Valley Spirit
Body-Mind Practices:
T'ai Chi Ch'uan. Qigong, Yoga, Meditation, Reading, Gardening, Walking


Reflections, Notes, Suggestions, References, Questions and Answers, Links, Quotations
A Psycho-Spiritual Personal Journal
Valley Spirit Fitness and Well Being Journal/Blog

April 2004

Index to the Valley Spirit Fitness and Well Being Journal

Michael P. Garofalo





April 30, 2004, Friday

"You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your deep, driving desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny."
-   Upanishads


"Strength does not come from physical activity.  It comes from
an indomitable will."
-  Mahatma Gandhi

"Desire and Destiny: Getting What We Want."   By Eknath Easwaran.  
Yoga International, May 2004, pp.59-67.

Meditation: A Simple Eight Point Program for Translating Spiritual Ideals into 
Daily Life.   By Eknath Easwaran (1909-1999).  Nilgiri Press, 2nd Edition, 1991.
252 pages.  ISBN: 0915132664.

Take Your Time: Finding Balance in a Hurried World.  By Eknath Easwaran (1909-1999).  
Hyperion Press, 1998.   240 pages.  ISBN: 0786883545.




April 29, 2004, Thursday

I normally work 8 hours for the Corning Union Elementary School District on 
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  After work I walk, do Tai Chi, and often
go to the gym for weightlifting and yoga.  Busy days!

Attended a yoga tonight and a lecture on "Diet Tips for Slimming Down for 
the Summer."



April 28, 2004, Wednesday


"According to traditional Yoga texts these coverings, or bodies, are called
Maya Koshas, literally maya (illusion) and kosha (body or sheath).  There are
five of these "bodies" covering the pure self or the light within.  Our inner light 
is the only constant that does not change.  Everything else, like the nature 
surrounding us, is illusory because it is in constant change."
-  Nischala Joy Devi, The Healing Path of Yoga, p. 69

I am always struck by the tendency for Yogis to view the true or pure self, the
ultimate self sought in Self-Realization methods, as being immortal, unchanging,
free, real, infinite, and fundamental.  The ordinary body-mind is viewed as
changing, finite, mortal, corruptible, impure and an illusion.  Western readers
will find comparable viewpoints in Plato, and many Christian and Islamic philosophers, 
where "soul" and "Self" function in the same way in their discourse.  

In my view, the source of many false beliefs is the desire for things which will
never change; and many things (i.e., realities, beings, states, levels) which are
thought to never change are more likely the illusions.   I think I line up with Aristotle,
Hume, and Buddha in doubting the reality of a personal soul, an unchaning Self,
and immortal essence of Selfhood.  The soul of a man does change, evolves,
can be realized, and finally dies with the body.       


451.   The root illusion is a belief in that which does not change.   
Pulling Onions




April 27, 2004, Tuesday

A long day of work and yoga class at night.  No tai chi or walking.  

"Mr. Garofalo, I live in Davis, work in Sacramento, and am interested in finding a 
Zhan Zhuang teacher.  Any help greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your help 
and for your fine websites.  -  Joel Mandel"

The best source in Northern California is Jan Diepersloot.  His Warriors
of Stillness books are excellent.  Email: Jan Diepersloot, Address: POB 369, 
Walnut Creek, CA 94597, Phone: 925.906.9534.  Biography

Refer to my Zhan Zhuang webpage.  



April 26, 2004, Monday


Bringing Yoga to Life:The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living.   By Donna Farhi.
Harper San Francisco, 2003.  250 pages.  ISBN:  0060091142.

Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath, Body, and Mind
.   By Frank Jude Boccio.   
Wisdom Publications.  320 pages.  ISBN: 0861713354.    

Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times.   By Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.  Introduction
by Mary Pullig Schatz.  Illustrated by Halstead Hannah.  Rodmell Press, 1985.  ISBN: 0962713848.

See my notes on relaxation or Sung.



April 25, 2004, Sunday

Since the irrigation ditch was running again we spent the day watering trees and shrubs on our
property.  Plenty of exercise while gardening: mowing, watering, weeding, light 
construction, planting.  A warm day - reminder of summertime.  

"Thank you!  Your website answers many stirrings in me.  Seriously, I cannot
express in words how grateful I am for finding your posted information.
Finding your website organized the wat it is ... well, it's a blessing."
-   Sally Turpin, California, 24 April 2004



April 24, 2004, Saturday

Walking and Tai Chi in the early morning.   Teach the Tai Chi class at TFFC.  

Updated Tai Chi for Diabetes.

I need to focus strictly on Qigong and Tai Chi from an exercise and medical 
perspective.  I will seldom mention Buddhism, Taoism, Yoga, or other 
metaphysical perspectives.  Emphasize what can be learned as a physical 
skill.  Demphasize the psychological, mystical, spiritual aspects of the art
in the current working environment.  

Back to warm daytime temperatures.  Everything drying up because we have
had no rain in April.  I did some slow watering of trees and shrubs today.  

Started work on indoor keyboard shelves and desk.  Worked on electrical outdoors.




April 23, 2004, Friday

Updated general wellness webpage.  Off CUESD work today.  

Read a very interesting article on "will power."  

Shopped for wood in Chico.  I will use the wood to build a keyboard stand
with shelves underneath.  There will be a wood box to cover the keyboards
when not in use.  The area will then serve as a home meditation center,
altar, seasonal display area.  

Currently, all other desks and shelves are too high or too low for the electronic 
keyboards.  Being too high is a real problem for the wrists.  Being too low is
a problem for the legs finding a suitable position.  

Visit CSU Chico University Library - what a treat!  

Massage in early afternoon.

Walking, T'ai Chi, and weightlifting at gym.  Lakers/Rockets at night in their
3rd playoff game.  


April 22, 2004, Thursday

Worked all day for CUESD.  T'ai Chi, walking and yoga in the evening.
Pretty sore today from two previous days of weightlifting so I took a break
from that aspect of exercise tonight.  Rest results in Progress!  

Reading about Goddesses and updating webpage on Goddesses.

Reading newest Yoga Journal magazine issue.  

Updated the Cross Reference Index.   


"I've used your webpages and found them very interesting and well done."
Marco Morena Martial Arts




April 21, 2004, Wednesday


Worked all day for CUESD.  T'ai Chi, walking, weightlifting and yoga in the evening.

Reading about Goddesses and updating webpage on Goddesses.



April 20, 2004, Tuesday

The Supreme Guru (Param-Guru) Babaji said,"We are people who like the shelter
of trees." (Yogananda, 1946, p. 329).  

Worked all day for CUESD.  T'ai Chi, walking, weightlifting and yoga in the evening.
I really felt good about getting back to Gudrun's yoga class.  



April 19, 2004, Monday

Walking, Tai Chi and Gardening.   Relaxed and read most of the day.  

Did research on Kriya Yoga and updated webpage.  



April 18, 2004, Sunday

Walking, Tai Chi and Gardening - 6 hours.  

Update the Kriya Yoga webpage.

The garden, life life, is a mixture of sand and sugar; yet, even the 
humble ant has skill to separate the two.  


April 17, 2004, Saturday


"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out until sundown: 
for going out, I found, was really going in."
-  John Muir


I took a break from reading to look out the window at the hummingbird feeder.
There appeared a orange breasted hummer: a colorful male of the 
Selasphorous rufus species.  Karen identified the little fellow.  

Taught Tai Chi Chuan at TFFC today.  



April 16, 2004, Friday

Tired from a intense work week.  

Started the Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan Instructional Program.

Spent another evening writing, reading and listening to Krishna Das's Pilgrim Heart.  
My favorite chant from this wonderful album is: Namah Shivaaya.

"Om Namah Shivaaya
Shivaaya namaha, Shivaaya namah om
Shivaaya namaha, namah Shivaaya
Shambhu Shankara namah Shivaaya,
Girijaa Shankara namah Shivaaya
(Arunaachaia Shiva namah Shivaaya)."


April 15, 2004, Thursday

Returned to my walking and weightlifting program and yoga class with Gudrin.  

Spent the evening listening to Krishna Das's Pilgrim Heart.  

"Devi prachanda dora danda daitya
darpa winashine
Roopam dehi jayam dehi
Yasho dehi dwisho jahi."
Oh Goddess, with your great staff you have
destroyed the demons of egoism and thought.
Grant me freedom, victory, fame and destroy
all hositility."
-  Devi Puja (Worship of the Goddess)
   Krishna Das, Pilgrim Heart



April 14, 2004, Wednesday

Reading the book on Taoist Meditation by B. K. Frantzis:

Relaxing Into Your Being: The Water Method of Taoist Meditation Series, Volume 1.
By Bruce K. Frantzis.  Fairfax, California, Clarity Press, 1998.  Readers Edition.
208 pages.  No ISBN.  MGC

Thus far, this book is unsatisfying.  The general introduction to Daoist viewpoints has
been more aptly dealt with by Eva Wong and others.  The lessons on techniques are
scattered in between the general comments.  Definitely not worth the $25.00 price.  


Taoism: Meditation

Awakening to the Tao
.  By Liu I-Ming.  Translated by Thomas Cleary.  Boston, 
Shambhala, 1988.  105 pages.  ISBN: 087773447X.  

Cultivating Stillness:  A Taoist Manual for Transforming Body and Mind.   By Eva Wong.
With a commentary by Shui-ch'ing Tzu.  Translated with an introduction by Eva Wong.
Illustrations by Hun-yen Tzu.  Boston, Shambhala, 1992.  158 pages.  
ISBN: 0877736871.   

The Gentle Path of Spiritual Progress.  By Ni, Hua-Ching.  Los Angeles, California,
College of Tao and Traditional Chinese Healing, c 1987.  Index, 257 pages.
ISBN: 0937064335.  MGC.  Master Ni has also written many other books about
Taoist philosphy, practices and spirituality.  

The Great Stillness.   The Water Method of Taoist Meditation Series, Volume 2.  
By Bruce K. Frantzis.  269 pages.  Fairfax, California, Clarity Press, 1998.  

Kumar Frantzis: An Informal Discussion on Taoist Meditation.  An interview by
Sara Barchus.  1994.  51Kb.  

Lao-tzu's Taoteching.  Translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter).  Includes selected commentaries 
of the past 2,000 years.  Mercury House, San Francisco, 1996.  184 pages.  
ISBN: 1562790854.  MGC.  

Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body: The Tao of Energy Enchancement.  By Bruce
Kumar Frantzis.  Illustrated by Husky Grafx.  North Atlantic books, 2nd Edition, 
1993.  174 pages.  ISBN: 1556431643.

Qigong Empowerment: A Guide to Medical, Taoist, Buddhist, and Wushu Energy
Cultivation.   By Liang, Shou-Yu and Wu, Wen-Ching.  Way of the Dragon, 1996.
348 pages.  ISBN: 1889659029.   

Relaxation (Sung): Links, Bibliography, Quotes, Notes

The Secret of the Golden Flower.  The Classic Chinese Book of Life.  Translated by
Thomas Cleary.  Written around 1750.  Detailed notes and commentary.  New
York, Harper Collins, 1991.  153 pages.  ISBN: 0062501933. 

The Taoist Body.   By Kristofer Schipper.  Translated by Kare C. Duval.  Foreward by
Norman Girardot.  Berkeley, University of California Press, 1972, 1993.  Index, 
bibliography, notes, 273 pages.  ISBN: 0520082249.  MGC.   

Taoist Meditation Methods   

Taoist Meditation: Methods for Cultivating a Healthy Mind and Body.  Translated by Thomas Cleary.  
Boston, Shambhala Publications, 2000.  130 pages.  ISBN: 1570625670.  MGC.   

Taoist Qigong for Health and Vitality: A Complete Program of Movement, Meditation and 
Healing Sounds.   By Hon, Sat Chuen.   Boston, Shambhala, 2003.  208 pages.  
ISBN: 1590300688.

The Tao of Meditation: Way to Enlightenment.   By Jou, Tsung Hwa.  Scottsdale, Arizona,
Tai Chi Foundation, 1983, 2000.  176 pages.  MGC.  ISBN: 0804814651. "The Chinese 
term for meditation is Ching Tso, which translated means 'sitting still with peaceful mind.' 
Meditation is the training of the inner senses of the body and mind." p. 3.   

Vitality, Energy, Spirit:  A Taoist Sourcebook.   Translated and edited by Thomas Cleary.  Boston,
Shambhala, 1991.  281 pages.  ISBN: 0877735190.   

The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing.  By Kenneth S. Cohen.
Foreword by Larry Dossey.  New York Ballantine Books, 1997.  Index, notes, appendices, 
427 pages.  ISBN: 0345421094.  One of my favorite books: comprehensive, informative, 
practical, and scientific.




April 13, 2004, Tuesday


Walking Yoga: Incorporating Yoga Principles into Dynamic Walking Routines for Physical
Health, Mental Peace, and Spiritual Enrichment.  By Ila Sarley and Garrett Sarley.  New
York, Fireside, 2002.  Index, 210 pages.  ISBN: 0743421973.   MGC.  

See my notes on Walking and Taijiquan  and  Walking - General.

Drove from Portland to Red Bluff.  Tai Chi in the seat of a small car - breath and relax.  


April 12, 2004, Monday

Research into Tantric Yoga.

Kundalini: Yoga for the West
.  By Swami Sivananda Radha.  With a foreword by
Herbert V. Guenther.   Inroduction by Stanley Krippner.  Boulder, Colorado,
Shambhala, 1981.  Index, 357 pages.  MGC.  ISBN: 0394748840.     

Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power.   A Simple Guide to the Yoga of Awareness.  By 
Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa.   As taught bey Yog Bhanjan, Ph.D.  New York, Perigee Books,
1996.  Index, appendix, 321 pages.   ISBN: 0399524207.   MGC.  

We enjoyed browsing the two Powell's bookstores in the Hawthorne Blvd. district of
east Portland.  They offered both new and used books.   We tasted Vietnamese Pho
soup for lunch, and German food for dinner.  A delightful day with Mick and April.   


Manipura Chakra = Dan Tien





April 11, 2004, Sunday

"The staff (Danda) is symbolic for the spine supporting the body.  Since man's emergence
for the animal kingdom he has walked erect.  The levels of consciousness are in the spine
where the life force is dominant.  The base of the spine [Muladhara Cakra] is the place 
where the Kundalini Energy (Divine Coiled Serpent0 is located.

Khatvanga (Staff with Skull on Top) is symbolic of a pure or empty mind, one which is free
from preconceived ideas which block the way for new perceptions, particularly Divine
insight, that is, insight by intuition during meditation, reflection or quietness.  In contrast
to the perconceived ideas stands true knowledge, which is knowing from personal 
experience.  Information is often mistaken for knowledge.  The skull is mounted on a 
staff (the spine).  The Kundalini Energy can then rise in the Sahasrara.  The flow of the 
Divine energy through the staff or spine, into the empty skull, the mind free of preconceived
ideas, is an experience that shakes one's whole foundation."
-   Kundalini: Yoga for the West.  By Swami Sivananda Radha.  Timeless Books, 1978.  p.41

Refer to my webpage on the staff.

A beautiful day in Portland.  We enjoyed an Easter dinner with all our family at 
Alicia and Sean's home. 



April 10, 2004, Saturday

"Obsience to Her
Who is Pure Being, Consciousness, Bliss.
Who Exists in the Forms of Time and Space,
And All That is Therein, As Power,
Who is the Divine Illuminatrix in All Beings."
-  A Tantric Prayer

Invoke the Goddess: Visualizations of Hindu, Greek and Egyptian Deities.  
By Kala Trobe.    St. Paul, Minnesota, 2000.  Index, bibliography, 207 pages.
MGC.  ISBN: 1567184316.


Enjoyed touring the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon, with Alicia and Sean.  


April 9, 2004, Friday


I read a very interesting magazine article in Spirituality and Health (February 2004) 
by Louise Danielle Palmer on the brain science of religious and mystical experiences.  
She outlines and explains some of the the work of Andrew Newberg, M.D., a professor 
of nuclear medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center,  and the late 
Eugene D'Aquili, M.D., a psychiatrist with the University of Pennsylvania.  They 
wrote the book:  Why God Won't Go Away.  


"Usually, increased activity in one system results in decreased activity in the other.
Newberg and D'Aquili, however, discovered that when both sympathetic and 
parasympathetic systems are pushed to extraordinary levels by intese physical
or mental activity such as prolonged concentration or repetive motion, altered
states of consciousness are triggered.  Maximum stimulation of both systems
results in "an ecstatic rush of orgasmic-like energy," sensations of oceanic
tranquillity and bliss, total absorption, and extraordinary relaxation - all at the
same time.  These descriptions mirror high mystical experiences, as well as
milder versions of them, across spiritual and religious traditions."
-  Louise Palmer, p. 35


"The images he captured [MRI/CAT brain scans] showed that the brain's prefrontal
cortex, called the seat of attnetion, lit up in a brilliant vermillion, indicating an increase
in blood flow, or neural activity, due to the meditatior's state of deep contemplation.
However, the upper rear area of the brain, known as the orientation association
area, had gone dark, turning a deep shade of blue.  This is where we get our
ability to orient ourselves in space and time, which gives our bodies a sense of 
physical limits.  It is also where the brain "makes" our sense of an individual
"self" exisitng in - and apart from - the physical universe."
-   Louise Palmer, p. 32


"Professor Newberg believes that it is no coincidence that the same feelings associated
with mystical experience - transcendence, a feeling of union, ecstatic bliss - are also
associated with sex.  When Newberg and D'Aquili mapped the biology of mystical
experience, they found that the autonomic nervous system has a particular pattern of
arousal and quiescence.  This same pattern is found in sexual arousal and orgasm.
It is also activated by repetitive, rhythmic stimulation associated with trance-inducing 
chanting, dancing, meditation - and, of course, sex.  Newberg isn't saying sexual 
and spiritual experiences are the same thing, but rather that they depend on the 
same neural pathways."
-  Louise Palmer, p. 35

Both Tantric Yoga and Taoism include many esoteric and unusual sexual practices and 
rituals.  Sex and embracing sensuality, and their flip side, celibacy and asceticism, can 
both manipulate sexual-sensory inputs, challenge the body-mind, enable one to enter
trance states, and are two of the many pathways to freedom, insight, and samadhi. 

Many religous mystics, prophets, and adepts advocate reducing or eliminating many
sensual desires and sexual acts.  Christianity is well know for its negative views about
the evils of the flesh, its Puritan elements, and its antipathy for sexuality.  Apparently, its
founder and namesake, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, was a celibate.  Buddha was a 
celebate monk after his twenties.  Many, if not most, saints, swamis, enlightened 
masters, mystics, and religious priests, monks and nuns were celebitates.  Yoga advocates
a withdrawal (pratyahara) from the senses and sex as a surer pathway towards unification with
God in Self-Realization.  Turning the sex switch to off seems to work for most of 
those on the right hand path seeking after samadhi, union with the Divine, communion 
with God or the Goddess.

There are, however, some on the left hand path that have found joy, bliss, ecstasy, 
mystical rapture, Love, profound levels of consciousness, and spiritual transcendence 
by following the path of sensuality and sexuality towards the Ultimate Heart of Love,
to the Unmoved Mover, into the Tao, into the Creative Urges of the World=Being.  

Whether the sex switch is turned on or turned off makes no matter in the end -
the Goddess or God can be seen and heard in both Darkness and in Light.
Yin-Yang, Left-Right, pleasure-pain  ... the Cosmos still turns on the Still Point.

Because of language and thinking I come to know that I am and who I am, 
but because of love I am.



April 8, 2004, Thursday

There is an interesting section on "The Chinese and Waist Training" (p.33) found in:

Knocking at the Gate of Life and Other Healing Exercises from China.   Official Manual 
of the People's Republic of China.   Translated by Edward C. Chang.    Pennsylvania, 
Rodale Press, 1985. Index, 202 pages.  ISBN:  0878575820.   

    "Chinese exercises are guided by traditional Chinese medical theory.  According to the
Ching Lo theory, which deals with pathways of ch'i - energy - the exact center of the back
of the waist is the pathway of the Tu Mo, or Governor Vessel.  Tu Mo, which is related to
the kidneys, runs through the spine.  When Tu Mo is free from obstruction, shen ch'i,
kidney ch'i or energy, will be in abundant supply.
    In addition, the acupuncture point Shu Yu, Respectable Kidney, which is located at the
side of the waist, is also closely related to the condition of shen ch'i, kidney energy. Thus, 
exercising the waist area regularly will enable ch'i to circulate freely in the Tu Mo and will
also stimulate the Shen Yu point.  As a result, the kidneys will be full of energy.  Since the 
kidneys store ching - the fundamental substance - it follows that when the kidneys have and 
abundant supply of energy, then ching ch'i, the essential energy of life, will also be richly 
available.  And yuan ch'i, the primary vital energy, will be vigorous in the maintenance of 
health.  For this reason, the traditional Chinese fitness exercises pay special attention
to the training of the waist region."

 We should be smiling as

April 7, 2004, Wednesday

To fully experience the Five Animal Frolics we need to keep in mind the 
"Frolics" aspect of this movement art: being playful and exuberant, 
freeing up our time for fun, delighting in bodily movements, enjoying
games of imitation, taking pleasure in the moment, and delighting in 
the exercise of fantasy and imagination.  We should be smiling as
we enjoy our playful frolics.  We should strive to return to our youth,
and rekindle those memories of our joyful childhood games, innocence, 
freedom of fancies, and silliness.  We are never too old to embrace
that precious child within each of us.  

"Christopher Robin and I walked along
Under branches lit up by the moon
Posing our questions to Owl and Eeyore
As our days disappeared all too soon
But I've wandered much further today than I should
And I can't seem to find my way back to the Wood

So help me if you can
I've got to get back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one
You'd be surprised
There's so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh."
- Return to Pooh CornerWords and lyrics by Kenny Loggins, 1969, MCA Music

The most famous literary Bear is Winnie the Pooh.  Over 26 million English
language books by A. A. Milne about the Pooh Bear and his friends have been
sold since 1926, the books have been translated into scores of languages,
and Disney films has made him even more famous and a commodity. 
Benjamin Hoff has explored how Pooh Bear is a quintessential "Taoist" Bear.  

So ... it is just fine for you to Dance like a Bear, and become a Silly Bear for a awhile!!


April 6, 2004, Tuesday

Back to my full routine of walking, yoga, weightlifting, taijiquan, and meditation.  

Doing some research on the Great Bear folklore and iconography.  The Bear
is the one of the Five Animal Frolics.


Tammy  L. Gott, a psychology student at the University of Missouri at Rolla, is
writing a research paper on Taijiquan.  She asked me a number of questions,
and here are some of my responses:

What differentiates the Yang style of Tai Chi from others?

The basic principles for all styles of Taijiquan are quite similar.  They are grounded 
in Taoist-Buddhist practices and views, they adhere to concepts of a subtle-esoteric 
body (Indian Yoga, Tantra, Taoism), they have a grounding in martial arts techniques
and practices, they include the 13 Postures/Powers, they follow Taijiquan classic 
literature and poetry, they reflect the view that bodily practices and disciplines can 
lead to improvements in Qi, Yi, and Shen (Vital Energy, Mind, and Spirit), they 
exemplify relaxation (sung), and they favor slower and refined movements.

Yang style is part of the Yang Family traditions and lineage is important to Yang 
Masters.  Yang postures are higher, more open, wider, and gentle to perform.  
Sun style includes quicker steps, qigong moves, and tighter postures.  Chen style
includes some very explosive strikes and kicks, and some harder physical
training techniques.  Wu style includes very slow moves and tighter postures.

What is its place in modern day society?

Yang is the most popular around the world, and more books and videotapes are
available for Yang study than all the other forms combined.  The 24 Form, a Yang 
style, is taught in Chinese schools in physical education programs so it is well known.
The ease and openness of the Yang style has made it very popular with senior
citizens.  A number of Yang style teachers had very unique and powerful push hands 
skills for which they were famous.  A number of Yang style masters have written many 
books in English to reveal the inner nature of the Taijiquan art, but this is not
true for the other 4 styles.  

Many people are looking for new ways to exercise in their cross training programs.  
Taijiquan challenges them to move with grace and style, learn complex routines, and 
explore ideas from traditional Chinese medicine, philosophy, and religion.  It provides
them with some martial arts training without the intense exertion and injuries associated 
with hard style martial arts training.  Yang style offers both noncompetitive and competitive 
activities as one's tastes incline.  Along with walking, it provides people with a noncompetitive
way of reconnecting with nature outdoors.  It is an excellent lifetime exercise and meditation 
program.  In my opinion, it has a good chance of taking root in America in the centuries ahead.


If you want to tell me a couple of techniques or anything that I should point out 
about the art, please let me know.

Most of what I have to say about Taijiquan is found at my extensive website: Cloud Hands

The basic technique for solo practice for beginners is "Grasping the Sparrow's Tail."
It includes four of the 13 Essential Postures.  It teaches coordinating breathing with movement, 
centering on the tan tien (manipura chakra), turning the waist, and martial moves. 

Lastly, for new psychologists like yourself, Taijiquan is one of the many psycho-somatic 
movement arts that explore the interconnections between body postures and movement 
styles, breathing, concentration, awareness, emotions, and states of consciousness that 
might be characterized as meditative, mystical, and paranormal.  Like Yoga, it views the 
body as a laboratory for psycho-physical-consciousness explorations.

Best wishes,

Mike Garofalo

April 5, 2004, Monday

I believe the wound on my toe has healed, and I will resume Yoga and other more
vigorous activities.  Hopefully, my podiatrist, Dr. Swain, will agree with my opinion.
I spit open my big right toe, along a large callous edge, doing the Downward Dog 
posture 9 days ago.  It was a very deep and wide break in the flesh.  

I'm back walking and doing Taijiquan, Qigong, Walking and Meditation.  What a delight!!

Having some interesting visual-imagination phenomena appear when my eyes
are closed and I'm doing seated meditation.  Kind of like Rosarch ink blots appearing
and disappearing.  I can't really say any images are definable.   

" The more an individual advances his development the greater will be his ease of 
action, the ease synonymous with harmonious organization of the senses and the muscles.  
When activity is freed of tension and superfluous effort the resulting ease makes for 
greater sensitivity and better discrimination, which make for still greater ease in action.
He will now be able to identify unnecessary effort even in actions that formerly seemed
easy to him.  As this sensitivity in action is further refined, it continues to become 
increasingly delicate up to a certain level.  In order to pass this limit there must be
improved organization of the entire personality.  But at this stage further advance will no
longer be achieved slowly and gradually, but by a sudden step.  Ease of action is 
developed to the point where it becomes a new quality with new horizons."
-   Moshe Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement, p. 87.

Updated the webpage on relaxation.

A Gerber School Board Meeting tonight, the first of three this month, so I will miss
Lauren's Yoga class.  Spring break at work begins this week.  


April 4, 2004, Sunday

Worked on the Wu Ji Standing Meditation webpage.  

" The more an individual advances his development the greater will be his ease of 
action, the ease synonymous with harmonious organization of the senses and the muscles.  
When activity is freed of tension and superfluous effort the resulting ease makes for 
greater sensitivity and better discrimination, which make for still greater ease in action.
He will now be able to identify unnecessary effort even in actions that formerly seemed
easy to him.  As this sensitivity in action is further refined, it continues to become 
increasingly delicate up to a certain level.  In order to pass this limit there must be
improved organization of the entire personality.  But at this stage further advance will no
longer be achieved slowly and gradually, but by a sudden step.  Ease of action is 
developed to the point where it becomes a new quality with new horizons."
-   Moshe Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement, p. 87.

Did some practical experiments with transformation psycho-sexual games,  fantasy,
and hard standing.      



April 3, 2004, Saturday

"Taiji Quan movements evolved from this ancient lumbering gait of a bear, unfortunately due to the 
linguistic drift and misinterpretation, the Great Bear Polar Circle remains hidden for most practitioners. 
If one retraced to an older practice of the Five Animal frolics, one can still see the original lumbering 
Gait of a black bear frolic swaying side to side. If Taiji Quan did evolve from the Five animal frolics 
then the Taiji form must contain within its structure a Bear movement. It is my most sincere wish that 
you could discover it for yourself the Bear movement within the Taiji Form.

Such discovery re-connects me to the ancient Complete Reality Sect of Taoist Ritual and opens my 
eyes to the depth of Taiji practice. That the very functioning of the Taiji form is a Shamanistic journey 
of recreating the Heavenly drama of the Ursula Major constellation which contained the Big Dipper.

With the Great Bear Rite as part of my practice of Taiji movements, this transported my consciousness 
to a level that is universal. My body became part of the Cosmo. The movements took on a numinous quality. 
Sometime, when I practiced late at night I could almost hear the song of the stars. Suddenly, the meaning 
of Taiji—Supreme Ultimate revealed to me as the universal movements of unifying between human and 
the whole of the Universe. At that moment, my body became utterly transparent and different part of the 
body lights up.

From my own meager experience of the Grand Ultimate—Taiji, I entered the vast field of Taoist Alchemical 
cultivation. It is this transformation from the profane physical movements into the sacred Taoist rite that the 
power of the Great Bear Step becomes so necessary."
-   The Great Bear Star Steps, Sat Chuen Hon

Worked on my webpage about the Five Animal Frolics.

I did quite a bit of reading and research about the Great Bear, Grandfather Bear, Great Healing
Bear of the American Indian traditions.  

Five students in the Saturday Taijiquan class.  



April 2, 2004, Friday

"There is a central idea. Merely practicing is not understanding. Seek to understand 
the human ability. Study diligently for deep ideas. The result after a long time is that 
one is able to know."  - Sun Lu Tang (1861-1932)

"Seek truth in meditation, not in moldy books.  Look in the sky to find the moon,
not in the pond."  -  Persian proverb

"He only is wise who devotes himself to realizing, not reading only, the ancient
revelations.  Solve all your problems through meditation.  Exchange unprofitable
religious speculations for actual God-contact."
-  Paramhansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi, p. 315.  

I still find that reading and studying the "moldy books" is very important to my
mental and spiritual practices.  I seldom "believe" in what I read without testing
it against my personal experience, reason, facts, social relationships, and 
communal wisdom.  I don't worship any "revealed" book.  "The Book" for me
does not yet exist.  

I see reading as the chance to sit with and listen to the great thinkers, sages,
saints, and wise persons both past and present.   



April 1, 2004, Thursday

Enjoyed a day off from my management job.  I walked, did Taijiquan, weightlifting, and Yoga.
My foot fells fine, although I did Yoga in my sport shoes and avoided stressful foot positions
like Downward Dog.  

I purchase a new library card at California State University at Chico.  Browsing the University
Library and checking out books is always a delightful experience.  Reading is an essential
part of my Sadhana.  Not reading, for me, is like skipping meals.  


"In meditation, effort must be applied in a direction opposite to what we are used to.
Our "effort" must be to relax ever more deeply.  We must ultimately release the tension
from both our muscles and our thoughts.  When we relax so deeply that we are able to 
internalize the energy of the senses, the mind becomes focused and a tremendous flow 
of energy is awakened.  ...  Meditation is a continuous process, and can be said to have
three stages: relaxation, interiorization, and expansion."
-  John Novak, Lessons in Meditation, p. 14



Today I began the daily reading and study of the following four books.
I am trying to understand and put into practice the principles in these books,
and master their content in preparation for upcoming examinations for 
certification and initiation.  

ACE Personal Trainer Manual.  The Ultimate Resource for Fitness Professionals.
By the American Council on Exercise.  3rd Edition.  Edited by Cedric X. Bryant 
and Daniel J. Green.  San Diego, California, American Council on Exercise, 1996, 
2003.  Index, 589 pages.  ISBN: 1890720143. 

Ananda Course in Self-Realization, Part I: Lessons in Meditation.  By John Novak.  
Based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda and his direct disciple, 
Swami Kriyananda.  Nevada City, California, Ananda Church of Self-Realization, 
1997.  Spiral bound handbook.  104 pages.  MGC.  This course also includes 
2 audio CDs or audiotapes with Lessons in Meditation by John Novak, 2002.  

The Art and Science of Raja Yoga.  By Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters).  Includes 
information on philosophy, meditation, postures, diet, breathing, routines, and health.  Nevada
City, CA, Crystal Clarity Publishers, c 2002.  Includes audio CD disk.   Index, glossary,
471 pages.  This book is in a spiral binding so it can be used as a workbook/textbook.  
ISBN: 156589166X.  

Autobiography of a Yogi.   By Paramhansa Yogananda.  Reprint of the Philosophical Library
1946 First Edition.   The Original Unaltered Edition.  New York, Philosophical Library, 
1946.  Reprinted by Crystal Clarity Publishers, Nevada City, CA, 1995.  Index, 481 pages.














Cloud Hands - Yun Shou

Cloud Hands Homepage



Michael P. Garofalo's E-Mail


Valley Spirit Tai Chi Chuan Club


Red Bluff, Tehama County, North Sacramento Valley, Northern California, U.S.A.
Cities in the area: Oroville, Paradise, Durham, Chico, Hamilton City, Orland, Corning,
Rancho Tehama, Los Molinos, Tehama, Gerber, Manton, Cottonwood, 
Anderson, Shasta Lake, Palo Cedro, and Redding, CA



© Michael P. Garofalo, 2004, All Rights Reserved






Zen Poetry

Cuttings: Haiku and Short Poems

Cold Mountain Sages

The Spirit of Gardening

Subject Index to Taijiquan and Qigong


Cloud Hands: Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung Website







Tai Chi Chuan, Taijiquan, T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Tai Chi, Tai Ji Quan, Taiji, Tai Ji Chuan, Tie Jee Chewan

Chi Kung, Qi Gong, Qigong, Chee Gung, Qi, Chi, Tu Na, Dao Yin, Yi, Neigong, Gung Fu

Valley Spirit Blog, Gu Shen Blog, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Journal, Tai Chi Diary





























































Alphabetical Subject Index


Cloud Hands Website
Taijiquan, Qigong, Taoism, Classics, Weapons: Sword and Staff

Fitness and Well Being Website

      Gardening, Meditation, Walking, Yoga, Strength Training,
      Fitness for Older Persons, Aerobics, Relaxation  

The Spirit of Gardening

2,700 Quotes Arranged by 130 Topics, History, Guides,
     Psycho-Spiritual Aspects of Gardening 

Web Guides, Bibliographies, Links, Directories, Quotes, Notes


Alphabetical Subject Index


Aging Well   

Alphabetical Subject Index to the Cloud Hands Website   

Ancient Goddesses - Quotations, Poems, Sayings, Prayers, Songs

Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi): Tiger, Bear, Crane, Deer, and Monkey

Arthritis Therapy - Exercise: T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Chi Kung      

Bear, Standing Bear, Level 1 Ranking, Valley Spirit Taijiquan

The Bear: The Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)    

Bibliography - Ch'i Kung

Bibliography - Taijiquan     

Bird - Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)

Breathing and Taijiquan     

Breathing and Yoga    


Buddhism and Martial Arts    

Buddhist Ethics

California (Northern) T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools, Information

Charkas (Energy Centers of the Subtle Body)

Chan Ssu Chin - Silk Reeling    

Cheng Man-Ch'ing  (1901-1975)    

Chen Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan     

Ch'i - Breathwork

Ch'i or Qi

Ch'i Kung: Bibliography and Links    

Ch'i Kung Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo in Red Bluff, California   

Chinese Massage

Ch'i or Qi and Taijiquan     

Classes, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Instructional Program

Classics of T'ai Chi Ch'uan     

Cloud Hands: T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Ch'i Kung     

Cloud Hands T'ai Chi Ch'uan Journal     

Cold Mountain Poets: Wanderers, Mystics, and Sages     

Confucius (K'ung Fu-tzu)  (551 - 479 BCE)   

Crane - Bird - Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)

Crane, Soaring Crane, Intermediate Program, Level 3, Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan   

Cuttings: Short Poems by Michael P. Garofalo  

Cuttings: Above the Fog  

Dance and Taijiquan       

Dayan - Wild Goose Qigong

The Deer: The Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)    

Diabetes Therapy - Exercise: Taijiquan and Qigong   

Disclaimer of the Cloud Hands Website  

Eight Section Brocade Ch'i Kung       

Eight Silken Treasures Qigong    

Eight Trigrams and Taijiquan          

Embrace the One - Zhan Zhuang - Standing Like A Tree

Emptiness in Full Bloom    

Entering Tranquility (Ru Jing) Meditation      

Exercise - Diabetes Therapy - Taijiquan and Qigong   

Feedback, Kudos and Reviews for the Cloud Hand's Website     

Fitness and Well Being    

Fitness for Older Persons     

Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi): Tiger, Bear, Crane, Deer, and Monkey

Five Precepts of Buddhism     

Five Elements (Wu-Xing) and Taijiquan   

Five Stepping Movements of Taijiquan    

Flexibility and Stretching


Flowers in the Sky     

Gardening: Quotes, Poems, History, Sayings

The Four Gates: Grasping the Sparrow's Tail    

Michael P. Garofalo's Biography

Michael P. Garofalo's T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Practice    

The Goddess - Quotations, Poems, Sayings, Prayers, Songs    

Goose - Bird - Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)  

Goose - Wild Goose Qigong             

Grasping the Sparrow's Tail          

Green Way Research        

Green Way Research - Taijiquan and Qigong        

Gu Shen Taijiquan Journal     

Gu Shen (Valley Spirit) Taijiquan Instructional Program

Haiku and Short Poems     

Hatha Yoga

Health and Fitness - T'ai Chi Ch'uan    

Hidden Tiger, Beginning Program, Level 2, Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan   

Index to the Cloud Hands Website

Instructional Program, Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan    

Kriya Yoga    

Kundalini (Coiled Serpent) Energy

Kwang Ping Taijiquan of Kuo Lien Ying     

Links and Bibliography: Qigong    

Links and Bibliography: Taijiquan       

Long Form 108 Yang Style Taijiquan     


Master Chang San-Feng  (circa 1350)       

Master Cheng Man-Ch'ing  (1901 - 1975)    

Master Han Shan  (circa 750)    

Master Kuo Lien Ying     

Master Sun Lu-Tang   

Mastery, Self Control, Self Mastery, Choices, Will Power, Strength of Character

Meditation - General

Meditation and Breathing

Meditation and Walking    

Meditation Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo in Red Bluff, California        

Meditation Methods and Techniques  

Meditation Quotations    

Meditation - Standing Like A Tree  

Meditation - Wu Ji - The Edge of Emptiness  

Michael P. Garofalo's T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Practice    

Minding the Breath

Months of the Year: Quotes, Poems, Links     

Moving Hands Like Clouds:  T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong    

Northern California T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools, Information

Nature Mysticism   

Nine Movement Temple Ch'i Kung Exercise Set

Oak Tree in the Courtyard    

Older Persons Exercise and Well Being Programs   

Oregon T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools, Information   

Original Cloud Hands URL    

Original Waving Hands Like Clouds URL

Pranayama: Breathing Techniques from Yoga     

Private Instruction by Michael P. Garofalo, Instructional Programs

Push Hands - T'ui Shou   

Qigong: Bibliography and Links    

Qigong - Breathwork

Qigong Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo in Red Bluff, California        

Qigong Walking      

Qi or Ch'i and Taijiquan     

Raja Yoga

Red Bluff, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Instructional Program

Relaxation and Taijiquan     

Reviews of the Cloud Hand's Website     

Self Control, Self Mastery, Choices, Will Power    


Senior Citizens Fitness Programs  

Sensing Hands: Push Hands - T'ui Shou   

Shoong, Sung, Song  - Loose, Relaxed, Open, Yielding, Responsive     

Short Form, Yang Style, Beijing Simplified 24

Silk Reeling    

Simplified 24 From, Yang Style       

Soaring Crane, Intermediate Program, Level 3, Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Soulful Gardening

Speaking to the Spirit Meditation

The Spirit of Gardening    

Staff Weapons: Jo, Bo, Can, Staff, Spear    

Standing Bear, Level 1 Ranking, Valley Spirit Taijiquan

Standing Like A Tree - Zhan Zhuang

Standing Meditation (Wu Ji)

Sticking Hands - T'ui Shou   

Stork - Bird - Five Animal Frolics

Strength Training    

Stretching and Flexibility

Subject Index to the Cloud Hands Website

Sun Lu-Tang   

Sun Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan     

Swordsmanship and T'ai Chi Ch'uan     

T'ai Ch'i Classics      

Tai Chi for Arthritis

Tai Chi for Diabetes

T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Bibliography and Links     

T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools, Information, Workshops      
Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo in Red Bluff, California        

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Short Form, Beijing Simplified 24, Yang Style     

T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Links and Bibliography      

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Staff     

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Sword (Jian)     

Taijiquan: Bibliography and Links      

Taijiquan - Breathwork

Taijiquan Classics      

Taijiquan For Good Health, Fitness and Vitality         

Taijiquan Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo in Red Bluff, California        

Taijiquan Jian (Sword)     

Tantric Yoga

Taoism, Nature Mysticism, Alchemy      

Temple Qigong - A Nine Movement Exercise Set     

Thirteen Postures: 8 Gates and 5 Steps                  

Thirteen Treasures Walking Qigong       

The 300 Missing Poems of Han Shan      

The Tiger: The Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)    

Tiger, Hidden Tiger, Beginning Program, Level 2, Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Tree Qigong - Zhan Zhuang - Standing Like A Tree   

Trees - Quotations, Poems, Lore, Wisdom  

24 From, Yang Style, Standard       

Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan Club        

Valley Spirit Taijiquan Journal     

Valley Spirit Taijiquan Instructional Program

Vancouver, B.C., T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools

Vitality, Health and Qigong   

Walking - General Fitness Exercise

Walking and Taijiquan     

Walking - Quotations     

Washington T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools, Information 

Waving Hands Like Clouds:  T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong    

Wild Goose Qigong

Will Power, Self Control, Self Mastery, Choices, Strength of Character

Wu Ji - Standing Meditation

Yang Style Taijiquan Long Form 108 Movements     

Yang Style Taijiquan Short Form 24 Movements       

Yin-Yang Sensitivity Training: Sticking Hands - T'ui Shou   


Yoga - Breathwork

Yoga - Hatha   

Yoga - Kriya

Yoga -Tantric

Yoga-Taiji Index

Zhan Zhuang - Standing Like A Tree

Zen Poetry       

Zen Buddhist Quotations   



Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan Club

Red Bluff, Tehama County, North Sacramento Valley, Northern California, U.S.A.
Cities in the area: Oroville, Paradise, Durham, Chico, Hamilton City, Orland, Willows, 
Corning, Rancho Tehama, Los Molinos, Tehama, Proberta, Gerber, Manton, Cottonwood,
Anderson, Shasta Lake, Palo Cedro, Igo, Ono, Redding, Shasta, Dunsmuir,
Shingletown, Burney, Mt. Shasta City, Weaverville, Yreka, Williams, Colusa,
Chester, Susanville, Weed, Gridley, Marysville, Yuba City, CA, California.


June 13, 2004


Green Way Research   

Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Cloud Hands: T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Ch'i Kung     











Tai Chi Chuan, Taijiquan, T'ai Ch'i Ch'uan, Tai Chi, Tai Ji Quan, Taiji, Tai Ji Chuan, Tie Jee Chewan
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