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Meet the Author: Marisa Cranfill (YOQI) Interview About Qigong for Immunity (video)
January 10, 2022
YMAA Staff Writer Gene Ching interviews YOQI master Marisa Cranfill about her blend of Yoga and Qigong and how to practice to boost the immune system.
Some Martial Applications in Taiji Pushing Hands
August 16, 2021
The Thirteen Postures, (are derived) according to the theory of five elements and eight trigrams. They are the thirteen total jings of pushing hands. There are not another Thirteen Postures. The five elements are advance, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right, and central equilibrium. They can be interpreted by dividing into internal and external.
Heng and Ha Sounds Qigong
June 7, 2021
In the taiji classics it is written, “Grasp and hold the dan tian to train internal gongfu. Heng, ha two qi’s are marvelous and infinite.” It is also written, “The Throat is the second master.”
Qigong Flow to Boost the Immune System
April 5, 2021
With the COVID-19 virus pandemic, understanding the immune system has become an important topic of healthcare and self-care. The immune system is an intelligent matrix of biological structures and processes that protects your body against pathogens like bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.
Training Contents for Taiji Push Hands
January 25, 2021
From the fundamental practice of single pushing hands, advancing into double pushing hands, (you learn) to listen, understand, advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, and look to the right. When (you) have reached a natural reactive stage of using the yi without the yi, then (you) may enter the practice of moving pushing hands. (However, you should know that) in moving pushing hands training, the practice of advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right, and central equilibrium also start from single pushing hands. Its main goal is to train central equilibrium so it can harmonize the criteria of advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right.
YOQI: Qigong for Winter - December 21, 2020
Physically, winter qigong practices focus on the organs of the water element: the kidneys and the urinary bladder. In the Five Elements Phases of Traditional Chines Medicine, winter expresses the water element.  In your body, the water element particularly affects your kidneys, urinary bladder, fluids, spinal cord, bone marrow and brain.
Theory of Taiji Pushing Hands - December 14, 2020
When discussing the concept of pushing hands we often envision two individuals engaging in an exercise where one is attempting to find the other’s center of gravity (i.e., physical center) and push them off balance. In some cases, the tendencies of aggressive behavior evolve into a competitive interaction between the two individuals, and unfortunately the essence of taiji pushing hands becomes lost with one person winning the match through use of force. Pushing hands practice involves the application of taijiquan theory and basic movements into matching actions with a partner.
Taiji Ball Qigong - November 30, 2020
Traditionally, taiji ball qigong training was a very important training for many external and internal styles. The reason it is so effective is because taiji ball qigong, using wood (internal styles) or rock (external styles) balls in the hands, helps focus the training in round movements. Consequently, this training is able to increase the endurance, strength, mobility, and flexibility of the practitioner's physical body, especially the torso.
Qigong Flow For Happy Organs - Part 2 - November 2, 2020
Qigong Flow for Happy Kidneys is a complete routine designed to balance and nourish the kidneys and urinary bladder. In traditional Chinese medicine, the kidneys resonate with the water element and the spirt of willpower. Happy kidneys are the key to energetic stamina, sexual potency, and longevity. They not only regulate the body fluids and filter the blood, but they are also considered the energy batteries of our body. The kidneys store yuan qi, the precious gift of innate qi inherited from our parents.
Qigong Flow For Happy Organs - October 26, 2020
Qigong is a meditation in motion that balances the energy aspect of your being for healing, health, and vitality. The YOQI style of qigong, called Qigong Flow, is the art of energy cultivation through one continuous stream of body-based awareness that alternates between stillness and movement, yin and yang.
Tai Chi Jing Practice - October 26, 2020
Often jing has been considered a secret transmission in Chinese martial arts society. This is so not only because it was not revealed to most students, but also because it cannot be passed down with words alone. Jing must be experienced. It is said that the master "passes down jing." Once you feel jing done by your master, you know what is meant and can work on it by yourself.
YOQI: Qigong for Autumn - October 12, 2020
Autumn is the time of year when nature is letting go. Leaves are falling, earth is tilling and going inward preparing for winter. So it's a good time to support our own energy and fortify the immune system. Spiritually, it's a special time to ask ourselves who we are and release anything that is preventing us from expressing our authentic selves.
Release Anxiety, Stress and Tension with Qigong - August 17, 2020
One of the greatest contributions of Traditional Chinese Medicine is the understanding that the state of our health is linked to the state of our emotions. We intuitively know that stress, anger, worry, grief, and fear have a direct effect on our body and our perception of life. For example, fear-based emotions stimulate the release of one set of chemicals while love-based emotions release a different set of chemicals. To achieve harmony and wellbeing, a fundamental aspect of qigong training is to transform negative emotions into positive virtues.
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.
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.
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.
Tai Chi, Metarobics, and Immunity - February 17, 2020
Tai chi practice has been shown to have beneficial effect on T cells. In a study conducted at the Chang Gung Institute of Technology in Taiwan, 12 weeks of tai chi practice resulted in a significant increase in regulatory T Cells. Monocytes (large white blood cells) also decreased significantly. Lower Monocyte counts are an indication of good health, since Monocytes increase in response to infection and chronic inflammation, indicating poor health.
Maximizing Metarobic Effects - December 16, 2019
Those forms of exercise that focus on relaxation, efficient movement, and slow, deep breathing yield consistently higher blood oxygen saturation levels, as well as feelings of enhanced oxygen diffusion. This includes relaxation- and breath-focused forms of qigong and yoga. Since one of the drawbacks of traditional formats of tai chi is the long learning curve, I developed an easy-to-follow format. This format consisted of shifting the feet back and forth in place through the range of movements found in tai chi, focusing on movements that maximize Metarobic effects.
Metarobics, Tai Chi and Alzheimer’s - June 10, 2019
Alzheimer’s is a scary disease. To go from having memories and full mental functioning to not knowing who you are, a decline in mental and physical functioning, and eventual death—what can be scarier than that? And as a disease, Alzheimer’s is becoming increasingly prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control, death rates from Alzheimer’s disease increased 55 percent between 1999 and 2014. Approximately one-third of all people age 85 and older may have Alzheimer's disease. Although genes and environment can play a factor, much of the growth of Alzheimer’s may be linked to a more sedentary lifestyle.
The First Rule of Self-Defense - April 8, 2019
I’m fond of telling my martial arts students that the First Rule of Self-Defense is “Don’t get hit.” After all, how can you be defeated if no one hits you? This rule makes perfect strategic sense from a pugilistic perspective. However, there is a better and more broadly applicable rule that I prefer to stand by: “Protect your best interests.” What is self-defense, really, if not protecting, or defending, your best interests? The advice “Don’t get hit” is simple and unambiguous, and therefore easy to understand.
Your Tai Chi Pelvis - February 11, 2019
Tai chi is a personal development discipline deeply rooted in ancient Chinese culture. One of the most basic tenets of Asian philosophy and of its many traditional mind/body disciplines is that neither the mind nor the body can ever be regarded as entirely separate from the other. This is a belief that I share.
Tips for Selecting a Tai Chi Class - January 14, 2019
To learn or practice tai chi for health, teaching ability can make more difference than the years of experience a teacher has in tai chi. This was also something hard for me to admit as a longtime practitioner. There are many traditionalists with a more martial orientation who may have incredible skill in tai chi but little patience as teachers. One of the largest barriers to learning tai chi identified in a survey of major programs in the United States was lack of patience on the part of the instructor.
Anatomy of a Warrior Spirit - December 23, 2018
Martial artists are, by definition, warriors. True warriors have warrior spirit. In martial arts, as in life, there are some people who are successful, and some people who are not. The most successful people are imbued with a warrior spirit, known in the Chinese tradition as Yi. Warrior spirit has nothing to do with fighting or aggression, even though skilled fighters often have a well-developed warrior spirit. On the contrary, warrior spirit is about having the wherewithal to resolve conflict or avoid it altogether, and most of all to muster the internal fortitude requisite to the process of mastering yourself.