Winter Oriental Yoga: Taoist and Hatha Yoga for the Seasons

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Other translators and teachers followed, inspiring greater understanding of Eastern truth. Most notably in recent years, I have been impressed by Bill Porter Red Pine for his outstanding translations of Chinese poets. For many seekers in the s and 80s, the works of Master Ni provided a helpful point of reference. New Taoist translations and original, contemporary Taoist works continue to enrich our lives. The radiance of a Golden Age of Taoism was beginning to dawn in the West. Many, such as myself, value the present moment in the present place, and welcome this growing influx of ideas and culture from the East into current conditions in a Western context.

We have emerged into a fifth form, a distinctive Western Taoism that reflects the flavor of our own culture and values. In terms of my own journey, there are issues that still need to be resolved or answers that will reveal themselves with time. While Western Taoism perfectly addresses the need for individual integrity and an appropriate challenge to authoritarianism, it does not fully address our need to help each other and build community.

And as a woman, I have often felt the lack of sympathy for traditional female values, even though Lao Tzu goes to great lengths to celebrate the Tao as the Mother of All Things. Eastern thought often enters the West through the martial arts. While many women are masters of these demanding disciplines, there are many women and men who have no interest whatsoever in fighting, even fighting with their internal demons!

The traditional female arts of homemaking, child rearing, domestic and fine arts, nurturing and healing, and community building are pathways equally accessible to men and women, and should have a place of equal importance in the development of Western Taoism. Perhaps what we need is a Taoist Martha Stewart to celebrate and promulgate these values!

Be that as it may, the contributions of a new breed of Taoist to the West are incalculable.


We may not be obvious as a social force, but our presence is deep and pervasive. Whenever we hear the words integrity, organic, authentic , we may think Taoist. And not necessarily in a religious sense. We are the people who attempt to move wisely and effortlessly through life, without interference, leaving behind traces of art, harmony and peace.

Most of these are seated or supine and are long held for minutes; through practice can help reach minute poses. Though yin asanas are similar to more active yoga asanas such as those seen in hatha Indian yoga , they are not performed the same way. In some classes, an instructor may do an explanation of the anatomy and physiology of the poses dharma talk. Yin yoga helps us work on a deeper access to our body while doing very little muscle exertion resulting in better circulation, flexibility and mobility are reached.

The other huge benefit of this yoga practice is how it teaches you to sit still with yourself, your feelings, sensations, and emotions by promoting calmness and revealing the hidden aspect of yourself. It works on cultivating your patience while invoking your primal self and opening your heart. It is very helpful for anxiety, addictions, eating disorders, deep pain, and trauma. Though founder Paulie Zink focused on yin yoga, he does encourage the full range and complete practice of Taoist yoga by encompassing both yin and yang practices.

This third approach is that which combines both the ying-yang practices so to work on both spiritual and body balance. Since both sides complement one another, a combined routine improves fitness and energy while working on healing and relaxation. It is recommended to start with yin and end with yang in a session.

Yin Yoga Considered the feminine aspect of the symbol, yin stands for introspection and processing of feelings such as compassion. The whole practice become a ritual Puja , an offering to the Divine. Outside the mat, Navratri is the time to acknowledge and celebrate all the wonderful women in our lives. So on this first day of Navratri, on this special New Moon, auspicious to new beginnings, let it be a time of inner-exploration, a time of reflection on how we can empower our practice, fuel our meditation and come closer to our Divine potential.

How can we best embody our goddess energy in this lifetime? What do we need to let go, what are those old habits that no longer serve our purpose? How can we declutter our mind, our body and our home so that we create space for new energy, new opportunities? Let it be a time to celebrate and share the fruits of our seeking and reflections with the other amazing women in our lives, little spark of goddesses in disguise.

Turn off your phones and electronic devices and sit in a quiet space, either to read a book, enjoy the sound of nature if you can sit outdoor, or perhaps start a short meditation practice. Start by a very simple technique: spine tall, sit up on a chair or cushions, so that your hips are slightly more elevated than the knees.

Become aware of the sensations in your body, noticing the areas where you are holding unnecessary tensions. Softly inhale and exhale through the nose. The most important thing is to find a time which works for you and fit with your lifestyle. So, at the beginning, even minutes will be beneficial.

Winter Oriental Yoga: Taoist and Hatha Yoga for the Seasons

In time and with consistency, you will realise how this little ritual transform your day, your ability to relax and it will become easier to sit for longer period of time. Make breakfast and lunch your main meals with a well-balanced diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables, and aiming to reduce sugar intake and acidic drinks.

Keep dinner light and eat early. It also helps to recover from long flights and jet lag, relieve tiredness from the legs, and reduce swollen ankles. Before getting into the pose, decide whether you wish to elevate your hips with a couple of neatly folded blankets optional and if so, establish the distance of your support from the wall.

Experiment with the position of your support until you find the placement that works for you. Sit sideways on right end of the support, with your right side against the wall. Exhale and, with one smooth movement, swing your legs up onto the wall and rest your shoulders and head lightly down onto the floor. Lift and release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck. It is a good idea to place a small cervical pillow under your neck if the cervical spine feels flat.

Let your hands rest softly on your belly or release arms out to your sides, palms facing up.

About the Author Michael Hetherington

Close your eyes and enjoy this position for minutes. So, I make my Yoga practice more nurturing, with a bit more forward bends and twists, holding the postures longer. In addition, I also look at my diet and eat more warm hearty food, with plenty of ginger, garlic and a pinch of cayenne pepper here and there. Lately, a friend has introduced me to the many benefits of Chlorophyll and it has become one of my favourite nutrients to mix with water and drink throughout the day.

Apparently, its molecular structure is almost identical to haemoglobin except for the centre atom: In haemoglobin this is iron, whereas in chlorophyll it is magnesium. It is very alkaline and has the power to regenerate our bodies at the molecular and cellular level.

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I love drinking it first thing in the morning, mixed in a cup of lukewarm water and after practicing Yoga. It makes me feel even more energised and ready to get on with my day. Looking into it, it appears that other Liquid Chlorophyll Benefits include :.

Tai Chi: Relax Music for Ti Chi Chuan, Taoist Tai Chi, Meditation, Reiki and Hatha Yoga.

It blocks the metabolism in the body of harmful chemicals known as pro-carcinogens that damage DNA. Firstly, as a deodoriser, it will eliminate odours in the mouth and throat, but secondly and more importantly it promotes a healthy digestive tract — which is the primary reason for bad breath.

Winter Wisdom, Warming, Water - Mindful Movement Yoga & Nordic Walking Tutukaka Coast

By strengthening tissue, it increases the disease resistance of cells and, at the same time, prevents the growth of bacteria! Research apparently also suggests that chlorophyll greatly assists in wound healing and prevention of reinfection. Magnesium is very important as it helps to deliver much needed oxygen to cells and tissues, bone formation, nerve and muscle function. Magnesium is most important for our cardiovascular system, digestive system, nervous system, muscles, kidneys, liver, hormone-secreting glands, and brain.

So the first step is to add plenty of good organic green vegetables to your food, juices and smoothies. I usually add a few drops to water, juices or smoothie.

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    A delicious soup which will make you feel warm from the inside when it is cold outside. One of my favorite after yoga practice …. We all breathe but how many of us actually do so correctly and with attention? Fast paced modern life, bad posture, emotional disorders, smoking, etc. As breathing affects our heart rate and our central nervous system, the way we breathe impacts directly on the way we feel inside.