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Jing-An The Asian Wellness Experience
 

Asian Philosophy and Culture

Asian Philosophy and Culture

Longevity is a common aspiration of all mankind. The pursuit of long life requires the health of body and mind. If we desire health, in addition to nutrition, medicine, hygiene, and exercise, we must emphasize peace of mind. In this complex society, we constantly experience confusion and tension, with no means to relax. Beset by worries, tension, restrictions and demands on all sides, the cerebrum is forced to work the entire day. Even in sleep we dream, so there is never a moment’s rest. If we can temporarily forget our worries and tensions, thus enabling the body and mind to enjoy relaxation and happiness for a period and allowing the nerves an opportunity for true rest, this not only improves the health of body and mind, but can contribute to longevity and reverse the aging process. What we mean by temporarily forgetting all cares and tensions is simply seizing a few moments of peace in the midst of this confused and stressful environment. The method for seizing these few moments of peace is meditation in movement like Tai Chi. Tai Chi is mental concentration. Everything is put aside in order to maintain the peace and tranquility of the mind and to strengthen the control function of the central nervous system. Moreover, deep breathing during the practice of tai chi improves blood circulation, increase the absorption of nutrients, and the promotes all metabolic processes. According to biological research, within the human body, nutrients carried by the blood stream must be combined with oxygen provided by breathing in order for oxidation to occur. The carbon dioxide produced by oxidation must then be eliminated by the body in order to maintain the proper metabolic balance. Thus breath is even more important to us than food. When air enters the alveoli in the lungs, because the concentration of oxygen is higher in the air than in the air sacs and accord with law of osmosis, it penetrates the walls of the air sacs and enters the blood. Once in the blood stream, it is taken up by the hemoglobin in the red blood cells which then becomes oxygenated hemoglobin. These oxygen carrying red blood cells pass through the capillaries of the lungs and are distributed to every part of the body where they produce heat and energy. From this we can understand the great importance of breath to human health. The average person takes approximately one very shallow breath every four or five seconds. The fresh air that is inhaled does not really deeply penetrate the air sacs, nor is the stale air fully expelled. Therefore, the process of making oxygen available and of eliminating carbon dioxide from the veins is never fully optimized. This has a great influence on the health of body and mind. The method of breathing used during tai chi is abdominal breathing. As we inhale the air, the lungs expand and fill to capacity, allowing it to deeply penetrate the air sacs and to maximize its distribution. At this moment the diaphragm is pushed downward, causing the belly to protrude. When we exhale, the belly contracts pushing upward, and completely expelling the stale air in the lungs. In this way, the exchange of gases in the lungs realizes its greatest efficiency. At the same time constitutes a kind of exercise for the internal organs. Although deep breathing during exercise also enhances the exchange of gases, it is seldom longer than ten minutes, while the student may often spend ten minutes, half an hour, or even several hours at practicing tai chi. Also, with experience, one not only uses deep breathing during the practice of tai chi, but at ordinary times one’s breathing becomes deeper, longer, finer, and more even. Most people are aware that exercise promotes blood circulation, improves the absorption of nutrients, and aids the process of metabolism. However, following exercise most people feel tired. Many people are not fond of exercise. Also many people, because of circumstances in their life of work, do not have time or a suitable place for exercise. This is especially true for middle aged city dwellers over forty who, because of official responsibilities or business concerns, spend every day writing at their desks with no opportunity during the entire year to exercise. If they would practice tai chi every day once or twice at a suitable time, it would be greatly beneficial to their mental and physical health.

 

DETAILED EXPLANATION OF METHODS AND POSTURES FOR MEDITATION:

1. Chair sitting. The body should be erect with face forward. The nose and navel and the ears and shoulders should be in alignment. The chin is slightly drawn in and the shoulders level. The waist should be straight and the seat stable. The spine should not be stretched too straight, but neither should it be bent. Relax all the muscles of the body without using any strength and be relaxed and natural.

2. Cross-legged sitting. Both legs are bent and the right foot is placed underneath the left thigh. The left foot is placed on the right thigh. This is the half-lotus posture. The full-lotus used by monks is even better . Another posture is the simple-seat, with legs crossed and feet under knees. In general, choose the most comfortable.


3. Hand position. The two hands hanging naturally, are placed with the palms up on top of the legs. The palms are placed on top of each other with the tips of the thumbs touching and the “tiger’s mouth” facing forward as if holding an object. The hands rest lightly in front of the stomach on top of the calves without pressure and naturally relaxed.

4. Lightly close the mouth.  The upper and lower lips and teeth slightly touch. The tongue sticks to the hard upper palate.


5. The eyelids should hang like curtains. The vision extends from the bridge of the nose to the abdomen, but it is not necessary to concentrate. Our attitude should be one of gazing bit not gazing, relaxed and natural. The eyes must not be completely shut in order to prevent from falling asleep, and the light should not be too bright.

6. Abdominal breathing. Use deep breathing to allow air to completely fill the lungs, but do not expand the chest. The lung cavity expands downward from the pressure of the diaphragm. The downward movement of the diaphgram causes the abdomen to protrude slightly. When one exhales, the abdomen withdraws as the diaphgram is pressed upwards,forcing the stale air in the lungs to be completely expelled. The breathing should be DEEP,LONG,FINE,EVEN,LIGHT and SLOW. There should be no sound.

7. Eliminate random thoughts. All random thoughts must be completely banished. Simply suspend cogitation and sink the mind to the abdomen.  And achieve stillness

 

 

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