Interested in Health? Here are Some Tips

Interested in Health? Here are Some Tips

Hello Folks.

Seasons greetings and a prosperous and pleasant new year for you!

Health is one of the most precious gifts we can enjoy and share in life. Here are some gentle reminders about what helps lead to—and maintain—good health for a lifetime:

  1. DIET - yes, the obvious but an important and in fact, key, component of health. Aim for moderation, MOST of the time. An occasional extra piece of pie or other yummy dessert is fine. Just toe the line most of the time. Remember the basics and you will already be far ahead of the game: avoid the bad stuff (fats, sugars, refined foods, processed foods) and go for the good gals and guys (veggies, a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates, sufficient protein each day, plenty of water and fluids).

  2. EXERCISE - there are so very many opportunities to get out and about that even if you just walk or bike you will be doing well; find some activities that focus on these three areas: cardiovascular health (something that makes you huff and puff a bit), strength (core strength as well as arm and leg strength) and flexibility (try a yoga, tai chi or other movement class). A routine at a gym is good but make sure to have a fitness specialist work with you to develop a rounded program.

  3. HAPPINESS - this seems obvious but actually can be a challenge, at times, for folks in the hasty, breathless and nonstop hustle of modern life. If this seems fine and comes naturally for you then count yourself blessed. Even so, it’s both wise and fun to ensure you schedule at least some time each month for just having fun with family and friends and whatever else truly catches your fancy. Humans are social creatures so don’t underestimate the healing power of simply spending time chatting with friends or enjoying some activity. It’s manna for the soul.

  4. PRACTICALITY - oh, that stuff. Well, yeah. Having a roof over you and your family’s head is important too. So, PART of health is ensuring that the OTHER areas of life are flowing along smoothly too. This means that you should have some sense of where you are at in terms of work, career and goals. Do try to develop a short-term and longer-term plan for achieving some worthwhile objectives. A sense of accomplishment—having set a goal, worked towards it and then achieved it—is an essential underpinning of mental health. Life needs to have meaning and if you can feel like you are making some steady progress despite the wayward weather at times then you are likely on track both with your pocketbook and heart.

  5. MENTAL CLARITY - once you have a good start in the previous four areas then really you can gain the most by working to develop your mind. There are lots of ways to do this: you can learn meditation or a stress-reduction technique; you might try a qigong class (pronounced “chee” as in cheese, and “gong” as in gong [ring the bell]). Qi is the Chinese names for what scientists call biological energy. Essentially it is electricity in the body, just like you have electricity in your home. Part of Oriental medicine—and what helps to make it unique—is the goal to regulate this biological electricity. Research shows that doing so helps calm the mind and improve health in many ways. There are many other possibilities for bringing some more focus, vision, peace and alertness to your mind. All these qualities help and do indeed lead to better health. Try to find a class—in-person or online—that teaches some approach to mental improvement. If you stay with it long enough, you will truly be glad you did!

Interested in Spiritual Awareness? You Should Practice Qigong!

Interested in Spiritual Awareness? You Should Practice Qigong!

Good day, Folks. Happy late summer and early fall to you!

Every yogic or mystical tradition has its own armory of techniques and practices but at bottom there are really only a few tools needed for genuine progress along the spiritual path. Of these, you are most likely already covering the bases (if in doubt, you can check the Level 1 — Foundations page accessible via the Neidan Yoga menu item).

However, although all approaches make use of energy in some format, not all acknowledge or explain how to use energy in its most basic form as qi. You can think of energy as a spectrum — like a rainbow. At the upper levels, it is similar to what the yogis call prana. At even subtler levels it is energy that mingles with the mind so thought itself can direct this force. But all this cool stuff does no one any good at all until she or he is advanced along the path. 

To get advanced, you have to work with energy in the form of biological electricity in and just around the body. This is what the Daoists have referred to as qi for thousands of years. By far, the Daoists have the clearest, cleanest and most effective approach to developing this energy from beginning levels up through intermediate level skills and even further on. Once you're at an intermediate level though, you can jump ship back to your favorite tradition (Hindu yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, etc.) as all yoga systems are great at explaining advanced practice (with some personal tutoring from a guru or mentor).

Bottom line? Learn and practice qigong. Start anywhere but then work towards learning more refined skills as taught by genuine Daoist teachers. Bagua Zhang circle walking to an intermediate level plus learning to sense and direct qi with your hands is sufficient to prepare you for success with advanced meditation. It's the truth. 

Summer Days Ahead!

Summer Days Ahead!

Each year the spring equinox marks the time when the sun aligns with the earth's equator and divides day and night neatly into two equal parts. From then on, the sun continues north, above the earth's equator, so that the days gradually become longer and the nights diminish. For those that stay on in Florida during these months, this signifies the start of the hot and humid summer season. 

In Chinese medicine, such seasonal weather is described as "damp heat." Although, there's nothing particularly bad about a hot day here and there, it is the combination of strong heat and high humidity that can be a challenge to health. Aside from the obvious risks of heat-related illnesses such as sunburn, heat cramps and heat exhaustion, which we all should be alert to avoid, there is a more subtle effect of this weather to consider.

The notion of "damp heat" consists of two ideas: dampness and heat. The first, dampness, relates to sluggishness of the body's processes such as a sluggish digestion, hazy mind or dragging feeling which seems as if one is running low on octane. The second factor, heat, does just the opposite and causes the body and mind to overcharge and go overboard. So, damp heat pulls you both up and down at the same time. 

The result will be specific to your unique physiology. Essentially, damp heat is a catch-all stressor that can figure out the weak link in a person's physical make-up and act to disrupt just that part of the health equation. So, regardless of how healthy you are, this is a time of year when it makes good sense to take a few extra steps to vouchsafe your well-being.

We will talk more about what to do in future blogs, but for now, the first important ideas are to make sure you drink extra fluid (especially good old plain--but filtered--water) and to find a short amount of time early in the day or evening to "chill out." In Chinese medicine, heat signifies more than just temperature; it describes a state of being that includes body, heart, mind and spirit. If you can find a way to check out from the demands of the day for at least 10 minutes, especially at dawn or dusk, and simply tune in to your own needs, you will be miles ahead in terms of health during the summer months. 

Workshop on Qigong and Yoga

Workshop on Qigong and Yoga

A workshop suitable for everyone interested in qigong, yoga or other energy practices. A hands-on workshop that is a mix of qigong and yoga practice. Topics include basic qigong theory and techniques, adding qigong to a yoga practice and more advanced qigong skills such as the microcosmic orbit. Held on Sunday, Feb 5, from 1 - 4 pm at Kula Yoga Shala in Jupiter. 

LOCATION

KULA YOGA SHALA
400 TONEY PENNA DRIVE
JUPITER, FL 33458

Qigong Classes

Qigong Classes

Monday evenings from 7 - 8:00 pm throughout the Fall and Winter

 Join acupuncturist Greg Curtiss for a night of gentle movements alternating with some periods of stillness. These movements aim to integrate body movement, breath and thought leading to improved health. Greg has a background in Chinese medicine, yoga and qigong and has been helping clients for over 16 years. Love Offering.

LOCATION

UNITY CHURCH IN THE GARDEN
550 BUSH ROAD
JUPITER, FL 33458

Ongoing Community Acupuncture

Ongoing Community Acupuncture

Community acupuncture provides you an affordable and yet still effective way to receive the profound benefits of regular acupuncture care. The amount paid per visit is anywhere from $20 - 50 and at your discretion. A session lasts between an hour and an hour and a half. If you need to leave early you can notify the acupuncture physician at the start of the session. 

In this approach, clients remain fully clothed and recline comfortably in a zero-gravity chair during treatment. Therapy occurs in a group setting and there may be several clients receiving treatment at the same time in the same large open space. Lighting is subdued and quiet is encouraged throughout the treatment.

Prior to treatment on your first visit you will consult with the acupuncture physician in private to record pertinent medical history and determine the best treatment plan for your specific requirements. During a session, needles are inserted into precise locations on the legs, arms, hands and ears. The needles are quite small so any slightly initial sensation usually abates and most clients report a general sense of well-being and comfort while they rest with the needles inserted. 

Gentle music played in the background helps to encourage relaxation and, once the needles are placed, your job is simply to relax and perhaps even enjoy a short nap. At the end of the treatment the needles will be removed and you will have a chance to rest for a short while, if you would like, before resuming daily activities.

Regular community acupuncture treatments are especially helpful for overcoming addictions, such as smoking, drinking and overeating. These treatments are also great for stress reduction and thereby help to manage many stress-related diseases and conditions.

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Qigong Classes

Qigong Classes

Qigong Classes in Abacoa -- now through August 2