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Author Archives: Wendy Smith

Resting your mind

When your mind really needs a rest, it can actually happen quickly, if you rest into this present moment. Watching this 30 sec video, rest in the present moment orienting to your environment and your outer world. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB6yd0WV684

 

You can use this youtube image to meditate with or you can meditate either after reading the poem by Wendell Berry below or after reading the lovely quote by the Irish poet, John O’Donohue.

 

The Peace of Wild Things

Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things & Other Poems

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 

 

John O’Donohue (quote)

            “There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there is still a sureness in you, where there is a seamlessness in you and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you. I think the intention of prayer, (meditation) spirituality and love is now and again to visit that inner sanctuary.”

 

What are the three kinds of Qi?

What are the three types of Qi?

There are three kinds of Qi, known as heaven Qi (Tian Qi), Earth Qi (Di Qi), and human Qi (Ren Qi). Heaven Qi is composed of natural forces including the sun and rain and is made up of the forces that the heavenly bodies exert on the earth, such as sunshine, moonlight, and the moon’s effect on the tides. The earth has earth Qi (Di Qi), which absorbs the heaven Qi and is influenced by it.

 

We breathe to absorb Heaven Qi and eat to absorb Earth Qi. The essence of the food we consume is transported by the Spleen to the Lungs to combine with fresh air to produce Zong Qi. Zong Qi is the energy that circulates and nourishes the organs and tissues. It is the most critical type of Qi, essential for good health. The organs and tissues of the body need constant nourishment to function correctly, which is where Zong Qi comes in. This is why we focus on the food we eat in the season we are in as well as the way we breathe in Qigong.

 

What are the benefits of connecting heaven and Earth?

“Connecting Heaven and Earth” is an exercise that opens the meridians, brings oxygen to the cells, and activates mood-boosting endorphins as well as the immune system.

 

For more information, you can read more about Qigong in these two books listed below as well as read my newsletters and blogs on my website https://agelessqigong.com/

 

The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing by Kenneth S. Cohen

Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold 

Springtime is Liver time!

In TCM, Spring is governed by the wood element which is the Liver (LV) and Gallbladder (GB).

LV /GB govern the tendons, ligaments and facia in the body along with anything that turns or pivots in the body. They also are in charge of ensuring the smooth flow of Qi which can lead to irritation, pain and anger when stuck. So, it can be very common to see issues in these areas in the spring.

 

During the Spring season of the Wood element, think about how plants grow and move. A healthy plant or tree will have branches that are very flexible and able to bend with the wind. When that same plant is dried out, the branches can snap in the wind.

This is similar to what happens to our connective tissues (tendons, ligaments and facia) when not properly nourished. The tissues can become less flexible, stuck and painful. These tissues have less blood supply than our muscles, so they are more susceptible to malnourishment and dehydration. So feed your liver this Spring and support your body!!

 

FEED YOUR LIVER!

 

Your Liver LOVES greens and sour foods.

Other foods that support the Liver / Gallbladder in TCM. Enjoy them all!

You can NEVER have too many fruits and veggies in your diet!

  • alfalfa
  • algae
  • asparagus
  • basil
  • broccoli
  • celery
  • citrus (lemons, limes, oranges, etc)
  • cucumber
  • fennel
  • fermented foods (sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, etc)
  • ginger
  • greens (collards greens, bok choy, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, etc)
  • lettuce (butter, romaine, arugula, etc)
  • radish
  • seaweed
  • spirulina
  • sprouts (broccoli, alfalfa, sunflower, etc)
  • vinegar
  • watercress
  • wheatgrass

 

 

Acupressure Point for Supporting the Liver

Liver 3 is a fabulous point for supporting the liver and moving stagnant Qi in the body.

https://www.jennumacupuncture.com/healing-at-home-liver-3/#:~:text=This%20point%20can%20be%20found,is%20all%20about%20smooth%20movement.

 

It’s located on top of your foot between where the big toe bone meets the second toe bone., right in the area where the bones connect.

Using your thumb, press and massage this spot on both feet. You can also move your thumb forward along the inside of the big toe bone towards your toe.

Apply pressure to this point every day for about 30 seconds at a time.

It may be tender, and that is ok. Keep working massaging it and it will get better along with your Liver Qi.

Fall season

We have definitely transitioned to the fall season, the season of the lungs and the large intestines. In the lungs the Qi of Heaven (air) joins with the Qi of earth (nutrition) forming the Qi that vitalizes human life. The lungs govern the relationship between the inside and outside. The strength of the lungs is in boundaries; clearly defined rules to keep things moving because the lungs are constantly changing, flowing in and out, not rigid.

If the lungs are weak our physical and emotional protection is reduced, making us vulnerable to infectious diseases as well as to the negative thoughts and feelings of other people.

Here’s a tip to stimulate your lung points during this season: Stimulate the lung points on the body by finding the hollow at the end of the collar bone by the shoulder and go about an inch down and massage. You may find the point to be tender and that’s OK. Be sure to do it on both sides of the body, by each shoulder.

For more information about seasonal changes that we can adjust through our diet, healthcare practices and lifestyle, visit my website to read my blogs or sign up for my newsletter!

https://agelessqigong.com/blog/

More kidney points!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each organ system is associated with a specific season of the year, along with many other related associations like smell, emotion, color, body tissue, organ systems, body functions, element, etc. Winter is associated with your Kidneys, making the winter months a fantastic time to boost and balance your Kidney energy and bolster your overall health. As we move into Spring and the Liver organ system, we still want to nurture and balance the Kidneys, since they are said to be the mother of the Liver organ system. In TCM, all the bodily systems rely on the Kidney for Qi, for their energy to function properly. They are the foundation for all Yin and Yang qualities within the body.  They also maintain the balance between the Yin and Yang energies in the body, and within each of the different organ systems as well. This means that if the Kidney yin or yang is out of balance, it can affect other systems in the body.  This is an extremely important function, so it is very typical to find the Kidneys at the root of many imbalances seen in the body. 

 

Due to it’s importance, I am including some basic Kidney points to massage or tap on a regular basis at any time of year, particularly in the Winter.

 

 

 3 kidney points – K1, K3. K27

 

K1 – It is the first point on the kidney channel and the lowest point on the body. Its location is on the sole of the foot, between the second and third metatarsal bones, approximately ⅓ of the distance between the base of the second toe and the the heel.  K1 is located on the sole of the foot, in a slight depression created when the foot is pointed downward, about 1/3 of the distance between the tips of the toes and the heel.

 

Located on the bottom of the foot, Kidney 1 is the lowest acupuncture point on the entire body. This position allows the draining of excess energy from the upper part of the body, particularly the head.

 

 

K3 -Named for its ravine-like location on the body, Kidney 3 lives in the inner ankle, in a depression between the medial malleolus (your ankle bone on the inside) and your achilles tendon. This is a critical point for accessing the power of the Kidney organs, addressing issues of energy levels and destiny.

Functions: Tonifies the Kidneys (Yin and Yang), strengthens the low back, relieves heel/ankle pain. Notes: KID 3 is important to use for any Kidney deficiency pattern.

 

This point is used for low back pain, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), sore throat, cough and wheezing, insomnia, impotence, frequent urination, and more. If you rub this area with gentle pressure you will be nourishing your kidney Qi, strengthening your body’s vitality and increasing your longevity.

 

 

K27 – The K-27 points are versatile acupuncture points that relieve throat, chest and back pain, help you breathe deeply and help release endorphins. To find these points, place your fingers in the depression above your breastbone, where a man knots his tie. Stimulate K-27 points with firm rotary pressure for 15 to 30 seconds each or until pain at K-27 points is gone. The K-27s may be stimulated as often as necessary. When they are sensitive, they need attention.

The 27th and last points on the kidney meridians are the neurological center of the acupuncture circuit. This main switchboard is an important organizer of energy flow throughout the body. Energy travels in a figure eight pattern through the body. It enters the left foot, crosses at the navel, and surfaces at the K-27 points, crosses the navel again and exits out the right foot.

 

 

The beginning of Autumn

            August 7th is the beginning of Autumn according to the Chinese calendar. Although the weather is still warm, we feel the change, we sense the retreat of Qi back into the earth, and see nature as it begins preparations for the cooler season. According to Taoist Qigong, this is the time to harmonize with the seasonal Qi of autumn. By building strong, resilient energy, we are less likely to become ill with the approaching winter. We do this by diet and Qigong exercises. As yang retreats and yin becomes predominant, this is a special time to nurture your yin energy. Eating with the seasons here means focusing on Spleen and Stomach health and the Earth element.

            In general, we say to begin to limit excessive raw vegetables and fruits (especially citrus) and dairy products (except goat milk) at this time of year. Since this is the most important season for digestive health, in order to nurture the spleen/stomach we eat foods and soups with yellow tones (squash, yams, etc.). For more specifics on dietary recommendations in this season, read this concise write up on late summer food at https://fiveseasonstcm.com/blogs/traditional-chinese-medicine-101/eat-with-the-seasons-late-summer

Springtime relief

From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, springtime is Liver time and it is time to give your liver the support and love it needs. This is why we currently practice the Four Seasons Qigong set and focus on the liver in Spring. The liver’s job is to regulate and smooth the flow of Qi throughout the body. My favorite liver point is LV 3 on the foot and if you pair this with Large intestine 4, then you will have a great combo for jaw pain, headache, STRESS, depression, insomnia and irritability.



Acupuncture points for Liver Qi Stagnation Video Presentation

Five Element Theory

If you ever see an acupuncturist and fill out a form that asked strange questions it is because the form you fill out is related to the Five Element Theory, which is derived from Chinese Medicine. The theory outlines the relationship between the different elements in nature and the life force, or “qi,” that flows through them. The Five Element theory describes wood, fire, earth, metal, and water as the basic elements of the material world. In Chinese medicine, elements help us understand the patient and their personality. It also helps us determine the best and most effective treatment plan. But for Qigong and Tai Chi practitioners, it helps us understand how to guide our practice

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Learn more about: The Five Element Theory 

Winter

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidneys are associated with the season of Winter and the element of Water. I have mentioned massaging and tapping kidney points to activate the kidney meridian. Engaging through Kidney 1 allows for the body to settle and helps the body absorb the yin of the earth. Many of you have asked me to show the specific kidney points and so I have chosen this video to help locate and demonstrate them. Enjoy!

 

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=kidney+points+in+acupuncture&oq=kidney+points&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0i512l5j0i390.8286j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#kpvalbx=_8cXHYdO8OJirptQP0oC5sAc26

 

Late summer

The Chinese also include a fifth “season” or “phase” in their thinking, sometimes described as late summer. Late Summer begins around the third week of August and runs through the Fall Equinox. In August, Nature is undergoing its last burst of growth before harvest time. The energy of this season corresponds to the nurturing Earth element.

The end-of-summer Earth energy is associated with the yellow color radiating from the sun. In our physical bodies, it relates to the stomach, the spleen and the pancreas, organs residing at our body’s center. If our Earth energy isn’t functioning well, we experience malnourishment and difficulties digesting both food and life experience.

This is also a time to slow down. This means that we should cook food for longer periods of time on lower heat. How we cook food will affect how the body tolerates it and how the energy is used. For fall, TCM suggests making soups and stews, using a crockpot or slow cooker, roasting and baking foods. These methods create a deeper warmth and supply greater energy from the food.

As Fire energy of Summer diminishes and transforms into Earth energy, notice how and what you are digesting and assimilating. Not only nourishment in the traditional sense, but everything you are taking in from culture to conversation.  This is the climax of a cycle, a quiet space between the Yang energies of spring and summer and the Yin energies of autumn and winter. Take the time to experience the energetic harmony available at this moment that can bring us wonderful feelings of well-being and completeness.

 

Breathing for Stress Relief

Box Breathing

Similar to pranayama breath control, box breathing is a technique that helps you take control of your automatic breathing patterns to train your breath for optimal health and performance,” says Mark Divine, former US Navy SEALs Commander, NYT bestselling author and founder of SEALFIT. It combines the practice of optimal breathing with para-sympathetic activation, concentration and mindfulness training. All you need to do is picture a box with equal sides, where the inhale, the holding of the breath, and exhale are all four counts (four seconds approx.). When you find yourself in a stressful situation where you want a quick fix, click on this link and enter the flow of rhythmic breathing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJJazKtH_9I

Meridian tapping

 

Meridian tapping for health is a great self care practice. According to Traditional Chinese medicine, you can tap various points on your body to stimulate your sense organs. This video demonstrates many points I have demonstrated in class with some additional ones that are very beneficial at this time of transition to Spring.  Our cells are aroused from winter’s slumber with a big infusion of Qi (energy) and hope for renewal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmzc6_-4EmA

Who is Qigong for?

Qigong is for everyone.

Students with fibromyalgia, those with chronic conditions and recuperating from injury, have reported the lessening or elimination of their symptoms with consistent Qigong practice. The visualization, breathing techniques, and physical postures of Qigong promote relaxation and re-energize the body.

QiGong is an ancient Chinese health-care system that is over 5,000 years old.  QiGong is not the same thing as Taiji, which is a Martial Art

Join Certified Instructor Wendy Smith for a Free 30 Minute Qigong Class?



Available to New Students Only
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Reduce stress with meditation

It is well known by now that meditation is key to reducing stress so Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra are doing an online 21 day meditation experience that is really fantastic.  You are given a new meditation and intention each day for 21 days.  Each meditation lasts about 20 minutes and it is hoped that people get in the habit of this daily practice.  I highly recommend trying it out before it ends.  Google Oprah and Deepak 21 day meditation experience, or go to:

chopra center meditation.com

Join Certified Instructor Wendy Smith for a Free 30 Minute Qigong Class?



Available to New Students Only
Limited

Microcosmic Orbit

Master Mantak Chia explains how and why you should practice the Microcosmic Orbit in exquisite detail with amazing graphics and demonstrations. He explains how the microcosmic spinning is in our body and in the Universe and how this orbit spinning connects and influences our organs. I highly recommend this video.

Four Cycles

Robert Peng talks about and demonstrates the Four Cycles (Four- Part Exercise) from the Shaolin Temple. This practice is to boost your inner power and is simple, but profound. I highly recommend this wonderful video from a great teacher and Master.

Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong

I wanted to share a link to a fabulous demonstration by Steven Cardoza who shows Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong and does an excellent job of explaining the energetic components.

He goes over the Kua, the 4 points, the shoulder’s nest and other energetic anatomy elements that I have been explaining in class. Enjoy!

Jeffrey Yuen talks about Huff Puff Qigong

I highly recommend the Huff Puff Qigong that Jeffrey Yuen teaches because of the multiple health benefits for those with a range of challenges from hypertension to chronic illness to cancer.  It is really fun and easy to do and the benefits are immediate.  The article below is very thorough and as an added feature, it gives you an email address to send away for your own Huff Puff Qigong DVD. Enjoy this practice!

http://ashevilleacupuncture.blogspot.com/2009/06/huff-puff-qi-gong.html

Interested in TaiChi?

For those who have some interest in TaiChi and Push Hands practice, I recommend looking at Ian Sinclair’s excellent lesson (lesson 4) on TaiChi Tuishou or Push Hands. He is a patient instructor with a relaxed sense of humor. Check it out for yourself.