Friday, April 6, 2018

Dogs for Health and Happiness

I have never owned a dog, but I love dogs.  When I am on my sunset mindful walk, if I pass someone with a dog, the dog always tries to get close to me.  If the the dog owner lets me play with it for awhile, I sure do feel happy.

Dogs improve health and happiness in people because when we play with them, or they come up to us when we need a little love in our lives, the enjoyment raises our serotonin levels.  And serotonin helps with depression, body illness and pain because low serotonin levels are what cause some of these problems. 

That's a reason why there are service dogs, dogs that people keep with them for their health and wellness.  Dogs can make your life more happy.

Dogs can improve serotonin levels to make your feel more happy and healthy

And 2018 is the Chinese Lunar Year of the Dog.

Because I can't own a dog, I play with my jade Dog pendant, and touching it, feeling the carving, makes me feel happier, better. 

Jade Dog

Some people may be allergic to dogs, or dogs are not allowed to live in certain areas, or just don't like dogs.  If that's you, find something that does make you happy, and spend time with that happiness every day.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

When is the Best Time and Place to do Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong?

I don't go to "formal" tai chi, yoga classes.  My tai chi and yoga, qigong, are part of my life.  While not in my routine, I intuitively choose the best time in the morning for practice.  If I have too many tasks to do that my mind will be on them and not when I'm playing tai chi, usually do the tasks first.  But sometimes during the tasks, I feel very ready to practice.

Today I took a "me" morning and went shopping for household and Easter things.  I was out for about three hours, almost noon when I got home.  I wanted to put away my purchases and replace some of my old kitchen accessories with the new ones I bought, so I turned my iPod touch on to my Pandora channel.  I made a Yoga Station and usually when I connect, the music that's being played is just right for what I'm doing.  So I turned on Pandora, and the first one that came up was "Islands of Dusk" by Midori on the Bali album.  My "dream" is when I am at the end of my life, I want to go to Bali, to a monastery on the beach, and "sit" until I pass from this world to the next, so "Islands of Dusk" is very emotional for me.  And I saw on the news yesterday that the ocean is becoming extremely polluted with plastic trash and Bali beach has been so affected that the beautiful water is declining.  I stopped what I was doing because my body mind and spirit moved me to tai chi. 

And although I also did my yoga practice, during the day I will often be moved to do some yoga poses, and some qigong.  That's why I don't care for classes.  It's so much a part of my life, like drinking water when thirsty, eating when hungry, scratching when there's an itch.

After I got done with my morning practices, and I went back to doing my unpacking and putting away from my shopping trip, I noticed my jade bangle bracelet was looking more beautiful.   The green veins were more dominant as was the translucence.  It had an overall "glow" and felt so good. 

Old mine genuine natural Burmese jadeite bangle bracelet mined and carved last century

And by the way, when your jade looks more beautiful as you wear it, you know it was made for you.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Dantien: Your "Center of Life" and How Mindfulness of Dantien Helps You

This morning when I was doing my daily taiji (tai chi) form, I was having trouble with my balance.  I had a lot on my mind, and my mind was not on my dantien.

 Dantien means "elixer field" in Chinese,  or "energy field".  When I did taiji and qigong with a group and our Chinese master, he always emphasized moving your energy into the dantien when finishing a form, and to picture your dantien as "there is a fire in Dantien", keeping that fire going.

And when you do taiji or qigong, keep your dantien forward.  Follow your dantien.

I wasn't paying attention to my dantien this morning, and not leading with dantien, and that's why I couldn't keep balanced.

I live in a gated community, and the windows that overlook the street are usually busy during the day with people walking, running, taking dog for a walk.  I notice so many people, especially older senior citizen age people walking with their head down, their shoulders hunched, not straight and tall.  I know how easy it is to not have good posture.  I walk daily, depending on the weather, and  make it a point to stand tall, like I am suspended on a string from the Heavens.  That posture puts the dantien forward.  And that's the best posture.

I see advertisements for taiji classes, and some of the classes designed for senior citizens. I also see taiji classes for veterans to treat physical and emotional problems rather than over-medicating. If you take a taiji class, you know you have a good instructor if they highlight the importance of dantien and putting your dantien forward when you move.  When I do taiji with mindfulness of my dantien, I have good balance, even when I scooping up qi like "snake creeps down", kicking, spreading wings.  I have osteoporosis and refuse to take the osteoporosis drugs, but I do physical work to compensate, and keeping balance is important for building strength.

A good taiji instructor will tell you when your posture is not right for the moves, and it usually involves keeping dantien forward.  If you are learning and doing taiji on your own, keep dantien forward and you will have a good taiji experience.

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Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year's Resolutions? How About Lifetime Resolutions

Happy new year 2018.  I wish you an auspicious year, happiness, good health and wellness, good luck and fortune, peace and compassion.

It's been three months since my last post.  I spent the rest of 2017 "just being", spending more time with myself.   That's called "mindfulness".  Using the medical cannabis for pain, my body, mind and spirit needed time, mindfulness to adjust.  Having chronic pain through my body since I was 11 years old, not having pain most of the day was wonderful, but odd.
Having pain for a long time seems to be a habit.  And when that habit gets broken, it takes adjustment, time, slightly similar to withdrawal from non-healthy things.  Difficult to articulate, but if you do it, you understand.

When I moved to Florida in 2004, we were fortunate to live in the same community one of my girlfriends from Ohio had been living in, and since we were both far distance from our families, our relationship developed to the closeness of sisters.  We both went to a Buddhist mindfulness all day workshop about 12 years ago.  The monk suggested we not talk to each other all day, focus on ourselves.  My friend and I were the only ones there who could do that all day, and that bonded our relationship even more.  One of the mindfulness activities we practiced in the morning, and then afternoon, was mindful walking through a preserve.  We focused on our feet, each step, our bodies, our surroundings.  I loved it.  And I walk every day with that mindfulness practice.  It's become so ingrained that most steps I take are mindful.  For me, the experience is very centering, like meditation inside.

I make one resolution every year.  And it's a resolution that will be rewarding so I can continue it through the year, through my life.  Last year was to take more time in life for myself, and mindfulness helps accomplish that.

This morning I took time for my qigong, taiji (tai chi), and yoga practices.  I "should" have been cleaning the house, starting the cooking for the new year dinner I'm making for friends. But the practice of my energy exercises and  taking the time I need will give me a better day.

If you are a person who makes a lot of resolutions and then get disappointed in yourself when you can't keep the resolution, I suggest making one resolution that will make you feel good by practicing it.  Even a diet resolution that is healthy, although it may seem difficult, if it's right for you, you will feel better.  And make it realistic.  Instead of "I give up candy",  cut back on nibbling, like decide you will eat  one treat after lunch, one after supper.  Or cut back on a third, or half, of a negative heating habit instead of cutting it out completely.  Then mindfully eat your allotted portion, and enjoy it more. 

And if it's a good resolution, it will become part of  your life.  If it improves your life, you will practice it throughout your life.

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