January 2017 Newsletter

January 2017 Newsletter

Open House and Lunar New Year’s Celebration 

Our next class begins with an open house on Saturday, January 28, 2017, the first day of the lunar new year (Chinese New Year) from 9am – noon. We will meet at Hendricks Park at the covered shelter and have a celebration that includes easy qigong, some talk about the potential qualities of the year of the Fire Rooster/Owl, and a nourishing yogic breakfast. Everyone is welcome.

 

Qigong

Qigong Winter Term Class:

Treasuring the Breath and Moving with Purpose

Open to new and continuing students

In each qigong class series, we practice movement forms, and discuss how we can incorporate the body, mind and spirit aspects of the organ meridian system that is dominant that month into our lives. We are studying the meridians according to the cycle of the twelve months of the lunar year (Earthly Branches). This term it is the time of the Liver, Lung, and Large Intestine organ meridian networks. 

Movement wise we will review some of the forms we have learned, and explore how we can put together a personal practice that meets our individual needs, and takes us from movement to meditation.  We will emphasize proper breathing and focusing the mind via, movement, body awareness and meditation. These are all aspects of the 8-fold path of yoga. In this case it is Daoist yoga. I will begin class with a simple bagua form that helps us move flexibly and smoothly in all eight directions.

 

Time: Monday evenings 6:30- 8:30 PM: January 30, February 20 and 27, March 6, 13 and 20.

Location: Temple Beth Israel, corner of University St. and 28th, upstairs in the library. 

Fee: $120 if paid in full at first class; $108 if paid in full by January 23.

To Register: email Kamala at kquale@moonandlotus.com or leave a message at 541-345-2220, then send a check to Kamala Quale, 966 Lorane Hwy., Eugene OR 97405.

 

BRINGING IN HOPE FOR THE NEW YEAR

The end of one cycle and the beginning of the next is traditionally a sign of hope and a chance to begin anew. Although change is inherent in every moment of life, there are three times during this part of the year that mark it for us. The first is solstice, on Dec 21, which is nature’s way of saying it is beginning a new cycle of light. The second is the change of the calendar year at midnight on Dec 31, and the third is the change of the lunar year, which is Jan 28, 2017.

Group Class

So, there are three opportunities to recharge hope, and trust in natural processes. Now nature is giving a boost to our desire to begin anew and move towards the vision we have for ourselves, our families and our world. As an example, today, January 3, 2017, I saw two websites that were talking about ways to detox. This natural urge to let go of what is not serving us and keep moving towards our goals can be enhanced by setting realistic expectations of ourselves and taking it one step at a time.  Joining with others who have similar goals and vision also helps.

I was at a yoga and meditation retreat at the end of 2016 where we did just that. We sang, danced, and meditated together to tap into the positive and strengthening energy that is available when we focus our minds and join our hearts. We learned from each other and talked about how we would like to move forward together in the coming year, to be a part of the change we would like to see.

I want to bring that energy to my qigong group, which is already going strong in that direction. At solstice, we consulted the I Ching about guidance for our next year of practice. In response, we got Hexagram 34, The power of the Great, also called Great Strength. It advises that to achieve true power and true greatness one must be in harmony with what is right.

It councils not to misuse our strength by judging, condemning, punishing, manipulating, or dismissing others. Rather it advises self-control in speech and action. Often, the truly superior action relies on stillness, to allow inner truth to penetrate gently to the heart of the difficulties, and inform us about how we should act and when.

The I Ching advised us to look to the fifth line as the most important one in this hexagram for us. The fifth line (bottom line is the first) is a yin, or broken, line which implies using flexibility and receptivity when dealing with issues of power, instead of hitting it head on. The I Ching translation by Brian Browne Walker, translates the fifth line as: One who gives up a stubborn and harsh way of acting will not regret it. No harm comes if you soften now.

If these ideas appeal to you, consider joining our qigong group and add your energy to like-minded folks who like to move, breathe and meditate together to tap into an ocean of vitality and heart within and without. See the class section for info on our Lunar new year’s open house and our winter class.

LINKS

I Ching (Yijing) sources:

I Ching by Hua Ching-Ni, noted Daoist philosopher and educator

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/78348.I_Ching

I Ching app by John Browne Walker for mobile devices

http://brianbrownewalker.com/i-ching/

Right Use of Power: A relational approach to personal and professional ethics and empowerment, founded by Cedar Barstow

http://www.rightuseofpower.org/

 

OPEN TO HOPE WITH THE FOLLOWING ACUPRESSURE POINTS

In yoga philosophy, hope is an expression of the heart center. Hope is a function of knowing that as one cycle ends another begins. In Chinese medicine, hope is also associated with the chest center. The points that help us feel and embody hope are Liver 14, called Gate of Hope, and Lung 1 called Central Palace. Together these points relax the diaphragm, open the chest, calm anxiety, and allow for deep and easy breathing.

Liver 14 is along the lower rib cage and influences the diaphragm. This is the last point on the Liver meridian, which then connects internally through the chest to the Lung meridian and the acupuncture point Lung 1. There is a biorhythmic flow throughout the meridians in the 24-hour cycle of the day.  This flow starts with the Lung meridian from 3-5am and ends with the Liver from 1-3am. This explains the name and function of Liver 14, Gate of Hope, as it opens the way to the new cycle.

Central Altar

Another important point on the chest is Ren 17. The name I like best for this point is Central Altar. It is located at the center of the breastbone (the altar) at the level of the fourth rib space. Ren 17 is a calming point and stimulates the energy of the heart center in general. The true heart, in Chinese medicine, is said to house the shen, or spirit.

When you feel hopeless, resigned or even just down about a situation in your life, try stimulating these points to bring your mind into a more positive flow. Use gentle yet firm finger pressure on each point and breath into it several times allowing the area to relax and release. Start with Liver 14, proceed with Lung 1 and end with Ren 17.

The first two points are bilateral, so hold one in each hand. Liver 14 is located a little inside the nipple line at the bottom of the rib cage, at the junction of the eighth and ninth rib. (There is an alternate location for LV 14 in the 6th rib space directly below the nipple, however the first location is better for releasing the diaphragm.) Press under the rib cage and up towards the bone at the sore spot. Hold for 1-2 minutes and take some full and easy breaths.

Lung 1 is located at the outside of the chest across from the first rib space. Go to the corner of the chest where the collar bone meets the shoulder, slide your finger straight down about an inch to the sore spot. To hold both points on yourself, cross your hands on your chest as if giving yourself a hug, and let your middle fingers find the point. You can press in and rotate your fingers on the point. Always let the pressure feel good. Again take a few breaths. Allow your diagram to expand and fill your chest from bottom to top.

Finally go to Ren 17. Place the tips of you second and third fingers of one hand over the point and simply hold with steady pressure or rotate gently in a circular fashion. Let your mind rest in the center of your chest at the level of the point. As you breathe and relax speak to your heart center. Invite hope to make itself known and felt in your experience in the moment, and in the situation(s) in your life.