The value of sleep is severely underestimated in today’s culture. Many people come to accept the fact that getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night is adequate for proper functioning. Long term sleep deprivation, however, may be the beginning of a long and slow decline in health. Sleep allows the body to restore and heal itself. When people are not getting enough time to “recharge their batteries”, this is when bodily functions may start going haywire. For many people, finding time to sleep is not the problem, but rather the ability to fall and stay asleep is what is keeping people awake. [Read more…]
The use of acupuncture and Chinese medicine is an important key to support the body’s innate immune system. No matter what time of year, it is important to maintain a healthy immune system which provides protection against frequent infections, common cold and more serious illnesses. Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes different organ functions to be responsible for specific functions in the body. The concept of immunity involves 2 major organs: spleen and lung. The energy, or qi, of the lung is responsible for defense against external pathogens. However, the ability of the lung qi to protect the body relies heavily upon the production of qi from the spleen. [Read more…]
In modern culture, the value of healthy digestion is severely underestimated. Digestive imbalances such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating and gas and often overlooked and considered to be collateral damage from “normal” eating habits. The truth, however, is that healthy digestion is one of the foundational principals to staying well. Many people attempt to make healthy lifestyle changes but can become confused of where to start: Diet? Exercise? Meditation? Supplements? It can become overwhelming but a good gauge of how well we are achieving health is through our digestion and bowel movements. (Kind of gross, but true) [Read more…]
Come join Julie Shindler-Cohen at Karma Yoga to learn about Women’s health and Chinese medicine. Julie will discuss general Chinese medical theory and will explore women’s health and prevention in more detail. Attendees will gain a greater understanding of how Chinese medicine treats the body’s natural energetic balance as a means of preventing and treating an array of symptoms that arise throughout a woman’s lifecycle.
DATE: Tuesday November 22
PLACE: Karma Yoga 3683 W. Maple Road (At Lahser Road)
COST: $20 at the door/$75 for the series
Julie will be offering one course in a series entitled “Soma & Agni”, which offers information about women’s self care and lunar cycles from an Ayurvedic perspective. The course will be each Tuesday in the month of November from 2-3:15 at Karma Yoga. Please look at the Karma’s website for more details about the seminar!
This weekend I was lucky enough to be introduced to Shen Zhen Healing Qi Gong (Unconditional Love Healing Qi Gong). I was blown away by how transformative the practice is for physical and mental health. I am excited to write more about it and how it has shifted me. For now, I will start with an introduction to Qi Gong, written by Master Li Jun Feng.
THE MISSION OF QIGONG ©
by Li Jun Feng
1. What is qigong? It is the interexhange of qi between people and the universe. When the exchange of qi takes place, the qi works. It is this exchange of qi that creates an energy that brings about health in living beings and in the natural environment. When there is qi, there is life. When there is no qi, there is no life.
2. Qigong is a science. But it transcends modern science. Qigong as a science should be used to improve people’s lives – to teach them to be more natural and to attain a sense of total well-being. True qigong must be something that is not just an intellectual pursuit or something to study but should be applied to life.
3. What are the three functions of qigong?
Qigong is good for overall health. Through the exchange of qi, diseased qi is removed and fresh qi is gathered.
Qigong brings about the removal of negativities that lead to worry, sadness, anger, nervousness, fear, and a stressful life. As a result, one is free to lead a happy and carefree life. Modern medicine is good but only provides a temporary solution. If people want to maintain their health the energy level in the body must be in balance – the emotions must become balanced and even. Emotions can affect the physical body. The emotions and the physical body must be in harmony. This determines the quality of life.
Finally, qigong opens the heart. As one experiences the opening of the heart, this allows the qi from the universe to go to the entire body, removing the negativities that rob one of a life of perfect well-being.
4. The purpose of qigong is to bring all back to the original state, the natural state. Originally, all were in the qigong state. But today, human society and the natural environment are no longer in balance. This results in the outbreak of the sickness, wars, and natural disasters that we see today. Qi is the life force. It protects the whole world, man’s life, and the natural environment. This imbalance has brought about the deterioration in the quality of qi. When this happens, the power of the qi is diminished and the qi becomes useless, ineffectual.
5. The amount of qi in the universe is always the same. It is never more or less. But the quality of the qi can change. If the circulation is not good, if there is not enough of an exchange between man and the universe, it results in a harmful imbalance, in poor qi quality, in stale and stagnant qi, in diminished power.
6. To better the quality, to improve the circulation, human hearts must open. Unconditional love is the key that unleashes the power of qi. When the heart is open, immersed in the experience of love, the interflow of qi can take place making the qi work
7. The relationship between human beings in society can affect nature. If the family is happy it affects the community. If the community is flourishing, it affects the country. If the country is healthy, it affects the world. This, at the end is what leads to peace and harmony. Unconditional love is the root, is the key. It is to this purpose that Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong serves.
8. In the beginning, people spoke about love with ease because true love was everywhere. But now, people’s hearts have become cold – some people have become like ice. Even from the outside their façade locks the love inside. So it appears as though there is no love, that it is distant and far away. But actually, love is still there. Because people do not believe that others are capable of true love, people protect themselves by holding themselves back. Everyone wants to receive true love but people have lost the ability to trust and believe in others and in themselves as well. People are afraid to ask because they are afraid of rejection. So everyone waits and watches. It is as though true love is buried and frozen in ice. Hearts become encrusted and love is hidden from view. The competitive world has created an environment of confusion and skepticism distancing people from the experience of the love that exists in their own hearts. Can this kind of world ever reveal true love? In this world of cut-throat competition, how many people actually feel that they are leading a true life? Only when you have been awakened to love can you understand the true meaning of life.
9. The true qigong awakens understanding from the heart so people can have a natural life rooted in unconditional love. Qi is never separated from love. Through the practice of qigong, true love is always with you – the joy of the lightness of being is always with you. A healthy mind coming from the practice of qigong cooperates with the flow of qi in the body. In the end, one realizes that it is not that the heart and the mind are used to make the qi flow effectively. It just happens naturally, of its own accord. Then life is never seen apart from the qigong state. It is then that one’s life becomes established in it.
To learn more, please visit www.shengzhen.org
Acupuncture is one of the best forms of preventative medicine available today. The goal of acupuncture is to maintain balance within the energy channels so that disease will not present itself. Maintaining balance ensures that there is not too much (an excess) of energy in one channel and a lack of (deficiency) of energy in another channel. Chinese herbs are also used for this purpose; to clear out any excess, support any deficiency or treat any resulting pathologies. From an emotional perspective, I have found that when people become stressed or emotionally vulnerable, any preexisting deficiency becomes a more serious problem. For example, the person who has a long history of digestive disorders gets severe digestive problems when they experience a loss in their life. Or a person who has a long history of allergies and frequent colds get a long standing cough that will not go away when life becomes stressful. [Read more…]
I was fortunate enough to attend a luncheon for The Pink Fund on Saturday and walked away feeling blessed and inspired. The Pink Fund is a michigan based charity organization that provides short-term financial aid during the brief period of active treatment and recovery. The help that the Pink Fund offers people during a time of crisis is desperately needed and I applaud them for taking a stand for people’s lives.
Kris Carr was chosen to be their speaker because of her journey and her courage. She was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer that was considered untreatable. They couldn’t do chemotherapy or operate. So, she decided to research other cultures to see what they ate and how they exercised to promote longevity. What I loved about her was her honesty and vulnerability. She told us that before her cancer diagnosis she would eat very unhealthy food, including spam. “Spam, people!” she screamed to us to remind us how disgusting it was! For her to be considered a health guru now shows she certainly has come a long way.
I was also really inspired by her attitude regarding diet and lifestyle. She said that we should strive for perfection but never be a slave to it. When it comes to diet, exercise, and meditation, we would all love to make goals and stick to them. But oftentimes we are too busy with the many demands of our lives. She reminded us that we should always aim to meet our goals but shouldn’t beat ourselves up if we don’t. I really liked this because in my healthcare practice I’ve seen how easy it is for people to engage in negative self talk if they don’t live up to their own standards. And really, how does this serve us? It truly doesn’t. Guilt does nothing to move us forward in our spiritual journey. Rather, as spiritual beings, we can do our best to take care of ourselves and know that our best is always good enough.
Please take a moment to pay it forward and donate to this amazing Michigan charity.
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In the age of food allergies, Sandra Beasley’s Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from An Allergic Life is a fascinating read for those of us who cannot imagine living with such food restrictions. Beasley tells her life story of dealing with severe food allergies and how she has learned to adapt her life around her extreme food sensitivities. Her food allergies are so severe that she rejected her mother’s breast milk as an infant. Over many years, doctors were able to determine that she is allergic to dairy (including goat’s milk), egg, soy, beef, shrimp, pine nuts, cucumbers, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, macadamias, pistachios, cashews, swordfish and mustard; she is also allergic to mold, dust, grass, tree pollen, cigarette smoke, dogs, rabbits, horses, and wool. (Can you imagine?) However, the discovery of her allergies also involved countless anaphylactic shock episodes and trips to the emergency room before the correct offender could be identified. [Read more…]
Feng shui is an ancient art developed in China over 3,000 years ago. Its goal is to balance the energies of any given space to assure health, wellness and good fortune to those who inhabit it. Like acupuncture, feng shui is based on the principle of qi, an energy that fills our spacesand makes it feel “alive”. You may have heard the expression that the space has “good feng shui” or even walked into a space yourself and had a good or bad feeling when you did. One of the objects of feng shui is to create a free path for the qi to flow throughout your home. Picture qi as a gentle stream flowing through your home. By doing a simple walk through your home you can see where the stream flows smoothly and where clutter and objects get in its way. [Read more…]
The inability to fall asleep at night can be very frustrating. Although we may feel tired, we can lay in bed for hours without being able to fall asleep. Instead of relaxing into sleep, we become more agitated that we cannot fall asleep—it’s a vicious cycle, to say the least. Sometimes all that is necessary is a formal way to calm the mind. Try this meditation, a modification of the “microcosmic orbit”, which helps to relax both the body and the mind. [Read more…]