Taking care of our body is an important part of living our authentic self. Of course, we also need our bodies to be healthy in order for us to maintain a steady practice. Mindful Movements allow for a deeper sense of relaxation that can support our health and happiness in the practice, and keep us more in touch with our body.
At Lion’s Roar, practicing Mindful Movement allows us to listen deeply to our bodies. We learn to be gentle with ourselves and to give ourselves space to understand and to grow. Practicing in this way, our body becomes our friend and not a burden on our practice. This fosters compassion towards ourselves that eventually flows out into our interactions with others. How we walk, move, sit, stand, and hold our body are reflections of our states of mind. When we move with ease others around us will also feel at ease and relaxed in our presence.
“We are on a journey with others on our planet. We are not watching, but participating with the world, not shutting ourselves off from it.” — Lama Yeshe Jinpa
Walking meditation is more than a stretch between sitting sessions. It is a profound practice that combines both stillness and movement. In stillness, we are supported by the ground. In movement, we learn to maintain our center of gravity as our legs alternate back and forth.
Our feet connect with the ground and the earth supports us. We notice the pressure of our feet as they push off against the ground. The earth accepts our feet and we sense a gentle, firmness. Inspiration and technique come together. We discover the natural rhythm of breath and movement. We walk slowly but we do not become robots, stiff and mechanical. We experience a fluidity of movement as we open up to the way our bodies inherently want to walk.
Join us for this healing practice, a beautiful way to reconnect with ourselves and our world. When we walk slowly, we breath slowly and we begin to touch the peace that is always available in each of our hearts. No experience is required. In fact, Lama Jinpa often says, “beginner’s mind is best.”
Tai Chi & Introduction to Bagua Circle Walking Nei Gong
Tai Chi/Qigong classes focus on mindfulness-based movements that promote self awareness and relaxation. As there is a deep, intrinsic connection between the practice of traditional martial arts and the philosophy of Buddhism, both can be defined as a set of ‘strategies for awakening.’ Both also require the essential components of ritual, mindfulness, cooperation and community (or “sangha”).
New for 2017, Lion’s Roar is offering Introduction to Bagua Cirle Walking. This practice is one of three traditional internal martial arts (Nei Jia) that are considered one ‘family’, the other two being Tai Chi and Xingyi. Rather than focusing on speed, isolated muscle development, or outlandish flexibility, internal arts stress relaxation, stillness, the development of mind-intent and natural movement.
Based on Daoist devotional practices, circle-walking has long been valued in traditional cultures as a means to cultivate intuitive knowledge not only of oneself but of the rhythms and processes inherent in all of nature. Bagua reduces the myriad complexities of combat, health and spirituality down to the primal actions of walking and turning.
While walking, the mind-intent is actively engaged in sensing and observing oppositional spiraling forces inside the body. The legs are exercised and strengthened through a natural range of motion resulting in balanced, harmonious development. The spine is lengthened and stretched. Breathing becomes longer and deeper. Energy is cultivated.
Thus, the foundational—as well as the most advanced—mode of practice in Bagua is simply to walk a circle.
This course will include:
- Standing qigong postures for structural alignment and whole body power.
- How to do the famous ‘mud-walking step’ and how to practice it.
- Eight fundamental fixed walking postures and how to transition between them.
- A set of 16 daily Nei Gong exercises for spinal engagement and overall conditioning.
- The two foundational moving patterns from which all of Bagua is derived: The Single and Double Changing Palms.
To read more, please see our blog post Buddhism and Martial Practice. Whether you have never tried this kind of practice before, are a regular practitioner, or are somewhere in the middle, everyone is welcome to this slow-moving, meditative, mindfulness-based movement.
Robert Nakashima began his study of martial arts 30 years ago, specializing in Tai Chi, Xingyi and Bagua. He teaches public and private classes in the Sacramento area and is a multiple gold medalist and Grand Champion in national and international competitions.
Originally, yoga was taught as a complete, eight-limbed system, of which the postures (hatha, or the physical branch of yoga) are one of the eight limbs. The entire purpose of yoga, as a complete system, is spiritual in nature according to the ancient sages.
Traditional hatha yoga was designed to assist the practitioner in completely relaxing the physical body so that he could comfortably sit in meditation for a prolonged period of time, greatly reducing physical distractions and disruptions to one’s sitting practice.
Lion’s Roar provides several options for Mindful Yoga throughout the week. Attending classes is an excellent way to support your meditation practice. With a more relaxed body, you can sit more easily. In addition, the mind will naturally become calmer.
Sandi is trained in Ananda Yoga which brings yoga back to its original spiritual essence. It is designed to strengthen and stretch the body, release stress, calm the mind and above all, it seeks to raise your level of consciousness.
Loaner mats are available if needed. Come with a fairly empty stomach and wear comfortable clothing such as sweats, shorts, leggings, and a comfortable top. Jeans are not recommended. First timers fee is $6 for anyone trying one of a class for the first time.