Autumn is in the Air! Well ... almost.

Autumn is in the Air! Well ... almost.

The first hints of a break from the relentless heat and damp of summer have quietly arrived with a few mornings, over the last week or two, championing moderate temperatures garnered with pleasant breezes. More, please!

And, of course, more will be on the way in the weeks ahead but, these days, autumn doesn’t really set in fully until the very end of October. So, why is “autumn in the air?” A good question. And one with a really interesting answer: in Chinese Medicine (CM), health consists of a harmonious balance between what are known as the Three Treasures. You might think of a favorite brand of car: a really hopped-up and fun car would certainly look snazzy on the outside but would purr on the inside too.

Health in CM takes a similar approach: from the outside, a person should look cheerful—with a sparkle in her or his eye. The shape should be well-proportioned with color in the face and a lively gait. Just seeing such a person—even in passing—can bring a smile to your face. Why? Health is contagious and we all know what it feels like to be healthy and what a healthy person looks like. So, seeing someone who is obviously bubbling with vitality and interest in life will naturally spark a similar feeling in most folks.

This is the first of the Three Treasures, jing (rhymes with sing). In Chinese Medicine, jing designates the body along with its many regulatory substances such as hormones, peptides and the neuroendocrine system. The other two treasures are qi (physiology, electricity and biophysical energy) and shen (mind, a person’s character, and, if you subscribe to the notion: a person’s higher self [or soul]). These two important aspects will be discussed in later postings. For now, it’s important to realize that not only do the Three Treasures have to be intact and functioning well—both individually and as a team—they also all have to being playing ball with the seasons and the flow of nature’s other cycles.

Autumn may not quite be here temperature-wise but the earth really takes little note of this and continues on its merry way around the sun. In fact, the autumn equinox (Sep 23) marks its transition into the quarter of space around the sun which corresponds to autumn (in the northern hemisphere). So, on the surface-level, just like jing, the days will lazily meander their way to milder temperatures and more appealing days, but, on the inside-level, just like qi and shen, the earth and sun are starting their autumn-time housekeeping. That is, although what you see and feel still feels hot—and it is—what is starting to happen at a more subtle biophysical level (called energy or qi) is autumn-time.

So, we have arrived at autumn in terms of energy and spirit. And autumn, in terms of physical qualities like temperature, is dawdling but will catch up with the plot soon enough. What’s the point? Simply this: from October on you can strengthen not only your health and attitude but also your luck, success and relationships by aligning with the autumnal energies. In CM, autumn relates to the Metal element which in turn is comprised of the Lung and Large Intestine meridians. So, qigong or acupuncture or feng shui aimed to bolster these factors will succeed now better than any other time of the year.

We will continue the discussion in the next blog posting but for now you can check out the qigong videos posted on this website (choose About then Videos from the menu; or, you can click the title of this blog post to navigate to our related Oriental Medicine website). If you are willing to invest a little time, you can also use the themes related to the season and its meridians for self-reflection. This can work really well and effect truly positive changes. Just do a web search and then set up a regular time to consider and study what these ideas mean to you, how they play out in your life and how you want them to manifest in the future. For instance, the Metal element refers to (among many other things) a time for harvest and clarification; it also represents a time for grounding and taking sensible action. Happy autumn-time!

The Maelstrom Breaks!

The Maelstrom Breaks!

Whew. And if ever there were a time to say “whew,” this is it. Whether you were aware of the uncanny battle of the titans taking place in the heavens or not, the last handful of weeks has been a force unto itself and not to be denied.

What’s happening? ALL FOUR of the great tamasic grahas (planets tending to pull one toward chaos and darkness) have been in a rare close encounters of the worst kind. Each of these grahas: Shani (Saturn), Mangala (Mars), Rahu (north node of the moon) and Ketu (south node of the moon), has a powerful opinion about the nature of experience in the house where it resides. For instance, Shani in ninth house, or the natural ninth rashi of Dhanu (Sagittarius), can slam down on all good luck and put a hefty damper on one’s incentive to live a decent and moral life (all characteristics of the ninth house and Dhanu). It’s like this for each of these dark forces. Put a bunch of rats in a tiny cage and what do you get? Right. You’ve got the idea.

Well, at the peak of the melee, these four sinister figures had company—and quite a lot too. Seven of the nine planets were involved with the Rahu - Ketu axis (the two nodes are always 180 degrees apart) in Dhanu and Mithuna (Gemini). This means some of the good gals and guys were being heavily influenced by an amazing conglomeration of disruptive and unwholesome forces. Surya (Sun), Chandra (moon) and Budha (Mercury) were all party to the deeply disturbing potentials.

The general rule in Jyotish is that if FOUR grahas are in the same bhava (house) then all bets are off and there will be TOO MANY VOICES and OPINIONS for a person to work with. One planet says go, another one says stop and on and on. Now imagine what it’s like with SEVEN planets all linked in a tight space with not much wiggle room. Even at the best of times and with the best of company such a situation would be awkward to the max and likely lead to no good for one and all.

So, the upshot here is that you (and all of us) have just been through the ringer—whether you know it or not. So? The “so what” is that if you haven’t noticed anything much unusual in some areas of your life over the last couple months, then you WILL in the coming months for sure. Why? Astral seeds have been planted via this amazing conflagration of archetypes up in the sky and such seeds will sprout and manifest. Since the fireworks have NOT YET completely abated (some of the cast of villains are still at work) these seeds will likely find root and show up sometime before the end of the year when, mercifully, the melodrama abates, and the two greatest of this gang of thugs, Shani (Saturn) and Ketu (the south node of the moon) go their separate ways again.

Therefore, as they say, hang loose. Now, as always, is a good time to be saying your mantras and prayers. Meditation and body-oriented practices such as yoga, qigong and internal martial arts (taiji quan, bagua zhang, xingyi quan, baji quan) are the order of the day. Get realistic help too and work with some grounded healers, coaches and guides. You can do it. If not now, when?

The Heavens Open ... Thunder and All

The Heavens Open ... Thunder and All

Every once in a great while (18 and a half years to be precise) a special gift gets bestowed from the heavens to those of us still rambling around down here on the earth (physical plane). You might wonder: what does this mean and what does it portend? Good questions!

In Vedic astrology (Jyotish) the moon’s north and south nodes have entered specially blessed waters in the celestial sea of starry wonder. Called Rahu and Ketu, respectively, in Jyotish, these two archetypes typically bode challenges and detours on the path to Light. But for the next year and a half (until Sep 2020) their locations in the zodiac bring in some higher vibrations to help offset this mischievous pairs normally corrupt and devious antics.

In fact, the added harmonics are so positive that these archetypes are now “exalted” (a term that signifies their potential for aiding great personal and spiritual progress). So, get it while the getting’s good! Now’s the time to plan and start or continue working on projects that reflect your deepest, most sincere and ethical beliefs. This reflects Ketu in Dhanu (the constellation, Sagittarius). It’s also a fine time to explore the cobwebs of your life and heart and tease out what does and doesn’t work. This reflects Rahu in Mithuna (the constellation, Gemini).

Just to add a note of sobriety to all the festivities: you should know that there are also some highly charged energies active on and off for the rest of this year. They will bring in a chaotic factor that can color all activities. This tendency to destabilize both personal and global events means that—at least up through this November—you should walk with your eyes on the stars (goals, hopes, inner development) but both feet planted firmly on the ground the whole time (keep it practical, hug a tree, get second advice, work with earth energies, monitor and measure your progress, and keep checking in with your spiritual guides and teachers). This stormy potential should mostly pass by the start of next year and is no excuse for you not to take advantage of such a rare and wonderful opportunity for personal and inner development. Take a yoga class. Learn qigong. Expand your horizons. Now’s the time.

Interested in Health? Here are Some Tips

Interested in Health? Here are Some Tips

Hello Folks.

Seasons greetings and a prosperous and pleasant new year for you!

Health is one of the most precious gifts we can enjoy and share in life. Here are some gentle reminders about what helps lead to—and maintain—good health for a lifetime:

  1. DIET - yes, the obvious but an important and in fact, key, component of health. Aim for moderation, MOST of the time. An occasional extra piece of pie or other yummy dessert is fine. Just toe the line most of the time. Remember the basics and you will already be far ahead of the game: avoid the bad stuff (fats, sugars, refined foods, processed foods) and go for the good gals and guys (veggies, a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates, sufficient protein each day, plenty of water and fluids).

  2. EXERCISE - there are so very many opportunities to get out and about that even if you just walk or bike you will be doing well; find some activities that focus on these three areas: cardiovascular health (something that makes you huff and puff a bit), strength (core strength as well as arm and leg strength) and flexibility (try a yoga, tai chi or other movement class). A routine at a gym is good but make sure to have a fitness specialist work with you to develop a rounded program.

  3. HAPPINESS - this seems obvious but actually can be a challenge, at times, for folks in the hasty, breathless and nonstop hustle of modern life. If this seems fine and comes naturally for you then count yourself blessed. Even so, it’s both wise and fun to ensure you schedule at least some time each month for just having fun with family and friends and whatever else truly catches your fancy. Humans are social creatures so don’t underestimate the healing power of simply spending time chatting with friends or enjoying some activity. It’s manna for the soul.

  4. PRACTICALITY - oh, that stuff. Well, yeah. Having a roof over you and your family’s head is important too. So, PART of health is ensuring that the OTHER areas of life are flowing along smoothly too. This means that you should have some sense of where you are at in terms of work, career and goals. Do try to develop a short-term and longer-term plan for achieving some worthwhile objectives. A sense of accomplishment—having set a goal, worked towards it and then achieved it—is an essential underpinning of mental health. Life needs to have meaning and if you can feel like you are making some steady progress despite the wayward weather at times then you are likely on track both with your pocketbook and heart.

  5. MENTAL CLARITY - once you have a good start in the previous four areas then really you can gain the most by working to develop your mind. There are lots of ways to do this: you can learn meditation or a stress-reduction technique; you might try a qigong class (pronounced “chee” as in cheese, and “gong” as in gong [ring the bell]). Qi is the Chinese names for what scientists call biological energy. Essentially it is electricity in the body, just like you have electricity in your home. Part of Oriental medicine—and what helps to make it unique—is the goal to regulate this biological electricity. Research shows that doing so helps calm the mind and improve health in many ways. There are many other possibilities for bringing some more focus, vision, peace and alertness to your mind. All these qualities help and do indeed lead to better health. Try to find a class—in-person or online—that teaches some approach to mental improvement. If you stay with it long enough, you will truly be glad you did!

Guru Warms Up in Preparation for March Fireworks Next Year

Guru Warms Up in Preparation for March Fireworks Next Year

The ever-resourceful planet, Jupiter, has scooted along and now begins a five-month transit of Scorpio which culminates in March next year with some major spiritual fireworks that will likely also impact world events. Called Guru in Vedic astrology [Jyotish], this planet represents many of the very best qualities that we all strive and hope for—health, understanding, good luck, prosperity, dharma (doing what is right for a given situation) and wisdom.

To understand the meaning of the time, you need to consider both the planet and its location. So, what about Scorpio? Called, Vrishchika in Jyotish (what a mouthful!), its symbol, the scorpion, indicates some potential for trouble here. But, this sign leads a dual life as it also indicates healers and doctors, inner growth, transformation, inheritance and the occult. Scorpio can serve as a bridge from a narrow and exclusive focus on worldly pursuits to a broader perspective which brings in higher values such as care for the greater community.

The trick to this all hinges on how Guru and Vrishchika play together. Are they friends … or enemies … or simply strangers passing in the night? Although the sign itself is stressful for just about everybody and everything, the sign’s lords (owners) like Guru (in some ways) so the next handful of months can truly become a time for positive change. It really depends upon you.

The key choice you need to make? Whatever you do and wherever the winds take you, bring in a sense of the Guru energy. That is, do what you have to do and want to do but aim to ask yourself regularly: how does this fit into the greater scheme of things?

If you can activate the Guru qualities of wisdom (seeing how all the parts fit together) and healing (caring for both yourself and your charges but also the greater community and other folks too—in whatever small or large way you can), then the rest of this year and into next spring should go pretty well for you.

Fix What's on Top — the First Step in Spiritual Qigong

Fix What's on Top — the First Step in Spiritual Qigong

The whole sphere and orbit of Neidan yoga circles about standard practices of energy medicine—especially traditional Chinese approaches such as acupuncture, medical qigong and Daoist alchemy. Other important sources of guidance include Ayurveda, shamanic work, and modern tools such as body-centered and object relations psychotherapy, cranial osteopathy and visceral manipulation. Rounding out the lineup, we have the time-honored traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Hindu Yoga, both of which have incredibly rich insights and techniques for inner and outer transformation.

When a client shows up at the clinic door, the first thing to address is “what’s up?” That is: “what do you want some help with?” Health and fortune along with the sun and weather simply come and go so what’s important now may not be so later. Nevertheless, it IS important now. In medicine, we call this an acute condition. Acute simply means the situation is on top—it needs attention now. So, the symptoms a client reports as the problem or goal may or may not be the real cause of the situation. The first goal in treatment therefore aims to patch up whatever needs fixing while at the same time seeking to better understand the deeper more relevant reasons for the situation. Although there are many situations where what’s wrong can be clearly identified and appropriate therapy commenced straight-away—say, the patient has a sprained ankle—it just ain’t so for the deeper work of living and growing spiritually.

Spiritual Practice as Energy Medicine

Spiritual Practice as Energy Medicine

Without a doubt, when viewed with a dispassionate and clear eye, serious advance on the spiritual path inexorably drags one into a prolonged dance with forces much greater than simple everyday human existence. Mind-blowing to say the least, this would be completely intolerable to head and heart if not for a saving grace: we are all—each and every one of us—made of the same fundamental building blocks—brick and mortar—as all else whether it be nature itself or peaceful and wrathful deities or some advanced alien race or whatever else mind and dream can conjure up. In short, although all that a person values may be transient and subject to negotiation, the bedrock of sādhana (sincere, focused and consistent spiritual practice) stands firm enough for true spiritual transformation to occur.

Interested in Spiritual Awareness? You Should Practice Qigong!

Interested in Spiritual Awareness? You Should Practice Qigong!

Good day, Folks. Happy late summer and early fall to you!

Every yogic or mystical tradition has its own armory of techniques and practices but at bottom there are really only a few tools needed for genuine progress along the spiritual path. Of these, you are most likely already covering the bases (if in doubt, you can check the Level 1 Foundations page accessible via the Neidan Yoga menu item).

However, although all approaches make use of energy in some format, not all acknowledge or explain how to use energy in its most basic form as qi. You can think of energy as a spectrum — like a rainbow. At the upper levels, it is similar to what the yogis call prana. At even subtler levels it is energy that mingles with the mind so thought itself can direct this force. But all this cool stuff does no one any good at all until she or he is advanced along the path. 

To get advanced, you have to work with energy in the form of biological electricity in and just around the body. This is what the Daoists have referred to as qi for thousands of years. By far, the Daoists have the clearest, cleanest and most effective approach to developing this energy from beginning levels up through intermediate level skills and even further on. Once you're at an intermediate level though, you can jump ship back to your favorite tradition (Hindu yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, etc.) as all yoga systems are great at explaining advanced practice (with some personal tutoring from a guru or mentor).

Bottom line? Learn and practice qigong. Start anywhere but then work towards learning more refined skills as taught by genuine Daoist teachers. Bagua Zhang circle walking to an intermediate level plus learning to sense and direct qi with your hands is sufficient to prepare you for success with advanced meditation. It's the truth. 

The Path to Light - Yoga model

The Path to Light - Yoga model

Introduction to the yoga model for developing higher consciousness. Ultimately, yoga and meditation stand as the most complete medicine for all aspects of life. A discussion of integrative energy medicine including yoga, Jyotish astrology, eastern medicines (Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, etc) and western medicines (conventional and more holistic approaches such as integrative functional medicine). Each of these represents a specialization for treading part of the spiritual path. Success in yoga, and in life, requires facility with all these tools for growth and well-being. For further information, you can check out our websites at: https://jyotishandyoga.com and https://inspiredvedicastrology.com.

The spiritual practice of yoga seeks to enhance awareness of our connection with others and Life itself. To do so, yogis have to master a field of energetic processes traditionally known as the tattvas (elements). There are a number of tattvas. The most commonly known are: earth, water, fire, air and ether.

Jyotish provides an extraordinarily useful map to these processes and how they interact with each other and the world and its inhabitants. By learning some key ideas from Jyotish, a yogi can gain greater leverage for the spiritual practices that constitute yoga such as pranayama, kriya yoga and meditation.

This series of videos introduces basic yogic and Jyotish ideas needed for spiritual practice and also explains how and what to practice. The discussion starts from the very beginning of the path so no prior knowledge of either Jyotish or yoga is needed although it certainly helps.

SUN IN TAURUS - TIME TO PLANT SEEDS

SUN IN TAURUS - TIME TO PLANT SEEDS

KEY FOR GENERAL SUCCESS

Surya (Sun) passes through Vrishabha (Taurus) for the next several weeks so now's a good time to take some first steps towards a new goal or project. Taurus represents fertility both literally and metaphorically and the Sun also links to a higher level of spiritual energy at this time. 

KEY FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH

A key to spiritual growth hinges upon developing a clearer sense of who you are and what your deepest values are. Boundaries rule at this time. For instance, stand up for your rights--both with others and with yourself! Bring strong focus toward grounding into your real sense of who you are and what you are on about. Be proud of yourself and your goals. And, be generous and courteous--no matter what. Sticking to your guns and highest values pays off well now.

Surya Exalted in Mesha

Surya Exalted in Mesha

For another few weeks, Surya (the Sun) continues its transit of Mesha (Aries) rashi (constellation). Each graha (planet) enjoys visiting some places more than others. And, in fact, Surya enjoys the stellar expanse of Mesha more than any other location for this kingly ruler of our solar system is exalted in Mesha and so acts in the best ways possible. Health, luck, dignity and practical wisdom all increase during this time. Since, Surya also represents the over soul for all beings in our part of the cosmos, his blessings and bounty get shared with all. So, soak it up and make the best of this time. What you initiate now has especial power and righteousness and can lead to greater fortune and wisdom for you and those in your family and community.

Workshop on Qigong and Yoga

Workshop on Qigong and Yoga

A workshop suitable for everyone interested in qigong, yoga or other energy practices. A hands-on workshop that is a mix of qigong and yoga practice. Topics include basic qigong theory and techniques, adding qigong to a yoga practice and more advanced qigong skills such as the microcosmic orbit. Held on Sunday, Feb 5, from 1 - 4 pm at Kula Yoga Shala in Jupiter. 

LOCATION

KULA YOGA SHALA
400 TONEY PENNA DRIVE
JUPITER, FL 33458

Qigong Classes

Qigong Classes

QIGONG

Monday evenings from 7 - 8:15 pm starting November 14 
Join Greg Curtiss, a healing therapist, for a night of gentle movements alternating with some periods of stillness. These movements aim to integrate body movement, breath and thought leading to improved health. Greg has a background in Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and qigong and has been helping clients for over 16 years. 7:00—8:15 pm. Love Offering.

LOCATION

UNITY CHURCH IN THE GARDEN
550 BUSH ROAD
JUPITER, FL 33458