Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Bin and the Bang

In as much as I would like to immediately start on my newfound strategy at life-b a t t l e, I wouldn't want to get ahead of myself here and would rather take a break from exercise and take a good look at the world we're living in today. I noticed there are more distractions in this world than my daily allowance permits me to have.

Needless to say, I decided to treat myself to a movie as my post-birthday gift to a future Ninja (?). Had it the 20th. Upon entering the movie house which I haven't done since Horton Heard a Who, I couldn't help noticing how good a THX Theater looks like. Anyway, I feel perfectly fine sitting alone in a nice movie house watching a perfectly fine film that is Iron Man.

Unless you're living under a rock, not 30 Rock, we have had terrible catastrophes in Myanmar and China that calls for some Quiet Time or Pause. For the people living there, it's just too much to take and my heart goes out to them. I'm no philantropist nor am I anything near it. I just feel compassion for my Asian neighbors. If you don't believe me, let me appeal to your sense of practicality and think about the repercussions as much as 100,000 dead and dying people will have on their environment, and if you think globally, that would mean o u r s. If help doesn't get there soon, I'd hate to think what a cold planet this would be to live in and is it really worth all our trouble when trouble's just a-coming?

As I was reading and blogging about the Yin and the Yang, the delicate balance of Nature and how we're all supposed to be aware of it, these days I think it's better known as the Bin and the Bang of America, ie especially if you live within the borders of Afghanistan...whatever the hell that means.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Yin and the Yang

In my personal quest to make good a lifestyle and behavioral change, and isn't it about time I did (*terms coming from my Saturday Weight Management Session), I have come across new potential endeavors of initially wasting time and eventually hoping for a shot at freedom from the shackles of a sendentary lifestyle.

I'm talking about a variety of exercises of course, ranging from Hot Flow Yoga to Basic Tai-Chi, different Cardio, and Weight Training. Let's start with Tai-Chi.

What is Tai-Chi anyway? The Chinese characters for Tai Chi Chuan can be translated as the 'Supreme Ultimate Force'. The notion of 'supreme ultimate' is often associated with the Chinese concept of yin-yang, the notion that one can see a dynamic duality (male/female, active/passive, dark/light, forceful/yielding, etc.) in all things. 'Force' (or, more literally, 'fist') can be thought of here as the means or way of achieving this ying-yang, or 'supreme-ultimate' discipline. Hmmm. Sounds familiar.

Tai Chi, as it is practiced in the west today, can perhaps best be thought of as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined. There are a number of so- called forms (sometimes also called 'sets') which consist of a sequence of movements. Many of these movements are originally derived from the martial arts (and perhaps even more ancestrally than that, from the natural movements of animals and birds) although the way they are performed in Tai Chi is slowly, softly and gracefully with smooth and even transitions between them.

For many practicioners the focus in doing them is not, first and foremost, martial, but as a meditative exercise for the body. For others the
combat aspects of Tai Chi are of considerable interest. In Chinese philosophy and medicine there exists the concept of 'chi', a vital force that animates the body. One of the avowed aims of Tai Chi is to foster the circulation of this 'chi' within the body, the belief being that by doing so the health and vitality of the person are enhanced. This 'chi' circulates in patterns that are close related to the nervous and vascular system and thus the notion is closely connected with that of the practice of acupuncture and other oriental healing arts.

Another aim of Tai Chi is to foster a calm and tranquil mind, focused on the precise execution of these exercises. Learning to do them correctly provides a practical avenue for learning about such things as balance, alignment, fine-scale motor control, rhythm of movement, the genesis of movement from the body's vital center, and so on. Thus the practice of Tai Chi can in some measure contribute to being able to better stand, walk, move, run, etc. in other spheres of life as well. Many practitioners notice benefits in terms of correcting poor postural, alignment or movement patterns which can contribute to tension or injury. Furthermore the meditative nature of the exercises is calming and relaxing in and of itself.

Because the Tai Chi movements have their origins in the martial arts, practicing them does have some martial applications. In a two-person exercise called 'push-hands' Tai Chi principles are developed in terms of being sensitive to and responsive of another person's 'chi' or vital energy. It is also an opportunity to employ some of the martial aspects of Tai Chi in a kind of slow-tempo combat. Long-time practitioners of Tai Chi who are so-inclined can become very adept at martial arts. The emphasis in Tai Chi is on being able to channel potentially destructive energy (in the form of a kick or a punch) away from one in a manner that will dissipate the energy or send it in a direction where it is no longer a danger.
The practical exercises of Tai Chi are also situated in a wider philosophical context of
Taoism. This is a reflective, mystical Chinese tradition first associated with the scholar and mystic Lao Tsu, an older contemporary of Confucius. He wrote and taught in the province of Honan in the 6th century B.C. and authored the seminal work of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching. As a philosophy, Taoism has many elements but fundamentally it espouses a calm, reflective and mystic view of the world steeped in the beauty and tranquillity of nature.

Tai Chi also has, particularly amongst eastern practitioners, a long connection with the I Ching a Chinese system of divination. There are associations between the 8 basic I Ching trigrams plus the five elements of Chinese alchemy (metal, wood, fire, water and earth) with the thirteen basic postures of Tai Chi created by Chang San-feng. There are also other associations with the full 64 trigrams of the I Ching and other movements in the Tai Chi form
.

(...to be continued)


Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Love C A N D Y

Sweets for my sweet, ie Hugs and Kisses (except those coming from Harrisburg, PA)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Top 7 Most Beautiful Tennis Stars

Got it mainly for the music.

Table Tennis

Imagine me playing this. I noticed it clearly is NOT an American Sport. (Afterthought: Now, if I can only find myself a decent Danish Partner)

Wii Table Tennis Video

This is my kind of Wii Sport, and it's not as easy as it looks...although "boring" may fit the bill.

Wii Fit taken for a spin

Sweet Review