Articles | YMAA
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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.
Eastern Treatment Approach to Insomnia
December 9, 2019
Having a good night sleep is so important. Most healing processes happen at night when the body/mind is completely at ease and relaxed.
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.
Qigong for Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia
August 19, 2019
The term qigong is composed of two words. The first, “qi” has been translated as the “life energy” or “vital force” within the body. “Gong” has been translated as “work” or “mastery.” Together, the word qigong can be interpreted as “energy work” or the act of mastering one’s vital force.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Yang Taijiquan at Medium Speed – A Bridge to Understanding Jing Training - March 18, 2019
Contrary to what is commonly seen in parks or in pharmaceutical commercials, Taijiquan movements can be quick and used for combat. For martial proficiency, the natural progression is slow, medium, then fast. Medium speed is the bridge to understanding different types of "jing" (martial power 勁) and applying "fa jing" (manifesting explosive martial power 發勁) in future practice.
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.
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.