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By not doing nothing is left undone

Taoism, a philosophy as well as a religion Came across an interesting article in the NYT recently about Taoism’s perspective on what it means to be human and what it means to die.   Tai chi as you may know is the movement embodiment of Taoism, and I’ve been curious for most of my time studying this Eastern art to understand what Taoism is all about.  But aside from the amazing writings of LaoTze -- a must! -- I've been somewhat disappointed.  there's precious little on the books.   (Though ask me about the few t'ai chi stories that you come across now and then, including the one about the man at the drive-through Starbucks!)   ALL JOKING ASIDE,    I’ve found only simple one sentence references to what Taoism is — like being in sync with nature, or yin-yang.  ho hum.   Glibly said,  easily forgotten.    So when I came  across this  article the other day, titled  A conversation with the religious scholar Brook Ziporyn on Taoism, life and what might come after.  I was delig
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I just discovered an extraordinary t'ai chi artist or warrior  or dancer (or all three),  Sifu (or master) Cheung Kwok Wha.   He's doing a form I haven't seen,   Needles in Cotton,  or  Pak Hok Pai. I believe its roots are in ancient Tibet.  Anyways, Sifu Cheung's  movements are so precise,  so centered,  so ... exquisite. I watched him performing the form  straight through barely breathing.   Click on the highlighted part, and enjoy!

Needles in Cotton

 This morning,  in my qigong class,  I introduced the classic t'aiji image  -- a needle in cotton -- that like so much of t'aiji and qigong, is delightful and mysterious.  What it signifies to me is  -- is nothing less than becoming t'ai chi.   what I mean by that is that you will change and in a magnificent direction.   One day -- after years of  waving your arms around gently and stepping firmly and turning your waist  as instructed,   one day,  you will feel this odd new ... connection.   Your breath enters and leaves, you might feel a tingling in your wrists and suddenly your limbs are weightless.   It's so hard to convey.  I feel I"m not succeeding and I'm not sure that this writer,  Danny Dreyer,   does the job much better but I"m going to let him try.      I'm excerpting from his book,  T'ai Chi Walking,  to better explain it “NEEDLE IN COTTON: GATHER TO YOUR CENTER AND LET GO OF ALL ELSE A fundamental principle in ChiWalking that has be

The American College of Physicians recognizes the benefits of t'aiji for back pain

"in class, we move hands like clouds and when we leave class, we walk on clouds"  In a nutshell, the piece summarizes a recent study reported on this past April, about the benefits of t'ai chi in improving balance and alleviating arthritic pain.  This is a finding that has been reported on repeatedly, but it never hurts to remind ourselves.  I believe that improved balance is perhaps the most striking and confirmable benefit of regular t'ai chi practice.   Re back pain:   A report that came out earlier in the year --  The scientific community seldom recognizes t'ai chi among the mindfulness techniques. Anyway,  there was an exception recently.   The American College of Physicians published last spring a new study re back pain.   Basically, it states  that someone suffering pain should not "medicalize" the problem -- in other words, don't go the route of X-rays, MRIs and def not opioids.  But DO go the non-medical route. to quote:  For patients

a season's greetings card

a season's greetings card We can all feel it -- the coming into the major holiday season which will culminate in an eternally  hyped up New Years.   It's, as oft-noted, very commercial,  ironically materialistic  and the season  sometimes feels like just too much!  (If I hear the little drummer boy piped into the supermarket one more time kind of thing)    But there's a lot of fun stuff, --  joyful giving and receiving of gifts, the  coming together to eat food that's not good for you, just in general  "being merry"  on the streets, in friends'  homes.   But, well.   sigh.  deep sigh.    sometimes there's a sadness mixed in.   Many of us remember happier times,  or feel more sharply,  losses that have occurred over the past year. and before.   The holidays can be as difficult as they can be merry.      I've drawn from the Taoist philosopher,  Lao Tzu, who is one of those thinkers and writers  to whom practitioners of the Taoist

World t'aichi and qigong day. It's around the corner!

On this eve of Thanxgiving 2019,   I'm finished shopping for the dish I plan on making for tomorrow's feast -- simply roasted caramelized veggies -- and I find myself with a little free time.                                                                               So I begin to noodle around on-line looking for the date of next year's  World T'aichi  Day (WTCD)  and voila!    It's the last Saturday in April,  aka  April 25.    My class and I have been chatting for a couple years now about possibly hosting our own demonstration/class in honor of this banner day.  And something in my bones tells me that next year,  that is 2020,  is it!    What shall we do?  Teach some of our favorite qi-gong moves?   Introduce people to the opening two moves of the Yang form?  We'll all practice the first third?  Or should we play "In a Landscape" one of our oft-played works of gentle, slightly eccentric pieces of music and engage everyone who stops by

Tips on life

Some final prescriptions from the Lou Reed international Tai Chi Day The impresario of this day-long event and celebration was Laurie Anderson.  Anderson is known of course for her pithy,  wry and wildly inventive performance art.  But on  this mild summer day at the Brooklyn Public Library day she wasn’t in her performance mode — at least not at first.  LAnderson led the early comers  (of whom there were at least 100) in a meditation.  But unlike most meditation leaders she didn’t stay quiet!  True to herself and here’s where her irrepressible propensity for performance came in Anderson  talked through our 20 minute meditation almost constantly.  But no one seemed to mind.  Laurie was hilarious and wise And she left us with a few pithy,  wry words of advice 1.       Don’t be afraid of anyone 2.    Get a really good bs detector and learn how to use it 3.    Be really tender  Are these in any way connected to t’ai chi?  I think they fit