo;
Its largest square doth yet no corner show
A vessel great, it is the slowest made;
Loud is its sound, but never word it said;
A semblance great, the shadow of a shade.'
The Tao is hidden, and has no name; but it is the Tao which is skilful at imparting (to all things what they need) and making them complete."
-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 41 

"When seers see their nothingness
They never let it out of sight
But others see it now and then
And miss out on its true delight
Still others only laugh it off
And look at it with ridicule
It wouldn't be the real truth
If it weren't laughed at by the fool
The brightest way seems darkness
Just going on seems like retreat
The simple way seems difficult
Capacity seems like defeat
Clarity can seem obscure
And love seem not to care
Totality seems not enough
And truth can seem to err
Awareness doesn't have a name
To all appearances is null
Yet it produces everything
And so this empty place is full." 
-   Translated by Jim Clatfelter, 2000, Chapter 41 


Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

You Should Be Dancing

A two year old boy shows us his dancing skills.  This video brought a nice big smile on to my face.  


My New Email Pathway

To send me email, please send the messages to:

          Mike Garofalo's Email Information  

Thank you.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Changing Internet Service Providers

Leaving Hughes Net Wild Blue Internet Services

Since 2003, we have been using Hughes Net Wild Blue Internet Service in our home at $89.00 per month.  We live in a rural area with no direct high speed cable or high speed telephone Internet services.  Wild Blue uses a satellite dish system.  We have never been very satisfied with the Hughes Net Wild Blue Internet Service.  We have had to deal with frequent down time, frequent stoppages, slow relay speeds, and slow download speeds.  We have to plug and unplug our Linksys router two or three times every day.  We could never get Skype or Roku to work properly.  They do not offer their own Internet mail services, which causes confusion in how our outgoing email address looks.  There have been numerous equipment malfunctions.  Wild Blue has replaced the satellite dish on our roof twice, and the communications box twice.  Service response to our complaints was slow.  We have been without Internet service since last Thursday because the Wild Blue communications box was malfunctioning.

On Monday we switched to Red Bluff 'The Sky Beam' Internet Service provider.  Installation for $100.  Monthly service fees of $40.  

Our neighbor reports on excellent service from Sky Beam.  We shall see how we do in the coming months. 

I will need to completely reset all my email accounts.  The Sky Beam mail option does not have the email functionality that I desire.  Please excuse the lapse in my personal email communications during the next couple of weeks.  

At home, I will now be using the Firefox browser, Google Email, Google Blogger, and the Google Apps Cloud.  At school where I work, I use  the CUESD Google Mail and the Firefox browser as everyday business tools, and we sometimes use the CUESD Google Apps Cloud.    

Karen said her Internet speed was much faster on her computer!   She is very pleased!!!  It helps greatly to keep your wife happy.  

Netflix through Roku over our wireless in-house from my Linksys Wireless G Broadband Router seems to work perfectly.  Netflix streams perfectly using The Sky Beam service.  No broken connections and downloading waits every few minutes using Roku to stream Netflix video/sound.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tiger Frolics Qigong

2.  The Tiger Crouches, Raises, Lunges, and Attacks 

From a standing position, with the feet at shoulder width, draw your loosely clenched fists up to your upper chest.
Bend forward from the waist, extend the arms forward, make tiger claws with palms down.  Bring the head down to the level of the hips.  Keep the back as straight as possible.  Bend the knees slightly. 
Draw the arms back to the knees as you squat down low, look downward.
Draw both arms up the body to your upper chest, fingers loosely clenched, gradually stand up and lean back as you look up.  Arms are draw up close to the body as as you stand up. 
Bring both arms up a to ears and then above your head, and then forward and down as you step forward with the left foot into a short lunge posture.  The hands form a tiger claw as they come down. 
Step back with the left foot to a centered position and bring the arms to the sides.  Imagine dragging the captured prey back to the Tiger's body before the killing bite to the prey's neck. 

Repeat exercise but step out to the right side.

Movement source citation:  Tiger Frolic, Movement 2, Seizing the Prey, pp. 33-41.  Wu Qin Xi (Five Animal Frolics): Chinese Health Qigong.  Compiled by the Chinese Health Qigong Association.  Beijing, China, Foreign Languages Press, 2007.  102 pages, includes an instructional DVD.  ISBN: 9787119047799.  VSCL.

"'Tiger' ('Hu') represents 'the king of the mountains'. It is seen as powerful and full of courage and dignity. Since ancient times, Chinese people have worshiped and honored the tiger. In China today, there are many folk-customs and festival days involved with the tiger: people paste pictures of tigers onto doors or windows of their houses in order to be protected; the new-born infants are often named as "Tiger Boy" (Hu Wa) or "Tiger Girl" (Hu Niu) with the hope of their parents that they will grow up as vigorously as a tiger; soldiers are also called "the Tiger military officer" for their bravery."
The Tiger in Chinese Rock Art

"The Tiger ( ), is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar.  The Year of the Tiger is associated with the earthly branch symbol .  For example, 15 February 2010 – 2 February 2011: Year of the Metal Tiger."
Tiger in Zodiac

The Five Animal Frolics Qigong

The Tiger Frolics Qigong

Valley Spirit Qigong (Gu Shen Chi Kung)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dancing Warrior

Dancing Warrior Yoga Flow Sequence

This "Dancing Warrior" Vinyasa/Flow sequence was created by Shiva Rea in the 1990's while she was studying yoga and dance at the World Arts and Cultures Department at the University of California at Los Angeles. 

1.  Adho Mukha Savanasana, Downward Facing Dog
2.  Tail of the Dog (right left up in Adho Mukha Savanasana) 
3.  Anjanayasana, Lunge
4.  Virabhadrasana I, Warrior I
5.  Virabhadrasana II, Warrior II
6.  Parsva Virabhadrasana, Reverse Warrior
7.  Utthita Parsvakonasana, Extended Angle from Lunge 
8.  Virabhadrasana I, Warrior I
9.  Chaturanga Dandasana, Crocodile
10.  Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Upward Facing Dog
11.  Adho Mukha Savanasana, Downward Facing Dog  

Repeat the entire sequence to the other side. 

Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes, p.140-141.  By Mark Stephens.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 2012.   Index, bibliography, notes, resources, appendices, 506 pages.  ISBN: 978-1583944974.  VSCL. 

MPG Yoga Study Lists

Valley Spirit Yoga

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Learning About Hatha Yoga Postures

Yoga Teacher Training Books - The Best 

The following two books are excellent books for all serious students of yoga and aspiring yoga instructors.  They are the two best books that I have read and studied lately in my renewed studies to become a better yoga teacher. 

Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques  By Mark Stephens.  Foreword by Muriel Hemingway.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 2010.  Index, bibliography, notes, glossary, charts, 409 pages.  ISBN: 1556438850.  VSCL. 
Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes  By Mark Stephens.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 2012.   Index, bibliography, notes, resources, appendices, 506 pages.  ISBN: 978-1583944974.  VSCL. 


Friday, November 09, 2012

Staying Positive in the Days Ahead

"I pledge to be a positive person and positive influence on my family, friends, co-workers and community.
I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.
I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity.
When I am surrounded by pessimism I will choose optimism.
When I feel fear I will choose faith.
When I want to be bitter I will choose to get better.
When I experience a challenge I will look for opportunity to learn and grow.
When faced with adversity I will find strength.
When I experience a set-back I will be resilient.
When I meet failure I will fail forward towards future success.
With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always move forward towards my destiny.
I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me.
I believe I'm here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges.
I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes everyone around me better.
So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on the world."
-  by Jon Gordon, The Positive Pledge

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 42

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 42 

"The Dao produced One; One produced Two;
Two produced Three; Three produced All things.
All things leave behind them the Obscurity (out of which they have come), and go forward to embrace the Brightness (into which they have emerged), while they are harmonised by the Breath of Vacancy.
What men dislike is to be orphans, to have little virtue, to be as carriages without naves; and yet these are the designations which kings and princes use for themselves.
So it is that some things are increased by being diminished, and others are diminished by being increased.
What other men (thus) teach, I also teach.
The violent and strong do not die their natural death.
I will make this the basis of my teaching."
-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 42

"The Way gave birth to unity,
Unity gave birth to duality,
Duality gave birth to trinity,
Trinity gave birth to the myriad creatures.
The myriad creatures bear yin on their backs and embrace yang in their bosoms.
They neutralize these vapors
and thereby achieve harmony.
That which all under heaven hate most
Is to be orphaned, destitute, and hapless.
Yet kings and dukes call themselves thus.
Things may be diminished by being increased, increased by being diminished.
That which people teach,
After deliberation, I also teach people.
"The tyrant does not die a natural death."
I take this as my mentor."
-   Translated by Victor Mair, Chapter 42

"The principle is not a thing. Call it zero.
The principle in action is the unity of creation. This unity is a single whole. Call it one.
Creation consists of pairs of opposites or polarities. Call these polarities two.
These polarities become creative when they interact. Their interaction is the third element. Call it three.
For example, a man and a woman are two. Their interaction, or intercourse, the third element makes babies. That is creative. That is how all creativity occurs.
The wise leader knows about pairs of opposites and their interactions. The leader knows how to be creative.
In order to lead, the leader learns to follow. In order to prosper, the leader learns to live simply. In both cases, it is the interaction that is creative.
Leading without following is sterile. Trying to become rich by accumulating more and more is a full-time career and not free at all.
Being one-sided always produces unexpected and paradoxical results. Being well-defended will not protect you; it will diminish your life and eventually kill you.
Exceptions to these examples of traditional wisdom are very hard to find."
-   Translated by John Heider, 1985, Chapter 42  

"The Way begot one,
And the one, two;
Then the two begot three
And three, all else.
All things bear the shade on their backs
And the sun in their arms;
By the blending of breath
From the sun and the shade,
Equilibrium comes to the world.
Orphaned, or needy, or desolate, these
Are conditions much feared and disliked;
Yet in public address, the king
And the nobles account themselves thus.
So a loss sometimes benefits one
Or a benefit proves to be loss.
What others have taught
I also shall teach:
If a violent man does not come
To a violent death,
I shall choose him to teach me."
-   Translated by Raymond B. Blakney, 1955, Chapter 42  

"Tao gives birth to One,
One gives birth to Two,
The Two gives birth to Three,
The Three gives birth to all universal things.
All universal things shoulder the Yin and embrace the Yang.
The Yin and Yang mingle and mix with each other to beget the harmony.
People distain the orphaned, widowed and worthless,
Yet they are the name by which rulers called themselves.
Therefore all things may increase when diminished,
And they may diminish when increased.
What people teach is "get rid of weakness and become strong,"
But what I teach is "get rid of the strong to become weak.
The violent and forceful do not die a natural death,"
I will begin my teaching just from this saying."
Translated by He Xuezhi, Chapter 42

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Revealing It, They Walk

"Revealing this, they walk.
A sacred herb -- revealing it, they walk.
Revealing this, they walk.
The sacred life of bison -- revealing it, they walk.
Revealing this, they walk.
A sacred eagle feather -- revealing it, they walk.
Revealing this, they walk.
The eagle and the bison -- like relatives they walk."
-  Black Elk, Oglala Sioux Chief

Walking: Quotes, Sayings, Poetry

"The Six Grandfathers have placed in this world many things, all of which should be happy. Every little thing is sent for something, and in that thing there should be happiness and the power to make happy. Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other, thus we should do, for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World."
Black Elk, Oglala Sioux Chief

The Good Life 

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Silk Reeling Chi Kung

"Silk reeling (pinyin chánsīgōng, Wade-Giles ch'an2 ssu1 kung1 ), also called "Winding Silk Power" (chansijing) (纏絲), as well as "Foundational Training"(jibengong), refers to a set of neigong exercises frequently used by the Chen style, Wu style and some other styles of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. The name derives from the metaphorical principle of "reeling the silk from a silk worm's cocoon". In order to draw out the silk successfully the action must be smooth and consistent without jerking or changing direction sharply. Too fast, the silk breaks, too slow, it sticks to itself and becomes tangled. Hence, the silk reeling movements are continuous, cyclic patterns performed at constant speed with the "light touch" of drawing silk.
In common with all Qigong exercises, the patterns are performed in a concentrated, meditative state with an emphasis on relaxation. However, rather than being isolated exercises purely for health benefits, the focus is on strengthening and training the whole body coordination (nei jin) and grounded body alignment that is used in the Tai Chi form and pushing hands. Silk reeling is commonly used in Chen style as a warmup before commencing Tai Chi form practice, but its body mechanics are also a requirement of Chen Style Tai Chi throughout the forms. In other styles, silk reeling is only introduced to advanced levels. Many schools, especially those not associated with the orthodox Tai Chi families, don't train it at all."
- Silk Reeling - Wikipedia

Dragon Qigong

Silk Reeling
Bibliography, Quotes, Notes, Videos.  Compiled by Mike Garofalo. 

Chan Ssu Gong, Chan Szu Chin, Chan Ssu Kung, Chan Si Gong, Chan Si Jing
Chen Style Taijiquan and Qigong
Spiraling Energy Exercises, Spiral Energy Qigong

Monday, November 05, 2012

Voting in America

Tomorrow is Election Day in America.  We go to the polling places to cast our votes for candidates and propositions.  I always vote.

My own preferences are for 1) everyone paying some income taxes (43% pay no Federal taxes), federal and state sales/consumer taxes, co-payments for Medicare services, etc. 2) reduction of spending on military and restrictions on war powers of the President and Congress, 3) a zero-population growth governmental policy, and parents paying more for the upbringing and public education of their own children, 4) a secular and non-religious government, and all churches paying taxes, 5) freedom, liberty, and justice, 6) environmental protection and reduced consumption, 7) cut all government workers salaries by 10%, and stop paying any higher level government (federal, state, local) employee more than $150,000.00 per year, 8) don't give governmental bailouts to corporations where their executives get obscenely high salaries and "bonus" payments, 9) develop a socialized medicine program in the U.S.. 

The Republicans have clearly demonstrated to me (and they have been in charge for 12 out of the last 20 years at the Federal level) that their reduced taxes program (trickle down economics) and inability to reduce spending has just resulted in very deep governmental debt to capitalist bankers and foreign governments.  They often pander to the fundamentalist religious right and don't support women's rights.  Their war mongering policies are expensive, unnecessary and cruel. They voted against many deserved benefits for combat veterans and 9/11 site workers in the last few years, and "just say no" to too many reasonable governmental expenditures.   

I favor many of the ideas of the Libertarian Party.  

Since our current President, our Commander In Chief, got us out of Iraq and soon will have us out of Afghanistan, and has avoided other major military engagements elsewhere despite the unrest in the Middle East, the Democratic Party gets my support for a proven and working foreign policy. The Democrats have consistently supported women's rights.  Many Democrats support closing tax loopholes used by the rich and poor to avoid paying any taxes or a lower percentage of taxes, and support fees for subsidized governmental services.  

As for the President, I favor the character, ideas and poise of President Obama.

Both Democrats and Republicans need to work together, compromise, reach a new consensus, avoid extremes (Tea Party obstructionism, negativism and rigidity), spend wisely, reduce spending, get everyone to pay their fair share of taxes, and solve problems.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Piling on the Adjectives

I am always amused by the rhetorical methods of people trying to explain a questionable, fuzzy, vague or specious concept.  They like to "pile on adjectives" or have a "capitalization frenzy" to try to make the concepts more sensible, viable, palatable or understandable. 

Take, for example, the words 'conscious' or 'consciousness.'  My ordinary understanding of these terms is sufficient for daily discourse.  People who are conscious are awake, responsive, breathing, likely speaking, aware of the world around them through their senses, moving around, working, etc.  Even animals can be conscious in many of these ways.  People who are asleep, in a coma, or dead do not exhibit many or all of these attributes of consciousness.  This rough and ready working knowledge of these words gets us by in daily life.  Professional psychologists, psychiatrists, brain researchers, lawyers, and philosophers also use these terms in highly specialized ways and need to write long, detailed, and careful discourses to explain and justify their unique usage of the terms. 

Amateur theologians and philosophers are prone to play other language games when speaking or writing. 

First, they like to capitalize the terms when writing, e.g., 'Conscious' or 'Consciousness.'  This makes the terms seem more important, special, precious, exalted, profound, serious, or meaningful.  Examples:  "Everything is Consciousness."  "Shiva is Consciousness."  "God is Good."  "I am That."  "There is One God."  "Everything is One."  "Allah is Everywhere."  Talking of gods or goddesses is not sufficient or impious when writing; we need to up the ante, to satisfy devoted monotheists, and write only about 'God', the 'One God.' 

Second, they like to pile on adjectives before the term under discussion.  This seems to help them make the vague and obscure terms seem glorified, understandable, reasonable, vivid, exciting, meaningful, viable, truthful, etc.  For example, "Shiva is Pure Consciousness" or "God has Eternal Consciousness."  The adjectives multiply and flourish the more they talk: True Consciousness, Blissful Consciousness, Pure Consciousness, Divine Consciousness, Supreme Consciousness, Everlasting Consciousness, Revealed Consciousness, Omniscient Consciousness, Onmipotent Consciousness, Non-Material Consciousness, Illuminated Consciousness, Non-Human Consciousness, Spiritual Consciousness, Astral Consciousness, Non-Dual Consciousness, God Consciousness, etc.  You get the idea. 

Ordinary folks are sometimes conscious of having blissful and wonderful experiences, but adept yogis are liberated from ordinary realms of experience and become One through the Divine Grace of True and Blissful Consciousness.  Adepts, masters and gurus have expanded consciousness, profound consciousness, liberated consciousness, holy consciousness, enlightened consciousness, deepened consciousness, godlike consciousness, purified consciousness, exalted consciousness, saintly consciousness, etc.  I'm not so impressed, but probably because of my impure, ignorant, worldly and unworthy consciousness. 

I patiently smile when someone begins piling on the adjectives, capitalizing terms, and exuberantly preaching.  I enjoy their optimism and poetic enthusiasm, mostly harmless, and go with the flow.  Imaginary realms are fun.  Pretending can be delightful.  Poetry is charming and sometimes inspirational.  Fictions are creative joys and a source of unending interest.  Stories about the many goddesses or gods are so varied and fascinating.  At another level, when it comes to judging the truthfulness of their claims, I begin to squirm in my seat and want to get outdoors for some fresh air.