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  1. Hello everyone, First, I want to say thank you. I have been reading through many forums trying to deepen my understanding and have benefited greatly from the conversations many of you have had within the different topics of the forum. Even though I have benefitted greatly I still have a lot to learn which is why I am now writing this post in order to ask for advice. As a background, I am a 26-year-old male from Ontario, Canada. My lifestyle hasn't always been the healthiest, but of late it has become healthier, though since getting a puppy it does make it difficult for me to leave the home outside of work for prolonged periods of time. At least that is the case for now. This makes it hard for me to pursue the idea of finding a master/teacher to study under. I am not even sure if there is a master from a good lineage near me and honestly I am not exactly sure how to go about finding that out. That being said I don't wish to just be waiting around. I want to start building a foundation now so that, karma willing, when I do find a teacher I will be in a place where they can begin to teach me. Thanks to Earl Grey I was pointed in the direction of Flying Phoenix, which seems like a perfect fit at least for now of a complete chi kung practice to follow in order to start building a foundation. I do have a couple of concerns though. Does it matter that I currently can't feel qi (chi)? Will practicing the methods from percentage breathing to forms allow me, over time, to start to feel qi and cultivate it to the basic level of mastery for Flying Phoenix? My next concern is about flexibility. Honestly, other than my spine, the rest of my body is quite inflexible. What should I do to increase my flexibility? I know that some of the poses in the FP (Flying Phoenix) meditations insist on them being done in half-lotus, however currently as I said my body is quite inflexible. What kind of recommendations would you give in order to increase one's flexibility? Are there certain poses that you have found which really help to release the body? I have a few books on increasing one's flexibility I have been starting to follow. I just wanted to know if any of you had insights gained through experience that you would be willing to share. Thirdly, foundation building is an important aspect of martial arts. So much so that I am told that the internal arts usually aren't given to the students for years until they have built the proper foundations within their bodies for their bodies to be able to endure those arts. My third question is what kind of exercises, forms, weight training should I do in order to get my body into a healthier and more optimal state? Are there certain exercises/forms/poses that I should be practicing? Finally, I have a question about the mind. Only building a foundation within my body will create an imbalance between my body and mind. I also wish to strengthen my mind. As such, I plan on reading 'Secret of the Golden Flower', the first five books by Carlos Castaneda and 'Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines' by W.Y. Evans-Wentz. I am wondering if there are any other resources that you would recommend I read as well. I understand that everyone leads busy lives and perhaps doesn't have much time to sit down and respond to each of my questions, or any of my questions for that matter. However, I would be grateful for any wisdom and insight which you would be willing to impart. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope to hear back from you soon.
  2. You had me at hello ...

    A big hello to everyone here from South Africa! By way of introduction, i have been captivated for quite some time with eastern philosophy; the spiritual, martial and medical elements and practices; the alchemical and esoteric mythology and everything in between. i hope to gain a better insight and understanding from all of the scholars and teachers here at [Dao Bums] as well as share where i can. Looking forward to conversing with all of you soon ....