The Tao of Da Vinci Code-Can Eastern Philosophy Contribute to the Da Vinci Code Controversy?

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What good is such practice? Some might ask in our busy yang energy go-get-em world. Creativity and inspiration come from the unseen, the yin, the receptive, the intuitive. Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important that knowledge." Einstein didn't devalue the masculine or yang consciousness, for he also defined success as "10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." However, he did exalt the yin, feminine, intuitive consciousness as the MOST important. For without that all important "spark" of awareness or inspiration which can only come from quiet contemplative thought, the 90% perspiration would be as purposeful as a "busy" hamster running around its endless wheel that leads nowhere. Just as many of the world's actions today are resulting in environmental and political messes that could easily be avoided, if preceded by deep "contemplation" before action occurs. Too often our endless business (busy-ness) is not purposeful at all as far as solving our global problems, but to the unaware observer the decision makers look "very important" and "very busy."

Mind/body sciences like yoga, and tai chi, and qigong (energy exercise), are designed to allow the flow of life energy to permeate the mind and body, and to create a "receptive/open state of mind in the practitioner," a passive alpha state of awareness. Qi, life energy in Traditional Chinese Medical science, is a subtle unseen power that emerges from the very fabric of the subatomic field that makes up all matter, and permeates all things including human beings. Acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine, as well as physical exercises like Tai Chi & Qigong are designed to open the flow of life energy through the mind and body. Yoga and Ayurvedic practices are designed to do this as well.

In this field of life energy all things are connected, and therefore insights from this pure consciousness can be powerfully complex solutions that seem simple and elegant and obvious, once they come to mind. Yet offer more comprehensive communally beneficial solutions to challenges facing the practitioner cultivating this "field" awareness in themselves through these ancient practices. Tai Chi may help cultivate such intuitive, receptive states of mind if taught to that end. Tai Chi, incorporated with gentle deep breathing, and physical loosening, and mental images of constantly "letting go" of everything enables this unseen force of the universe to flow through us, emanating from every cell and atom of our being, and expanding effortlessly from each airy fold of the tissues of our mind. We can allow every atom of our being to glow with and be permeated by this energy of life as we move through the flowing motions of Tai Chi "without purpose," "without analysis," "without grades, or self judgments." But rather, only for the sheer pleasure of being, while experiencing the thousands of wonderful sensations tingling and percolating through the body. Tai Chi becomes an effortless "self massage" that flows through the yielding heart, mind, and body. This state is not "directed" by the mind, but allows the mind to let go and be massaged by the pleasant sensations flowing through it, holding on to nothing, not analyzing or even naming the sensations caressing, washing the mind as they flow through receptive awareness.

Today's current knee jerk reactions which get us individually into such trouble on crowded freeways, or in global trouble as a nation in an increasingly crowded world, have been cultivated over centuries of under-developing our feminine or yin consciousness. Our television pundits automatically react and narrow dialogue without even being conscious of it. In a three month period leading up to the Iraq war, Fair Media did a study of major news networks coverage of the impending conflict. They found a disturbing reality, that over 90% of the talking head guests on their news shows were already assuming there was a war to be fought, and discussing war strategy. Only less than 5% of the talking heads were opposed to, or even skeptical, about the idea of going to war. This hard charging into action, rather than "contemplating", is an example of the result of centuries of male energy being accepted and extolled, and yin or feminine energy being dismissed and considered "indecisive" and "weak minded."

The pool of "receptive" sensation that Tai Chi or other ancient transcendental technologies can bathe us in again and again, day after day, enables the subtle possibilities and gentle power of the yin and feminine to permeate our being and consciousness, and through that, affect our actions in the world. It can change the way we function, so that rather than charging into personal, or social, or national decisions, we instinctively "contemplate" and "intuit" all the possible outcomes of that action "BEFORE" taking that action. This could keep us out of costly wars, and reduce futile quests to find where on earth to dump thousands of tons of highly toxic nuclear waste that will be poisonous for tens of thousands of years. It may open us up to more subtle "yielding" approaches to international relations, that can get us the desired results through the subtle dance of negotiation which entails "listening" before "acting," which is a very yin or feminine quality. It may draw us more to "passive" energy solutions like "solar" or "wind" that could easily solve all our energy needs, and we would never need to fight anyone anywhere over the sun or the wind, which is available to all equally.

Transcendental mind/body technologies like Tai Chi, Yoga, transcendental meditation, Chi Kung, etc. can today be made available to billions of people worldwide at a time when the world desperately needs to learn to find a balance in the deepest part of our being, a balance that extols the subtle and quiet power of the feminine or yin aspect of who we are individually and as communities and nations. Tai Chi and Yoga, for example, are now taught in virtually every nation in the world, and can perhaps now contribute to solving humanity's hunger for balance between the "male" and "female," between the "yin" and the "yang."

Generations may look back and see that Tai Chi & Yoga teachers of today played a pivotal role in human history. Or perhaps the changes they are making in the world are so subtle and gentle, that they will never be recognized but nevertheless . . . will ease the world into its next wave of evolution enabling it to survive the weight of six billion plus inhabitants, without creating chaos through rash actions.

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Bill Douglas is the founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, and author of the best selling tai chi book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & Qigong" (Penguin Putnam), and presenter in the world acclaimed DVD instructional "Anthology of T'ai Chi & Qigong: The Prescription for the Future." Contact Bill, or learn more about World Tai Chi Day at

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All About Physical Therapists

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Physical therapy is a broad sphere of medical practice that encompasses many needs and scenarios. Simply put, a physical therapist provides the service to the patient of helping him or her achieve, maintain, or restore maximum movement and functional ability. The patient and why they need physical therapy can be as vast as medicine itself. The old and infirm need assistance in maintaining movement. The injured need therapy to recover movement. Those born with a physical or neurological handicap need therapy to develop movement.

Just some of the conditions which a physical therapist may help with include: back and neck pain, spinal and joint conditions such as arthritis, biomechanical problems and muscular control, problems affecting children such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida, heart and lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia, sport-related injuries, stress incontinence, and neurological conditions such as stroke and multiple sclerosis.

Physical therapists usually specialize in a specific field. Just like a doctor, a physical therapist is a certified expert - in the United States requiring four years of college with an eye towards the specialty. Not many people realize this, because to watch a physical therapist work, you might at frst mistake them for a coach or a counselor.

In fact, coaching and counseling are a great deal of what physical therapy is all about. Physical therapists work in a very active role with the patient, guiding them through exercises designed to help build the patient's mobility. They may be working on the track or the gym with a sports injury case, in a hospital coaxing a stroke survivor to take their first few steps with a walker, or in a swimming pool using the water's buoyancy to help a recovering accident victim with a fractured pelvis to learn to walk again.

Physical therapy as a recognized profession goes all the way back to ancient China, though in that point in history it was more like a massage business. Physical therapists came into their first mass use in World War two, when soldiers coming home with spinal injuries provided new challenges to the profession. Orthopedic hospitals and chest clinics for veterans soon sprang up, with physical therapists running the show.

In many countries, the profession of physical therapy has grown to become the largest allied health profession, in third place only behind medicine and nursing in the number of graduating health care students.

Working with disabled children
Children are born with a mobility problem for many reasons. For just one example, there's cerebral palsy. A baby born with cerebral palsy has a very good chance of being able to partially recover by the time of adulthood. This is due to the brain's ability to patch itself by growing new neurons. But in order for those neurons to form in the first place, the child must have stimulus.

They say that riding a bike is something that once you learn how, you never forget. This actually applies to all mobile activities. Anything from crawling to surfing is a learned set of muscular co-ordination reflexes, and to develop them, we have to practice. Once the brain has learned how to guide the body through a set of motions, new pathways of neurons are formed in the brain to record the learned behavior. The act of learning an activity is actually one of providing physical stimulation to the body, which in turn is used by the brain as raw material to build a learned behavior from.

A physical therapist working with a disabled child who cannot crawl, for instance, may start by placing the child on his belly on a soft inflated ball. With just the feet and hands touching the floor and without the necessity to support the bodies entire weight on the limbs yet, the child can move themselves around on the ball by pushing against the floor with their hands and feet. Later the ball might be replaced with a padded board on wheels. Just like training wheels on a bike, the motion is practiced in gradual steps until the child can both develop the muscle tone and learn the gross motor skills necessary to carry out the task.

Water walking
Similarly, an older patient with a mobility problem due to a recent injury or stroke might need to teach their body how to walk again. By suspending their body in a shallow pool with a floatation vest on, they can walk around on the surface of the pool bottom and their body's weight is mostly carried by the water. In this way the legs and feet can rebuild muscle tone and the brain can learn to remap those neurons that may have been damaged or forgotten.

Tai Chi and Pilates
Tai Chi, a "soft" Chinese martial art, has made some popular gains in senior patrons of physical therapists. The gentle, graceful movements and slow pacing are a deliberate effort to force the body and mind to focus on it's mobility. As opposed to the "training wheels" model, this is more of a "slow and steady" model, but even those the Tai Chi class may look like slow-motion aerobics, the benefits are staggering.

Researchers have found that long-term Tai Chi practice had favorable effects on the skills of balance control, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness and helped reduce the risk of falls in elders. The studies also reported reduced pain, stress and anxiety in healthy subjects who took Tai Chi. Other studies have indicated improved cardiovascular and respiratory function in healthy subjects along with those who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery.

Pilates is an exercise regimen with very different roots in Europe and America instead of the Far East, but with similar goals in mind. The inventor of this exercise named it "Contrology", which refers to the way the method encourages the use of the mind to control the muscles. It is an exercise program that focuses on the core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and are essential to providing support for the delicate muscles of the spine. In particular, Pilates teaches an awareness of breath and alignment of the spine, and strengthens the deep torso muscles which are important to help alleviate and prevent back pain.

There's more to physical therapy than meets the mind. Indeed, the benefit is mostly applied in the mind, although physical therapists speak almost as if the body had a mind of it's own, which the brain merely oversees. In a way, a physical therapist can be seen as a "brain programmer" - or re-programmer! No matter what your course of medical treatment in life, you're almost bound to require the services of a physical therapist at one point or another in your life.
Author Resource:- Freelance writer for over eleven years.

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What are Tai chi swords and how to select the best Tai Chi Swords

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The ancient Chinese schools of Tai Chi and Qigong teach the students the benefits of Chinese martial arts. According to many, Tai Chi is often regarded as a ‘moving meditation’. In theory and practice, Tai Chi has evolved considerably over the past few years. It now encompasses the essence of Chinese medicine which takes into consideration the mind, spirit and the body as a single entity. It is more known to the world for its overall health benefits. A lot of benefits can be derived from its practice including higher state of energy, positive lifestyle choices and so on. If practiced regularly, Tai Chi can induce tranquility and relaxation in both mind and body.

The ancient Chinese martial arts weapons used for self defense and other related purposes included Knives, Bows and Arrows, Swords, Sickles and Shields and so on. These weapons were widely used to practice the most traditional art forms in ancient China. These art forms of ancient China also referred to as “Martial arts” are of different types. Over a period of time, few of these types of martial arts have evolved into different art forms. Contemporary wushu or modern wushu is one such sport that has been derived from ancient martial arts. This sport is however a recent version introduced in China to popularize the traditional martial arts. Another term that is commonly used with martial arts is Kung fu. According to Chinese, both Kung fu and Wushu have different meanings. The former arts form refers to an individual accomplishment or skill that is cultivated through intense practice and dedication over a period of time.

You cannot deal with ancient Chinese art forms without mentioning about Chinese swords. While there are different types of them, Tai chi swords have significance of their own and stand out from the rest on many counts. These swords have to be carefully dealt with and should be practiced with only after intensive training in Tai Chi. Only then the body will feel comfortable in handling them. While practicing with tai chi swords one should focus on the movement of the body. The mind should be as calm as a lotus pond. Meanwhile, the body should float gently like a boat. Like many other swords in its category, tai chi swords are available in different varieties like wooden tai chi swords, collapsible tai chi swords, Hsu series tai chi swords and so on. It’s hard to find these types of swords these days. There are many cheap imitations of these swords in the market. You can consider few tips given below to select the best ones out of a lot.

A genuine tai chi sword is very sharp at its edge and its double-edged blade can extend anywhere between 28 inches to 30 inches in length. It will have a width in the range of 1 inch to 2 inches. Its handle will be of 9 inches in length. A tai chi sword can be custom made for the user. The sword of its kind will have a hole at the end of hilt to enable attachment of sword knot or a tassel. The weight of these swords will be between 1.5 to 2 pounds. The handle provided at the top of guard provides enough space to enable proper grip for the fingers. The sword uses high quality of wood that matches with the ones used in home furniture. It is advisable to buy these types of swords from your local dealer. But make sure you check all these features before buying them. For the best quality Tai Chi swords visit, - What are Tai chi swords and how to select the best Tai Chi Swords

About the Author

chinese swords is author of this article on wushu. Find more information about martial arts weapons here.

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