YMAA Tai Chi and Internal Arts Curriculum
April 22, 2019
At YMAA, students learn qigong (energy cultivation) as part of their taiji or kung fu classes. In ancient times, Shaolin monks trained the cultivation of qi (energy), and realized muscular power could be enhanced to a tremendous level, making martial techniques more powerful and effective. This was the beginning of internal cultivation in Chinese martial arts, starting around 550 AD /CE. In internal styles, YMAA focuses mainly on traditional Yang-style taijiquan which originated from Yang, Ban-Hou (楊班候).
Subtle Clarity—Yin and Yang Lao Tzu, Translation and Commentary
February 25, 2019
It is clear that in order to expand something, it must first shrink. It is the same when you want to weaken it: first you should strengthen it. In order to reduce it, you must first build it up. Also, in order to take it, first you must give. This is the theory of yin and yang, which always balance each other.
Guiding and Leading (Humility)-Putting Oneself Behind
December 10, 2018
As a leader, humility is the most important prerequisite to lead the people. The book Shu (《書‧大禹謨》) said: “(Those) satisfied will cause damage and (those) humble will acquire benefits.” This is because those who are humble can take a low position, be open-minded, and be willing to learn; thus they gain. Those who are satisfied and proud of themselves will not listen and learn from others; thus they lose. The Book of Changes (《易‧謙》) said: “Those who are humble and again humble always use their modest personality to restrain themselves.”
Qi: Science or Magic?
November 26, 2018
Tai chi and similar exercises are yielding phenomenal results for a large variety of health concerns. When I began collecting case stories, I was amazed at the number of people who have benefited from these exercises, often in dramatic ways. That tai chi and various qigong exercises increase blood oxygen saturation indicates that it is no coincidence that the Chinese word "qi" (pronounced "chi") is so strongly associated with these exercises. Despite qi's common association with the metaphysical and energy work, at its most basic level qi is best understood from its literal translation as "air."
Qigong and Tai Chi Benefits
November 19, 2018
Now is the time to start your action and make things happen. We all have different plans even though we have similar goals. We must put theory into action. Without action, nothing works. As unique as each of us is, as individually tailored as each healing plan might be, there is one item that should be on everyone's list: exercise.
Doing Nothing—Be Nature - October 29, 2018
For those who wish to take over the world and act upon it, I can see that they cannot succeed. The world is a sacred vessel, it cannot be acted upon it and cannot be controlled. Those who act upon it will fail; and those who control it will lose.
Self-Nourishment—Commonality Translated and Interpreted Dr.Yang, Jwing-Ming - September 10, 2018
Humans have defined what beauty is and what it is not. We also defined what is good and what is bad. In doing this, we set up an emotional matrix and dogma in human society. Once we have these concepts, there exists having or not having, difficulty or ease, and other ideas in comparison to one another. Consequently, competitiveness arises and different classes are discriminated. Du, Guang-Ting (杜光庭) said: "What are beauty and goodness? They are initiated from xin (i.e., emotional mind).
Qi, the Dao, and Cell Biology - September 3, 2018
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.
Qigong Interpretation: Dao De Jing - August 27, 2018
In qigong practice, through a few thousand years of pondering and practice, the Chinese people have been trying to understand the grand universe (da tian di, 大天地), the small universe (xiao tian di, 小天地), and their mutual relationship. From this understanding, they hope to live long and to comprehend the meaning of life. Since The Book of Changes (Yi Jing, 《易經》), the Chinese have believed there are two dimensions coexisting in this universe.
General Chinese Treatments for Back Pain - June 25, 2018
Back pain is not considered to be a sickness, but a pain caused by other sicknesses. Therefore, the usual treatment is first to stop the pain by using acupuncture, massage, or both in combination. The key to reaching this goal is to improve the qi and blood circulation in the pained area. Occasionally, herbs are also used to improve the circulation and stop the pain. However, all of these measures are considered temporary, since they are not able to cure the root of the sickness but only alleviate the symptoms. In order to have a complete recovery or cure the root of the problem, a healthy and strong foundation must be rebuilt. Naturally, this usually takes a long time, but it is a long-term solution.
Qigong Theory—The Roots in the Garden - May 28, 2018
Many people think that qigong is a difficult subject to comprehend. In some ways, this is true. However, you must understand one thing: regardless of how difficult the qigong theory and practice of a particular style are, the basic theory and principles are very simple and remain the same for all of the qigong styles.
Qigong for Arthritis - April 30, 2018
I would like to discuss the attitude that you need to adopt in your practice. Quite frequently, people who are ill are reluctant to become involved in the healing process. This is especially true for arthritis patients. Both Western and Chinese physicians have had difficulty persuading them to become involved in regular exercise or qigong. The main reason for this reluctance is that the patients are afraid of pain, and therefore believe that these kinds of exercise are harmful. In order to conquer this obstacle to your healing, you must understand the theory of healing and the reason for practicing. Only then will you have the confidence necessary for continued practice. Remember, a physician may have an excellent prescription for your illness, but if you don’t take the medicine, it won’t do you any good.
An Introduction to Qi and Qigong - January 29, 2018
If you study the history of the human race, you will see that a large part of this history has been taken up with war, conquest, killing, and the struggle for power. We have tended to worship as heroes those who could conquer and rule other countries, and we have wrongly educated each new generation to glorify killing and slavery, and to worship power. There have been only relatively short periods when humankind has not been at war, when people could live their lives in peace and tranquility; but it was during these times that people created art, wrote poems, and sought ways to live longer and happier lives.
Common Sensations Experienced in Still Meditation - January 15, 2018
When you practice still meditation, regulating your body, breathing, and mind, you enter into deep meditation. Qi readjusts and balances itself, reaching even the smallest place in your body. You have feelings and visions, which cannot be experienced when you are not in meditation.
Chinese or Western Medicine for Arthritis Sufferers? - October 30, 2017
Arthritis has afflicted humankind for as far back as we can trace. In all races, the young as well as the old have experienced the pain of arthritis. The condition can also have a disastrous effect on the sufferer’s peace of mind. Despite the great advances made in many fields of science, Western medicine today is still unable to cure many forms of arthritis.
How Do the Chinese Treat Back Pain? - September 27, 2017
Qigong is the study of qi. This means that qigong actually covers a very wide field of research and includes the study of the three general types of qi (heaven qi, earth qi, and human qi) and their interrelationships. However, because the Chinese have traditionally paid more attention to the study of human qi, which is concerned with health and longevity, the term “qigong” has often been misunderstood and misused to mean only the study of human qi.
Ten Tips for a Stress-Free Lifestyle - July 10, 2017
Depression is a major health hazard affecting many people's lives all around the world. Stress is a large part of depression. In the United States, about fifty-four million people experience some type of mental disorder each year. That is about one in five Americans. There are certain things we should pay attention to in order to have a stress-free lifestyle, which can greatly contribute to reducing or eliminating depression.
Radiant Lotus Qigong for Women - March 6, 2017
Throughout China, Japan, India, Egypt and other Eastern countries, the beautiful lotus flower is famed for its ability to grow in muddy, stagnant waters, absorbing what is useful and releasing what no longer supports its optimum health. Amidst challenging conditions, it breaks through the darkness to bring light, beauty, strength and grace to our world.
What is Qi and What is Qigong? - March 14, 2016
To understand taiji ball qigong, first you must know what qi and qigong are. Only then will you be able to comprehend how and why qigong is able to bring you health, longevity, and even spiritual enlightenment.
Moving Taiji Qigong - May 15, 2015
Moving taiji qigong includes both stationary and walking exercises. The following discusses the first of three stationary sets with exercises. The first one, which I call the “primary set,” is generally used for taijiquan beginners. I call the second set the “coiling set,” since it emphasizes coiling movements. The third set is the “rocking set.”
Nèigōng: Martial Qìgōng for Internal Power - December 8, 2014
The traditional Chinese art of Nèi-gōng is the key to developing more qì (energy) and maximizing your circulation. Continual practice of Nèigōng is a process of internal alchemy resulting in a refinement and transmutation of the "Three Treasures" or Sān Bǎo (三寶).
Regulating the Breath (Tiao Xi) - November 24, 2014
Regulating breathing means to regulate your breath until it is calm, smooth, and peaceful. Only when you have reached this point will you be able to make the breathing deep, slender, long, and soft, which is required for successful qigong practice.
Acupuncture Points Verified with New Technology - September 8, 2014
Acupuncture is the art of stimulating points in the body to improve circulation and remove blockages, either as a general tonic or to promote the healing of specific ailments.
Action of the Five Building Blocks of Qi (Energy System) - August 25, 2014
In order to achieve a strong energetic system, we must fine-tune each of the five building blocks until fine-tuning is not necessary.
Still Sitting Meditation and Still Standing Meditation—Yin and Yang - March 3, 2014
As with all other forms of martial qigong, taiji qigong can be categorized into both yin and yang practices. The yin side of taiji qigong contains exercises that emphasize calmness without movement, and the yang side of taiji qigong has exercises that are more physically active.
Healing with Qigong and Tai Chi - February 10, 2014
Ramel Rones was accepted by Dr. Yang as a disciple in 1983 due to his exceptional learning capability and humble dedication to the training. After years of gold award-winning martial arts demonstrations and competitions across the United States and China, Ramel now works as a Scientific Consultant of Mind/Body Therapies at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and at Harvard and Tufts Medical Schools in Boston, Mass.
Nei Dan Sitting Meditation - January 13, 2014
If you are a qigong beginner, I recommend that you do not start this training on your own. Nei dan qigong is hard to understand and experience, especially for qigong beginners. If you do not understand the training theory and practice incorrectly, you may injure yourself. Wai dan standing meditation is generally much safer.
Meditation Techniques at YMAA Retreat Center - Part 2 - December 15, 2013
Two hard, consecutive chimes signal the start of the second segment. In this segment, we use a breathing technique called embryonic breathing. Embryonic breathing gets its name because it is based on the actions of pre-birth breathing. An embryo absorbs nutrients from its mother with a pumping action of the abdomen, connected via the umbilical cord. We mimic this method with reverse abdominal breathing, alongside movement with the perineum and lower back.
Meditation Techniques at YMAA Retreat Center - Part 1 - December 9, 2013
For a disciple at the YMAA Retreat Center, every morning begins the same way. Before dawn, we quietly rise from our beds and make our way outside, filing one by one into our little gazebo, which overlooks the mountains. Each disciple grabs a mat or a cushion and faces one of two directions: Either east, toward the rising sun, or toward the center of the bagua diagram emblazoned on the floor.
Wai Dan Standing Still Meditation - December 1, 2013
Over the years, various taijiquan and qigong masters have created many postures for standing still meditation. Generally speaking, they are safer to practice than the small circulation exercises because they build up the qi locally in parts of the body, rather than directly in the qi vessels.
Five Categories of Qigong Exercises - October 21, 2013
It is very important to keep the qi or internal energy circulating smoothly in your body. Many different kinds of qigong exercises have been created to achieve this, but they can generally be categorized into five groups according to the main purpose of the training.
Be Mindful on Mother's Day - May 6, 2013
Happy Mother's Day! Mother's Day is an interesting institution. In the act of honoring women who have children, we can inadvertently bring up heavy emotions. Some women are left feeling that "something is missing" on Mother’s Day.
Qigong for Women: Gynecological Health - February 11, 2013
Menopause and the menstrual cycle are natural processes that don’t have to cause suffering in women. However, most women find the opposite to be true. Hormone health is inextricably connected to our stress level. Stress doesn’t have a quick fix and can only be improved with gentle but steady attention to our lifestyle.
Qigong Meditation: Methods of Stopping Thought (Zhi Nian) - January 21, 2013
Before you start, you should understand that there are no techniques, which are absolutely effective for everybody. It depends on the individual. It may also depend on the situation and timing. Remember that the final goal of regulating your thoughts is to reach “the thought of no thought.”
Tui Na (Chinese Massage) - January 7, 2013
This experience is my favorite, and every year that I go to China, I always make sure to have my Chinese massage. Chinese massage called Tui Na or An Mo, is the oldest manual, natural healing method. It was developed earlier than herbs and acupuncture. At first, humans fought against disease by using their own hands and body parts. Later they developed other natural methods for healing and disease prevention.
Tai Chi for Relaxation: Dealing with Stress - December 10, 2012
We are faced with many kinds of stress every single day. Modern life is fast-paced. The images we see in advertising and on TV are flashy and rapid-fire. The media and Internet blast millions of images before our eyes and minds every day. Prime-time television is cynical and obsessed with action, murder, and mayhem.
Qigong for Women: Chest Health - November 5, 2012
Breast health is an important issue for women, but it is just part of the entire health concerns that should be addressed. Many people don't realize that almost ten times as many women die of major cardiovascular disease as die of breast cancer.
Common Qigong Phenomena - September 24, 2012
There are common phenomena experienced in qigong practice. These "rules" have been passed down for hundreds of years to help beginners to find the right path in their qigong and meditation practice.
The Third Eye or Spiritual Breathing - May 7, 2012
The third eye is located behind the forehead, between the skull and the brain, in front of what is also called the spiritual valley or the crack between the two hemispheres of the brain.
The Eight Extraordinary Qi Vessels - Part 2 - March 12, 2012
As discussed in Part 1 of The Eight Extraordinary Qi Vessels, most of the vessels branch out from the twelve primary channels and share the function of circulating Qi throughout the body. The following are the different types of vessels and their specific functions.
The Eight Extraordinary Qi Vessels - Part 1 - March 5, 2012
The eight extraordinary Qi vessels and the twelve primary Qi channels (meridians) comprise the main part of the channel system. Most of the eight vessels branch out from the twelve primary channels and share the function of circulating Qi throughout the body.
The Twelve Primary Qi Channels - Part 4 - December 19, 2011
At least as far back as the 3rd century A.D., in the Classic on Disorders (Nan Jing) the Triple Burner was regarded as “having a name but no form.” In the Inner Classic (Nei Jing,) the Triple Burner was considered an Organ that coordinated all the functions of water metabolism.
The Twelve Primary Qi Channels - Part 3 - December 12, 2011
In Part 1 of the Twelve Primary Channels there is a short review of the twelve primary channels and the eight extraordinary meridians.
The Twelve Primary Qi Channels - Part 2 - November 28, 2011
You should know that in our body, there are six Yang organs and six Yin organs. Each Yang organ is associated with and harmonized by a Yin organ.
Sensing Qi - November 7, 2011
How is it that the human body can sense energy? Scientifically, we don’t know what qi is. Many people assume it is some kind of electromagnetic wave. Within the body, qi could become an electrochemical phenomenon similar to how nerves transmit impulses chemically through the body.
Qigong Healing Practices - October 10, 2011
There are four main types of Qigong healing practices: Qigong exercise, Qigong meditation, Qigong massage, and Qigong healing.
Latissimus or Side Lung Breathing or Wing Breath - August 22, 2011
It is not enough to just breathe in and breathe out, or even sigh and linger. You need to develop the skill of moving the air into specific areas within the lungs. Some disciplines call them chambers; some call them sections, and others call them areas, or rooms. I created friendly names and images for the different areas in the lungs—images that will help direct the air or the breath to wherever you desire it to move.
Qigong Training Theory - April 13, 2011
Every qigong form or practice has its special training purpose and theory. If you do not know the purpose and theory, you have lost the root (meaning) of the practice. Therefore, as a qigong practitioner, you must continue to ponder and practice until you understand the root of every set or form.
Martial Grand Circulation - March 21, 2011
We always hear stories about Kung Fu (功夫) or Taijiquan (太極拳) masters who have developed incredible skills. One of the reasons why they became so good is because they practiced Martial Grand Circulation. Some martial arts practitioners believe that through Martial Grand Circulation, one can energize the muscles to a higher state of efficiency.
The Twelve Primary Qi Channels - Part 1 - March 7, 2011
Here will briefly review the twelve primary Qi channels along with the eight extraordinary meridians. You should also know the organ's Yin and Yang. In our body, there are six Yang organs and six Yin organs. Each Yang organ is associated with and harmonized by a Yin organ.
Neck and Spine Exercises for Back Pain - February 21, 2011
I would like to stress that the following exercises are based on my personal understanding and treating experiences from both the Western and Chinese medical point of view about lower back pain. I urge you to keep your mind open, study, and absorb other sources of information about back pain treatments.
Some Stretching Qigong Exercises for Back Pain - February 14, 2011
Out of all the Chinese martial Qigong developed in the last fifteen hundred years, there are only a few styles which pay attention to the torso’s strength, especially the spine. These styles are: White Crane, Snake, Dragon, and Taijiquan. The reason for this is simply that these styles are classified as either soft or soft-hard styles of martial arts in China.
Why Meditation is Important in Martial Arts - January 24, 2011
To reach the full potential as a martial arts practitioner, you must begin by training your mind. One way to accomplish this task is through sitting meditation. Through meditation your awareness, calm, and focus will increase. These are all very important factors in martial arts.
Between Awake and Asleep - November 22, 2010
Most Eastern arts seek ways for the practitioner to spend more time in a deeply relaxed state, that is, with a meditative mind. This deep level of meditation is an essential step for achievement in all Eastern disciplines.
Two Qigong Categories: Medical Qigong for Healing and Martial Qigong for Fighting - November 8, 2010
In ancient Chinese society, most emperors respected the scholars and were affected by their philosophy. Doctors were not regarded highly because they made their diagnosis by touching the patient's body, which was considered characteristic of the lower classes in society.