Monday, 29 December 2008
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Our bodies and our brains are interconnected what we think affects our bodies and the cells of our bodies in return affect our thoughts. We have all felt thet sinking feeling in our bodies on hearing bad news and the lightness with good.
Your worst enemy cannot harm you
As much as your own thoughts, unguarded.
But once mastered,
No one can help as much.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Monday, 1 December 2008
" This workbook is a step-by-step guide to push hands (t’ui shou). These T’ai Chi Chuan two person exercises are the foundation of the self-defense skills of the art. Written for the beginner through advanced practitioner and teachers, this book presents fun exercises and games that train sensitivity and responsiveness. Specific component skills of push hands (eg. sticking, listening, neutralizing, pushing, rooting etc) are systematically developed through sequential drills presented in the workbook. Important topics that are often poorly addressed in the English literature are explained in clear language and paired with activities. 50 exercises clearly explained with more that 180 photos." Written by Nando Renolds(http://www.nando-r.com/MN.asp?pg=pro200). Sounds interesting.
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Friday, 28 November 2008
Pablo Cassals( 1876-1973)
Thursday, 27 November 2008
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Sunday, 23 November 2008
that's because the action stimulates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor(BDFN) a protein that encourages the growth of neurons linked to long-term memory and mood. " When you're depressed or under stress, your brain's producion of BDNF plummets", says Moses Chao, professor of neuro science at New York Universitv School of Mecdine. ( One of the lesser-known effect of antidepressents he says,is to raise the levels of BDNF.) Anything unexpected, smelling rosemary first thing in the morning, for example can activate BDNF. From the Oprah magazine for those like me who need a lift at times.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Before learning T'ai Chi, like most people I felt enveloped in a sack, my skin which separated me from the air around. Practicing T'ai Chi we learn to pay attention to the apparent boundry and in doing so come to realise it's not as real as we once believed. In paying attention to our skin and the air touching our skin simultaneously we become aware that the " inside " and the "outside are are very much interconnected. We are no longer separate but part of this whole universe of space, energy and particles dancing in time.
Here working together are John Kells and Steven Moore two great T'ai Chi Masters who awakened me to this reality.
Friday, 14 November 2008
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Monday, 10 November 2008
Can you imagine feeling the presence of your whole body and all the feelings and emotions in your body simultaneously? Can you imagine the space around your body, the space above, below , in front, behind and at the sides of your body simultaneously?
Questions like these draw me into open focus enabling me to be more present in my body and in my environment simultaneously. Can you imagine ? This is such a wonderful invitation to new possibilities of awareness.
Friday, 7 November 2008
It's about thirty years since I first read about brainwaave biofeedback in a book called "The Lives Of A Cell". Since then I've come across refrerence to biofeedback in other books and have always been interested in it's use in studies on relaxation and meditation. Then last summer I read "Open Focus Brain" by Dr Les Fehmi and Jim Robbins. The book recounts Dr Femhi's work with biofeedback machines and his development of open focus exercises. Dr Femhi discovered that when he asked clients to imagine distance volume or space there was a dramatic increase in alpha waves produced in their brains. He realised that 'Objectless Imagery' was very conducive to alpha wave production and thereby very relaxing and healing for his clients. Having read the book and practised the exercises I really wanted to experience working on the machine,so a few weeks ago I travelled to Princeton to train with Dr Fehmi. Working with Dr Femhi and his wife Susan Shore Fehmi was wonderful. I loved getting feedback from the machine and the open focus exercises left me energised and more open relaxed and aware than ever before. The exercises have opened me to a whole new level in my T'ai Chi practice.
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Thursday, 9 October 2008
With Master Ann McIlraith
· Tai chi warm-ups
· Figures of eight
· Short Form
Saturday 18th October 2008
L1 Electrical Engineering Building
11.00 to 1.30 and 2.30 to 5.00
€20 (€10 for each session)
Club membership €5
To lean more about UCC Staff Tai Chi Club, please visit: http://www.ucc.ie/en/taichi/
Friday, 3 October 2008
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Friday, 19 September 2008
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Monday, 15 September 2008
These mornings I like to eat blackberries as I stroll along with Susie. The other day I popped one in my mouth and with it's taste, exploded memories in my mind. Suddenly I was six again standing at the kitchen table in Mrs Murphy's, mashing blackberries in a saucer with milk and sugar. The taste of that particular blackberry had taken me back to that warm kitchen to Mrs Murphy, in her wrap around apron, whose eyes smiled love and affection and in whose kitchen I always felt welcome and OK. We moved from Macroom at that time, and I lost my centre this memory has healed something inside and opened my heart and mind to many more memories and faces of Love.
Friday, 15 August 2008
Thursday, 14 August 2008
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
Saturday, 26 July 2008
In learning T'ai Chi we have to retrain our bodies and our relationship with our personal space. We are constantly reminded to find our balance inside an egg shaped bubble with " no hollows and no protrusions ",.
Friday, 25 July 2008
from This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel Leveitin
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
Monday, 21 July 2008
Monday, 30 June 2008
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Friday, 20 June 2008
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Saturday, 14 June 2008
Like this Zen student I've been struggling with attention. How to be really present in the moment with the internal and external realities. The listening energy we work to awaken and develop in T'ai Chi has helped me to get some more understanding of
attention. We learn to listen not only with our ears but with all our senses. In pushing hands we use our hands to listen to each other. We learn to 'hear' the presence in the touch and with pactice to 'hear ' it is the spaces between touch. That equally rich and meaningful space we could call absence. Space is what allows us to see the objects and absence allows us to know presence.
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
There is a neurological basis for this,research on the brain reveals that when our eyes are in '' sharp focus'', our stress responsees increase; when they are in ''soft'' or ''open'', focus, we relax.
Try softening your focus now. After reading this paragraph, look up at whatever's in front of you. Then, without moving your eyes, allow your atttention to broaden, taking in everything you see. Slowly expand your attention to include everything you can hear, smell, feel, and taste. As your focus opens, you'll stop thinking in words and become more present to the bauty around.
Sunday, 1 June 2008
Friday, 23 May 2008
Sunday, 18 May 2008
Saturday, 17 May 2008
Sir Thomas Malory (d. 1471)
Le Morte d'Arthur (1485
Monday, 12 May 2008
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
Gratefulness.org is his website.
Thursday, 17 April 2008
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
-- Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks
Sunday, 13 April 2008
Friday, 11 April 2008
Yasterday my daughter asked me to explain the chemical bonding in water.Earlier in the afternoon, I'd seen steem rising from the bonnet of my car in the warm sunshine after a hail shower.Looking at the steam the magical qualities of water had struck.'The Chinese say water is the most powerful element because it is perfectly non resistant. It can wear away rock and sweep all before it.' When the next chapter of a book I'm reading began with this quote I was struck by the synchronicity.Ice Water and Steam all change state with no resistance. In our practice we are working to become more water like open to what life brings willing to change form and flow with life's rhythm.
For more magical qualities of water check the images in Dr Masaru Emoto's web site.
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Monday, 24 March 2008
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Monday, 17 March 2008
The next morning at 5.30 am lying awake practising my 'heart coherence exercise ' I recalled the previous day's encounter. Then when my heart felt full and open I asked it to reveal to me other occasions when this had happened (the earliest it could recall). I waited and sure enough faces and feelings came back , many surprising and delighting me. People who my head wouldn't have counted my heart revealed. Now, days later when I ask, more appear and fill my heart with gratitude for the unsung heroes of my childhood.
Friday, 14 March 2008
There is a quiet light
that shines in every heart.
Though it is always secretly there,
it draws no attention to itself
It is what illuminates our
minds to see beauty, our desire to seek
possibility and our hearts
to love life. . .
This shy inner light is what enables
us to recognize and receive
our very presence here as blessing.'
From John O Donohue's Benidictus
Tuesday, 11 March 2008
everything has tightened and feels hard. So, as we confirmed Saturday, a better approach is to relax and let the openings happen naturally. The muscles feel full, soft and open and the defences drop internally and externally. We are more open to the ground , the heavens , ourselves and each other.
Many thanks to everybody who attended Saturday. It was great to spend time exploring together the silence and depth of the work.
To view short clips from Saturday check this site: http://www.vimeo.com/772898
Monday, 3 March 2008
Friday, 29 February 2008
Thursday, 28 February 2008
Monday, 25 February 2008
This is no surprise to me or to you either I'm sure as it just confirms the expansion we've all experienced in the presence of an open warm, loving heart and the contraction felt in an atmosphere of fear.
One measure of your hearts' activity that reflects your emotional state is called heart rate variability, which shows variations in the intervals between heartbeats.In Studies researchers have found that people's heart patterns look different when they're happy then when they are angry,frustrated or sad.
(See graphs below)
Negative emotions cause erratic patterns called heart rhythm incoherence which has a damaging effect on the body. Feeling angry,frustrated or sad leads to the release of stress hormones and cholesterol into the body.Your heart pumps faster and your blood pressure rises. In contrast feelings of appreciation and love create heart rhythm coherence ie smooth even patterns in the heart rhythm's. According to research heart rhythm coherence increases production of good hormones, normalises blood pressure, improves cognitive functions and strengthens the immune system.
Step 1: Heart Focus
Gently focus your attention on your in the area of your heart.It may help to place your hand over your heart. If your mind wanders just keep bringing your attention back to the area of your heart.
As you focus on the area of your heart , pretend your breath is flowing in and out through that area. This helps your mind and energy to stay focused and your respiration and hearth rhythms to synchronise. Breath slowly and gently, until your breathing feels smooth and balanced.
As you continue to breathe, recall a positive feeling, a time when you ' felt good inside.' Now try
to re experience the feeling. This could be a feeling of appreciation or care toward a special person, a pet, a place you enjoy, or an activity that was fun. Allow yourself to really' feel ' this good feeling of appreciation or care. If you can't feel anything, it's okay, just try to find a sincere attitude of appreciation or care. Once you have found a positive feeling or attitude, you can sustain it by continuing your heart focus, heart breathing, and heart feeling.
Since my accident in January I've found this exercise great while waiting in doctor's surgeries etc. It's made me much more concious too of those occasions in my day when my heart opens spontaneously. It actually feels that it's happening more often or maybe thats's just more evidence that what we pay attention to grows!
I remember Steven telling me about John's practise of recalling all his loved ones as he stands in attention before beginning the session or form. Is it any surprise our practice can be called 'Heartwork'
Saturday, 23 February 2008
Friday, 22 February 2008
Satsang is much broader though than the group session; any meeting where ones spirit is nourished and encouraged to shine is Satsang. So I consider practising Tai Chi with others to be our 'Satsang'. I love the way this term includes both the silent practise and the dialogue. In our practise both are also important in a session.
For more information on Satsang : http://www.satsangbhavan.net/
Friday, 15 February 2008
My friend Margaret introduced me to the teachings of Adyashanti , an American Zen teacher. "Allowing everything to be as it is" , is the title of one of his meditation talks in which he guides one to the silence beyond the mind. I love the way he leads this meditation and invites one to notice any remaining tension in the body which he describes as resistance to 'allowing everything to be'. I have found this to be a great help in my daily life and especially my practise. By slowing down I can become aware of any pockets of tension remaining in my body. In the noticing of them , they often dissolve or if not, awaken me to what I'm resisting. This gives me the opportunity to let it go and return to my practise.
Friday, 8 February 2008
Across the summer stream
With such joy
My sandals in my hand
The winter gail
Blows the evening sun
Into the sea
With one who does not speak his every thought
I spend a pleasent evening
Resonance is the response of the body to vibrations of its own natural frequency. This best describes what I feel when I read a Haiku that touches me.
Yesterday, yet again, I was surprised and delighted to feel this response in my body.
I don't usually notice this pulsing in my body as I practise Tai Chi , but whenI stand still at the end of a form , there it is; that deep, rhyhthmic pulsing which I have come to regard as one of the fruits of my practise.
They say everything grows with attention and now, as I write in the gaps beetween the thoughts, there it is again; that resonating presence, mysterious and quiet.
Sunday, 20 January 2008
Friday, 18 January 2008
The exercise begins with words that can be said to yourself. At first you may want to say the whole sentence. Then, you might just say the shorter phrase to the right of the sentence.
Calming the Mental Formations
......................Breathing in, I feel calm. ...................Calm
......................Breathing out, I smile.........................Smile
......................Breathing in, I dwell........... .............. Present moment
......................in the present moment
.....................Breathing out,it is the .........................Wonderful
.....................most wonderful moment..................... moment
The practise of Zen is often recommended to Tai Chi students to calm the 'monkey' mind and develop the courage to enter the still presence within and without.
Many thanks to John Connell for Thich Nhat Hnah's 'The Energy of Prayer'
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
I'd like to dedicate this new blog and year to that still point in all of us where tai chi resides.
Lets sink deep into our core letting the mind quieten and allow all our movement come from there.
Your body is... the expression of your existence...
Dervilla sent me this and it sums up the presence we are working to embody.