Articles/Blogs

  • Breaking Through

    Monday, September 30, 2013

    The I Ching:  Song Dynasty

    Today I participated in my second I Ching seminar for Yi Ren Qigong. We studied the Plum Flower Yi Jing. In this style one has no need of coins or yarrow sticks, but rather studies to learn to observe nature and understand through the principles of Yi Jing. That’s how I understand it. Of course, this is the second time I took the course and each time things become more clear. When I say, “study,” I don’t mean literally study the material written. I mean we do meditation exercises where we viscerally learn to understand the trigrams and our connections through energy work and using mudras. Pretty wonderful actually. I am very interested in practicing and refining my work in this area.

    But, after class I developed a really sharp and sudden headache. This happened last week and is definitely related to pain in my shoulders and neck. It seems that it is caused by the energy working in my body and perhaps blockages. No fun! But, then, if they go away for good, I will be so happy.

     

  • Yin1+Yang1 = E3 Combining Yi Ren Qigong with Physical Exercise

    I remember it clearly. I was about 15, playing select basketball, and I felt unusually winded. I thought my heart was doing strange things. However, in retrospect, what I believe is that my body’s energy system, its Qi, was not balanced, particularly in my kidneys.Movie Get Out (2017)

    I have always been an intense person. This intensity can lead to huge surges of adrenaline, which once activated, often do not turn off past the event that created the surge. For instance, before lifting weights, I often pump myself up and the adrenaline starts flowing. This was a good thing for when I am lifting weights, but what if once the nozzle is turned on, it cannot be turned off?

    I used to go through spurts where I would work out hard for about six months to a year and then take about three months off, because my body went into what I believe was adrenal fatigue. The Adrenal Glands are located on top of the kidneys, which in view of Yi Ren Qigong are the body’s internal powerhouse which generates electricity for supporting the work of the internal body.1 The kidneys also affect one’s self confidence and will.

    Over the past month, I have been going through many transitions in my life. This has caused some stress and for about two weeks I lessened my workout routine. However, I did not stop like I would have in the past. Whereas even as a young, 15-year-old, my kidney imbalances made me quit playing competitive basketball, today, 20 years later, thanks to Yi Ren Qigong, when I feel my body slipping into adrenal fatigue, I lessen my physical workouts and increase my Yi Ren Qigong practice, especially the Energy Grounding Exercise and the Kidney/Urinary Tract exercise. I also practice the Peaceful Mind Meditation.

    This week, during the Level III class, we learned a mediation that strengthens the Du and Ren Meridians, which relate to the Yin energies that flow up the Ren Meridian on the front of the body and the Yang energies of the Du Meridian that flow up the back of the body. This really helped balance the overall Yin and Yang energies in my system. During the mediation I could feel my entire body warm up and get energized and my dry mouth started to gush with nourishing saliva.

    The next day, I was able to work out with nearly equal to the intensity I have worked out with during some of my most involved workouts. However, I noticed that although my energy level was up, I did not feel really amped up. I could tell that my Adrenal Glands were releasing adrenaline in a more gradual manner. It was like I had reprogrammed my body’s response to physical stress and was being supported by the Qi,

    In the view of Yi Ren Qigong, Yin1 + Yang2 = E3 where E3 is the energy (Qi support) necessary for developing the body’s Energy Operating System or EOS. One of the functions of this system is to create a healthy connection between the mind and body, including its organs. From my experiences, I believe that the connection between the brain and the organs is a two-way street. For instance, if something frightens you like nearly getting hit by a car, your nervous system will kick in the adrenaline. However, if there is an imbalance in the kidneys this can make a person feel lots of real or even imagined fears which are then processed by the brain. This in turn can turn on the adrenaline nozzle and dry up the kidneys of vital Qi, which can ultimately decrease a person’s vital life energies.

    This realization has helped me recognize just how important kidney health is and how powerful Yi Ren Qigong is at balancing kidney qi energies leading to a higher quality of life.

    1. Qigong: Energizing the Zang-Fu—Yi Ren Qigong Therapy Manual Volume II. Guan-Cheng Sun, Ph.D., Jill Gonet, M.F.A. 2010. Self-Published. Seattle, Washington.
  • How My Energy Feels Today

    Friday, September 20, 2013 

    I have practiced my Yi Ren Qigong twice today–once on my own and one longer session with the level 1 DVD by Dr. Sun. It really helps to have a visual and a voice, when doing Yi Ren Qigong.

    Then, I decided that I wanted to draw briefly with colors how my energy feels when I practice. I have no idea of why I chose these colors. And, my energy feelings are not really that intense. But, this is not a literal expression for me. Practicing Yi Ren Qigong  is a really big deal and feels huge and somewhat overwhelming at this time. And, upon reflection, that is what I see in my little drawing. The overwhelm and pressure–the power–of considering the reach of my Qi energy. It’s not very artistic by choice. As an art therapist, I took the advice I would have given any client, “Be free and don’t worry about what it looks like. Just draw what you feel!”
  • Getting Creative!

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Lately I have been thinking of how to use my art therapy and photography in conjunction with my Yi Ren Qigong practice. I love the photos that my little Emma and I take together in the woods. But, I also know that maybe it’s time to challenge myself and use drawing to scan the energy growing in me. Soon, I hope to have a drawing that begins to express this in a visceral way for myself. Sketches with color seem to feel like a good way to start! Or, water color paintings!

    I feel the Qi energy pretty easily in my hands, arms and from my energy centers. For example, when I practice developing the energy between my hands and my Dantian or my kidneys/Life Gate or even my sacrum or Marrow Gate, I feel energy and heat pretty readily. Sometimes I feel shooting, tingling sensations. And, if I move my hands back and forth, I feel strong magnetic feelings. Of course, I have to say that it has taken time and practice. And, I still have a long ways to go before the energy grows and sinks into my body to the point where I can feel it moving around my meridians. That is when the true healing can happen.

    When I reflected last night at our last Health Psychology Topics class on the benefits of my Qigong practice so far, I realized that they are significant. One student mentioned that it’s been a while since she has seen me walking bent over in pain half way through class. Another mentioned to me later that my energy is so much lighter and my face looks more relaxed. I have to say that I agree. I can walk and stand longer at a time. I am sleeping better. But, I still have my rough times.

    This morning I woke up sore and with a headache. I was tired from waking too early. But, I know it’s likely because I worked pretty much all day yesterday and then later went to the Moving With Qi class at The Noble School of Tai Chi and Qigong Training over in the University District here in seattle with Brendan Thorson. This is much more than I could have done earlier in the summer. I did some Yi Ren Qigong and self-massage first thing this morning and it helped. I am still not feeling great though. Some of me wants to go to bed when I ache. But, I am living my life “as if” being active will heal me. So, I keep moving! Work a little, walk a little, stretch a little, sing a little, dance a little! Oh, and work a little more! Ha!

  • Sinking In

    Saturday, September 14, 2013

    The Qi energy is sinking in.  And, because I am becoming more sensitive and aware in my body, I am able to notice little change in my energy centers. For example, today I had heat and other mild sensations in my crown and shoulder centers. I also had strong tingling in my kidneys and down my left leg and thigh. Most of my sensations are on my left side. My left hand also has the strongest energy sensations. Yin energy.

    Sometimes I feel really hopeful. I like the feeling of the energy building and the sensations of playing with it. I like the fact that I feel I am getting stronger, even though doing the simplest yoga poses are so painful for me still. And, I am very slowly becoming more flexible and in touch with my body. Yi Ren Qigong is truly a healing modality. Of that, I am sure.

    Other times I get fearful and anxious. I still don’t know where I will be living and I don’t have a decent regular job. I still have pain daily. But, maybe I am dealing with it better since I have become more calm through the meditative nature of the Qigong practice. Like my teacher says, when the wrong thoughts come–the ones that bring me down–just change the channel! Or, frame the problem differently. Instead of beating myself up because I don’t have a good job, I need to think of better ways to find jobs. I certainly won’t find one if I spend all my time angry or sad about my predicament!

    Tomorrow is the second day of my second Level 1 Seminar. I hope I can sleep tonight and feel better in the morning!

  • Health and Beauty Through Qigong

    Wednesday, August 14, 2013

    My teacher, Brendan Thorson, at The Noble School of Tai Chi & Qigong Training in Seattle, Washington has many wonderful articles about healing with Yi Ren Qigong on his website.

    I just discovered this one! I could use some help in the youthful-vitality areas of health!

    http://www.qigongedu.com/2012/01/creating-youthful-vitality-w-yi-ren%C2%AE-qigong/

    At sixty years old, I feel that I am aging faster than most people. Of course, having painful scoliosis puts a lot of stress on me physically, as well as emotionally. So, it’s not really surprising. Still, who doesn’t want to be more healthy and have that glow of youthfulness!

    Time will tell! I am only a few weeks into the practice of Yi ren Qigong. It’s much too early to know my potential. If it works, I will post an “after” picture someday! Ha!

  • As you think, so shall you be. If you want to be happy, just be.

    9/19/2013
    When I was young, my mom told me “Don’t let what others think about you dictate how you feel about yourself.” I must admit, I am guilty of caring too much about what people think at times. I often depend on people to tell me that I am doing well, that I am an intelligent, creative, ambitious, caring—add other good human qualities—human being. However, I have found that the less I care about what people think and the more I just think about doing the best I can and what is healthy for me, the happier I actually tend to become.

    It is inevitable that the opinions of others can have an effect on our lives. For instance, I am sure most of the readers have applied for a job that they were qualified for but the reason they were not awarded the job because the interviewer simply did not like something about them. That is part of life. Not everyone is going to like you. In fact, I find that the more I am myself, the more quality friends I make, but also, the more people who do not care for me increases. Oftentimes insecure people are put off by those who are uniquely true to themselves.

    An excerpt of the The Tao Te Ching, Chapter 13 states
    Favor and disgrace are equally problematic.
    Hope and fear are phantoms of the body.

    What does it mean that “favor and disgrace
    are equally problematic”?

    Favor lifts you up; disgrace knocks you down.
    Either one depends on the opinions of others and
    causes you to depart from your center…

    This week I was called many things by other people. I was called compassionate, passionate, intelligent and humorous. On the other hand, I was called and idiot, a monkey—which I find humorous—a worrier and a schmuck. Of course all of these things are true at times, for most of us are not always brilliant or always foolish

    However, in the past, where I would feel very prideful after being told I had favorable attributes, or being really upset when I was told I had unfavorable attributes, this week I sort of just appreciated both opinions and succeeded at not letting them affect my energy levels.

    When I feel and inflated ego or sad about what other people have said about me, I usually practice the Yi Ren Qigong exercise Balancing the Kidney and Heart Centers. This has helped given me the fortitude to love myself and keep a positive level of self-esteem. Onwards and upwards, Peaceful Warriors!

  • So Much To Learn!

    Tuesday, August 13, 2013

    The world of Qigong is amazing and so complex. I have so much to learn! I am excited and am exploring the Qigong Network on LinkedIn this week. So many knowledgeable people from so many different, but related, paths.

    I read one discussion on “Hitting the Drum,” which is similar to what Brendan Thorson, my teacher, taught us. It’s a tapping and rubbing at the back of the neck. It’s also stimulating the GB and good for many reasons.

    Of course, daily practice of exercises like the Small Universe (one of my favorites) are most important for overall, whole health. But, the tapping the back of my neck feels divine.

    Taking time to read and learn about the history of Qigong, the variety of Qigong forms and practices is something I am enjoying. I want to share some of my favorite links with you. There are many, many resources in our communities and online for learning about Qigong. I will add more as I find them and please let me know if you have some to share!

    Many Blessings!

    LINKS:

    The Noble School of Tai Chi & Qigong Training

    Institute of Qigong & Integrative Medicine

    Article: Qigong Eases Fibromyalgia

    Article: Anticancer Qigong Therapy

    Qigong for Diabetes

    “We join spokes together in a wheel,
    but it is the center hole
    that makes the wagon move.
    We shape clay into a pot
    But it is the emptiness inside
    That holds whatever we want.
    We hammer wood for a house
    But it is the inner space
    That makes it livable.”
    —Tao Te Ching

  • Practice Leads to Progress

    There have been many days when I believe that I simply do not have the time to practice Yi Ren Qigong. I get up and my head is racing about what I need to accomplish with my day. Many times, like today, I have felt that if I do even 10 minutes worth of Qigong, then I will be neglecting my responsibilities and/or favorite pastimes such as going to work, cleaning, working out, reading, cooking, playing guitar, the list goes on.

    This weekend, this very common dilemma was mentioned. The group came to the consensus that Yi Ren Qigong can enrich your daily experiences and make them more productive. For instance, we talked about sleep quality. From my experience, if I practice Yi Ren Qigong and mediation before going to bed, my sleep is much deeper and I wake up feeling more refreshed. I can get six hours of sleep after practicing Yi Ren Qigong and feel more awake the next day than if I got 9 hours of sleep without practicing Yi Ren Qigong.

    This summer, I have been doing landscaping for a friend’s business. If I wake up 20 minutes to an hour earlier than usual, and practice Yi Ren Qigong exercises such as the Energy Grounding Exercise, Small Universe Cultivating Exercise and the Internal Energy Centers Exercise, I find that I am much more grounded and have more energy to perform the often labor-intensive tasks of landscaping. In fact, there are times I am out in the field, working on someone’s yard that I can feel the chi support my movements and my joints feel less strained, my muscles very energized.

    One last thing, the seminar also drew to my attention how important it is to exercise the sacrum. The sacrum is the house of one’s will and according to Yi Ren Instructor Brendan Thorson, it affects ones vitality and ability of the body to remain youthful. Once the Sacrum becomes rigid and/or stiff, people tend to age rapidly. The Marrow Gate, which is located on the Sacrum, energized the parasympathetic nervous system, improves immunity, strengthens the reproductive system and enhances vitality.

    OK then, this is your Peaceful Warrior signing off. I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember, try to practice daily and do not fret if you do not develop this habit immediately. I have found that the benefits of practicing every-so-often during the week very naturally lead the practitioner to want to practice daily, as it can lead to a higher quality of life production and experience.

  • Growing Qi Energy

    Saturday, September 7, 2013

    My teacher, Brendan Thorson, of The Noble School of Tai Chi & Qigong Training in Seattle talked about how learning Yi Ren Qigong is about energy that grows and expands like walking up a spiraling staircase as one repeats levels. By this I mean that a student of Yi Ren Qigong gets something different from each level. And, because of that fact, students take the levels repeatedly.  The teachings from Level 1, 2 or 3 are not something that become obsolete after you complete them. In fact, your Qi energy continues to compound and grow with every level, seminar or course of Yi Ren Qigong. So, even the seasoned students can always gain Qi and learning from the repetition of any level or seminar.

    My Qi energies have grown over that past few weeks and I notice the Qi in my right hand is much more developed now. It’s easier to activate and gets stronger more quickly. I also have had less pain lately and have been much more calm–less agitated or stressed. All good things! Tomorrow I have a whole day of Yi Ren Qigong. This week I have 2 evening sessions. Then, next weekend I will do the first level seminar again–my second time. All I hope for is that the weather cools down some! Feeling so blessed!

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