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About qirin

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  1. Muscle work

    I suggest taking anything you read on dragon door with a grain of salt. I am biased against them, because I feel like I wasted the first year or so of my training taking pavel's advice as gospel. there's a reason why the things he says are controversial -- some of them are deeply rooted in his own prejudices, and some of them are simply not true. the frequent training thing is an example. pavel hates bodybuilders. he thinks having big muscles is unhealthy. he thinks being able to lift a big weight a couple of times is more manly than being able to lift a medium weight for hours on end. stick him in a gulag breaking rocks apart and see how he feels about it. and pavel looks a lot like arthur saxon. neither guy is that big. well, you say, I'd be happy looking like pavel. that's fine, and once you look like pavel or arthur saxon, maybe you should start training like them. but the methods pavel promotes do not generally produce muscle development. it's true that building muscle is unnecessary if you already have a good supply, but if you are an unmuscular guy, you need to do the following, in this order: 1) condition your joints to bearing a load 2) build muscular endurance so your muscles can handle doing a lot of lifting 3) increase mass so you have more muscle to work with 4) increase muscle fiber recruitment (aka strength) pavel/dragondoor's techniques cover 1 and 4, but not 2 or 3. and the truth is, for most people endurance is a more valuable attribute than strength anyway. building muscle mass is a slow, painful process. in order to bear enough load on your arms to build muscle there, you will have to build muscle in your back and shoulders first. muscle growth is metabolically very costly, and your body will not do it unless you push hard. muscle development is also very genetically determined. some people benefit from frequent training, and some people benefit from hard, infrequent training. some people grow fast and some people grow slow. if you were the kind of person who grows fast, you would probably be buff already, so be prepared for a long haul.
  2. Should Li Jiong be banned from Tao Bums

    if Li Jiong has the right to be a twit, don't we have the right to talk about banning him? we can't actuallly do it, but we have the right to TALK about it...
  3. pah! that's funny. every country collapses, the question is just when. mind you, I don't believe now is the time, but the whole world economy was formerly based on the idea that for any reasonable length of time it could be assumed that the US government would remain solvent. that is no longer the case, and the economy is restructuring itself.
  4. Chineese herbs for anxiety

    that formula is called Long Mu Shao Yao Ning Xin Tang. I don't think it's right for you. it is for yin vacuity, so unless your friend has that I wouldn't take it. people with yin vacuity are thin and have dark circles under their eyes, dry skin and mouth. their skin often looks wrinkly and taught. they can't sleep but are tired all the time. exercise makes them feel worse. it co-occurs with western conditions like hepatitis and fibromylagia. it's not unheard of, but it's not that common in western society. you are probably better off having your friend try a more all-purpose formula. xiao yao san is safe for pretty much anyone anyone to take. it specifically targets qi stagnation by mobilizing the qi of the liver. it's safe to take with anti-depressants, and a chinese study came out a few years ago that showed people taking zoloft did better when they supplemented it with xiao yao san. if your friend has symptoms of heat (excessive sweating, restlessness, red pallor to face, irritability, feelings of being hot or occasional fevers, occasional diarrhea or profuse urination), then you could have him/her try gui pi wan. I suffer from anxiety, depression and insomnia (blood and qi stagnation leading to heat from yang excess) and have gotten really good results from both those formulas.
  5. Vitamin supplements

    you should always take vitamins and other supplements with food. imho you shouldn't take synthetic supplements. if you buy pill type supplements, look on the label. it should say 'from vegetable sources.' if it doesn't, it's probably synthetic. the best omega 3 supplements are cod liver oil and flax oil. besides omega 3s, I personally have gotten good results from taking magnesium, B vitamins and spirulina. I have taken a lot of other stuff, and aside from chinese herbs I have found most of them to be worthless. taking vitamin C pills has been linked to cancer. in general, it is best to get vitamins and minerals from food. if you eat leafy greens, shiitake mushrooms and some sea weed, you have most of the bases covered.
  6. Working out and Qi

    eh, I am not so sure about that one. granted, many athletes succumb to various kinds of injuries over the years, primarily connective tissue injuries. these probably could have been avoided by doing taiji or meditating or just generally being more mindful of your body. but there are lots of researchers in the US who study aging, and my understanding is that the number one most important predictor of longevity and health is regular, vigorous exercise. exercise stimulates and strengthens your bones, connective tissue and muscles. it increases your lung capacity. it strengthens your heart. it circulates blood, lymph and water through your system. it supplies oxygen to your brain. it increases production of neurotransmitters that combat depression, anxiety and other psychological issues. I am no expert on qi or TCM or daoist cultivation so I can't comment on what kinds of effects various forms of exercise have on the subtle body, but I don't think standing still for three hours has the same benefits as jogging, swimming or lifting weights. all are good, but they are different. I think a bias against physical exercise is a hold-over from a feudal society that saw hard work as lower-class. your body was built for work. regularly pushing yourself to your limits will make you thrive. if our definition of qi doesn't include this kind of health, it needs to be revised.
  7. Post your favorite meditation etc.

    sometimes when I am practicing reiki meditation, I spontaneously get this image of myself as avalokitesvara. as if by channeling reiki I become the embodiment of the buddha of compassion. then I just rest in that.
  8. Physical condition

    two things, both directed at the OP (even tho he doesn't seem to be responding ) -- first, kettlebells use your body in a way that's very different from most other things; if you go this route ease into it. start with sets of ten. if you bring your kettlebell home crank out 3x50 swings, you will be so saddle sore you won't be able to walk for a week. second, you don't need a kettlebell to do kettlebell drills. if you have a 30-40 pound dumbell you can do swings or snatches. look on youtube (kettlebell swing or kettlebell snatch) to see how to do them. with a kb, a snatch is considered an advanced exercise, but the dumbbell eliminates the factors that lead to that. there are advantages to having a genuine kb, but a dumbbell is actually safer.
  9. Physical condition

    gotta disagree with mjjbecker et al. here. my opinion is that people tend to be overcautious about these kinds of things. your body is very resilient and can withstand large amounts of stress for short periods of time. one of my problems with qigong and TCM, at least as I have been exposed to it, is an infatuation with doing things the "right" way, which parallels similar trends in Japanese and American culture. feldenkrais, conversely, taught that there's not right and wrong ways to do things, just different ways that have different consequences. if you are healthy and balanced, doing something "the wrong way" for a short period of time doesn't matter. it's only when you do things habitually that are detrimental that you will have problems. human beings evolved during a period when scarcity was common, and scarcity would most often be accompanied by hard work. when the snows came, you had to march, you had to hunt for food, etc. people often talk about having "the right diet," and talk in terms of what you should eat each day, but I think that's misguided. our bodies don't need to be fed like babies. we don't need to eat every three hours. we don't need meat and bread every day. it's okay to go several days without eating. the point is to maintain balance over time. you might be interested in ori hofmekler's warrior diet, which involves alternating periods of controlled undereating (and exercising during those periods) with periods of controlled overeating. he even gets into, a little, the idea of having lighter and heavier days. as you can see, I am a firm believer in cycling, both for intellectual reasons and because that's what my body seems to prefer. I encourage you, too, to make your cycles coincide with changes in the world. eat less during the week and more on weekends. when you get a new job, eat less for a few days. after a big workout, celebrate with a healthy lunch. fast on the equinoxes and solstices. during the summer, eat smaller meals and more leafy vegetables. during the winter, eat less often but more at a time. that's assuming you live somewhere that has a winter; I live in southern california where it's June all year long the bottom line for losing weight: eat less, move more. just staying on your feet all day can burn some calories.
  10. I meant that you should compare the three students talking to sonnon talking, not to retuinskih and the spetsnaz guy. I think that sonnon's students over time come to imitate some of his posture and mannerisms. I agree 100% yeah just yesterday I discovered ginastica natural, which is a system of yoga developed by some brazilian jiu-jitsu people, which bears striking resemblance to some of the systema techniques and to sonnon's work. so this stuff is everywhere in little pieces, sonnon just seems to have tied together some of the most important threads. sure, definitely. right now for me it's just a question of who and where, not if. for the time being I might just study jiu-jitsu and taiji independently, and maybe one day study systema. I could work the CST system, but with sonnon's increasing push towards macdonaldization, I think the price tag will be moving out of my range.
  11. Physical condition

    what kind of exercise do you do now? breaking a sweat is usually a good indication that you are burning calories, so if what you are doing makes you sweat, you could just try doing more. I lost a lot of weight a few years back by bike riding. another way to burn a lot of calories is hiking up hills, but your sciatica might get in the way of either of those. you could try swimming, bodyweight exercises (a.k.a. calisthenics) or circuit/ballistic weight training. also playing sports and plyometrics, but those are probably out. there's also dancing, but it doesn't burn a lot of calories unless you do it very vigorously. for info about calisthenics, try http://www.combatfitness.co.uk or http://bodyweightculture.com. things like burpees, mountain climbers, and push-ups. a "circuit" is when you cycle from exercise to exercise, each using a different muscle group. an example using bodyweight exercises would be: burpees - sit-ups - squats - windmill - push-ups - mountain climber you do each exercise for like ten repetitions and then rest for a minute and then start again at the beginning. if you have weights, you can do a cycle like shoulder press - squat - curl - weighted crunch - bent-over row - lunge - side bend do the reps quickly and use a weight light enough that you can keep it up for some time. the general recommendation is 50% of the heaviest weight you could use for that exercise. ballistic weightlifting, which can be done with regular weights or kettlebells, means hoisting weights using your whole body. if you're interested in that, google crossfit or olympic weightlifting. the key to burning calories is pacing yourself so you keep your heart rate up. keep sweating, and put in a good thirty or forty minutes with your heart rate at at least 130 bpm. if you know how, you can also do yoga sun salutations at a good clip. however diet is key. when I lost weight from cycling, I was really watching my diet. mroe recently I have been getting a lot more exercise but haven't lost weight at all because I just eat as much as I am hungry for. if you burn a lot of calories, your body is going to want you to replace them, so you really need to make sure you dont overeat and end up shooting yourself in the foot.
  12. Chris Kilham

    since no one has said anything, I will share what little I have to say on the subject. I used to have his "five tibetans" book. from that book and from his website, I get the impression that he's a good-spirited guy who is out to make a buck. the practice on the recording is probably just a standard chakra dhyan, visualizing the centers with color and then chanting their bija syllable. its a solid practice that gives results, and I dont think it matters much whose voice is on the tape. *shrug*
  13. enlightened relationships

    a much more eloquent statement of what I was after, grounded in the depths of personal experience. I feel happy for you and hope to one day see things so clearly.
  14. I've been struck by this a number of times, that zen is basically a japanese version of indian raja yoga. I am not sure that I agree with the use of the word "lull," though, as both zen and raja yoga involve pretty intense concentration.
  15. enlightened relationships

    an old girlfriend of mine got really upset once when I told her that I could "see beauty in everything" because she felt that took away from the specialness of me telling her she was beautiful. but here's a question. do you want your partner to experience spiritual love for her sake or for yours? are you genuinely interested in her liberation, or is it more that you feel that your non-spiritual relationship doesn't reflect your perception of yourself as a spiritual person? if so, then this feeling of a need for ego-transcendence in your relationship may in fact be coming from your own ego. your responsibility in your relationship is to and for yourself. it's your job to understand her and to try to be understood, not to try to change her outlook or way of life. it is your responsibility to make sure that you remain true to yourself and to your own spiritual experience, but there's nothing spiritual about forcing her to conform to your expectations about what a relationship should be. if you are genuinely only interested in her well-being, then have patience. simply be the person you are, love her in the way that you do, and don't try to force anything. over time, she may begin to understand and grow. she's on her own path with its own truths, and she must realize them in a way and in an order that is unique to her. ultimately the reason why unselfish love is "better" than obsessively romantic love is that romantic love is grounded in a fear of losing the other and a need to be "special" that stems from a sense of one's own vulnerability and insignificance. and so the realization of unselfish love is a positive one. it's not that attachment is wrong, it's just unnecessary. unselfish love is an experience of freedom, of the freedom that comes with being whole. if she feels the need for romantic love it is because she does not feel secure or whole, and so you should concentrate on helping her find that sense of security and wholeness and not on reprimanding her for her illusions. like most illusions, they serve a purpose, and there must be something to fill the absence when they are stripped away or she will only be left with emptiness and depression. just my two cents. good luck.