• Diet,  Recipe,  Spring,  Summer,  Yangsheng

    Li Xia Dan (Beginning of Summer Eggs) 立夏蛋

    As we pass the Li Xia “Beginning of Summer” 立夏 solar term, we begin to transition away from the spring season and into the summer. Summer is associated with fire and the heart organ system, and at this time, the kidneys, associated with water, are in their weakest state. This is an important time to prepare for this transition and nourish our kidney jing (essence). Our kidney system is foundational to the three treasures (jing, qi, and shen) and therefore extremely important for those who seek progress in neigong practice. In general, nourishing our kidney jing at this time makes our health strong and robust during the shift of seasons…

  • Spring,  Yangsheng

    Spring Wellness: Three Flower Tea 三花茶

    There is a Chinese folk proverb: 春饮花茶,夏饮绿茶,秋饮青茶,冬饮红茶。Drink flower tea in spring, green tea in summer, qing cha 青茶 (light oolong) in autumn, and black tea in winter.  Spring is the season associated with waking up, growth, and the liver organ system. It is when all the flowers start blooming outdoors. So it is intuitive that a refreshing and fragrant flower tea would be appropriate at this time, especially considering that many types of flower tea have beneficial properties for our liver organ system. In particular, we will look at variations of Three Flower Tea (San Hua Cha 三花茶). Flower teas are usually pretty gentle, however, as with everything it is…

  • Buddhism,  Daoism,  Neigong

    Vajrapani: the Protector of Shaolin

    Vajrapani is a deity with special significance for Shaolin Temple who is rich with symbolism. Could he also represent the skill of electric-like qi emission? As discussed below, this idea may not be too much of a stretch. Vajrapani is the patron Bodhisattva and protector deity of Shaolin Temple. In Chinese he is called Jingang Shou Pusa (金刚手菩萨), literally, “holder of the vajra.” The vajra is both a symbolic ritual object and a weapon, and could be translated from Sanskrit as either “thunderbolt” or “diamond.” Vajrapani is a deity that is not only seen as a protector and source of strength, but also represents some of the most interesting juxtapositions…

  • Chinese Medicine,  Spring,  Yangsheng

    Spring Wellness: Ox Horn Gua Sha the Liver, Gallbladder, and Spleen Meridians

    Spring is the season associated with the liver and the gallbladder organ systems, and so it is a great time to work this daily yangsheng practice into your routine.  In the Huangdi Neijing (黄帝内经) it says that the liver is the “general of the human body” (人体的将军), tasked with leading an army to resist toxins that are accumulating within and invading from without. The liver is responsible for maintaining the smooth flow of qi and blood. A variety of problems including poor quality of sleep, waking up in the middle of the night every night (usually between 1-3am), emotional imbalance, procrastination, and irregular menstruation in women are all common signs…

  • Chinese Medicine,  Spring,  Yangsheng

    Spring Wellness

    Spring is the beginning. It is the season of renewal and of nature coming to life. Yang qi has been in storage during the winter and it is now released; its emergence resulting in growth, flourishing, and blossoming. It is a season of harmony and the time to shake off any stagnant energy, get outside for a stroll through the park or a hike in the mountains, and to avoid sitting around and dwelling on things. Spring corresponds to the Wood phase (mù 木) and the liver organ system. In spring it is recommended to get up early, but also to go to bed early to be sure to nourish…

  • Firsthand Experiences,  Members Only,  Neigong

    Fagong Practice: Assisted Faqi, Practice Moving Non-living Materials

    The skill of electric-like qi emission (fagong 发功) is not something you encounter every day. It is a level of skill that typically takes years to attain and is often aided by various “boosts” and adjustments from a master as the student gradually develops. Practicing fagong “with assistance” is sort of like a way for a student to begin to practice this skill with “training wheels,” so that they can start to develop the necessary control and mind-body coordination needed for this never-before-used function of their body.  In light of the above, the majority of western students who are practicing this skill (as taught, for example, within the Gengmenpai and…

  • Chinese Medicine,  Diet,  Members Only,  Recipe,  Yangsheng

    The Best Zhou 粥 (Congee) to Support the Spleen and Fuel your Neigong

    One of the most important texts for Chinese Medicine, the Huangdi Neijing 黄帝内经, lists the well-known “evils” or environmental factors which can cause us harm along with the organ system most susceptible to each: 藏所惡:心惡熱,肺惡寒,肝惡風,脾惡濕,腎惡燥,是謂五惡。 The hidden evils are: heat in the heart, cold in the lungs, wind in the liver, dampness in the spleen, and dryness in the kidneys. These are the five evils. In addition to climatic factors, modern sedentary lifestyle paired with the greasy, fried, sugary and processed foods so prevalent in modern society make so many people susceptible to excess dampness, and this is especially harmful to the spleen system.  A healthy spleen system is foundational…

  • Modern Science,  Neigong,  Yijinjing

    Modern Science on Training our Connective Tissues (Fascia, Tendons, etc)

    The “tendon” system (here broadly referring to all stringy connective tissue) and the meridian system of the body form a yin-yang pair. Developing the tendon system is a key aspect of neigong training as it enriches and unblocks qi flow throughout the body, promotes organ health, immune health, and various other aspects of health.  Modern research continues to uncover many interesting facts about the connective tissues of the body. While I don’t feel that legitimate, tried-and-true systems of Chinese neigong necessarily need the validation of modern science; it is nonetheless useful to study the topic from different perspectives.  Fascia (thin, fibrous connective tissue) fills our body from head-to-toe forming a…

  • Chinese Medicine,  Winter,  Yangsheng

    Winter Wellness

    Winter is characterized by the Chinese word cáng 藏 which means “to store/conceal/hide.” It’s the time for hiding out and laying low. Nature is dormant and hibernating. Yin is dominant and at its peak. Yang is completely concealed, hidden inside. Winter corresponds to the Water phase (shuǐ 水) and the kidneys. It is also recommended that one does not overexert oneself. It’s good to exercise, but not to the point of excess where one is pouring sweat. Foods, medicines, and therapies such as sauna that promote excessive sweating are not recommended at this time as too much yang qi can be lost. It is best to moderate sexual activity in…

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    Autumn,  Diet,  Members Only,  Recipe,  Yangsheng

    Autumn Wellness: Pear Soup 梨水

    One of my favorite snacks (or healthy dessert) in autumn is what we refer to at home as “pear water.” A better title might be Pear and Yin’er Soup. It is an excellent medicinal food for autumn wellness as it combines several ingredients that are widely acknowledged as some of the best foods to eat during this time of year — offering the (much needed in autumn) moistening and yin nourishing support to the lungs. The result is delicious!  Ingredients and their medicinal properties: Continue Reading…