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.
Tai Chi Seated Workout
March 1, 2021
Tai chi master teacher David-Dorian Ross has taught for years a seated "Healthy Back" routine that can be practiced by anyone, at any age or fitness level. It allows students to gradually experience pain relief, and develop flexibility. Seated tai chi and qigong exercises stretch and strengthen your back, taking pressure off the spine and muscles, so that you can ease into essential tai chi and qigong postures for alleviating pain and create better structural integrity. Sitting tai chi is actually an ancient practice going back centuries.
Tai Chi for a Healthy Heart
February 22, 2021
Mind-body exercises, such as tai chi and yoga, have been gaining popularity over the past few decades. This is not surprising, given the increasing number of studies on the positive effects of these gentler forms of exercise—everything from lowering blood pressure and managing depression to building strength and improving balance. There is even evidence that tai chi may help you live a longer, more vital life.
Bam Commandments: Spiritual Principles
February 15, 2021
It’s the first of the month in the tough ghetto neighborhood. It’s payday for the poor. The welfare check has arrived, and the drug dealers can’t wait. It’s also their payday, and they can easily estimate $20,000-$50,000 in income. This might seem exaggerated, but it’s not. This dealing goes on every day, and with this business comes violence, guns, and murder for those in top positions of power.
Needle Through Brick: A Postcard of Traditional Kung Fu from Borneo
February 11, 2021
Needle Through Brick is a documentary that poses these questions by taking an intimate look at some surviving traditional Kung Fu and Tai Chi masters of Malaysian Borneo, particularly Sarawak and Sibu. There’s a large Chinese population here, a diaspora of masters who fled the Japanese occupation and the communists. Needle Through Brick presents insightful interviews of Borneo’s unique elder masters as the precious disciplines that they have dedicated their lives to face extinction.
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.
Know the Land, Know the Martial Arts History of Vietnam - September 28, 2020
Vietnam has a land mass close to 332,000 square kilometers, it borders China to the north, mainland Southeast Asia to the west and has hundreds of kilometers of coastline. As a result, the region has long been seen as a strategically and economically valuable resource. The modern incarnation of Vietnam was first amalgamated by military expansion southwards throughout the seventeenth century, giving the country its distinct "S" shape. Meanwhile, the northern borders have had very little modification since the withdrawal of the Song Dynasty in 1070.
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.
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.
Introducing New YMAA Author Marisa Cranfill - August 3, 2020
Marisa discovered Qigong as a student at Zhejiang University, China in 1999 through a local taiji chuan master. Since she has studied with many of the world’s top Qigong masters, some well-known and others off the grid. Marisa formally trained and is certified to teach with blessings from masters of two lineages of Qigong: Universal Healing Tao with Master Mantak Chia and Master Robert Peng.
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.
Vietnamese Martial Arts and Their Role in the Modern World - July 24, 2020
The land we now know as Vietnam has been defined by centuries of conflict. Within the modern-day borders of the country, countless battles for dominance, resources and survival have taken place, thus ensuring the development of many unique fighting styles. Although there has been a long and intertwined history between China and Vietnam (the name Vietnam even stems from the Chinese "Nan Yue" which means "Southern Dwellers",) various geographical, cultural and physical differences have all coalesced to create combat systems that are distinctly different from their northern counterparts.
Defining the Threat—Perception vs. Reality - July 20, 2020
Let’s perform a little mental exercise. I want you to close your eyes and come up with a mental picture of what you think a terrorist looks like. Be honest with yourself; don’t think about what’s culturally or socially acceptable, just form the image in your head based on what you know about terrorism. What do you see? Where is this person from? What do they look like? Are they poor and underprivileged? Are they well off and nicely dressed? Come up with as much detail as you can. No matter what image you came up with in your head, I can guarantee the reality is much more diverse.
Tai Chi and Depression Q&A with Dr. Joan Listernick, Ph.D. - July 13, 2020
Depression is one of many diseases I have treated. After years of training in tai chi and qi gong with well-known masters in China, observing specific responses from students and patient, I have combined my knowledge of Chinese medicine, natural healing methods, and Daoist philosophy. I’ve designed this specific form of tai chi to help people recover from depression—or prevent it altogether. I created this specific form drawn from some Yang style and some from Chen style and also from qi gong, martial arts, and meditation, creating a high-quality practice. I decided to use this form for my own little study after seeing so many people suffering from depression and emotional struggles.
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.
The Basics of Predatory Behavior - June 22, 2020
To better understand predatory behaviors, let’s start by breaking down and categorizing the different types of predators and their basic motivations. In his book, Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected, Sgt. Rory Miller breaks down predators into two groups: resource predators and process predators. A resource predator is looking for tangible items, be it cash, jewelry, or even your shoes. They’ve decided they need something and they’re going to take it from you. Predators in this category include your basic mugger, pickpocket, or burglar.
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.
Situational Awareness in the Age of CoVid-19 - June 8, 2020
This isn’t the first time that an unforeseen circumstance has completely changed our lives. September 11, 2001 was a tragic day for all of America. The attacks on the world trade center, pentagon and United flight 93 affected us all on an emotional level. It reshaped the way we think and live.
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.