New Tai Chi/Chi Gung class at Agile Healing Arts, Mondays & Wednesdays from 8-9:30AM
Body Constitutions in Traditional Chinese Medicine
One of the very useful, practical and common places a person could start to understand more about themselves from the TCM Perspective is to take some interest in the basic Archetypes of the body constitutions. These Archetypes came about as TCM grew over hundreds of years of observation of shared commonalities and conditions. When a Acupuncturist does a “work-up” or diagnostic interview, there are often first relating from the archetypal perspective, relating tendencies that come from genetic predispositions, gender specifics, outward personality characteristics, elemental qualities and a host of common habitual and imbalance tendencies shared by generations of Humans: vices, negative thought & emotions patterns, lower nature traumas, strong/weak aspects of our demeanor etc. Body constitutions give us a foundation to begin to understand Patterns of Disharmony that are more intimately understood as the deeper physics of feeling as we relate to the regulating principle.
Patterns of Disharmony
Chi Deficiency/Excess : Dampness/Dryness
Yin Deficiency/Excess : Cold/heat
Yang Deficiency/Excess : Chi Stagnation
Blood Deficiency/Excess : Blood Stagnation
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Tai Chi, Health and Martial Arts- “Could the American interpretation be limited?”
When we were first exposed to the practice of Tai Chi or Chi Gung, we may remember that we felt an attraction to the fluidity of the movement or a fascination with motions and posture we had not seen before. Typically, when we ask people about Tai Chi, common interpretations could include: “ its a slow moving form of Martial Arts Training” or “It is a type of slow exercise that is god for the health or good for Elderly people”. Both statements have truth in them but are very narrow understandings of a whole practice that offers so much more. The little known and almost lost aspect of life style change and evolutionary self development that is the foundation of the lineage method is rarely even acknowledged, let alone passed on to the future generations. The Internal Practice of Tai Chi is a complete System of Self-Therapy, designed to help an individual help them self. Physical limitations can be over-come acute or chronic, mental/emotional states of imbalance can be altered and become flexible, intelligence, ability and capacity can resume a grow-state identical to the way & rate in which we experienced it as healthy children...making the impossible- possible, is what we can learn from ourselves through the structure of Internal arts & continuous development. Tai Chi/Chi Gung is similar to a reflection pool that reflects not a correct way of being, but what is happening for us right now- in or out of balance. Correct movement, correct posture, connection through transitions of movement, accurate sensitivity and feed-back, release, relief, ease and rhythmic harmony meet with principles and our inner relationship with change, balance, neutrality, instinct and conscience- the natural aspect of being Human, just to name a few. Simply put, the multi-facets of our ourselves know how to express themselves in a unified way- without separation and as a part of all things. It is very literally, a path of learning refinement that has application in any & all aspects of life- literally.
Tai Chi Principle- “Pung” or “Rising Energy”
Pung refers to “energy that rises” but this is just a shadow of it's deeper meaning. Pung influences “cellular fullness” much the way a sail is influenced and made useful by wind. Pung is intimately connected to immune health & strength. Pung relies on grounded-ness and structural integrity happening simultaneously. Pung is an upward flow, like a spring, & a suggestion of balance and an example of the relationship of opposites in harmony. Without Pung, gravity would crush us, blood could not move upward in our bodies and our relationship and interpretation to “space and how we interact with it” would be vastly different. Pung is essential for life itself....this by no means is a complete definition as it is beyond written and spoken interpretation...just a starting point...
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Lineage Food & Nutrition Teachings
Time for some Seasonal Shifts- It's soon to be Winter...
Circulation is a “system's priority” as we embrace this change of season. It is always a good way to engage preventive measures during the transition time from one season to the next. This is the simple logic to “shift with seasonal changes”, adapt and prepare for the coming of the cold. It is a good time to get in and see your acupuncturist to get a “Winter Tune-up”, learn more about your bodily constitution and take advantage of the circulation support common to TCM; Cupping, Gua Sha and moxibustion, Tai Chi, Chi Gung & yoga practice. Also a good time to learn/study a few warming herbs, how to cook Iwith them or make warming teas, what foods warm and create “inner fire”. We should also know about foods that act as “refrigerants”, such as raw fruits, especially citrus and raw veggies take a significant amount of digestive fire to process, thusly using more energy that might well be relegated to staying warm. Winter is not the optimal time to do digest cleanses or great exertions. It is an Inner time, a natural slowing time. Taking good care in Winter is preparation for Spring and makes for easy transition. Allow yourself to follow the Inner wisdom of the seasons...
How would I begin to learn about using food & herbs in a Seasonal orientation?
Since it is a cooling time of the season, we can briefly discuss this principle from the winter perspective. Choosing to have a “context” might look like familiarizing one's self with even a basic over-view in Body Constitutions and Patterns of Disharmony. When we understand a general orientations to “common patterns” and when we understand tendencies and propensities that we may have specific to ourselves, knowledge about fuel-intake (food/fluids) has a context for measure and experiential learning- we could learn from our life experiences and experiments. Generalizations are starting points, common areas are points of reference. They are not a complete answer not are they a “absolute”, just places to expand our view towards and clues to a more educated way of exploring until the answer reveals itself. We can explore, make low-risk experiments and challenge information that can lead us to deeper insights about ourselves and sharpen our “guess-timates”. Improvement is a natural occurrence of this method of self-engagement.
Some warming Foods:
Warming - Oats, Quinoa, Sorghum, Spelt, Sweet Rice
Cooling - Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Millet, Wheat, Wild Rice
Warming- Cilantro, Kale, leek (onions), mustard leaf, parsnip, pepper, squash, Sweet potato, watercress
Cooling- Artichoke, asperagus, eggplant,broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, kelp, lettuce, mushroom, spinach, chard, tomato
Warming- blackberry, cherry, date, longan, lychee, peach, quince
Cooling- all citrus, apple, banana, avocado, blueberry, cranberry, mango, melon, pear, persimmon, strawberry, rubarb
Warming- Anchovy, Eel, Lobster, Mussel, Shrimp, Trout (hot)
cooling- clam, crab, octopus, frog
Warming- chicken, ham, beef kidney, sheep kidney, lamb (hot), chicken & pork liver, mutton, pheasant, turkey
cooling- sheep liver, rabbit
Of course there are many more foods that are warming, but again, this list is just to spark some interest, inspire more exploration and act as a starting point to deeper discoveries....
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