Tag Archives: Meditation

….. Chakras, Channels & Winds ….. Tibetan Movement & the Subtle Body

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TIBETAN MOVEMENT PRACTICES

Lu Jong, Tog Chod & Tsa Lung are exercises with immediate health benefits. They are also preparations for higher spiritual studies in Tibetan Buddhism.
All place a focus on working with energies that come from ‘within’ – this is why they are also called ‘Inner Body Meditations’.

What does that mean? It means they work with our physical and subtle energies (body and mind) through movement, breath, meditation, visualization and concentration.

For Dzogchen and Mahamudra practitioners, these are ways of going beyond contrived and conceptual mind.

For other Tantrayana Buddhists, they offer a superb way to energize and loosen up the body prior to a long seated session of meditation or other practice.

And, for people simply in pursuit of age-friendly (i.e. all ages) vitality and stress-reducing activities — or the medical healing aspects of yoga — they are a safe way to improve health that can be practiced anywhere.

At a certain level these practices are typically thought of as the most advanced or ‘secret’ tantric teachings — yes, this is true because aspects of working with the inner energies require the guidance of an experienced teacher.
However, simplified versions of each can be taught and practiced by everyone, independent of their views, ideals, aspirations, and capacities.

These practices are most effective when approached with gentle precision. Huh?

Meaning the highest benefits are not measured in a manner visible to the naked eye, such six-pack abs or acrobatic flexibility; they are the softer and less obvious effects that come from turning your attention inward to a place of ‘feeling’ and visualizing the connections within.

Every student’s practice is uniquely their own, an ever changing expression of working with ‘what’ they have, and from ‘where’ they are. Every time.

“Simply let experience take place very freely, so that your open heart is suffused with the tenderness of true compassion”

~ Tsoknyi Rinpoche

 

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MOVEMENT IS LIFE

One of the key aspects of these profound Tibetan practices is that they are about movement. Movement within and movement without.

Movement is very much related to our energy levels and the mind is dependent upon energy for awareness.

The additional mind tools of meditation, visualization and mantras are sometimes included to support our concentration, such as when we stomp our feet in Tog Chod.

Today, many practitioners do not work with the goal of enlightenment but rather with more mundane health benefits in mind.

Beginning with the most accessible practice, Lu Jong, the foundation for subsequent movement practices, you will experience the results of working with your inner energy, or ‘Lung’ in Tibetan, quite rapidly in your body. ‘Lu’ means ‘body’ and ‘Jong’ means ‘transformation’ in Tibetan. In loose terms, we are training our bodies.

Using movements that are slow, careful and meditative — much like Tai Chi — a host of physical benefits are activated such as good health, flexibility, muscle strength, balance and control.

The Lu Jong movements place particular attention on the mobility of the spine because it is the energy box of our bodies. The use of coordinated breathing is unparalleled for stress-reduction.

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With Tog Chod we advance to a more active style of movement and meditation aimed at reducing fears, expectations and overcoming negative emotions. ‘Tog’ means ‘head or thoughts’, and ‘Chod’ means ‘to cut’ in Tibetan. In loose terms, we are stopping our thoughts.

By using a precise set of forms, and introducing additional tools, we continue to deeply work the opening and alignment of our energetic pathways, joints and chakras for the most optimal flow of Lung. To this we add practicing the disciplines of mindfulness and awareness.

Tulku Lobsang developed Tog Chod based on the traditional Yaman monk dances and Kalachakra movements from Tibetan Buddhism. The sword represents our ‘innate wisdom’, we dance with it to go beyond the state of thinking and to enter into the present moment where we abide in a state of a calm mind.

Wait … What?

Basically, we foster the ability to calmly and clearly focus in ‘real time’ to the exclusion of inner and outer distractions. We balance being present for ourselves with the ability to remain aware of and present for others.

Awareness is like our eyes, we can see everything with one glance. Mindfulness is like our brain that can only process things one at a time.

It is in this state of stillness that we ‘cut’ through the stories we tell ourselves, release stress and stand with confidence in our power.

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Hand in hand with movement is the importance of ‘how’ we make use of our breath.

The coordination of movements with specific breathing patterns creates flexibility and harmony by releasing stagnant energy and promoting a vibrant and balanced circulation throughout the body.

Tsa Lung is an advanced form of Tibetan breath work which is a stand alone practice. However, there are some fundamental exercises that can be judiciously used to support and enhance inner body meditations.

‘Tsa’ means ‘channels’ and Lung means ‘wind, breath or inner vitality’. Hence the primary focus of this intense internal practice is the stretching and ‘polishing’, so to speak, of our energetic pathways (channels), the opening of chakras, and the movement of Lung through them.

When we combine breath retention with precise movements and visualizations, we learn ‘how’ to move our energy through the body. The energy can reach the deepest and most super-subtle channels to instigate the greatest levels of  self-healing and stillness of mind. This is very different from a cardio or meditation program.

The mind is said to ‘ride the winds’ or breath of our body with the goal of attaining enlightenment. The metaphor most often used for this is the wind-horse (in Tibetan Lung-ta).

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In this esoteric visualization, the wind-horse is identified with Lung (our life force or positive personal energy ) and the mind (subtle consciousness) is the rider as represented by the wish fulfilling jewels in the saddle.

Together they travel the channels, meridians and chakras throughout our body.

In Tantra, when we speak of ‘increasing wind-horse’ it means to increase our vital inner energy. ‘Decline of wind-horse’ means the opposite.

Who isn’t familiar with the concept of ‘Where the mind goes, the body follows,’ which is well founded and proven in various meditation and pain studies? Physiologically, the vagus nerve is a factor: when the mind focuses on calmness, the body calms too (and vice versa.)

When the breath flows, the mind flows. When we work with the breath, we completely change our thoughts. And when we hold the breath, we come into the deep stillness of the mind.

“Breath is the vehicle of consciousness and so, by its slow measured observation and distribution, we learn to tug our attention away from external desires toward a judicious, intelligent awareness.”

~ B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life

Everything is interconnected. Where you focus your energy is what you create in your life. The quality of your energy will become manifest in your body. How you think is reflected by how you live your life.

By working with breath and movement — both vital aspects of most styles of meditation — to revitalize your energy, these practices have the potential to supercharge your days with heightened focus and feelings of happiness and well being.

This is the fundamental idea of living your life with energetic awareness.

 

CHAKRAS, CHANNELS & WINDS

~ A Tibetan Movement Workshop ~

Lu Jong New York is offering a special workshop to study Tibetan movement practices, in the lineage of Tulku Lobsang, in New York City this coming June.

Experience for yourself authentic Tibetan methods of working with the subtle body deeply rooted in traditional Tantrayana practices and ancient Tibetan medicine.

Limited dates and spots remain available. Click HERE for information and registration!

Lu Jong and the Holiday Season

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The end of the calendar year is inevitably fraught with stress for all. Between social events, family gatherings, acts of compassion and sales bonanzas it’s a wonder we can even manage to crawl into the new year!

It would seem easiest to let our self-care routines fall by the wayside – anything to carve out a couple of extra minutes of sleep or even to jam in one more errand … but no!

How often do we forget to extend the support, patience and kindness to ourselves that we so readily give to others?

“If you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.” ~ HH Dalai Lama

Here’s a pretty easy list of why I make time for Lu Jong:

  • Lu Jong is Strengthening – The more I practice the movements the stronger I get. With regular practice I find my body stretching and flowing with ease, in addition to boosting my immune system.
  • Lu Jong is Meditative – The benefit of focusing upon movements and the breath is the ability to slow down my thoughts. All that is left is presence, feeling, breath and motion. The deeper breathing also calms my nervous system.
  • Lu Jong is Balancing – With Lu Jong I bring balance to all of the systems and elements within my body and mind, all aspects work in harmony, and in this balance I find my true strength, power and vitality.

Armed with these super powers my Holiday outlook is much more relaxed and heartfelt.

Working smarter is always better than working harder!

For UPCOMING Lu Jong Workshops and classes CLICK HERE

Lu Jong Tibetan Yoga ~ August 2017 Classes (East Hampton area)

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What is Lu Jong? Lu Jong is an ancient Tibetan practice that combines physical exercise with meditation for self-healing and overall wellness.
Simple yet powerful movements gently work the spine to promote flexibility and core strength.

Similar to Qigong, energetic blocks are released within the chakras which strengthen the immune system as vibrancy is restored to Body and Mind.

The moves are gentle yet powerful and accessible to students of all abilities.

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Bring a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothing

 

When: Tuesdays, August 15th, 22nd & 29th

Where: Springs Community Presbyterian Church Hall

Time: 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Cost: 1 Class/$15  OR  3 Classes/$40

 

No credit cards. Please arrive 10 minutes ahead of your first class.

Questions?  Joelle@LuJongNewYork.com  OR Call  1-855-4LUJONG

Stay informed of upcoming classes:

 

www.LuJongNewYork.com

Joelle Kelly Yoga Meetup

 

Lu Jong Tibetan Healing Yoga – FREE Introductory Class (Hamptons area)

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What is Lu Jong? Lu Jong is an ancient Tibetan practice that combines physical exercise with meditation for self-healing and overall wellness.
Simple yet powerful movements gently work the spine to promote flexibility and core strength.

Similar to Qigong, energetic blocks are released within the chakras which strengthen the immune system as vibrancy is restored to Body and Mind.

The moves are gentle yet powerful and accessible to students of all abilities.

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Bring a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothing

When: Tuesday, July 25th, 2017
Where: Springs Community Presbyterian Church Hall
Time: 10:00 am to 11:00 am
Cost: FEE WAIVED for this introductory Class

Classes scheduled to start in August

Questions? Joelle@LuJongNewYork.com

Stay informed of upcoming classes:

www.LuJongNewYork.com

Joelle Kelly Yoga Meetup

What’s New For June?

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First up, a jam-packed Tibetan Lu Jong Workshop in NYC.

 

WHEN: Saturday, June 24th

WHERE: Three Jewels NYC ~ 61 4TH AVE, 3rd FL

TIME: 1:00 to 3:30pm

FEE: $30 early bird ends June 21 | $35 after June 21

 

How do I register? CLICK HERE

 

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Curriculum

  • The Five Elements movements (for opening the spine and general balancing)
  • The Five Body Parts movements (for the musculoskeletal system)
  • The Five Vital Organ movements (for improving function of the kidneys, heart, lungs, spleen, and liver)
  • How to work with the Breath and the Subtle Body
  • Principles of Tibetan Medicine and the Five Elements world view
  • Why it is important to nurture the subtle body and release blockages

 

How do I register? CLICK HERE

I look forward to seeing you there!

 

Yes, it’s been a while since my last post, but the absence has not been without purpose.

I deepened my Lu Jong studies with the exploration of more vigorous poses, adding an entirely NEW level of movements to the Lu Jong core practice. These movements are the next level of training for students comfortable with Lu Jong Level I.

I’ve been working on yoga workshops and retreats, in addition to Lu Jong Teacher trainings, drawing upon all my skills and knowledge to create purposeful and fun experiences in different locales. Oh my!

In addition, I’m preparing to launch an exciting and dynamic practice: Tog Chod – The Dance of the Wisdom Sword. I mean c’mon, who can resist learning how to work with a sword?

More information about this incredible Tibetan Martial Art and the chance to take exclusive classes will come very soon!

Finding Balance When Times Feel Rocky

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The Year of the Fire Rooster launched at full speed and most people forgot to fasten their seat belts!
The ability to create stability in the midst of chaos is increasingly more and more essential to your health – both inside and out.

One of the main benefits of Lu Jong training is precisely this ability to recalibrate the subtle inner energy (lung, chi, prana) thus fortifying the ability to ‘ride the waves’ from a place of grounded power.

When you restore inner balance you generate a sense of calm focus in addition to gently working your body.

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Wouldn’t it make sense to invest in your wellbeing by exploring what Lu Jong can do for YOU?

Questions? Joelle@LuJongNewYork.com

ALSO … Check out this clip on my teacher, Tibetan Buddhist Tantrayana master, Tulku Lobsang, on Nat Geo’s TV series The Story of God with Morgan Freeman demonstrating the Tibetan practice of Tummo.

Tulku Lobsang will offer an opportunity to study this practice with him when he visits North America in October, 2017!

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/the-story-of-god-with-morgan-freeman/videos/is-god-inside-us/embed/

Posture & Meditation

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The basic method for taming our hyperactive mind is to bring our awareness to the body and breath. When we do this, we notice that the state of our body and breathing affect our mental state and that our mental state affects our body and breathing.

This is why posture is important in meditation.

The seven point meditation posture, also known as the Seven Points of Vairocana, is commonly practiced to achieve balance in mind and body through the sitting posture. If the position of the body is correct, it will calm an agitated mind, cheer up an unhappy mind, and produce clarity in an overwhelmed mind.

– The First of the seven points of posture is to sit down, to sit on some kind of cushion. If you are flexible, you can sit in the vajra posture, which is usually known in the West as the lotus posture. But if you’re not that flexible, or you find this posture uncomfortable, or you can’t sit cross-legged at all, and you need to sit in a chair, don’t worry about it. Don’t feel that it will harm or inhibit your meditation to sit in a chair.

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– The Second point is to place your hands evenly. This is referring to the left hand being placed palm up in your lap and the right hand is placed palm up in the left. But it can also be understood as keeping our hands at the same height, such as placing them on your knees.

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– The Third point of posture is that your spine be straight. This is quite important because by keeping our back straight, we straighten out the subtle channels within our body through which our subtle winds or energies flow. This will allow our mind to relax naturally and become calm.

– The Fourth point is that the shoulders be pushed back a little bit. Here the shoulders are really just an example. It means that all parts of our body are held in a proper and wakeful posture, so that they are relaxed, but not so relaxed that the posture becomes sloppy.

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– The Fifth point is that your chin is brought back in and down. This should happen naturally by straightening your back.

– The Sixth is to touch your tongue to the palate.

– The Seventh and final point of posture is the gaze, which is what we do with our eyes. This is important because our thoughts tend to follow our gaze, or our eyes. We should be relaxed looking into space, at nothing in particular, somewhere about 16 fingers width in front of the nose.meditation-posture-drawing

Although it may be hard for beginners to get used to this classical Buddhist meditation posture, the rewards of a few sessions help the mind find peace, strength and control. It also benefits the physical body by bringing its energies into balance.

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