Summer love at the Southbank
PRAGMA: Enduring love
This summer, the Festival of Love at the Southbank is inspired by seven Ancient Greek words for different types of love. On Sunday 3 August, as part of the weekend exploring Pragma: enduring love, Moving Qi was invited to teach a taiji class in Jubilee Gardens. Throughout the weekend participants joined in activities inspired by nurturing and cultivation, taking your time, and making together. Taiji is the ideal format for demonstrating Pragma; yang sheng means nourishing life or health cultivation and some of the slow, meditative qigong movements were used by daoist sages to promote health and longevity. Taiji is a martial art that requires discipline or enduring love in order to develop internal strength.
Moving Qi outdoor taiji and qigong classes
take place fortnightly in Clissold Park.
The Heart: summer & fire element
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) believes that the heart is the yin organ that governs the mind, spirit and vitality. Its physiological functions are to govern blood, dominate the vessels and house the shen or spirit. In Five Element theory, the heart relates to Fire and its season is summer. Heart fire must go downwards to warm kidney yang and protect this water element from becoming too cold. If heart fire flames upwards there can be disturbances of the mind. The emotion related to the heart is joy.
Harmonising the heart and the kidneys
In TCM, the heart houses the shen, dominates all life activities and replenishes the essence. The kidneys store the jing or essence, which transforms into bone marrow and the sea of marrow. The marrow gathers and fills up the brain. That is why TCM believes essence also shelters emotions. When there is a yin deficiency in the lower part of body and yang hyperactivity in the upper part of body, the heart cannot contain the spirit and essence fails to house our emotions. An excess creates anxiety or mania whereas a deficiency can lead to depression.
Acupuncture for depression
Over 2000 years of history and tradition is now supported by evidence and acupuncture has been proven in clinical trials to relieve the symptoms of depression. A recent randomised controlled trial (1) from the UK found than acupuncture plus serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) shows a significant benefit for patients with depression than drugs alone.
1 Wang, T. et al. (2014) Acupuncture combined with an antidepressant for patients with depression in hospital: a pragmatic randomised controlled trial Acupunct Med. 32 (4) 308-12.
Morley College Autumn Term
12-week courses start Wed 24 Sep 2014:
Taijiquan (Chen LaoJia) 4-6pm
Qigong (Dao Yin Kidney set) 7.30-9.30pm
Qigong is a Chinese discipline dating back over 2000 years. These gentle exercises help you to relax, concentrate and calm the mind, thus relieving mental and physical tension, and restoring vital energy. This term we will be learning the Dao Yin Kidney set. There is a Chinese medical term of harmonising the Heart (fire) and the Kidneys (water). Last term we studied the Heart set.
Taijiquan, literally translated as 'Supreme Ultimate Fist', was developed around 400 years ago by Chen Wangting, a martial arts master and retired general who developed a form or sequence of movements to remain healthy. This is a complete exercise system or discipline for the body and mind that develops the flow of energy or ‘qi’ around the body and promotes internal strength, physical, mental and spiritual balance. This discipline requires regular practice in order to improve focus, awareness, co-ordination and posture. This term we will be starting LaoJia - old frame - which is the matrix form for all modern taiji forms.
How to breathe with your abdomen/ belly to reduce anxiety and help to boost energy and stamina.
Stress and poor posture mean we breathe with our chest muscles instead of our abdomen. Abdominal or belly breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, is a simple deep breathing technique that teaches you how to use your diaphragm, a sheet of muscle at the bottom of the lungs and the most important muscle for breathing.
The goal should be to breathe this way all of the time.
1) Sit in a chair, stand feet shoulder-width apart, or lie on your back.
2) Women right hand first, men left. Place laogong acupoint in palm centre on dantian (3" below naval). Place laogong of other hand on top of back of laogong of first hand.
3) Calm your mind. Focus on dantian.
4) Breathe in and out through the nose.
5) Breathe in, tummy out.
6) Breathe out, tummy in.
It's that simple.
Bring your awareness to your dantian to calm the mind and develop inner strength.
Moving Qi has now set up an acupuncture, tuina and taiji & qigong practice at Waterloo on Fridays. Click here for more information.
Chrysanthemum Flower & Goji Berry Tea
During the summer months in China many people drink Chrysanthemum flower tea, a pleasant and fragrant caffeine free beverage to provide relief from the symptoms of hay-fever and to stay cool in the summer months.
Chrysanthemum flower (Ju Hua in Chinese) has been cultivated as a tea in China for over three thousand years. The oldest herbal medicine guide in China the Divine Husbandman’s Materia Medica dating from 500CE references chrysanthemum flower as relaxing and calming with an ability to clear heat and cool the eyes.
Chrysanthemum flower is often combined with goji berries (gou qi zi in Chinese) to make a tea. Now recognized as a super food by western nutritionists sweet tasting goji berries have been used as a medicine in China for centuries as a tonic and to brighten the eyes.
While chrysanthemum flower is clearing and cooling goji berries are nourishing and warming. The pair combined not only make a fantastic tea but epitomise Chinese philosophical thinking of Yin-Yang balance in all aspects of life, combining cooling and warming, clearing and nourishing while the light ascending nature of the flower is balanced by the heavy nature of the goji berry seed. The pair combined help relieve symptoms of tired, red and itchy eyes and is also fantastic for eye tiredness and redness for anyone doing lots of long hours in front of a computer.
Both herbs were believed to have life promoting effects and Ju Hua in particular features heavily in traditional paintings, and poetry and was drunk by Taoist priest who believed in its qualities to prolong life. Chrysanthemum flower has high levels of B and C vitamin, while goji berries are packed full of free radical busting anti-oxidants.
To make this tea add about 6 grams of chrysanthemum and 6 grams of goji berries to a mug cover with boiling water and steep for five minutes and drink throughout the day. You can buy goji berries and chrysanthemum flower from an oriental supermarket.