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Push Hands: Tai Chi with Friends
December 31, 2020
In Push Hands, two partners work together to improve each other's balance. These exercises are applicative expressions of the various postures within the Tai Chi form. The foundation of Tai Chi lies within martial arts, so self-defense principles are interwoven throughout the routines. Even though many Tai Chi enthusiasts aren't looking to use it in a fight, proper alignment is critical to good Tai Chi practice. It's all based on balance. And nothing informs you that you are off balance better than a good push.
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.
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.
Undivided We Become Strong
November 16, 2020
The most frustrating thing is that I have never seen the division in this country between people, between government, between races, and between families. Is this what we want? I don’t think so. As a holistic doctor and teacher for so many years, one thing I am continually teaching is that negative emotions greatly affect our health and life. This division can only create more negative emotions.
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.
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.
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.
Revisit Nature and Balance Your Life - September 14, 2020
We are beginning to truly understand the value of ceremony and celebration. We are here to celebrate with friends, being healthy, being balanced, being in harmony with nature. Dr. Kuhn was the one to point out that people have to celebrate – still, even in these times. It is not indulgent. It is what we need, especially now. And we think we found it, in a picnic in nature.
Some Guidance on Chen Style Tai Chi Cannon Fist - September 7, 2020
Chen Style Lao Jia Er Lu is a more complex and advanced level routine that is characterized with burst of power emission movements and more martial applications. Understanding how to utilize softness, gentleness, coiling and silk reeling into a burst of power emission and martial application would be the main focus in learning this form.
Begin Learning Chen Tai Chi - August 24, 2020
The Chen-style traditional forms offer progressive training. The first form focuses on Peng, Lu, Ji, An, or Ward Off, Rollback, Press and Push, as primary techniques and Cai, Lei, Zhou, Kao as assisting techniques. This builds our foundation physically and mentally, and is a common focus in many tai chi styles. But, in Cannon Fist, Cai, Lie, Zhou, Kao or Pull Down, Split, Elbow Strike, and Body Leaning Strike are used as the primary techniques and Peng, Lu, Ji, An are used as assisting techniques, which deepens the skill and nuance of your practice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Unique Taiji Movement Sequences - March 2, 2020
Taiji movements are not like any other exercise. The special choreographed movements are circular and in constant motion. Many gestures cross the body from left to right, from upward to downward, and from right diagonal to left diagonal. It is multidimensional. The footwork is slow, on the diagonal, well controlled, and involves multiple changing stances.
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.
2020: Enter the Rat! The First of the Twelve Chinese Zodiac Signs - January 20, 2020
The Chinese year 4718 begins on January 25, 2020. According to the Chinese zodiac it will be the Year of the Rat (鼠年 - “rat year”; pinyin: shǔnián). The Chinese calendar is lunisolar (not purely lunar). Months begin with the new moon (when it is darkest). New Year's Day usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. The year 1 on the Chinese calendar corresponds to the first reign year of the legendary Yellow Emperor (黃帝; pinyin: Huángdì), who is said to have invented the calendar during the 61st year of his reign.