Body-Mind Cultivation

Qi Gong, standing postures for cultivating internal qi, concentration and calm mind

Body-mind cultivation is the concept of healing ourselves.

 A healthy and balanced person is a better therapist. 


Qi Gong, Do-In, Yoga, Meditation

practices for balancing, harmonizing, 

energizing and maintaining health 

and a sense of well-being.   


Proper instruction and constant practice over time give results and become part of the daily routine.
 The benefits - a healthy body and a clear mind that is focused on wholesome actions and mental purity.  

On this page - a brief description of ...

  • Qi Gong
  • Do-In
  • Yoga
  • Meditation 
  • Health Benefits
  • General information

Qi Gong and Do-In

In Chinese, 'Qi' can mean 'vital energy', 'vital substance' or 'breath'; 'Gong' has the connotation of 'movement'. Qi Gong is the term commonly used to describe a diverse tradition of spiritual, martial and health exercises based on the philosophies of Daoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). 


Originally, Qi Gong was described as breath exercises and postures (Do-In or Dao/Tao Yin). The practices were composed of different sets of exercises aimed at maintaining as well as enhancing a person's Qi levels and general health.


The guiding principle in Qi Gong is harmony and balance, Chinese philosophy is the theoretical base and personal willpower is the active force. It is expressed outwardly in a combination of motion and stillness, manifested in physical as well as mental exercises. The importance of the relationship between man and nature is emphasized in practice and in theory, as it incorporates concepts of imitation, balance, completeness and the harmony between the material and immaterial, physical and spiritual. Qi Gong has a two-fold application - a means for personal development and cultivation, as well as a healing technique for oneself and others.

Ba Duan Jin (Eight Brocade), a traditional Qi Gong set of exercises for general physical health and energizing the meridians.

Do-In (also called Dao/Tao Yin) is the oldest form of Qi Gong recorded by man. 'Do/Dao' refers to the physical movements which are guided by the strength of the mind and stimulate the internal flow of Qi in the body. 'In/Yin' refers to the movement of Qi reaching all the body and creating a complete cycle, assisted by specific physical movements.  The emphasis is body-mind harmony attained through postures and movements.


Qi Gong and Do-In are equally beneficial for :

  • grounding and circulating the Qi in the meridians (energy channels), 
  • strengthening the body, 
  • calming the mind,  
  • developing concentration. 

For the practitioner of healing and therapy, these practices enhance the awareness of Qi flow in and around the body. The increase in awareness and sensitivity to this Qi flow enables the practitioner to feel the Qi and actively work with it as any other healing tool.


Yoga

In Sanskrit the word 'yoga' literally means "yoke", or "the act of yoking or harnessing", pointing at either the act of binding to the goal, or binding in the sense of things that bind one, attachments, a state of clinging or craving. Dating back thousands of years, yoga is the oldest defined practice of self development. The methods of classical yoga include ethical and moral disciplines(yama & nyama), physical postures (asana), breath control (pranayama) and meditation (dharana, samadhi). 

 

The goal of yoga is purification of the mind of its unwholesome tendencies and directing it towards wholesome mental states, leading to freedom from suffering, real contentment and lasting inner peace. For the serious adept, the first stage in this process is the ethical training in morality, followed or paralleled by the basic physical preparation of the body for the mental work that lies ahead. Another meaning for the word yoga is 'union' or 'joining', here in the sense of bringing together body and mind into one complete path of practice.


The physical practices of asana and pranayama, postures and breath control, are what many people today associate with the word 'yoga', typically called Hatha Yoga. (This is slightly misleading as the physical techniques are only a small part of the whole practice of yoga.) Many names and styles have sprung in recent years in modern western society. Whether you practice yoga as a path for spiritual transformation or as a tool for physical well-being,the benefits are numerous, physical as well as psychological - relaxation, physical strength and stretching, energy and vitality, stress-management and relief, hormonal balance, mental concentration and focus, a general sense of well-being, and more.

Yoga asanas create balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility, as well as activating the endocrine glands and the nervous system to function properly. This is done through the performance of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose. 


Yoga asana practice places emphasis on alignment, on the 'how to do' and not the 'how much', involving the whole body in the physical work, and not just isolated areas. Attention is also given to correct and controlled breathing while forming the different poses. In this way the body becomes relaxed and energized at the same time. Pranayama, breathing exercises, may be done in association with yoga poses or while sitting and directly focusing on the breath. 


In the integrated courses we will practice yoga asana as well as pranayama, the variety and amount of depending on the individual course and relevance. Some may find that the physical practice of yoga can be a gateway into a personal spiritual inquiry, while for others it is purely a physical practice that makes them feel good with their body. Anyone can begin practicing yoga asana, even if you don't feel like you are especially flexible or strong. This will improve the longer you practice, you will find the poses that suit and benefit you most and create your own routine practice. With time it will develop into your individual experience with yoga.


Meditation

The word meditation is derived from the Latin 'meditatio', from a verb 'meditari', meaning "to think, contemplate, devise, ponder". The term meditation was introduced to the west as a translation for Eastern spiritual practices, referred to as ' bhavana' and 'dhyāna' in Buddhism and Hinduism, which comes from the Sanskrit root 'dhyai', meaning 'to contemplate or meditate'. 


Meditation refers to a set of practices in which the practitioner trains the mind or enters a self-induced and regulated mode of consciousness to realize benefit. It is an inwardly oriented, personal practice, which individuals do by themselves for developing mindfulness and concentration. The practitioner focuses on training the attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well-being and development of mental capacities and qualities such as calm, clarity, and concentration. All these characteristics are cultivated towards the attainment of a higher goal, which is the acquisition of wisdom which liberates the mind from all unwholesome mental states.   


In yoga, or dhamma (dharma), two important mental qualities that arise from wholesome and proper meditative practice are:

- serenity, or tranquility (samatha) - which steadies, composes, unifies and concentrates the mind;
- insight (vipassana)  - which enables one to see, explore and discern phenomena for what they actually are.
Through serenity one is able to suppress obscuring hindrances and, with the suppression of the hindrances, it is through the development of insight that one gains liberating wisdom. 

Meditation - calm, focused and composed. Cultivating wholesome mental qualities, mindfulness and wisdom.

The health benefits of meditation

Throughout the day, we experience levels of stress which our bodies translate into reactions of tension, agitation, nervousness, moodiness, frustration, anger, impatience, etc. Prolonged or frequent stress periods may cause physical distress, ill-health and other physical and mental disorders. Meditation affects the body in exactly the opposite ways that stress does by - 

  • restoring the body to a calm state, 
  • assisting and supporting the body's mechanism of self-repair,
  • preventing new damage due to the physical effects of stress.
When practicing meditation, your heart rate and breathing slow down, your blood pressure normalizes, you use oxygen more efficiently, and you sweat less. Your adrenal glands produce less cortisol, your mind ages at a slower rate, and your immune function improves. Your mind also clears and your creativity increases. People who meditate regularly find it easier to give up life-damaging habits like smoking, drinking and drugs. 


In the courses you will learn the foundations of meditation as a practice for calming, focusing and clearing the mind of unwholesome elements. We will also employ some mental practice techniques, such as visualization and guided meditations to exercise different mental faculties. One such technique is a visualization in Qi Gong, where the practitioner concentrates on flows of energy (Qi) in the body. This practice is effective for energizing, harmonizing and balancing the body.

Meditation can be effective as long as there is correct guidance and instruction. It does demand discipline and commitment to perfect the practice and attain results. Meditation can be the beginning of an individual process that can bring you to higher levels of awareness and states of profound and deep peace, where the mind is calm yet completely alert, aware and sharp, yet also equanimous. The culmination of this path of practice is the realization of ultimate truth and wisdom.
Pranayama and Meditation - for physical and mental health, morning practice before class. Wu Xing course, metal element day. Goa, India

When and Where

All body-mind cultivation practices (qi gong, do-in, yoga, meditation) are taught wherever I am located, which in the past years is mostly in India (Goa), Thailand, as well as other parts of Asia, Israel and Europe. To see a current schedule click here


In general

- Qi Gong, Do-In, Yoga and Meditation are included in the courses of Knowing TouchZen ShiatsuWu Xing and Reikipart of the daily schedule, separately or in combination. They are usually connected to the subject matter of the course as a supporting practice to the main course theme. Therefore, different exercises and practices are taught in each unit, by relevance and suitability.


- Some of these classes may be open also to external students who are interested in learning this practice only, without joining the main course.

 

- Any of the self-cultivation practices may be taught as an independent  pre-scheduled course of 5-10 days, or upon request, with 1-2 practice sessions a day. A daily theory class about the philosophy, main concepts and elements of practice may also be included in the program. 

  

- If you are interested in joining these classes (independent of a main course), or requesting a separate course, please contact regarding schedule and availability of places. Payment for these classes is based on a Sliding-Scale Donation Fee


for reflection ... and inspiration



Health is Wealth...and Nirvana is the Highest Bliss. 


(Buddha)