Introducing New YMAA Author Marisa Cranfill
August 3, 2020
Marisa discovered Qigong as a student at Zhejiang University, China in 1999 through a local taiji chuan master. Since she has studied with many of the world’s top Qigong masters, some well-known and others off the grid. Marisa formally trained and is certified to teach with blessings from masters of two lineages of Qigong: Universal Healing Tao with Master Mantak Chia and Master Robert Peng.
The Heart-Mind Connection
July 27, 2020
A positive mind makes positive physical changes: relaxed muscles, reduced heart rate and blood pressure, balanced metabolism and blood sugar, and improved production of digestive enzymes. A negative mind produces negative physical results: tight muscles, irregular or fast heart rate, elevated blood pressure and blood sugar, low energy, poor metabolism, decreased enzyme production, and difficulty sleeping.
Vietnamese Martial Arts and Their Role in the Modern World
July 24, 2020
The land we now know as Vietnam has been defined by centuries of conflict. Within the modern-day borders of the country, countless battles for dominance, resources and survival have taken place, thus ensuring the development of many unique fighting styles. Although there has been a long and intertwined history between China and Vietnam (the name Vietnam even stems from the Chinese "Nan Yue" which means "Southern Dwellers",) various geographical, cultural and physical differences have all coalesced to create combat systems that are distinctly different from their northern counterparts.
Defining the Threat—Perception vs. Reality
July 20, 2020
Let’s perform a little mental exercise. I want you to close your eyes and come up with a mental picture of what you think a terrorist looks like. Be honest with yourself; don’t think about what’s culturally or socially acceptable, just form the image in your head based on what you know about terrorism. What do you see? Where is this person from? What do they look like? Are they poor and underprivileged? Are they well off and nicely dressed? Come up with as much detail as you can. No matter what image you came up with in your head, I can guarantee the reality is much more diverse.
Tai Chi and Depression Q&A with Dr. Joan Listernick, Ph.D.
July 13, 2020
Depression is one of many diseases I have treated. After years of training in tai chi and qi gong with well-known masters in China, observing specific responses from students and patient, I have combined my knowledge of Chinese medicine, natural healing methods, and Daoist philosophy. I’ve designed this specific form of tai chi to help people recover from depression—or prevent it altogether. I created this specific form drawn from some Yang style and some from Chen style and also from qi gong, martial arts, and meditation, creating a high-quality practice. I decided to use this form for my own little study after seeing so many people suffering from depression and emotional struggles.
Preparing Some Herbs - July 6, 2020
Your best bet is to have pots dedicated just to working with herbs. In fact, if you are going to work with herbs that are toxic, it’s a good idea to dedicate some of your pots and utensils exclusively to topical and/or toxic preparations. Sure, you’ll clean them well after each use, but there’s always the chance of a bit of herb impregnated wax sticking to the inside. The last thing you want when you’re making a nice stew is bits of arnica or menthol getting into it.
Opportunity in Times of Crisis - June 29, 2020
There is only one thing that you can control during this crisis and that is how you will react. You can take action and improve your health now. How will you use this opportunity? It only takes a few minutes to begin building new, healthier habits. It is important to make these changes in small increments. Small actions are easier to perform and repeat.
The Basics of Predatory Behavior - June 22, 2020
To better understand predatory behaviors, let’s start by breaking down and categorizing the different types of predators and their basic motivations. In his book, Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected, Sgt. Rory Miller breaks down predators into two groups: resource predators and process predators. A resource predator is looking for tangible items, be it cash, jewelry, or even your shoes. They’ve decided they need something and they’re going to take it from you. Predators in this category include your basic mugger, pickpocket, or burglar.
Qigong for Summer – Transform Impatience and Anger into Patience and Compassion - June 17, 2020
Energetically, summer is also a powerful time for transforming energy. The element of summer is fire. In our body, fire connects to the heart fire that resonates the human force of unconditional love and acceptance. Therefore, many qigong practices for summer come from spiritual qigong traditions that focus on internal alchemy; the process of transforming and refining our vibration to its highest potential.
Tai Chi – A Tradition of Immunity and Health - Part 2 - June 15, 2020
Observations and supporting research indicating possible physiological mechanisms of action underlying benefits, which may be unique to tai chi and similar exercises, is documented in my book “Mindful Exercise: Metarobics, Healing, and the Power of Tai Chi.” A range of scientific studies and supporting case stories provide hope and a direction for further investigations, research which in time may benefit a surprisingly wide range of conditions. Related to current concerns, I will provide a brief overview of key elements related to immunity at the end of this article.
Situational Awareness in the Age of CoVid-19 - June 8, 2020
This isn’t the first time that an unforeseen circumstance has completely changed our lives. September 11, 2001 was a tragic day for all of America. The attacks on the world trade center, pentagon and United flight 93 affected us all on an emotional level. It reshaped the way we think and live.
Qigong for Spring—Support the Liver and Expand Your Vision - June 1, 2020
Physically, spring qigong practices focus on the organs of the wood element: the liver and the gall bladder. The liver is the chief organ responsible for processing toxins in the body. One of the liver's main jobs is to store the blood and filter toxic wastes from the bloodstream. Another task is to produce many of the alkaline enzymes upon which immune response and other vital functions depend.
Tai Chi—A Tradition of Immunity and Health - Part 1 - May 18, 2020
The question many may be asking is if tai chi may protect you from the coronavirus or other conditions. More research would be needed to determine this, and it is important for legal reasons to avoid making any claims that tai chi is a cure for any condition. But the preliminary research related to benefits for immunity and other conditions at least offers hope for enhanced health. And hope in many ways has been considered by many to be one of the best medicines. As noted by Orison Swett Marden, author and founder of Success Magazine, “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.” Here is hoping for a better tomorrow through tai chi.
Let’s Act to Heal and to Prevent Future Pandemics - May 11, 2020
The cost of treating chronic illnesses in the United States accounts for 75 percent of the health-care budget. For the year 2009, when $2.5 trillion was spent on medical care overall, almost $1.9 trillion was allocated to the treatment of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and cancer; 70 percent of all deaths in America were attributable to these chronic illnesses.
Metarobics for Immunity - May 4, 2020
Researchers have also looked at the effects of tai chi practice on virus-specific lymphocytes. A study examining the effects of tai chi on varicella zoster (shingles) virus-specific lymphocytes found a significant increase in the number of these lymphocytes in a group of older adults after fifteen weeks of tai chi training. The tai chi group experienced an almost 50 percent increase in cell-mediated immunity to the varicella zoster virus despite not receiving the vaccine, compared to no change in a comparison group. A third group received the shingles vaccine, which resulted in a 75 percent increase in the number of virus-specific lymphocytes.
How to Boost/Condition Your Immune System - April 28, 2020
We cannot deny that the immune system is a crucial key to longevity. Before antibiotics were discovered, many people died young. Only those whose immune systems were strong enough had a better chance of surviving the pathological challenges of nature. In ancient times, Chinese Daoist Qìgōng practitioners worked on developing ways to boost and maintain the immune system from within the body
Western Thoughts on Heart Attacks - April 27, 2020
First and foremost, if you are having symptoms of a heart attack, seek medical attention immediately. Earlier treatment is associated with better long-term outcomes. No medical provider would scoff at you for seeking treatment for acute symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath. Even if it turned out that you had heartburn rather than a heart attack, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.
Mind Body Exercise for Relaxation, Health & Strengthening Your Immune System - April 20, 2020
Physical tension usually turns into mental tension. Mentally you think you are “relaxing” on the sofa but actually, physically, you are collapsing. Over time you find yourself sore and stiff and not relaxed at all. Tight muscles pull on the bones which restrict the movement of your skeleton and over time cause physical discomfort and pain.
Social Distancing - April 13, 2020
At this time, I encourage you to avoid social gatherings, parties, big events. I saw that a neighbor had a big party two-days ago, and it made me think, “Do you have trouble understanding the situation, or are you just being selfish, or do you assume it is safe?” You may not be sick from the virus, but anything you touch can spread to hundreds of people.
The Scientific Foundation of the Ancient Chinese Secret of Youth - April 11, 2020
The most essential keys to longevity and anti-aging are rooted in your body’s ability to maintain a strong energetic center, which directly aids in the natural production of your body’s hormones. This center is comprised of two important energetic points—the brain and the gut—and they are connected by the spinal cord. It is imperative that you have a strong, uninhibited flow and quantity of Qì throughout this core energy system to maintain your health. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of the underlying theory, I will first give a brief background of traditional methods and findings, tie them into more modern scientific research, and then finally close with a look at practice techniques that I recommend for your regular training today.
The Coronavirus Crisis – A Time for Us to Awaken - April 6, 2020
The human body was made to move and to exercise. It is the reason we have so many different muscles and joints. At the most basic level, movement and exercise will help your blood move, facilitating nourishment, repair, and energy circulation (Qì) in all of your body’s cells. The body functions most efficiently when this circulation is happening, and it is the foundation for a strong immune system.
How to Cultivate Personal Power Amid the Coronavirus - March 30, 2020
Chinese Medicine focuses on preventing disease and illness from occurring. As Qi Gong practitioners, we view preventative medicine as true health care, because it is caring for our health while it is still… well, healthy.
Boost Your Immune System with Qigong - March 23, 2020
We need to be mindful of developing healthy habits such as washing out hands after touching things outside of the house, drinking more water, keeping distance from people, and wearing a proper mask when necessary. These are all very important actions and should be done routinely during these difficult times.
The Science Behind Eastern Healing Modalities - March 23, 2020
When a person meditates, the electrical activity in the brain changes. This is true of any change of state such as intense concentration or emotion, drowsiness, sleep, and dreaming. These patterns of electrical activity are called brain waves and are measured by electroencephalography (EEG). Brain waves, also known as neural oscillations, have different frequencies.
Practice Dao—Value Dao, The Treasure of the World - March 16, 2020
The Dao conceals myriad objects.’ This is just like the ancient saying: ‘The Great Dao in this universe is shapeless, and (in a state of) quietness and solitude. It can be the master of myriad objects and does not wither with the four seasons.’ It transcends this universe, independent, and goes beyond time and exists alone.