Posts Tagged ‘10 minutes’

Qigong and Blood Pressure

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Qigong and Blood Pressure

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It is well known that moderate exercise and relaxation are helpful in the reduction of hypertension. Qigong (Chi Kung), with its gentle movements and coordinated breathing patterns, might seem to be an ideal exercise candidate for reducing blood pressure. Calming, centering and mildly aerobic in the sense of continuous conscious breathing, qigong has obvious benefits in promoting a relaxation response. But does it actually lower blood pressure?

There have been several interesting medical studies done on this question. BM Cheung, et al of the University of Hong Kong conducted a randomized controlled trial to study the effect of Guolin qigong on blood pressure.   88 patients with mild essential hypertension were recruited for a four month qigong and exercise program. they found at the conclusion of 16 weeks of training that their patients had lowered their blood pressure by an average of  11 points. they also found that “General health, bodily pain, social functioning and depression also improved…”*

MS Lee, et al did a study of 58 volunteers with essential hypertension split into a qigong group and a control group to investigate the efficacy of Qigong as a non-pharmacological treatment.  After 10 weeks of qigong training both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure significantly decreased. The researchers observed “a significant reduction of norepinephrine, epinephrine, cortisol, and stress levels”  in the Qigong group. The authors conclude that “these results suggest that Qigong may reduce BP and catecholamines via stabilizing the sympathetic nervous system.  Therefore, Qigong is an effective non-pharmacological modality to reduce BP in essential hypertensive patients.”**

Reporting in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Lee’s group of researchers also noticed improved breathing among the qigong patients participating in this study. “The ventilatory functions, forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume per sec., were increased in the Qigong group but not the control. These results suggest that Qigong may stabilize the sympathetic nervous system” and improve “ventilatory functions in mildly  hypertensive middle-aged patients.”***

These studies show the efficacy of qigong practice in reducing blood pressure, pain and stress levels, increasing lung capacity and breathing, and improving social functioning, depression and general health within 10 – 16  weeks. (c) 2013 Keith E. Hall and www.inner-tranquility.com All rights reserved.

*Cheung BM, Lo JL, Fong DY, Chan MY, Wong SH, Wong VC, Lam KS, Lau CP, Karlberg JP. Randomised controlled trial of qigong in the treatment of mild essential hypertension. J Hum Hypertens. 2005 Sep;19(9):697-704.

**Lee MS, Lee MS, Kim HJ, Moon SR. Qigong reduced blood pressure and catecholamine levels of patients with essential hypertension. Int J Neurosci. 2003 Dec;113(12):1691-701.

***Lee MS, Lee MS, Choi ES, Chung HT. Effects of Qigong on blood pressure, blood pressure determinants and ventilatory function in middle-aged patients with essential hypertension. Am J Chin Med. 2003;31(3):489-97.

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Qigong, Osteoporosis and Bone Density

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Qigong, Osteoporosis and Bone Density

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In an study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion and the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials was undertaken to determine the health benefits of Qigong, including various T’ai Chi forms.  T’ai Chi is a more recent moving form of the ancient practice of  Qigong.  This article deals specifically with results pertaining to osteoporosis and the ability to recover bone density.

The usual recommendations for increasing bone formation and strength are resistance and weight bearing exercise. Although Qigong does not usually involve significant resistance in the muscular sense, and only nominal weight bearing, four separate studies revealed positive effects on bone wellness.  This was particularly noticeable in post menopausal women. Bone loss was slowed and fractures were less common. One study showed improved bio-markers for bone health.  More specifically, bone density actually increased in women.  Additionally, H H Chen showed that a 12 week program of training in The 8 Treasures (Baduanjin qigong) showed significant improvements in bone mass compared to a control group.

This results may seem counter-intuitive for practitioners steeped in the western allopathic model. How can bone mass increase with no resistance training and only minimal weight bearing? This one of the very many mysteries to the western mindset of these ancient Taoist practices. It may very well be possible that these outcomes are related to the stimulation of the endocrine system via the channeling of vital energy (qi, chi) through the chakras, which have partial control over the functioning of the endocrine glands. We study this in some depth in our advanced levels of Tantric Qigong training. (c) 2013 Keith E. Hall and www.inner-tranquility.com  All rights reserved.

Jahnke, et al. A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi. Am J Health Promot. 2010 JUL-AUG; 24(6): e1–e25.
US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health PMC3085832.
Chen HH, et al. Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(5):741-7.   PMID: 17080541

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History of Qigong part 4

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

History of Qigong part 4

Qigong and Martial Arts
During the Liang Dynasty, circa 502 – 557 AD, Bodhidharma (Da Mo) created a system of Qigong to strengthen the constitution of Shaolin monks. The treatises he wrote for this martial form of chi kung are known as the Muscle and Tendon Changing and Marrow/Brain Washing Classics. These were internal forms of qigong practiced for health, strength, and to increase immunity. His theory was that the physical body must be healthy and strong in order to attain enlightenment. Around this time the Shaolin priests also developed the Five Animal Styles of Kung Fu (gongfu): Tiger, Leopard, Dragon, Snake, and Crane.

Chang San Feng (Zhang Sanfeng)
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Legend has it that Chang San Feng once saw a crane attacking a snake on Wu Tang Mountain and was inspired by the snake’s ability to remain calm and attentive as the bird attacked. At the correct time, the snake counterattacked and bit the bird. The patient demeanor, tactics, and correct timing of the snake resulted in an epiphany for Chang, and from this he was inspired to create the first T’ai Chi Chuan form delineated in Chang San Feng’s “Treatise on Tai Chi”. Other animal archetypes found in the T’ai Chi Chuan form include crane, tiger, monkey, cock, and horse; as well as inanimate natural forms such as clouds, needles, shuttles (weaving loom) and associated movements. T’ai Chi uses internal life force (Chi, Qi) rather than external muscular force, and this soft, meditative, internal style was considered revolutionary at the time.

Though remembered as a hero, many scholars feel that Chang San Feng was probably an myth or an amalgam of several persons. It may be more accurate that the martial form of T’ai Chi devolved from the Sifu and General Chen Wangting of the Chen family in the 17th century. Today T’ai Chi is practiced by many millions of people over the world for health and meditation.

Yeuh Fei
Around the same approximate time, Marshall Yeuh Fei (Yue Fei), a general commanding the Chinese army, created a set of internal Qigong exercises which became known as Ba Duann Gin (Ba Duan Jin, Baduanjin, Eight Pieces of Brocade, Eight Section Brocade, Eight Silken Movements, the Eight Treasures, Eight Twists of Silk)   Legend states that he taught the Eight Treasures Qigong exercises to his troops to help keep their bodies healthy, strong, and prepared for battle. Yueh Fei is also regarded as the creator or disseminator of Eagle Claw Kung Fu, known for  take downs, pressure point attacks, gripping technique, and a system of joint locks. Yue taught both of these styles to his men, whereupon they became very successful in the war against the occupying armies of the Jin Empire.

The Eight Treasures is usually taught for health and wellness, but is also quite popular among martial artists today. Indeed, my teacher, Yung-ko Chou, insisted that his students perform the Eight Treasures style qigong before learning T’ai Chi Chuan.

During this period Taoists continued to discover new ways to improve Qigong exercises for health and spiritual or religious purposes. Traditional Chinese Medicine made advances in acupuncture and moxibustion, while improving the theories of Chi circulation.

Qigong during this era:
- Became associated with martial training
- continued to be a major source of spiritual advancement
- was generally not well known by the public at large
- became more efficient as Chi circulation was better understood. © 2011 Keith E. Hall Inner-Tranquility.com . All rights reserved.

History of Qigong: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

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Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

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Learn how to improve your health and well being in as little as 10 minutes a day!
Boost Immunity, Rejuvenate, Accelerate Self-Mastery & Create Serenity Within.

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The class will employ elements of Taoist and Bioenergetic practices. Classes also include aspects of T’ai Chi, pranayama (conscious breathing) and meditation for creating a relaxed body and mind. You will learn to develop your vital energy and personal power to nourish your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Upon completion, you will be eligible for certification.

The Learning stages of Tantric Qi Gong include:
• Relaxing & aligning the body
• Controlling the breath
• Focusing the mind-Transmuting the emotions
• Moving the Chi
• Development of the Spirit
Tuition (8 classes): $149, includes training manual.
Register online at: http://www.inner-tranquility.com/products-page/classes/qigong-for-self-mastery-classes/

Private instruction is available.

Levels 2-7 courses are offered upon completion of Level 1.

Our classes and meditation / stress management audio programs can help you create a core of empowered Being within!
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Learn more about our audio programs for meditation, stress management, and personal growth.

See the CBS WUSA TV 9  interview with Keith Hall, Andrea Roane, and Jeff Besougloff about T’ai Chi for stress reduction and self-mastery here.

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ProductsTantric Qigong™: Healthy in 10 Minutes.

The Presencing Process

Tantric Qigong

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Learning Self Mastery.

.Chakra Balancing

Learn Tantric Qigong™ for Self Mastery:

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Instruction available in the Baltimore / Washington, DC area, contact us if you would like to bring a workshop to your area.

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Summer Events

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Introduction to Qigong

Sunday, July 11, 1:30 PM, Olney, MD

Discover how to improve your health and well being in as little as 10 minutes!

Boost immunityyingyangcroproundinnertranq4in, get grounded, empowered, accelerate Self-Mastery & spiritual evolution!

Find out why millions of people have practiced qigon for thousands of years. Easier, gentler than T’ai Chi, Qigong consists of conscious breathing & gentle meditative movements that generate and circulate life force and consciousness. Appropriate for anyone who can breathe and move his / her arms!

The 8 Treasures system of Tantric Qigong can be learned by almost anyone, regardless of physical condition. Practicing these simple exercises results in increased vitality, flexibility, mental focus, and alertness. Tantric Qigong will noticeably reduce stress levels, and is a gentle non-impact aerobics routine for cardiac and respiratory health. Tuition: $35 Discount for early registration.

Weekly Tantric Qigong Classes Sundays, Olney MD


Meditation & Conscious Breathing

Saturday, July 31, 1 PM, Olney, MD

breath2inBreath is Life! The quality of your breathing directly influences the quality of your life, and odds are your breathing is not nearly as efficient as it could be. The experience of routine stress, anxiety, injury, developmental or other traumatic events, even birth, can create deep holding patterns in the body which limit life-force and dampen your spirit.

Conscious Breathing derives its techniques from ancient Yogic and Taoist systems such as Pranayama, T’ai Chi, and Qi Gong breathing and shares some similarities with systems such as Rebirthing. This course will introduce us to methods that will:

Reverse the effects of accumulated stress and trauma.

• Begin to remove obstructions in the flow of one’s vital energy.

• Increase life-force by drawing on the energy (Chi, Prana) surrounding us at all times.

• Improve meditation, integration, well being, peace of mind, and mind-body mastery.

Increase your ability to contend with life’s challenges & fully enjoy its delights.Tuition: $35 Discount for early registration.


The Art of Being Present

Saturday, August 14, 1 PM, Olney, MD

Learn to make the most of each moment in your life!

buddhahandcropDo you admire those who say “carpe diem” & reach for all the gusto that life presents? Wonder how to extract more enjoyment from life?

We live in anticipation of the future & are attached to our past. We shuttle back & forth between past & future, robbing ourselves of our life & re-creating old patterns of being. Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over & over again & expecting a different result!” Through the Presencing ProcessSMwe can release

patterns that no longer serve us & create our lives with joy & fulfillment, exactly the way we wish to!

Who can benefit from this course:

· Busy professionals who find it difficult to unwind,Anyone who feels “stuck in a rut”.

· Meditators & Yoga practitioners who want to deepen their practice.

· Persons w/ anxiety, frustration, difficulty stilling the mind, therapists wishing an approach to mind-body holism. ·Bodyworkers, energy workers, persons wishing clarity & creativity in their personal/professional lives.

In this experiential workshop we will:

· Learn to create better communication & greater connection in our relationships, Open ourselves fully to our present experience.

· Use sensation, emotion, cognition to guide ourselves to our truth, Release negative emotion while opening to joy & serenity.

· Use breath to inspire creativity, vitality, & enjoyment of our lives, learn how being present in the moment can create fulfillment.

· Heal past wounding & manifest success in all aspects of our being. 3 CEUs Available!.Tuition: $59 Early registration discount.

Email us for more information

The Three Jewels of Taoism: Shen

Friday, April 30th, 2010

The Three Jewels of Taoism: Shen
Heaven abides so that we have virtue. Earth abides so that we have Qi. When virtue flows and Qi is blended there is life.Huangdi Neijing

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Learn Tantric Qigong

If we think of Jing as your computer hardware and Qi as the power, then Shen is the data and graphics that are transmitted to the screen. In the Enlightened person, this data will manifest itself as Wisdom and Spiritual Presence.

Using the analogy of a candle, if Jing is the wax, and Chi (Qi) the energy of the candle, then Shen would be the light or radiance given off. In Taoism, it is thought that it is through Shen that we “radiate” ourselves into the external world. This spiritual effulgence creates wisdom, virtue, and inner peace, while generating and preserving balance within ourselves. Just as the light that radiates from a candle is dependent upon wax, wick, and flame, so a healthy, luminous Shen is identified with the cultivation and balancing of both Jing and Qi.

In The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, Huangdi states  “…that which cannot be fathomed (in terms of) Yin and Yang is spirit.”  This can be construed to suggest that Shen is immaterial and that its nature is therefore transcendent.

Talking about Spirit can be tricky given its non-material and ambiguous character. Is spirit composed of emotions, mind, or something else?  Most religions do not define Spirit very well. Taoism attempts a definition, although varying schools of Taoist philosophy have somewhat different views of this.  The Five Element school of thought claims that Shen includes:

– Shen – Mind, defined as consciousness and thought, and is said to reside in the Heart.
– Hun – Eternal Soul, akin to some western concepts of spirit, residing in the Liver.
– Po – Corporeal soul, Soul of the body, sometimes said to be akin to the vital force or “animal spirit”, centered in the Lungs.
– Yi – Intellect, memory and intellectual functions, resident in the Spleen.
– Zhi – Will, as in Intention and willpower, dwelling in the Kidneys.

The associated five elements are Wood (Hun), Fire (Shen), Earth (Yi), Metal (Po), and Water (Zhi).

In terms of the ancient Taoist view of embryology, Hun and Po join with Jing (seminal essence), their union catalyzing the emergence of Shen (spirit). Also, notice that these five aspects are associated with somatic structures: the organs of the body. Taoism makes no distinction between mind and body; they are always regarded as two contiguous expressions of one essence. Thus, the metaphysical affects the substantial and the substantial affects the metaphysical.

Shen may be adversely affected if we fail to preserve our vitality through good diet and exercise or if we indulge in excessively violent emotion. When Shen is in disharmony it often manifests itself as:

– Discord between one’s personality and the life one is living.
Insomnia, forgetfulness, heart palpitations, dullness of the eyes, poor cognition.
– Dearth of inspiration, intuitive awareness; deadness; no joie de vivre.
– Ambivalence, contradiction, the person has no “center”.
– Chaotic activity, anxiety, restlessness, fatigue.
– Little or no sense of your path in life.
– Little internal inquiry, self-reflection, discernment.
– In extreme conditions, neurosis, mental illness, e.g. depression and mania.

Shen can be strengthened and balanced through meditation, acupuncture, and certain herbal courses of treatment.  Somatic disciplines such as T’ai Chi and Qigong are particularly effective.  Qigong, of course, has become world renown for its health and medical applications, and justly so. It has had much documented success as a therapeutic modality within the secular health care system in China.

Shen is quite naturally empowered as one’s Jing and Chi are reinvigorated through the daily practice of Qigong.  However, it does seem to me that in our technological culture, there is much to distract or confuse the mind, emotions, and spirit, and the quantity and pace of these distractions are increasing.  There are so many aspects of our modern life that are in direct competition with, and deleterious to, the development of Spirit and Inner Peace.

In addition to the spiritually negative influences of our techno-culture, there is also reluctance on the part of certain groups, e.g. the Chinese government, to acknowledge the part Qigong has to play in the evolution of spirit.  So, some Qigong organizations may be persecuted if they have an overt spiritual and political agenda.  Combine Eastern authoritarianism with Western materialism and fixation on the external, and one can begin to see that the spiritual aspect of Taoist discipline currently receives short shrift in comparison to the health and medical aspects.

One needs a strong spirit in a strong and emotionally balanced body to persevere on the path of conscious evolution.  That is why I have developed this particularly efficient and potent style of Tantric Qigong.  The conscientious practitioner receives well-balanced spiritual sustenance as he or she nurtures and rebuilds Jing and Qi. © 2010 Keith E. Hall, www.inner-tranquility.com All rights reserved.

The Three Jewels of Taoism: Jing, Qi, Shen.

Our classes and meditation / stress management audio programs can help you create a core of empowered Being within!

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Intro to Tantric Qigong

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Intro to Tantric Qigong

Discover how to improve your health and well being in as little as 10 minutes!

Learn to boost your immune system, get grounded and empowered, and accelerate Self Mastery and spiritual evolution!

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The 8 Treasures system of Tantric Qigong can be learned by almost anyone, regardless of his or her physical condition. Practicing these simple exercises results in increased vitality, flexibility, mental focus, and alertness.  Tantric Qigong will noticeably reduce stress levels, and is a gentle non-impact aerobics routine for cardiac and respiratory health.

Tuition: $35

Learning stages of Tantric Qi Gong include:
1. Relaxing & aligning the body
2. Controlling the breath
3. Focusing the mind-Transmuting the emotions
4. Moving the Chi
5. Development of the Spirit

Rev. Keith Hall has taught T’ai Chi, Tantric Qigong, Tantra, and meditation for 30 years.  He is a senior student of Master Yung-ko Chou, with permission to teach. Rev. Hall has studied at various Mystery Schools and with Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, S. Saraswati, and others. He has also taught Bioenergetics, Tumo, Vipassana, Zen, Spiritual Bodywork, various Yogas, and other Eastern and Western psychospiritual disciplines. Rev. Hall has published articles on East – West disciplines in numerous journals.

Learn more about Tantric Qigong here.

Intro to Tantra: A Valentines Day Celebration!

Our classes and meditation / stress management audio programs can help you create Self Mastery and a core of empowered Being within!
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If you find this site helpful, bookmark us & share!  Tools for Empowerment  T’ai Chi Instruction

Learn more about our audio programs for meditation, stress management, and personal growth.

See the CBS WUSA TV 9  interview with Keith Hall, Andrea Roane, and Jeff Besougloff about T’ai Chi for stress reduction and self-mastery here.

What Is qigong?

Attain Liberation! Tantric Qigong Karma Burning: Chakra Issues

ProductsTantric Qigong™: Healthy in 10 Minutes.

The Presencing Process

Tantric Qigong

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Learning Self Mastery.

.Chakra Balancing

Learn Tantric Qigong™ for Self Mastery:

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Instruction available in the Baltimore / Washington, DC area, contact us if you would like to bring a workshop to your area.

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Tantric Qigong Classes

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Tantric Qigong Classes

Learn how to improve your health and well being in as little as 10 minutes a day!
Boost your immune system, rejuvenate yourself, and create serenity within.

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Tantric Qigong, Sedona

The 8 Treasures system of Tantric Qigong can be learned by almost anyone, regardless of his or her physical condition. Practicing these simple exercises results in increased vitality, flexibility, mental focus, and alertness.  Tantric Qigong will noticeably reduce stress levels, and is a gentle non-impact aerobics routine for cardiac and respiratory health.

The class will employ elements of Taoist and Bioenergetic practices. Classes may also include some aspects of T’ai Chi, pranayama (conscious breathing), and meditation forms for creating a relaxed body and mind. You will learn to develop your vital energy and personal power to nourish your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Upon completion, you will be eligible for certification.

Tuition: $149 (includes Training Manual & Log)

.

Learning stages of Tantric Qi Gong include:
1. Relaxing & aligning the body
2. Controlling the breath
3. Focusing the mind, Transmuting the
emotions
4. Moving the Chi
5. Development of the Spirit

Rev. Keith Hall has taught T’ai Chi, Qigong, Tantra, and meditation for 30 years.  He is a senior student of Master Yung-ko Chou, with permission to teach. Rev. Hall has studied at various Mystery Schools and with Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, S. Saraswati, and others. He has also taught Bioenergetics, Tumo, Vipassana, Zen, Spiritual Bodywork, various Yogas, and other Eastern and Western psycho-spiritual disciplines. Rev. Hall has published articles on East – West disciplines in numerous journals.

We have Tantric Qigong Classes in Washington, DC metro area, Rockville / Gaithersburg, MD.

Introduction to Tantric Qigong

Register online for Classes / Workshops

Register for private coaching

More About Tantric Qigong

Personal training is currently available as well as classes and seminars for your professional or spiritual group.

Our classes and meditation / stress management audio programs can help you create a core of empowered Being within!
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.

 

If you find this site helpful, bookmark us & share!  Tools for Empowerment  T’ai Chi Instruction

Learn more about our audio programs for meditation, stress management, and personal growth.

What Is qigong?

Attain Liberation! Tantric Qigong Karma Burning: Chakra Issues

ProductsTantric Qigong™: Healthy in 10 Minutes.

The Presencing Process

Tantric Qigong

See the CBS WUSA TV 9  interview with Keith Hall, Andrea Roane, and Jeff Besougloff about T’ai Chi for stress reduction and self-mastery here.

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The Three Jewels of Taoism: Qi

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

The Three Jewels of Taoism: Qi

In traditional Chinese culture, the second of the Three Jewels (also known as The Three Treasures) is Qi (Chi), an active energetic principle that is part of all living organisms.

Chi or Qi can be thought of as life-force energy – the energy which vitalizes our bodies, and which empowers our movement.  This movement consists not only of locomotion, but also includes the movement of the breath and lungs, the coursing of our blood through the heart, lungs, and blood vessels, digestion, and the functional movements of all of our organs.

Qi is associated most particularly with the Liver and Spleen organ systems. If we think of Jing as a candle, then Chi is the candle flame – the energy produced via the transformation of the wax into fire. In our computer analogy, if Jing can be said to be your computer hardware, then Qi is the electricity that powers the system. Qi is the energy or life force that “boots up” our bodies.

Tantric Qigong, qigong, inner tranquility, 8 Treasures, eight section brocade, ba duan jin, self masteryIn Tantric Qigong, we say that there are three types of Chi: Heavenly Qi, Earthly Qi, and Personal Qi.  Heavenly Chi is the robust energy that resides in the air or atmosphere and is sometimes known as the solar principle. Heavenly Chi is related to the naturally occurring negative ionic charge that is generated by the atmosphere and its interaction with solar radiation. One reason we feel revitalized in the mountains or at the beach is that these areas are naturally abundant with Heavenly Qi. In some systems, Heavenly Chi is thought to be closely related to the evolution of Cosmic Consciousness. It is sometimes thought of as the Masculine Principle.

Earthly Chi is resident in the earth and may be more naturally accessible in geographic areas with crystalline formations or vortices, such as those near Sedona, Arizona. Sometimes thought of as the Feminine Principle, Earthly Chi seems to have a grounded, generative, and healing quality. In Tantra Yoga, this earthly polarity is said to be directly linked to our sexual energy, so it would have some direct interface with what the Taoists call Jing (Ching).

Ordinarily, in persons not trained in Tantric Qigong, Earthly Chi is absorbed and transported within the body through the digestion and metabolization of food. Heavenly Qi is absorbed unconsciously through the process of autonomic breathing. Part of Tantric Qigong training and discipline is to learn how to master and absorb these energies more consciously and powerfully through certain Chakras and meridians. In some forms of External Qigong, Qi is the energetic force which can be radiated from a Master’s hands for healing purposes. This type of Chi is called Emitted Qi.

Earthly Qi interacts with Heavenly Qi to form our Personal Chi, which is a combination of these energies that abide within our bodies vitalizing our Soma and empowering our Psyche.  The relative levels of our vitality, intelligence, and the plane that our consciousness evolves to are partially determined by our ability to consciously absorb, transmute, and direct this Qi. Thus, one who masters the absorption, generation, and direction of Qi will have a tendency towards improved health, higher intelligence, and ease of spiritual evolution. © 2010 Keith E. Hall, www.inner-tranquility.com All rights reserved.

Next: The Three Jewels of Taoism:  Shen

Jing, Qi, Shen

Presencing – The Power of Now

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Qigong, T’ai Chi, and Menopause

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

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Qigong, T’ai Chi, and Menopause

Menopause is a natural change in a woman’s life cycle that afflicts all women at some time. And the men that annoy them. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “The symptoms of menopause are caused by changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. The ovaries make less of these hormones over time. The specific symptoms and how significant (mild, moderate, or severe) they are varies from woman to woman…A gradual decrease of estrogen generally allows your body to slowly adjust to the hormonal changes. Hot flashes and sweats are at their worst for the first 1 – 2 years. Menopause may last 5 or more years…As a result of the fall in hormone levels, changes occur in the entire female reproductive system. The vaginal walls become less elastic and thinner. The vagina becomes shorter. Lubricating secretions from the vagina become watery. The outside genital tissue thins. This is called atrophy of the labia.”*

Symptoms
“In some women, menstrual flow comes to a sudden halt. More commonly, it slowly stops over time. During this time, the menstrual periods generally become either more closely or more widely spaced. This irregularity may last for 1 – 3 years before menstruation finally ends completely. Before this the cycle length may shorten to as little as every 3 weeks.

Common symptoms of menopause include:
- Heart pounding or racing
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Skin flushing
- Sleeping problems (insomnia)

Other symptoms of menopause may include:
- Decreased interest in sex, possibly decreased response to sexual stimulation
- Forgetfulness (in some women)
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Mood swings including irritability, depression, and anxiety
- Urine leakage
- Vaginal dryness and painful sexual intercourse
- Vaginal infections
- Joint aches and pains
- Irregular heartbeat.

Lifestyle Changes
Women taking hormone Replacement therapy (HRT) see some benefits. But they also increase their risk for breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. The good news is that you can take many steps to reduce your symptoms without taking hormones:

- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods
- Dress lightly and in layers
- Eat soy foods
- Get adequate calcium and vitamin D in food and/or supplements
- Get plenty of exercise
- Perform Kegel exercises daily to strengthen the muscles of your vagina and   pelvis. (The Taoist and Tantric  versions of these exercises are more developed and so potentially even more helpful.)
- Practice deep conscious breathing whenever a hot flash starts to come on (try taking six breaths per  minute)
- Remain sexually active (the extended love making techniques of Tantra and Taoist sexology undoubtedly help)
- See an acupuncture specialist
- Try relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation. Dr. Herbert Benson, author of “The  Relaxation Response,” suggests that Tai Chi is “…vitally important in PMS, infertility, hot flashes,  insomnia,…”**   He also says that “Repetition is key to creating the response.”***
- Use water-based lubricants during sexual intercourse.”*

Qigong for Abating Menopause Symptoms
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In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the symptoms associated with menopause are caused due to the body’s chi being disturbed. By practicing Qigong and T’ai Chi, this disrupted chi can be more evenly distributed and some of the uncomfortable symptoms can be ameliorated.

Regular practice of qigong and T’ai Chi can alleviate the irritability and stress associated with menopause by creating pelvic health and balancing emotional and hormonal swings.  It has also found to help increase the bone density in women, thus reducing the chance of post-menopausal osteoporosis.

Qigong may restore a woman’s sex drive, which can be decreased during in menopause. The regular practice of qigong tends to increases the levels of sex hormones thus restoring a healthy sex drive. One study showed that after a year of qigong practice, hormones were restored to near normal levels.****

A study published in the Oxford Journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine on eighteen women measured the effects of regular Qigong practice on chromic fatigue symptoms and the menopausal symptoms of night sweats, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea. The results showed improvement in the areas of sleep, energy and well-being. Qigong improved these symptoms of sleep disturbances after three months of practice.*****

Bone loss of up to 2% per year in women may occur after menopause. Prevention of includes optimizing the intake of calcium and vitamin D, exercise, and the optimization of normal menstruation. Stretching, strengthening, impact, and balance exercises are effective. As Qigong raises estrogen levels in women, this can reduce osteoporosis and heart disease. Tai Chi Chuan has proved to be successful in decreasing falls, and may restore bone density.

Kenneth Cohen states that “A wealth of anecdotal evidence suggest that Qigong tends to delay menopause and can extend the years of fertility.” He notes that female qigong masters have even been known to conceive during their sixties.******  One woman in her 50′s began practicing Qigong and after about 10 days  said, “I was amazed that my period reappeared…I celebrated it as a clear indication of rejuvenation.”*******

Our classes and meditation / stress management audio programs can help you create a core of empowered Being within!

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References:
*www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000894.htm
**my.webmd.com/content/article/25/1728_57992.htm.
***http://www.webmd.com/news/20000530/mysterious-medication-of-meditation
****Ye Ming, et al. Relationship among erythrocyte superoxide dismustase activity, plasma sexual hormones (T, E2), aging and qigong exercise. Proceedings, Third International Symposium on Qigong, Shanghai, China.. 1990:28-32
*****Naropa J. Mike Craske, Warren Turner, Joseph Zammit-Maempe and Myeong Soo Lee. “Qigong Ameliorates Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue: A Pilot Uncontrolled Study.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Advance Access published online on August 1, 2007
****** Cohen, Kenneth S. The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing p33
******* B.G., Los Gatos, CA qinway.org/qigong_testimonial.htm