HAPPY NEW YEAR! Yes, it’s the time of the year. I guess most of you are making (or planning) new year resolution already. Every year, most of us want to “Do more exercise”, “Focus on health”, ”Less stress”. But the problem is that most resolution made in January will only make it until March. I know my resolution will stick till Chinese New Year, so I don’t really make resolution anymore.
Resolutions are re-solutions. They are reused, recycled, remembered, repeated, redundant and probably reposted from 2008. So, instead of a re-solution, let me give you something that might work for you.
(“Da”=”The” but in a funky way).
My Top 5 Da-solutions I’m going to talk about today are:
- MOVE: Beary fun qigong
- MARK: Powerful acupuncture point
- MIND: Me Myself and Karumi
- MUNCH: You are what you eat crave
- MERRY: Finding your Oasis
So let’s get started.
For those who don’t like to exercise like me can try this at home or even in the office. Those who love to go the gym (like my little brother), you might find this a little boring and probably won’t give you the endorphine-high. They say doing something for 21 days will create a habit but it doesn’t work for some of us.
Instead of 21 days, let’s try this 120 seconds of bear qigong. It’s a beary good way to stay healthy, trust me.
Beary fun qigong
I’m sure most of you have heard of qigong before or seen it in some movies. Today I’m going to introduce to you one of the most common forms of Chinese medical qigong that is meant to improve health called Ba Duan Jin (八段錦).
First mentioned in the Song Dynasty (960–1126), the Ba Duan Jin qigong is variously translated as Eight Pieces of Brocade, Eight-Section Brocade, Eight Silken Movements or Eight Silk Weaving. The word “錦 Jin” refers to the silk, like that of a piece of brocade. These eight individual movements characterises the fluidity of the movement like a silk to the body and its Qi (vital energy).
The Ba Duan Jin consists of 8 different steps. It is done standing up but if you can’t, it is okay to do in a sitting position as well. The order in which it’s done may vary, with the following order being the most common.
This is super easy so grab your friends and family and try this at home. Do it slowly at your own pace. Don’t rush it and don’t force yourself to complete everything if you feel uncomfortable.
Get your 2 mins video here, it’s much easier to follow 🙂
1: Two Hands Hold up the Heavens
This move is said to stimulate the “Triple Burner” aka “Triple Warmer” also known as San Jiao in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The three jiao consists of upper, middle and lower areas.The upper jiao is the area above the chest; middle jiao is the area between the chest and belly button; lower jiao is the area below the belly button. By moving your hands up and slowly opening up, it helps to stretch your back and neck and send your Qi in free flow mode.
2: Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Eagle
While in a lower horse stance, imagine you are drawing a bow to either side. It is said to exercise the shoulders, neck and waist area. Great for those with desk bound job /studying. It increase lung capacity, opens up your chest to get rid of all the stuffiness, soothe the Liver Qi (meaning to get rid of stress in TCM terms) and rib area discomfort.
3: Separate Heaven and Earth
This is similar to the first action. Press your hand up in opposite direction, one up and one down. Keep your upper body relaxed and maintain a smooth motion when you switch positions. This movement helps to stretch your tummy area, massage your Stomach, Spleen, Liver and Gallbladder. Improve digestion and nutrition absorption. Great for those who like to sit for a long period of time.
4: Wise Owl Gazes Backwards
This gazing back from left to right in alternating fashion helps to stretch your neck. Keep your upper body straight and slowly bring your arms up and scoop the air down (like you’re telling someone to calm down). This helps to align the cervical (neck) spine, activate the thymus which is located in the middle of your chest, on top of your heart. It’s the primary lymphoid organ of the immune system where the body fights off foreign invaders.
5: Sway the Head and Shake the Tail
Squat in a low horse stance, place the hands on thighs with the elbows facing out and twist to glance backwards on each side.
This movement can help to regulate the Heart and Lungs. The main aim is to get rid of excess Heart heat (心火xin huo). Those with Heart heat will have irritability, mouth ulcers, bad breathe, trouble sleeping with dreams, very dark urine, constipation and red tongue tip.
6: Two Hands Hold the Feet
Stretch up and bend forward down to touch/hold your toes (if you can). Swing yourself up slowly and repeat. This helps to stretch your waist and back muscles to keep your body agile.
7: Clench the Fists and Glare Fiercely
This is similar to the second movement (the one with the shooting bow). For this, put on a fierce-boss face. By doing so, it stimulate the Liver meridian and flood with blood. Next, make a large punching movement, followed by what I like to call “wipe window” action.
So, it’s: Fierce face – Punch- Circular window wipe – Repeat with other arm.
Great for moving Qi and blood circulation and it helps to increase general vitality and muscular strength.
8: Bouncing on the Toes
Last one. Slowly push yourself up by standing on your toes and land on your feet gentlyLnd. The gentle shaking vibrations on landing is said to “smooth out” the Qi after the 7 previous movements. The vibrations also send vibrations to your organs like a massage. I like to call it a “Good Vibe Bounce”.
Did you try it? How do you feel?
Powerful acupuncture point
If you have been following my blog, you’ve probably noticed that I mention the acupuncture point ST 36 (Stomach 36, 足三里Zu San Li) quite a few times. It is because this point it easy to find, and it’s one of the most commonly used points.
Althought it is mainly used for gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, it is also used for stress, fatigue and boosting your immune system.
Zu San Li literally translates to Leg Three Miles. It might help you to walk another three more miles on the treadmill!
A little tale of Longevity on ST 36
A story about ST36 is a very familiar to me as a Japanese when the Haiku Master called Matsuo Basho wrote this in 1689.
Oku No Hosomichi (Narrow Passages in the Back Country)
“I patched my torn trousers and changed the cord on my bamboo hat. To strengthen my legs for the journey I had moxa# burned on my San Li*. By then I could think of nothing but the moon at Matsushima.”
#moxa refers to moxibustion, a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called “moxa” from Chinese mugwort are burned on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body.
*San Li refers to Zu San Li ST36.
He was ready for a long walk of 1,500 miles after burning moxa on ST36. Our ancestors knew very well that moxa on acupoint ST36 has the effect of invigorating the mind and body and speeding recovery from fatigue.
Everybody ages, it’s a natural process.Try not to be so stressed out about all the anti-ageing this, anti-ageing that. Be pro-longevity instead.
Mark this point on your leg and press it everyday!
Me Myself and Karumi
Another interesting topic I came across while reading on Basho, was his concept of “Karumi”. It means “lightness” in Japanese. It’s like greeting the mundane things in life rather than separating yourself from it. Like a Haiku, it doesn’t focus too much on the technique but more importantly, it emphasises on the spirit and flow in a natural manner.
Karumi = Lightness
Stop trying so hard to find it. Embrace Karumi and let it come to you.
There’s so many books on “Purpose of life” or “Find your passion”, something along those lines. I am happy for those who have already found life’s purpose and have filled that little empty void in life. But for me, actively finding my “purpose” feels heavy and forced, leaving myself more tired than before.
When I read about Karumi, I instantly felt that I could relate to it more. If it’s something you really like, then you don’t need to actively “find” it, it just comes to you doesn’t it? Perhaps there are some things that you find yourself doing it all the time regardless of how busy or tired you are. That’s just my opinion, but perhaps Karumi is another way to look at things in life, have a peace in mind and be more aware of our surrounding cues.
Mind = Heart
In TCM, every organ is associated with an emotion. The Heart is also referred as the King of all organs and it’s related to the motion of joy. When we are happy, we are feeding our hearts. When we are sad, our heart energy shrivels down, causing us to suffer from disturbed sleep, forgetfulness, problems concentrating.
To help our own hearts, there’s this little sound you can make to calm your heart.
Say “Haaaw” to calm the Heart.
Find a quiet place, sit on the edge of the chair with your hands on your thighs. Inhale though your nose, and make the sound as your exhale through you mouth. Then inhale. Do six times.
You are what you
In TCM, instead of looking at the nutrition, we focus more on the properties (hot or cold) of food and taste. Each taste is associated with a different taste. For example, bitter taste is associated with the Heat. If you find yourself craving bitter food, that’s your cue that your Heart is asking for support.
Food like coffee, dark chocolate, bitter gourd are beneficial.
Everyday, we are told to eat less of this and eat that.
But 2018 is the time you listen to your body.
My funny experiences: Those with heaty body type usually don’t like heaty food such as ginger and cinnamon. Also, when the herbal medication is fits to your body constitution you actually enjoy drinking it, like your body wants you to drink it. So listen to your body and much away on what you really crave.
Finding your oasis
Ever feel like your brain is all tangled up? If only we could take it out, wash it and clean it out.
Well, you can do it now (not literally of course) by creating your own space at home.
Call it: My Space, My Turf, My Sphere, My Dot Com, My Domain, whatever you like.
I like to call mine “My Oasis”.
I would think most of you will like a nice little spot in your room, decorate it with the things your like, nice aroma fragrance, fresh flowers or leaves with fluffy cushions etc. If you like cluttered and messy place, that’s fine too as long as you find peace of mind and relaxation time. When you brain-tangled, go there, just close your eyes, listen to your breath and count to 60.
Going out? No problem. That’s when Portable My Oasis comes in handy.
Visualise yourself in that same room, remember the smell, the touch of the fluffy cushion, close eyes, breath and count to 10. Repeat it needed.
In 2018, find your own Oasis and be merry!
Thank you all for reading and hope you enjoyed my Top 5 Dasolutions!
What are your “resolution” for 2018? Comment below 🙂
Happy New Year and may the Qi be with you always.
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