Late Summer/Fall 2015 Newsletter

 

Greetings to Everyone!

The last newsletter I sent was in Late Summer-Fall 2013! I am looking forward connecting with you again through this newsletter, and the blog on my website at www.moonandlotus.com.  I will be sharing with you informative articles, as well as information on upcoming classes and gatherings.  I have a new office assistant, Heidi McDonald, who will be helping me with newsletters and other publications. If you would like to give me feedback, or tell me about interesting news you come across, you can contact me by email: kquale@moonandlotus.com or by phone at (541) 345-2220.

Join Our Qigong Community

Over the past two years, there has been a small community of people gathering to learn and practice qigong meditative movement, which is one aspect of Daoist Yoga. We are incorporating the classic wisdom of yoga from both China and India, and discovering how it brings more vitality and sacred connection into our lives and relationships.
We study various aspects of philosophy and learn qigong forms in periodic classes. These classes include opportunities to discover and transform limiting patterns, and experience increased vitality and inner strength for change and creativity. In each class we energize the body and expand the mind. Between classes we continue to practice the forms and make it a regular part of life with weekly practice groups and weekend retreats at the coast.
In September, I am offering a three-week class called Grounded, Open, Awake. It is the next opportunity to join the circle, and is open to both beginning and continuing students. In addition, a coast retreat is planned for October 2-4. For more information, please read the descriptions in the classes section below.

Tips for Self-Care: Late Summer Singing

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”   -  Maya Angelou

As I was writing this article about singing, I went to the Post Office, and saw the above quote on a new limited-edition stamp, and I thought it was perfect.  Late summer (and always) is a great time to sing. Singing is a transformational tool that connects us with ourselves, each other, and the mystery of the universe. Singing harmonizes our inner Earth-like nature according to Daoist thought and Chinese medicine. Because it is poetic and rhythmic, singing can open the heart, help us express and transform emotion, and get us out of our heads. Singing brings groups of people together and focuses energy for pleasure or for a specific purpose. It is creativity. We entertain each other with song, and it inspires us. Human beings since ancient times have used music, sound and singing as a central part of community, healing and sacred connection.

Late summer is the season most associated with the Earth element in the Five Element cycle of the year. It is a mellow time of transition between the hot, active expansiveness of summer and the cooler moving within of fall. Gardens are yielding their treasures. It can be a time of abundance and satisfaction. Our abundance can spill over to our neighbors and create a sweet feeling of community. The outer Earth energy manifests within us as well. Planet Earth and soil are central to our lives and our physical nourishment.  Likewise, our physical bodies are the dense fabric of our being and reflect the Earth element within us. The food we eat and digest nourishes our flesh and our ability to think.

I have an uncle who is 96. The two things he has done all his life that keep him going are walking and singing. He loves to sing, and remembers all the words, even though his memory fails him in other areas of life. He still sings weekly with a group that goes to nursing homes and care facilities to entertain people. My mother (his sister who is 93) has always said that she and her eight siblings were poor growing up, but they were happy.  They loved to sing and play music together and that bonded them.

Singing can change brain patterns, and keep us settled in our bodies so we feel more balanced and harmonious. When we sing we use our voices to project, our ears to listen and our hearts to feel. If we move our bodies. We also bring in kinesthetic sensations. Brain studies say that the more we can engage our brains through the sense organs and felt experience in the body, the less the brain is able to get absorbed in its habitual stress patterns. This creates mental space and the opportunity to make new choices.

Singing helps express many emotions in a way that talking may not be able to do. It is poetic and rhythmic so it engages our emotions. Whether we are angry, happy, sad, or in a sacred space, singing helps express what we feel inside.  We can release emotional patterns that constrict us and drain our energy, then nourish ourselves and replenish.

Try singing to transform your inner state when you find yourself worrying, casting blame and “stinkin’ thinkin”. These mental patterns tie Earth energy in knots. You may feel stuck and resentful. Perhaps you start craving foods or experiences. Your ability to decide and move forward with focus and determination is curtailed. Life passes you by as you mull things over and over.  Or maybe brain fog sets in and you can’t think at all.  These body signals say it’s time to let go.

When you feel tied up inside, it may be appropriate to let a sound(s) come out that helps the body and nervous system release and relax. Combine the sound with movement of some kind. Let go of body constriction so it won't fester. Watch the layers start to unravel. There may be anger on top, then sadness, then fear for instance. Let the sound or song change as the process moves along.

After the stress releases, a period of calm follows which can be a portal to our imaginative intuition.  As we rest and refocus, new ideas are generated in our minds and new solutions can present themselves. Our spirit starts to rise. Singing doesn’t change the situation we face, but it can restore inner resourcefulness.

We can refocus and replenish our vitality by singing a song, or chanting a mantra, that is inspiring and helps bring a fresh and grounded presence into the body and mind.  Certain songs, sounds and mantras help us refocus our minds and revitalize our spirits. Below I want to share a song and chants that have inspired me.

 

Nourishing song 

Here is an example of a song that brings people together and points in the direction of love.  I was at a friend’s house at a celebratory party not long ago and one of the activities we did was sing together. The party lasted long into the night. The song "Give Yourself To Love" by Kate Wolf was a favorite. Here is the first verse and chorus to give you an idea. 

Kind friends all gathered ‘round, 

There's something I would say 

That what brings us together here has 

Blessed us all today 

Love has made a circle

That holds us all inside 

Where strangers are as family, 

Loneliness can't hide 

 

You must give yourself to love, 

If love is what you are after 

Open up your hearts to 

The tears and laughter 

And give yourself to love 

Give yourself to love.  

 

Sacred Song

Most spiritual traditions use singing or chanting to open the heart, focus the mind and celebrate spirit. These songs can be the perfect resource to help us with the work of inner transformation. All of us have our favorite songs that have deep meaning for us. These are the ones you can choose when you want to refocus your vitality and connect with the source of it. In my life I have had the opportunity to sing in several traditions from hymns at church, to chanting in the Buddhist, Five Element, and Indian yogic styles.  Below are two chants. The first I learned in 2010 in China when I attended a personal retreat called Shan Ren Dao or Path of the Good Person. The second I learned in 1972 when I was introduced to  tantra yoga and meditation.

 

Daoist Yoga chanting

In the Daoist Five Element-Confucian path called Shan Ren Dao (Path of the Good Person) there is a chant to restore Earth element vitality by cleansing doubt and affirming trust and integrity. The chant is recited in a question and answer format.

Lao Shanren kan wo xin shi (pronounced "sheen shir").

Wo xin shi.

The first sentence is the question and means, Wise teacher (or Universe) when you look at me do you see that I have trust and integrity? The second sentence is the answer - Yes, I have it. Repeating the chant over and over when you feel Earth imbalance stirs something inside. You begin to know what you have to let go of and what you need to embrace to move forward. There is a chant like this for each of the five element energies.  These chants are a regular part of our Thursday morning qigong practice group.  To learn more, contact Kamala.

 

Chanting from the Yoga of India

Kiirtan is the singing or chanting of Sanskrit mantras, and songs about God in the yogic tradition of India. There are countless songs, and musicians usually accompany with many types of instruments and percussion. My favorite chant is Baba Nam Kevalam. It is often translated as, Love is all there is. The word love in this context is not directed to a particular person or experience, but is meant to connect us with the source of undifferentiated love within ourselves and in all of creation. A simple dance goes with the chant. Over the years, I have sung and danced this kiirtan to many tunes and for many hours, at special retreats. This kind of chanting, especially in a group, can build a strong positive energy that adds to the well of positivity that changes human consciousness for the better. I will be introducing this mantra to use for meditation in the class: Grounded, Open, Awake

To participate in singing kiirtan locally, there is a community kiirtan group that meets monthly in Eugene. Musicians from several yogic traditions lead the group in singing and dancing. To get on the mailing list for notifications go to EugeneCommunityKiirtans@comcast.net

 

Classes

Grounded, Open, Awake
In this class, we will practice qigong and meditation to strengthen our bodies, open our hearts, and connect us with more creativity and imagination.  The qigong form is simple and easy to learn; its flowing movements emphasize flexibility of the spine, and relieves back tension and digestive upset. Beginning and continuing students are welcome. Each class will include information about the three main energy centers of transformation in the body according to Daoist yoga practice and sitting meditation practice from the yoga of India.

Dates: Mondays, Sept 14, 21 and 28, 2015
Time: 6:30-8:30pm
Place: Temple Beth Israel, at the corner of 29th and University, upstairs in the library
Fee: $75 ($65 if paid in full by Sept. 1) 
To Register: Mail your check to Kamala Quale, 966 Lorane Hwy, Eugene OR 974905

Grounded, Open, Awake: Coast Weekend
We will continue qigong and meditation practice on the beach and with the ocean. Through interactive exercises and discussion, we will continue to explore how we can be more grounded, open and awake in our lives.

Date: Oct 2 – Oct 4, 2015
Time:  Arrive Friday after 2pm and leave Sunday at noon
Place: 53 Windy Way, Yachats, Oregon
Fee: The cost for lodging is $45 for a bed, $35 for space on the floor. There is no fee for the class, but a donation is appreciated.

Food: You will need to bring food for your own breakfast and lunch; Friday and Saturday dinner will be coordinated (more information will follow).
To Register: Contact Kamala with your lodging preference, and then send your check by September 15 to Kamala at 966 Lorane Hwy Eugene OR 97405.

Jin Jing Gong Fourteen
The nourishing life practices of qigong and yoga can heal disease, increase energy and vitality, strengthen immune function, create happiness and quiet the mind.  In this eight-week class, we will focus on the 14 movement form of Jin Jing Gong, giving you the foundation and skills for developing your own personal practice.  Jin- means tendon, sinew, and muscle; Jing- the meridians or energy pathways in the body; Qi- breath or life force; and Gong- practice.  This unique and powerful qigong is like moving yoga.  The movements are combined with breath, mental focus and presence.  Essentially, Jin Jing Gong is a complete system of internal and external exercises used to optimize physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual health. The 14 Movement practice has roots going back to 5th Century China, when it was taught to the monks of the famous Shaolin Temple by the Buddhist monk from India, Putidamo (Bodhidharma).

Dates: Mondays, Oct. 12 - Nov. 30, 2015
Time: 7:30-9:00pm
Place: Celebration Dance and Yoga Studio, 1840 Willamette St., #206 (on the B side)
Fee: $120 ($105 if paid in full by Oct. 1) Students who have previously taken the class can repeat it for $50.

To Register: Mail your check to Kamala Quale, 966 Lorane Hwy, Eugene OR 974905

Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure Program
Becky Smith LMT and I continue to teach a complete program for Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure. Jin Shin Do can be used both as a self-help tool and as a professional therapeutic art to release and balance body and mind. Also check out our facebook page, Jin Shin Do Northwest, which has a link to an introductory video we just made.

Basic Jin Shin Do
In this introductory class, you will learn how to assess your client's individual needs; how to balance your client's energy with simple acu-point patterns that release chronic tension; how to relate minfully with clients to promote bodymind awareness and connect them with their core vitality.

Instructor: Becky Smith, LMT #2396, Authorized JSD Teacher 

Dates: Sept 11-13 & Oct 9-11, 2015
Times: Fridays, 1-6 pm & Sats/Suns 9am - 6pm
Fee: $650 ($625 if paid in full or $150 deposit due by 8/28/15)
To Register: Contact Becky at 541-345-7189 or beckysmithlmt@gmail.com