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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Days after the big storm, we’re still without power, phone service, internet, and running water.  Still I feel grateful that the damages in our area were not more severe.

Qigong Masters in ancient times contemplated natural phenomena like hurricanes and drew inspiration for their practice.  I imagine they surveyed the damage after a big storm like Irene and noticed certain trees survived and others did not.  They may have noted that some survivors were willow trees that would bend but not break.  Others were thick, old and able to withstand gale force winds thanks to their deep roots.

So in keeping with the tao of nature, Qigong teaches us to maintain flexibility as well as a deep connection to the earth.  Incorporating these principles into our practice should help insure a longer, healthier life.


Thursday, August 4th, 2011

There are thousands of forms of Qigong and Tai Chi, but just a few core principles that are common to all.  The most basic are what my main teacher, Roger Jahnke,  calls the “Three Intentful Corrections.” They are: allignment, mind/consciousness, and breath.

The first one I want to talk about is breath.  Just taking a few deep abdominal breaths is almost guaranteed to make you feel more relaxed and able to focus, calmly, on the present moment.  Too often in our daily lives we tend to breathe in a shallow way.  This deprives the body of the fuel it needs for cell repair, and increases the mental and physical effects of stress.

Taking a few deep, full breaths periodically throughout the day can produce significant health benefits and enhance your overall feeling of well being — even if you don’t have a regular Qigong practice.


Monday, July 4th, 2011

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, urged colonial Americans to be self reliant in health as well as politics.

He wrote that “an attention to health should take place over every other object.”

One way to be self reliant about your health is to practice Qigong.  Doing Qigong for just 10 or 15 minutes per day can lower blood pressure, relieve chronic pain, reduce the chance of stroke and heart attack, and boost immune response.  Recent studies done in China and the US provide evidence for these and other important health benefits.

It is also extremely patriotic!  More people practicing Qigong will lead to a healthier population, less strain on our health care system, and ultimately a lower national debt (Tea Party members take note).

So follow the path of Thomas Jefferson: pay close attention to your health–and practice Qigong.

Qigong Moves Your Meditation

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Meditation has many proven physical and psychological benefits and just one drawback.  The drawback is that sitting still for long periods of time is too hard for most people.

Enter Qigong.  Qigong includes active forms that are moving meditations, as well as sitting, standing and even lying down meditations.  The more active forms help put practitioners in a state of relaxed, clear minded alertness, sometimes referred to as the “Qigong state of mind.”  Once your body and mind are more relaxed, it is much easier to meditate.

To put this to a test, try sitting or standing in meditation for 5 or 10 minutes.  Then practice some active Qigong forms for the same amount of time.  Then try meditating again.  Feel any different?

Would love to hear how this worked for you.  Just add your comment to this blog or send me an email.  I’ll be sure to respond.

For more information about Qigong and a schedule of classes, check out my website:

Daily practice helps us change with the seasons

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Spring is finally here and I can feel my body’s energy changing like the weather.

Lately I wake up earlier, sprint through projects I couldn’t face a couple of months ago, and have a more optimistic outlook on life.  In years past I often suffered from “spring fever,” this time of year.  You know, that awful malaise that makes you start thinking: “the weather’s beautiful, so how come I feel like crap?”  Or something like that.

Daily Qigong practice has helped me harmonize my internal energy with the changing energy of the seasons.  So every morning I do at least 20 reps of the Flowing Motion, some spontaneous movement and a few more postures from the Vitality Enhancement Series.

The result?  No more spring fever; no more “April is the cruelest month.”

Qigong reduces cravings!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Cravings — for food, diversions, stuff or whatever — make us feel out of control and never offer lasting happiness.  Still, we all have them, so it’s good to find ways to reduce their effects.

In my experience, Qigong practice helps.  The more I practice, the less I feel swayed by pangs of desire for fabulous vacations, or intense yearnings for the latest electronic gear or new camera lenses.  I am better able to enjoy life just the way it is, without need for someone or something to “complete” me.

Cravings don’t usually disappear, but they become more manageable.  I still want that new expensive lens, but I won’t get it unless buying it really make sense.  In other words, I can control my desire, rather than the other way around.  This is one of the best benefits to be gained from Qigong, or any mind/body practice.

Qigong helps snow shoveling!

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Qigong practice makes everyday activities easier, and  has been particularly beneficial to me this winter.  Thanks to Qigong, I have enjoyed snow shoveling almost as much as when I was 12 and charged a dollar to shovel neighbors’ driveways.  This year there has been a lot to enjoy!

The secret?  Assuming the san ti stance while shoveling, and employing reverse breathing. The san ti stance is the pose used by marshal artists before fists and feet start flying.  I learned it from Yang Yang, a Qigong and Tai Chi Master whose workshop I took at Kripalu.  San ti aligns the body so most weight is supported by bones not muscles.  This makes shovelfuls of snow feel lighter and much less likely to wreak havoc on the lower back.

Reverse breathing means contracting abdominal muscles while deeply inhaling, then letting those muscles release on the exhale.   This practice produces a rush of energy, which makes light work of chores that require heavy lifting.   Like snow shoveling.