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Qi, the Dao, and Cell Biology
February 14, 2022
Both Western and Eastern medical traditions base their definition of health on the correct functioning of bodily systems. In the Western paradigm, this is considered optimal cellular metabolism. In the Eastern model, this is considered the smooth flow of qi. Which concept is correct? They both are.
Understanding Natural Movement
December 27, 2021
By learning to move independently, we can become highly sensitized to frozen or inappropriately used muscle groups, thus providing a tool for directly working on releasing such unnecessary and harmful tension. Finally, the more able you are to consciously move a particular part of the body independently, the more successful you will be in sending qi to that area for healing an injury… and ultimately leading to the ability to do unified movement.
Dealing with Obstacles in Tai Chi
August 23, 2021
Students of any Teaching often lack the tools to make refinements to what they learn. Such a process requires critical thinking, analytical skills, perseverance, and knowledge of other arts such as science, mathematics, philosophy, etc. Henry Ford said: 'If you need a machine [or tool] and don't buy it, then you will ultimately find that you have paid for it and [still] don't have it.' A similar truth holds for tools for learning Taiji.
Qigong for Healing the Heart and Blood Vessels
June 21, 2021
By practicing qigong we can strengthen the Three Treasures. Because the jing, qi, and shen are inseparable, they support and fortify each other leading to better physical and emotional health and well-being.
Balance
May 3, 2021
When you begin to lose your balance—even to a small degree—shifting your weight is often a factor in recovering stability. So a combination of mobility and leg strength is important in preventing falling. The stronger your legs and the greater their range of motion, the greater the ability to correct for a loss of balance.”
Tai Chi: Swimming on Land - April 12, 2021
Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing wrote about the importance of what is described as "swimming on land,"1 "swimming in air,"2 and "dry swimming."3 We are advised in these writings to imagine the air as having the resistance and consistency of water when doing taiji movement.
The Benefits of Expansive Strength and How to Cultivate It - March 8, 2021
I learned about such strength from a dancer, Elaine Summers, with whom I studied in the 1970s because of problems I had with my back. At a certain point of practicing taiji, I realized that the strength she taught for movement and therapy was the same as nei jin. In order to develop such strength, it is first necessary to relinquish one’s accustomed contractive strength which would mask experiencing any fledgling emergence of expansive strength.
Solving Gut Problems with Taiji and Qigong - December 28, 2020
Learning is a big part of healing, especially in the healing of emotions. We know our emotions influence our physical body. The brain's emotional center needs to be refreshed, nourished, stimulated, and balanced. When you start to learn things you are not familiar with, you start to shift your focus onto new knowledge, new approaches, and a new life. This sort of internal transformation can improve your situation in life. It is as if you are shifting negative energy to positive energy. The more positive energy you have, the better the chance you can be healed.
How Chronic Inflammation Affects Digestion and Metabolism - November 9, 2020
Inflammation in and of itself is not a bad thing. In fact, inflammation is a critical process in healing. It is the body's normal response to acute injury or infection. If you scrape your knee or catch pneumonia, white cells within your blood release certain chemicals. These are called inflammatory markers. These markers tell your body to increase blood circulation to the affected area. Your knee, for instance, will start to look redder and feel warmer following the injury.
Understanding Our Digestive System - October 5, 2020
In 2012, an estimated seventy million Americans suffered from gastrointestinal disorders. Illness that arises from these conditions can cause a wide variety of symptoms and can lead to decreased quality of life. The resulting ambulatory care visits, hospitalizations, procedures, and indirect costs such as missed work tallied $142 billion.
Recommendations for Your Gut - September 21, 2020
If long rounds of testing and different dietary modifications fail to improve gastrointestinal and metabolic conditions, healthcare providers are finally advocating examining underlying physical and emotional stress as a possible cause of these problems. We feel strongly that stress management should be addressed concurrently with dietary and life-style strategies.
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.
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.
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.
Emotional Health Care - October 28, 2019
Homeostasis is the balance or equilibrium of having enough sleep, nutritious food and a safe and supportive living environment. Homeostasis or balance set points change over time and circumstances. Everyone has been through periods when life seems off kilter. Maybe you had to sleep less or work harder to accomplish a goal. Perhaps you lost your job or got a promotion. You may have married, divorced, or lost a loved one.
Western Health-Care Providers and Eastern Medicine - September 2, 2019
Conventionally trained physicians all over the world are seeking ways to help their patients move toward optimal health. There is a strong sense among Western health-care providers that pharmaceutical and surgical interventions may not be enough to correct the course of modern diseases, the majority of which are caused by poor lifestyle choices.
Xingyi, Bagua, Taiji and Liuhebafa - August 26, 2019
The approach to teaching and studying martial arts in China was based upon a monastic tradition that is characterized as door, hall, and chamber teaching. In times past the monastery, both Daoist and Buddhist, served as schools for medicine, the classics, and martial arts.
Work, Love, and Acupuncture - August 5, 2019
A wise man once told me, “Do something you love for a living and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I have certainly loved my career in medicine and, though some days have been more physically demanding than others, I do not think of my livelihood as “work”; it seems more like my “life’s work”. These days, that sentiment is truer than ever.
Emotional Health, Sleep, and Disease - July 22, 2019
For many centuries, humans have appreciated the connection between our emotional and physical health. Sleep lies at the interface between these realms, influencing and being influenced by our minds and bodies. When we find our mind troubled, our sleep disrupted, and our body out of balance, it is sometimes difficult to determine the initial cause.
Brief History of Liuhebafa: Water Boxing - July 15, 2019
The origins of Liuhebafa, also called Water Boxing, can be traced to the Daoist sage Chen Tuan (A.D. c.871-989) also called Tunan and Fuyaozi. Chen is a mystical figure whose advice and perspective was sought by Chinese emperors during the period of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (A.D. 907-960) and at the beginning of the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279).
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.
Increasing Reliance on Expensive Technologies and Medications - January 21, 2019
The commercialization of the practice of medicine is driving up the cost of health care in America. While many drugs, devices, and procedures available are truly miraculous, study after study has shown that commonsense approaches increase quality and length of life to a greater degree than do expensive technologies. These commonsense approaches are not new: regular exercise, not smoking, getting enough sleep, stress management, and an unprocessed diet that is rich in beneficial fats. These modifications increase healthy life expectancy by many, many years by preventing the onset of chronic illnesses. The Chinese have advocated similar strategies for thousands of years: inexpensive lifestyle changes are the cornerstone of Eastern medicine.
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.
General Principles for Eating Well - December 3, 2018
The diet in the United States is very out of balance for the majority of the population. People eat too much meat, too many sweets, too much dairy, and too-large quantities of food. Junk food is very common in many households. Row upon row of processed foods line our supermarket aisles.