Tag Archives: Health

The Marble And The Stick

In Western medicine, the body’s natural state is death and decay. Health is like a stick balanced precariously on its end, an unstable equilibrium the maintenance of which requires constantly inputting energy and impeding the natural progression of entropy. The role of a healer is to “prop up” the body’s state of health to prevent it from degenerating further. Being healthy means there’s nothing wrong with you, and this is the highest state one can achieve: non-disease and non-injury.

In Eastern medicine, the body’s natural state is optimal health. Like a marble at the bottom of a bowl, the body seeks this stable equilibrium constantly, and the only thing that can keep it from coming to rest there is persistent obstructive influences. The role of a healer is to remove the obstructions that are preventing the body from achieving optimal health. Non-disease and non-injury is the starting point for cultivating health, which is something that can be increased indefinitely.

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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Health


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How Yoga and Tai Chi Complement Each Other

Yoga and tai chi have several elements in common, but they also provide distinct benefits. This is how they are alike and different:


Both are mind-body arts that work by regulating and integrating body, breath, and mind, and are suitable for people of all ages and physical conditions. Practice is meditative, and benefits include reduced stress, improved balance and posture, elevated awareness, and enhanced healing and immune function.


Yoga emphasizes range of motion, tai chi emphasizes fluidity of motion. Yoga focuses on opening the joints as much as possible, tai chi focuses on freeing the joints as much as possible. Yoga tends to make the joints exposed, tai chi tends to keep the joints protected. Yoga is practiced solo, tai chi can only be practiced fully with a partner. Balance in yoga is mostly static, balance in tai chi is mostly dynamic.  Yoga develops more external strength, tai chi develops more sensitivity.  Yoga inverts the body, tai chi does not.  Yoga evolved from devotional practices, tai chi evolved from healing practices.

How Yoga Can Benefit Your Tai Chi Practice

If you already practice tai chi, yoga will reinforce the benefits, as well as provide an extra degree of external strength, range of motion, and breathing capacity to complement your internal energy development, all of which will make your tai chi more powerful and effective.

How Tai Chi Can Benefit Your Yoga Practice

If you already practice yoga, tai chi will reinforce the benefits.  It will also help to develop fluidity of motion and active relaxation in addition to stability of structure.  It will help you to maintain your balance and poise in the face of interference, such as while moving and being pushed around by another person.  It will teach you to avoid joint posture vulnerability, as well as how to issue and absorb large amounts of force.


Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Exercise, Health, Tai Chi


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Acting Sick

How we use our bodies has a lot to do with determining how we feel. Generally, the more sick you act the more sick you will feel.

When you are sick, do you allow your posture to slouch, your feet to shuffle, and your breath to become rapid and shallow? Or do you hold yourself open and aligned and allow your movements to glide, no matter how slowly? This will go a long way towards determining how well you feel and how quickly you recover.

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Posted by on October 20, 2013 in Health


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Practicing Tai Chi When You’re Sick

The general rule for tai chi practice is to work at 70% of your maximum capacity.  This applies to intensity, exertion, duration, and range of motion.  If you exhaust yourself your coordination will suffer, and you will also tax your body’s compensatory mechanisms, which is counterproductive from the perspective of tai chi.  The 70% rule allows for a gradual but continuous and sustainable trajectory of development.  We have all heard of “no pain no gain”, but by exercising consistently at 70% of your body’s capacity, you will see incremental improvement without the regression that inevitably follows over-exertion.

If you are recovering from injury or illness, however, the 70% rule changes to the 40% rule.  Working at this level of intensity is comfortable, and will stimulate your vital processes without taxing your body’s energy reserves, thereby giving you the maximum healing benefit.  This rule applies whenever your body or any part of it is in a weakened state, either from acute injury or overall illness.


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Posted by on October 13, 2013 in Health, Tai Chi Practice


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The Number One Reason (And Way) To Be Fit

…is to feel good moving.

The capacity for movement is freedom to move, and freedom is pleasure.

And not only is freedom pleasurable, so is the exploration itself. Pain does not equal gain. What truly builds us up feels good, and has its own innate draw.

Nor is it necessary to move “correctly” to enjoy the freedom of exploration. Correct movement ultimately comes from listening to and following the body’s innate wisdom and guidance, not from overlaying a template onto it. Many will study for years to learn patterns, only to then struggle for years more to unlearn them. Natural movement comes about naturally, and what is imposed is not natural.

If you pay attention, you will realize that your body wants to move. All you have to do is let it.

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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in Exercise, Health, Tai Chi Practice


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Douglas On Tai Chi Movements

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to T’ai Chi & QiGong, by Bill Douglas:

If done correctly, slowly, and gently, Tai Chi enables you to become aware of any poor physical habits long before physical damage is done. In fact, you often don’t become aware of problems in high-impact sports until the doctor is telling you not to play that sport ever again.

One amazing aspect of Tai Chi is that it replicates ALL the movements we go through in our daily lives.

When your “Snake Creeps Down,” you are loading the dishes in the dish washer (Thanks Liz Keith in Arizona for this clever image). When you “Push” or “Punch” you are shoveling snow, or pushing the lawn mower. When you “Pull Back” you are raking leaves, and on and on.

As you learn to move effortlessly from the Dan Tien in Tai Chi and Qigong movements, you move differently in all your daily activities, and you get more done, with less strain, and more power. Axis

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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Flow, Health


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Lemaire On Stress

Excerpted from The Body Talks…and I Can Hear It, by Jeanie Lemaire:

It is pretty much common knowledge that stress is the number one killer in life, affecting all of our body functions and resulting in many diseases, and we are all aware that potentially stressful situations exist all around us.  What we have forgotten is that there are ways to alleviate this stress by allowing the Physical form to work with its partners, the Mental and Emotional bodies, to do what they do naturally – HEAL us.


Posted by on March 15, 2013 in Health



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