Monthly Archives: February 2014

From the Journal of Shifu Rinaldini: 1/19, 5:41pm

Wow, I just read a prediction of the coming Year of the Yang Wood
Horse. Hold your horse by its mane as it is going to be a wild of a
ride. Yes, I said that correctly, it is going to be a wild year and
those who do the best will be the dreamers, the visionaries, the
mystics, the artists, those who have ambitions to burst out of their
comfortable bubbles, and seek the new in adventure, business, personal
goals and so on. This is the year to follow your intuition like no
other. This is my interpretation of what I just read, let’s see how
this all plays out in the coming year. Yeeehaaw!

From the Journal of Shifu Rinaldini: 1/19, 1:17pm

Okay, back to the article on harmonizing with the winter. And that is
what it is all about in a nutshell. In fact, the ideal is to harmonize
with all of the seasons as each season has a distinctive flavor about
them and being nature ourselves we want to be in sync with nature.
This wisdom was written about a long time ago in ancient China and one
of the pivotal works about the seasons and human harmony is the Huang
Di Nei Jing, called Nei Jing for short. The Nei Jing describes the
winter season as the time for “closing and storage.” This is all part
of the Yin and Yang and Five Element or Five Phase Theories of
Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to these theories, the summer
and warm times of the year are the Yang phases of the year, and cooler
and cold times of the year are the Yin phases of the year. This past
Winter Solstice was on December 22, 2013 which marks the peak day of
the Yin phase, known as the Greater Yin.

So what are some of the key things that we should be aware of in order
to stay in harmony with the winter phase? To begin, the Nei Jing
recommends very strongly that we “go to bed early and rise late. You
must wait for the rising of the sun.” P.17 (editing note underline
wait) This is to harmonize with the Yin and support the Yang which is
in decline in the winter. In other words, we must as the Nei Jing says
nurture our Yin energy by slowing down, getting extra sleep, and
turning our attentions to quiet contemplations and activities. Or, as
I would say, spend some time in silence and solitude during the
winter. Here is a long quote from the Nei Jing on the core principles
of the winter phase:

The three months of winter denote closing and storage. Water freezes
and the earth breaks open. Do not disturb the yang-go to bed early and
rising late. You must wait for the shining of the sun. Allow the
mind-will to enter into a hidden state as if shut in-not unlike
someone with secret intentions, not unlike having already made secret
gains. Avoid the cold and seek warmth. Refrain from sweating as it
causes the Qi to be carried away quickly. This is in resonance with
the Qi of winter and the Way to nourish storage. P 18

There is so much more in McCann’s article, I recommend getting back
issues of the Qi Journal to read it and his other articles on the
seasons. However, I don’t want to leave his article until I discuss
his recommendations for eating and drinking during the winter phase.
As you will guess by now, the key practice is to stay warm during the
height of the Yin phase. Staying warm during the winter is essential
for Kidney energy and thus what we eat and drink become vitally
important to our health and strength. So we need to eat warming foods.
These are foods that are energetically warm, not simply warm because
they were heated. Here are a few guidelines for winter warming foods:
most animal meats are warming, vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes,
garlic, ginger, squashes and root vegetables. Spices like pepper,
nutmeg, cumin, and fennel seeds are warming and great for digestion
during the winter. But wait, I really like what McCann recommends for
drinking. He advises to avoid the cooling Chinese teas like Green tea,
and suggests the warming dark processed teas, like the oblongs, black
teas, and puerh teas? And here is something that I really like to
hear, “Pu Erh is perhaps the best of these”:

This wonderful tea from Yunnan Province is traditionally made from the
leaves of wild deep- mountain tea trees. The leaves are harvested and
then put through a process of fermentation and aging, and some high
quality Pu Erh teas can be aged for 15 to 20 years or more. Not only
is this tea warming but it also encourages the inward movement and
storage of Qi that is desirable in winter. P19

As I read this article and write these entries, I have been enjoying
my High grade Tibetan Puerh tea.

From the Journal of Shifu Rinaldini: 1/19, 12 Noon

I took a break from writing and practiced some standing meditation or
what is called Zhan Zhuang, standing like a tree or the many other
variation of names. Years ago I practiced standing meditation much
more than I do now, and I even was inspired to create my own variation
of stationary standing that I call Compassionate Buddha Qigong. It is
a slow moving version of standing still with the arms very slowing
moving with intervals of holding the arms motionless in the various
positions while the mind is fully absorbed in a process of letting go
and expanding out to the cosmos until the practitioner feels their
unity with the universe, to the point of becoming the universe and
from that perspective to then act as the Buddha, but I also say the
Christ, and send out radiant healing energy to all beings, including
the planet earth. I still practice and teach this form, but I am
beginning to go back and practice some of the traditional standing
forms with variations of my own.

For instance, I just stood on the porch, starting in the basic wuji
stance, arms relaxed down at the sides, standing straight. I turn my
left foot out 45 degrees, and step forward with my right foot. The
weight is nearly even on both feet, slightly more to the rear leg, and
my legs are slightly bent. I raise my arms up in front of me as if
reaching forward, palms down, and my hands in the same open posture as
when circle walking. My arms are almost fully extended, but not. I
sink into the ground and lift to the sky; I tuck in the tailbone, and
breathe into the Lower Dantian, and eventually the whole body
breathing. After a few minutes I pull back on my arms and they lower
in front of my chest as if they are going to push something forward, I
sink down more, relaxing, breathing. In my practice I switched to the
other side and also practiced some standing on one foot. When I was
done I sat on a chair and was just present to the surrounding hills,
hawks flying overhead, and warmth of the gentle breeze.

From the Journal of Shifu Rinaldini: 1/19, 11:12am

Sky Farm Hermitage Retreat

I am sitting outside on the porch of my hermitage and you can’t
believe how warm it is already. This is January, I mean. The governor
of California declared a state emergency for our water problem the
other day due to the severe lack of rain in 2013 and 2014 is already
starting with no forecasts of rain in sight, and this is the
traditional rainy season. All of this seems so surreal since other
parts of the country are experiencing severe cold temperatures from
arctic cold air masses with snowstorms across the East coast and
elsewhere. This is our future happening now and the Global Warming
effect is most likely the cause.

In the recent issue of Qi Journal, Winter 2013-2014 is another
powerful article by Dr. Henry McCann. (Editor note, add a few words on
his bio) His article is titled The Dao of Longevity: Winter Seasonal
Harmonization. His articles in this same journal on the other seasons
are equally powerful and I will report on them during their relevant
season. For me, the winter season is always the most important for a
variety of reasons, one of which is that the winter is the time to
focus on the Kidney energy system, and as a qigong and Daoist
practitioner the Kidney energy system is perhaps the energy system
most related to qi cultivation and longevity.