Definition of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), or Oriental Medicine as it is sometimes called, evolved in China over a 5000-year period of consistent use, making it the oldest system of medicine still in use today. It also forms the traditional medicine of countries such as Korea and Japan and is widely practiced throughout the Western world in America, the United Kingdom, and parts of Europe and Australia. TCM incorporates acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, dietary therapy, and exercise systems such...

Press Palms Across the Body

After completing Form 8, return to a starting position. Press the right palm, fingers pointing up, across your stomach and to the left side of the body, keeping the right arm close to the body. Meanwhile, the left hand parks on the left side, palm up with the little finger touching the side of the body and the fingers pointing forward Photo 22 . Bring the hands back to a central position with the palms facing upward and fingers pointing at each other Photo 23 . 2. Repeat this movement in the...

Time of Day to Practice

Chinese wisdom holds that the hours of the day are divided into two separate times the energizing hours and the relaxing hours. This division has much to do with Traditional Chinese Medicine, which says that your Qi is more active in certain body areas at certain times than at others. Even the quality of the energy varies according to the time of day, so it might be important to take these facts into account in planning your T'ai Chi practice times. Generally, the morning hours are devoted to...

Five Weaknesses Seven Injuries Qigong

Balance and T'ai Chi, 159, 160 basic components of TCM, 182-193 Qigong exercises, 126-128 stepping exercises, 114-116 styles of meditation, 140-141 seated, 128-129 tenets of Taoism, 168-170 warm-ups, 61-65 beach lake stream river and T'ai Chi practice, 47 benefits of Chinese massage, 191-192 benefits of T'ai Chi, 23 beyond traditional care, 159-160 Bodhidharma, 18 body alignment, 55-56 body, listening to your, 26 breath counting, 142-144 Breath Watching, 144, 145-146 breathing, 54-55 for...

Outdoor Practice Areas

Speaking of backyards, what about practicing outdoors Well, certainly your location, as well as the season and daily weather, will be primary considerations. In Northeast Pennsylvania, where I am, we seem to have two seasons winter and summer. Somewhere along the way, we lost fall and spring. As a result of this meteorological oddity, we usually cannot go outside to practice until sometime in late April, and begin to move back indoors in September. Of course, during the midsummer heat waves, we...

The Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong Form

Note For each movement, in addition to the traditional name and the name I regularly use for my students, I am including another Chinese variation, the title of which is preceded by two asterisks (**), to illustrate first, how confusing the terminology can become, and second, to make you laugh These are actual translations from a Chinese Qigong class I attended many years ago. First Movement Double Hands Hold Up the Heavens (*Two Hands Hold Up the Sky) (**Lift Two Arms Up to Sky-Height, Be Your...

Review of Core Tai Chi Principles

A review of the basic principles of T'ai Chi movement is in order at this point, because without a firm grasp of these basics, you are not doing T'ai Chi, just a slow-motion dance. With the principles in mind, however, you will enter into the magical world of healing and relaxation, of spiritual cleansing, and of greater everyday optimism. Starting with your feet, place them shoulder-width apart and parallel. Remember that the feet should be parallel in order to reduce the stress on the ankles...

Intermediate and Advanced Qigong

In Qigong, there are also many more paths left to explore, perhaps more so than T'ai Chi. Because Qigong has hundreds, if not thousands, of separate forms, you could spend several lifetimes learning them all. The trick is to find one that is simple enough to learn and remember, but not so hard that it puts your body in jeopardy. There are many that fit the bill Wild Goose Qigong, Fragrance Qigong, Falun Gong there are dozens of simple Qigongs to choose from. I often use an exercise with my...

How Does TCM relate to Tai

All of the principles of Taoism that we examined in the last chapter, as well as some that we did not, apply to both TCM and T'ai Chi. Based on the yin-yang principle, TCM seeks to balance the body. Take, for example, a fever. Often, the methods of TCM will induce yet a higher fever, albeit temporarily, in order to lead it into a balanced state. This is explained by the principle of lead an unbalanced condition into yet a more unbalanced state, and it will seek to gain equilibrium. In other...

The Five Main Styles of Tai

Just as there are many styles of dancing, there are several styles, or schools, of T'ai Chi. Although a complete understanding of the history and evolution of T'ai Chi can be an absorbing pursuit, most of the details are of interest only to T'ai Chi scholars, so we'll touch only briefly on the subject. Just a note here Many of T'ai Chi's origin stories can stretch the limits of believability. Realize that in 13th-century China, not everyone was well versed in the realities of life. People often...

Basic Components of TCM

Having already explored T'ai Chi and Qigong in earlier chapters, we will now look at the four other constituents of TCM acupuncture, massage, herbs, and medical Qigong therapy. There are two very different ways of looking at acupuncture from the traditional Chinese perspective and from the modern international perspective. Each of these will be briefly described. The understanding of how acupuncture works has evolved with its practice, but the descriptions set down a thousand years ago have...

Styles and Types of Qigong

Although there are thousands of Qigong exercises available, they all can be classified into one of five main schools, or styles, of Qigong. This is not to say that a certain exercise cannot be used for both medical and spiritual purposes, for example, but as a general tool of convenience and as a learning aid, the following five styles will be explored in this section 1. The Taoist school stresses the preservation of the physical body. The Taoist styles emphasize joint health, internal and...

Physical Benefits of Tai Chi Practice

T'ai Chi cultivates health benefits beyond those studied by Western medicine. T'ai Chi conditions the sleeves between muscles and nerves (the films that separate and support the organs) known as the fascia. The acupuncture meridians (energy pathways) of Chinese medicine run through the fascia. By conditioning these boundary layers between tissues, T'ai Chi reduces chemical cross-linking, or cellular rust. Move it or lose it, the Taoists say. The turning of the trunk flexes the spine, producing...

TCM Diagnosis

You've been suffering from nagging headaches for some time now. Up to this point though, you've endured the pain or taken aspirin and rested when you could. Frequent recurring headaches eventually cause you to worry, however, so you consult your general practitioner. He or she runs a few tests, which rule out anything serious, and prescribes you medication. This works well when you have a headache but doesn't prevent the next one. You go back to your doctor, who refers you to a specialist....

Shooting the Hawk by Drawing the Bow Tight Do This Twice With Your Left and Right

Step out into a horseback riding stance. Bring your hands together at your lower abdomen level as if holding a small ball. Raise the ball to chest level Photo 53 . Shift your weight to your right leg and turn your torso to face the right side. Extend the hands to the right side, the right hand extending out, index and middle finger pointing at your target the left hand, formed into a fist, pulling the imaginary string Photo 54 . Pull the bowstring taut, back to the center of your chest, tensing...

Using Taoism in Everyday Life

So how does all of this philosophy apply to you, dear reader It applies quite strongly, even if you don't realize it yet. In practicing Taoism, you become a better person, both for yourself and for your loved ones. You shed the petty grievances and character flaws and learn to be more compassionate, loving, caring, and generally fun to be around. How can you apply some of the Taoist principles to your everyday life For the past 2,000 years, traditional Western thinking has been dominated by a...

Adaptations

As with the 18-Movement Qigong Form, adaptations for the Eight Pieces of Brocade are quite simple. There is actually a separate Seated Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong Form, but it is a bit more advanced than we have the space for in this book. When performing the Eight Pieces of Brocade sitting down, be aware of the body alignment and posture. Again, recall the basics feet flat if, as with some of my students, your feet don't reach the ground when seated, just grab a phone book and place your...

Using Tai Chi in Rehabilitation

The art of T'ai Chi has, for centuries, been used as a martial art, as a defense against opposing armies, and as a preventative exercise system. Only recently here in the West have we discovered another facet of T'ai Chi, that of rehabilitation. Within the last 20 years there have been many studies made by medical professionals with the assistance of T'ai Chi instructors in the use of T'ai Chi movement principles in restoring nominal levels of health. In addition to the physical therapy...

Basic Tenets of Taoism

Taoism, like any other belief system, has certain guiding principles that make it what it is. Here we will examine the basics, and as we do so, try to imagine how each principle relates to your T'ai Chi practice. The Chinese symbol for Tao is a combination of two separate symbols one representing a human head, and one representing the act of walking. Thus, one interpretation is walking a path of wisdom. This is the quintessential definition of Taoism learning to walk the path or way. Te is a...

By Turning Your Head and Wagging Your Butt To a Degree Finite Your Ill Temper Will Say Good Night

Move Hands Over Tantien

Move your right leg out about 1 foot to the right, and sink into a horseback riding stance. Place your hands on top of your knees, with the thumbs facing backwards Photo 65 . Shift your weight to your left leg, and press down with your left hand, while attempting to bend your head and spine over the left leg Photo 66 . Stay in this position for three seconds, and then return to the center. Repeat on the opposite side Photo 67 . Inhale through the center exhale when pressing to the sides. Make...

Core Concepts of Tai Chi Breathing Alignment Energy

Here's where we finally start to look at the basic principles of Qigong and T'ai Chi exercises. These principles are perhaps the most important phase of learning these arts, so please go slowly and learn them well. Don't gloss over them just because they seem boring or obvious within these principles is the real magic of T'ai Chi. Breathing is the soul of T'ai Chi without proper breathing, you'll never gain all of the benefits possible, and will just be performing a dance. True, that dance will...

Whirling Arms on Horseback Plate of Spaghetti

With feet remaining in normal stance shoulder-width , inhale lift both hands up to shoulder level in front of the body, palms facing downward. 2. Still inhaling, shift the weight to the right leg, bending the right knee, and bring the right hand up to the right shoulder, fingers facing backward and palm facing up. 3. Still inhaling, extend the left arm to the left, with a slight bend in the elbow, fingers pointing to the left and palm up. 4. Finally, still inhaling, turn the head and gaze to...

How Does Taoism Relate to Tai

The Taoist philosophy is the guiding principle behind T'ai Chi indeed, T'ai Chi was created by observing Nature in action. Remember the story about the snake and the crane fighting The observation and subsequent reflection on that fight was what created T'ai Chi an attempt to imitate the movements and strategies of animals. Performed properly, T'ai Chi is a beautiful, nonstressful series of movements that flow into each other and seem never-ending. So, too, is Nature she's beautiful until we...

Form Wave Hands Like Clouds The Non Attachment Exercise

Tai Chi Wave Hands Like Clouds

From a neutral stance, begin circling the left hand counterclockwise, keeping the palm facing the body Photo 25 . As the left hand passes in front of the face, the right hand is slowly being pulled across the lower abdomen to the left by virtue of the body turning to the left Photos 26 and 27 . As both arms arrive at the left side of your body, drop the left arm down and raise the right arm Photo 28 . 2. Now circle the right hand clockwise, again keeping the palm toward the body at face...

Form Painting the Rainbow

Start inhaling as you slowly straighten knees and lift arms up to chest level with palms facing down. 2. Keep inhaling as you do the following movements Move arms up overhead while shifting weight onto right foot with right knee slightly bent, left leg straightened and turned 90 degrees outward to the left then, lower left arm parallel to the floor on the left side with palm up Photo 5 . 3. While exhaling, the bent right arm will now paint a rainbow, or move in a circular fashion overhead...

Gazing at the Moon Over the Shoulder

At the completion of Form 7, return to a starting position. 2. Swing the arms backward, upward, and to the left while turning the trunk in coordination, turning the head as if to look at the moon, and exhale. The left arm is outstretched and pointing at the moon, the right hand is palm up beneath the left armpit Photo 20 . 3. Swing both arms down and repeat to the right side of the body Photo 21 . Inhale as the arms swing down exhale as you gaze at the moon.

Cat Stepping Step by Step

Called Cat Stepping, this is the basic leg technique in T'ai Chi. It is designed to enable you to turn in any direction while maintaining your alignment, and also serves to strengthen both your leg muscles and your sense of balance. In this exercise, you'll learn and practice basic T'ai Chi body mechanics. Start from a neutral standing position feet shoulder-width apart and parallel, knees slightly bent, pelvis tipped forward and slightly upward, head lifted, shoulders relaxed. Consider that...

Sifu Philip Bonifonte

Franklin Lakes, NJ A division of The Career Press, Inc. Franklin Lakes, NJ Copyright 2004 by Sifu Philip Bonifonte All rights reserved under the Pan-American and International Copyright Conventions. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, without written permission from the...

Spiritual Benefits of Tai Chi Practice

The spiritual benefits of T'ai Chi exercises are a bit more difficult to define for the typical Western practitioner. Certainly, the ability to calm down and breathe deeply helps one to achieve a more open-minded viewpoint concerning one's spirituality, and enables an internal dialogue with one's belief system. If the spirituality of a person can be judged by how he or she treats others, then T'ai Chi can indeed develop the spirit. When you feel better and more energized, you will treat others...

Introduction to Medical Qigong

Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM is a holistic system for promoting health through the use of several therapies such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, acupressure massage, and Medical Qigong. These therapies are often used in various combinations. The central theory of TCM is to balance the Qi the vital energy in the body according to several theories such as Yin-Yang, Five Element, and Six Stages. These theories are used in TCM in general as well as in Medical Qigong in particular. In the...

Breathing Techniques for Tai Chi Exercises

Breathing techniques for T'ai Chi are the same as they are for Qigong you are trying to breathe diaphragmatically, without holding or forcing the breath. One way to remember the proper breathing is to think of the martial meaning of the movements. So, when you are Warding Off, or pushing someone away, you are exerting yourself and need to exhale. When you are beginning to step and are drawing your feet together, or are coiling your arm across your body, you are in a defensive mode, so you would...

Basic Qigong Exercises

Origin Lift arms to chest level, and then return hands to the knees. 2. Opening the Chest Same as standing version except the hands return to the knees. 3. Painting the Rainbow Here we need to make a slightly different type of adjustment. Because in the standing version we turn our feet, hips, and waist in the direction we are painting, we need to try to duplicate that as much as possible. After your opening moves, you should be sitting upright with your arms out to your sides, palms up....

Basic Tai Chi Hand Motions Seated

With the seated T'ai Chi variations, let me just say this This will not be true T'ai Chi, at least not the type that the Masters all perform in China. You won't have the same balance training, you won't feel your legs rooting into the ground during a push, and you won't be able to work those leg muscles and knee joints very much. So what You're still exercising, still moving, and hopefully, still breathing With that quick introduction, let's try the exercises. Seated Ward Off can be...

Riding the Tide

Palms Downwards

Stand at ease with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart, trunk upright, eyes looking straight ahead, chest relaxed and slightly concave, back lifted, hands hanging at the sides Photos 1 and 2 . 1. Inhale as you slowly lift arms forward to shoulder level with palms facing downward Photo 3 . 2. Keeping trunk upright, exhale as you bend knees until thighs form an angle of about 150 degrees with lower legs and press palms down to abdomen level. Knees should not go beyond the tips of the toes.