I thought some of you might be interested in the various practices I use on a daily basis.

 John

I’m an early riser. I wake between 12:30 AM and five o’clock in the morning. Just after midnight is on the extremely early end and only happens when I’ve gone to bed before nine o’clock. Typically, I rise between 2:30 and 4:00 during a period of inspiration.

I start by drinking a glass of water I’ve set out beside my bed before going to sleep. While still in bed, I do Taoist eye exercises and massage my feet with a focus on the colon areas on both feet. I then make my way to the bathroom to say a set of affirmations while smiling into the mirror. While saying the affirmations out loud I do Touch for Health switching on exercises and a Time of Day Balance (also from Touch for Health). Most of the affirmations are ones that have come to me in those wee hours but I also use a few others such as the following one:

I am a messenger of Light. I am a pilgrim on the way of love.
I do not walk alone, but know myself as one with all great souls,
and one with them in service.
Their strength is mine. This strength I claim.
My strength is theirs and this I freely give.
A soul, I walk on earth. I represent the one.
 

from the work of Djwhal Khul and Alice Bailey

 

It’s now time for yoga asanas followed by relaxation and meditation. I always have a pen and paper beside me. During inspired periods I write by hand before getting out of bed or I jot down ideas that come up while doing affirmations or doing yoga. I’ve learned not to resist this inspiration. It comes at times of its own choosing. I simply need to be available as scribe for the ideas that arise. Just before the meditation I perform a short Triangle Meditation with two people I’ve never met in person – one lives in Michigan and the other in Qatar. For more on Triangles visit here.

 

Coopers Beach

 

Next I walk in nature or I go straight to the computer to begin writing and editing my earlier handwritten notes. This is still before anyone else in the house is awake. The best inspiration comes then. Depending on the season and the weather I will walk before or during sunrise. I often receive more inspiration then. I’ll be chanting mantras or singing songs that I’m working on while I walk. It’s amazing how many inspirational ideas (for writing, or a person I should call or an activity that needs to be completed) will come to the surface of my consciousness during these solitary, joyful walks in nature.

Many mornings, at some point during the walk, I will stop and do what I call Four Directions Eurythmy and/or certain breathing exercises designed to clean the lungs. I find it particularly beneficial to do breathing exercises on the beach or in the forest where the air is pristine and the prana highly charged.

During the day, if I’m doing a lot of work at the computer, I get up regularly from my chair, doing some jumping on a lymphasiser (mini-trampoline or rebounder) or wander out into the garden to do a little pruning, weeding, hand watering or harvesting.

Late in the afternoon, before the evening meal I do Six Healing Sounds and the Inner Smile. It’s a great way to release any tension or emotional dross accumulated during the day. I love this practice. Sometimes I do a little yoga before the Six Healing Sounds or in place of them. The asanas I choose would be dependent on how I’m feeling. It is likely I would include Cat/Cow, the Shoulder Stand or the Fish.

Before bed I offer a prayer, read a little and fall asleep, often midway through a sentence with the book open on my lap. Lucia often sorts me out or I wake later to turn the light out (not ideal but that’s me; I can fall asleep anywhere, which is a bit of an issue when I’m driving the car!

Please note I am intentionally not rigid about the above practices. I apply them consistently but I will miss some elements at times. I feel it is important to go with the flow. There’s no freedom in ‘have to’ or obligation. Do what feels good. On average I probably do yoga six days a week.

A practice is ever-evolving. Back in 2000 and 2001, after Power of Sound Teacher Training with Chris James in Australia, I used to retire in late afternoon to our little octagonal eco-lodge and spend about 45 minutes to an hour doing sound work. I had some real breakthroughs with my voice after I’d done those exercises daily for three months.

Success with your practice, folks! I’d love to hear your comments.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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six-healing-sounds-by-mantak-chia

For nearly nine years I’ve been practising The Six Healing Sounds, an ancient Taoist breathing technique using sub-vocalised sounds, breath and visualisations related to internal organs. For nearly four years I’ve been teaching this technique to others.

Below are a few words I’ve put together about The Six Healing Sounds:

Although some teachers attribute the practice of the Six Healing Sounds to a sixth century Buddhist hermit, elements of this ancient chi kung form were found inscribed on silk fragments in the famous Mawangdui tomb discovery, dated to 216 BC. Their original name may have been the Six Healing Breaths, which makes sense when you consider that this technique can be considered more similar to pranayama than to mantra in the Indian yogic tradition.

The sounds are taught by a number of modern masters, from the East and West. Each of these exponents describes a different practice. The pronunciation of the sounds varies. Fortunately, many of these apparent differences seem to arise from difficulties in representing these sounds phonetically in print. However the sound for the kidneys varies significantly, certainly more than can be explained by the challenge of phonetic representation. As always, I can only recommend that you find what feels right for you and stick with it. As with all sound work, the intention is at least as important as the actual sound.

The degree of vocalization varies greatly, from totally inaudible, through the sound of the breath exhaling to complete vocalization of the sounds. It might be well to heed the words of Ni Hua-Ching who says, “If the sound is coarse and audible it will hurt the chi in the body.”

The order of the sounds varies from teacher to teacher, although most follow the productive (Shen) cycle of the Five Elements or Phases. Some begin with the liver sound, probably because it represents rebirth and the season of spring. Mantak Chia, on whom I base my interpretation, begins with the lung sound. Virtually all the teachers agree that one finishes with the sound of the triple warmer. You can experiment with this, perhaps varying with the seasons. It is also possible to focus on one sound and repeat it up to 36 times, in instances where you are attempting to purify a particular emotion or organ. The Triple Warmer (sometimes called Triple Heater or Triple Burner) may be unfamiliar to many Westerners. It has an integrating function that links and harmonises the processes of the primary organs.

 

Let’s look at some of the potential benefits of regularly practicing the Six Healing Sounds:

 

1.                     The sounds have a cooling and harmonizing effect on the internal organs, which tend to overheat with the many stresses of modern life.

2.                     Qi (life force) is increased, leading to restoration and maintenance of calmness and good health. Minor ailments can be prevented or easily overcome.

3.                     Improves digestion.

4.                     Perhaps the greatest benefit is in the release or transformation of negative emotions into more positive, life enhancing energy.

5.                     Weakness and sickness in the internal organs such as the stomach or the liver can cause bad breath. Practise of the sounds can, therefore, alleviate halitosis.

6.                     Likewise body odour can be reduced, especially through the practise of the lung and kidney sounds.

7.                     The Six Healing Sounds release trapped energy in the organs, thereby leading to improvement in the range of movement of practitioners. Similarly, the Healing sounds can serve as an excellent warm up prior to singing.

8.                     The practice of the Healing Sounds is a form of Qigong, and as such is another effective tool to be used in the process of self discovery.

Cheers,

John

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

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