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The wonderful world of energy (Qi, Ki, Prana)
Acupressure tips for anxiety | The Golden Chamber of Qi
Savasana and Traditional Chinese Medicine, for balance and Harmony
Invisible, subtle energy occurs around us all the time and is now measurable by science. Listen to it and feel it.
More than 5000 years ago, the ancient Chinese master of esoteric healing and medicine men and women around the globe, came to understand that everything is made of the same energy. This energy is called Qi (pronounced shee) or Ki or Prana and refers to the life force circulating in the human body and the universe. It is the source of all life and can be regulated, nourished and restored to live a long and healthy life.
According to ancient Indian and Chinese philosophies, everything is formed by Prana or Qi (Chi). Since 1960, it has been clear that what we now call bio-electricity refers to the same Qi, or energy as formulated by ancient China. Our body is a bio-electric & magnetic energy field referring to complex cellular activity, producing and using electricity to generate and receive different energy sources. This Qi responds to the air quality we breathe, the food we eat and the lifestyle we lead. This energy is also affected by our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, actions, and the energy surrounding us, such as in nature, and the unnatural power such as radiations like telephone cells and computers.
This Vibrational energy field or bio-electricity pulsations spread throughout our entire body through the matrix of the continuous connective tissue, this web of tissue network under the skin covering the whole body. A physical injury, stress, chock or worrying thoughts, and negative beliefs journey through the interconnect, coordinated systems of our being and create tensions (collagen formation) in the myofascia, muscular and visceral parts of our body.
However, when our vibrations are positive, they create fluidity and flexibility, which means that our physiology immediately recognises our body & mind actions, thoughts, and beliefs. They produce either a positive reaction keeping our cells healthy or an adverse reaction leading to muscular tensions and dying cells responsible for the effects of ageing, chronics pains, immune system deficiency, and leading over time to illnesses like cancer.
Physical and energetic alignment through yogic and Taoist practices permits the free flow of energy and the release of tensions. By keeping a relaxed, flowing Qi, Prana, Ki, the body stays open and can let go to rejuvenate, transform and restore themselves.
When practicing movements with fluidity, we connect to our inner self, the subtle impulse of life within, deepening our body awareness in the continuous motion of our inner world. By relating to the water quality we are mostly made of and from which we were born, we find our own fluidity and improve our flexibility.
The Taoist philosophy compares the energy that animates all life, the essence of the human body, to water as flowing energy. Ancient Chinese texts express energy as an analogy of water, such as the ‘rivers’ of Qi in the limbs and upper torso. The ‘sea’ of Qi in the abdomen, the ‘springs of Qi in the ankles and wrist, and the ‘wells’ of Qi in the fingers and toes.
The mind becomes still and reflective like a calm water lake, and asanas flow like gentle ocean waves of breath. From the Greek meaning “living body,” the soma is experienced from the inner world, the world of the floating living cells we grow each day. We rejoin our microcosm with the macrocosm.
Each moment of practice brings a deep sense of peace, well-being and optimal health. Students get a more definite sense that they are made of divine nature, which is unnamed. During classes, we connect with the undercurrents of transformative force within, the powerful energetic effect of the divine oneness running through all of us, which we awaken, nurture and pass on when we teach Yoga.
In The Golden Chamber of Qi book, I went to great lengths to describe the energy world from traditional wisdom with a scientific approach. I am offering the Taoist roots of Eastern philosophy, providing insight into the science of vibrational energy, the ancient knowledge of Chinese medicine and meridian stretching applied to yin yoga classes. It also integrates the unique Five Elements Methodology for emotional self-regulation to nourish and nurture your mind, body and spirit. I present the five elements theory to support class planning, looking at Qi excess and deficiency from an emotional point of view.
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Shava (शव, Śava) means "corpse" and Asana (आसन, Āsana) means" posture" or "seat".
CONNECT SAVASANA AT AN ENERGETIC LEVEL with your students/friends.
The first chapter of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Verse 32 states:
‘Lying upon one’s back on the ground at the full length like a corpse is called Savasana"
By allowing ourself to let go, and be, after our practice, we complete the work of the asanas engaged earlier. We allow the energy to circulate freely, and restore the part of the self in need.
Help your students to relax with gentle bodywork and acupressure, providing a blissful state of Ananda (happiness or freedom).
The student, by renouncing to the fruits of his/her actions and completely surrendering to the divine will, experience a sensation of liberation (moksha) final cyclical life process (samsara), enjoying bliss (ananda) in perfect union with the forces of the universe.
Mystics and spirituals call it Qi, Ki, or Prana and science has now proven what humanity knew for thousands of years; that the energy flowing through us can be easily accessed, measured, transformed, and regulated.
"This interconnected matrix of energy, is the source of all life and can be regulated, nourished, restored to live a long and healthy life."
The natural healing art of a Meridian massage and acupressure can be a modality of choice at the end of a yoga class, during an assisted Savasana, to re-balance the body's energy, alleviating symptoms and promoting a strong sense of well-being.
In China, the Qi, our vital energy, and meridian points are often compared to water, with names such as sea, springs, wells, rivers, and oceans. To keep healthy while staying body & mind young, we need to nurture the quality of the flowing Qi. Meridian massage therapy helps, with a gentle touch and quiet assisted stretching, stimulating and opening the flow of energy by following the meridians pathways, while acupressure serves as a gateway for healing, facilitating the balance of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self.
Mind-body tensions and pains accumulate under the skin and can be released through acupressure points, enabling the myofascia to elongate and relax under the fingers and palm pressure. The energy or bio-electricity is then stimulated at the skin's surface, increasing the blood flow and energy circulation to restore our well-being at a subtle level with immediate beneficial effect.
"Physical and energetic alignment through yogic and Taoist practices, permit the free flow of energy and the release of tensions. By keeping a relaxed flowing Qi, Prana, Ki, the body stays relax and can let go, to rejuvenate, transform and restore."
Taoist tradition teaches us that the practitioner must remain with a pure heart to work with energy. Several spiritual practices such as meditation, meridian stretching, and washing energy are required to provide a natural treatment. Still, most importantly, the bodyworker must forget entirely about the self, the ego and stop listening to the chatter of the mind during the session. With this elevated spirit, the energy work becomes intuitive and successful.
YIN YANG BODY PLANES
The body also represents the duality of both yin yang energy. The front of the body is yin (the shadow side of the hill); the back of the body is yang (the sunny side of the hill). The sides of the body are yang, while the medial sides are yin. The upper torso and back are classified as yang, while the abdomen, lower body and front are yin.
“To collect, first scatter.
To weaken, first strengthen.
To abolish, first establish.
To conclude, first initiate.
This is called subtle illumination.
Shih Wei Wei ming.
Soft and weak overcome stiff
LAO TZU, TAO TE CHING
I engage you to connect with your student/client's biofield and assist them in energy flow.
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Recent medical studies conclude that the mechanical pressure and extension of multidirectional movement applied to the fascia during yin yoga and meditative movements with mental intention suggest that the connective tissue is one of the primary means of balancing the circulation of Qi in the body.
Stretching the lines of energy through fascial stress, blood and lymphatic vessels with gravity, body weight, and sensory feedback from the floor/props improves the health of the fascia and vessels, facilitating flexibility, growth and repairs, and enhancing the quality of health and wellbeing. The study of the fascia led to a new hypothesis called fascial anatomy that supports the relevance of connective tissue in TCM and biomedical research, even though the relationship between the Chinese meridians and connective tissue is not yet clinically evident to the scientific community.
You can increase energy circulation for specific conditions by applying acupressure points to the skin, fascia, and meridians while holding yin yoga postures.
Double-check the contraindications with your students before offering acupressure manipulation. Also, you can suggest they sign a disclaimer.
BENEFIT OF ACUPRESSURE
Increases blood and lymphatic flow.
Relaxes the muscle and nerve fibres; reduces spasms, restrictions and adhesions in the muscle fibres.
Decreases inflammation in the tissues.
Decrease the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.
Activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
Stimulates the flow of energy to the internal organs.
Improves circulation to the skin.
Increases the supply of oxygen to the brain.
Stimulates the release of beta-endorphines and serotonin from the brain. Encourages the release of stagnant energy and energy blockages.
Restores the body’s energy flow.
Release: You can facilitate releasing tension by pressing and gently circling on the same spot for 1–3 minutes. Be in tune with yourself, and don’t forget to breathe.
Tonify: To strengthen the flow of an empty point, work in the flow direction by using constant pressure on the spot for 3–5 minutes.
Disperse: Disperse by massaging the area in a circular motion and use the on-off technique
Sedate: Use sedating or dispersing techniques. Sink to the level of resistance and then use the on-off pressure by alternately holding and releasing the point.
If you want to release deep-seated muscular pain, it is better to press for 1 minute, then disperse, and repeat until you feel a release and then swipe away the tension towards the extremity (wherever you are placed, towards the feet or the hands).
Apply pressure with the palm of your hands or with the tip of your thumb gently, firmly enough to feel it but soft enough to avoid muscular pain. Your pressure should never leave bruises. If you feel pain, check if it is a releasing pain that sounds heavy, deep, but good at the same time, or if it feels more on surface skin/fascia like you knock yourself. If it is the latter, your pressure is too intense or not on the right point.
"In peaceful calm, void and emptiness, The authentic Qi flows easily. Essences and spirits are kept within. How could illness arise?" Neijing Suwen 1, lines 41-44
SEQUENCE FOR ANXIETY | LONGER SESSION + YIN YOGA POSES
This emotion results from a blockage of the flow of vital energy to the upper body region.
Disperse LV3, LI4, CV14, (anxiety, panic attack and GV20. Then tonify SP6 (general point for recharging in energy, moves blood) and PC6.
LI4: Seated or lying depending on your stamina.
LV3: Half-butterfly, butterfly, square pose, diamond shape.
CV14: In any seated or lying posture and in saddle pose.
GV20: In a crossed-leg position, place your hands on your head, pressing the point with your index and middle fingers.
SP6: Square pose, butterfly, half-butterfly (press the point with the index fingers of the two hands.)
PC6: Any lying or seated position.
Get more acupressure points sequences in connection to yin yoga postures to regulate your emotional state in The Golden Chamber of Qi.
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Honouring Autumn Ganesha's Energy & Our Lungs Qi
The autumn season is an excellent time to honour Lord Ganesha and work with our Lungs/Large intestine meridians; release the old, grief and sadness and contemplate our courage in every challenge of our life.
The beloved Hindu elephant-headed god who was born in September month said to be in the fourth day after the new moon. Ganesha's mystical energy has the faculty to remove every obstacle and bring good fortune. It is custom to place a statue of Lord Ganesh in the entrance of a house or a new business to ensure success and happiness to any new venture.
To honour him, The Ganesh Chaturthi Festival takes place every year in Mumbai in India.
"The festival begins with the installation of huge elaborately crafted statutes of Ganesha in homes and podiums, which have been specially constructed and beautifully decorated. Artisans put months of effort into making the statues. It's forbidden to look at the moon on this first night as legend had it the moon laughed at Lord Ganesha when he fell from his vehicle, the rat. On Ananta Chaturdasi (the last day), the statues are paraded through the streets, accompanied by much singing and dancing, and then immersed in the ocean or other bodies of water."
In Mumbai alone, more than 150,000 statues are immersed each year! Once a statue of Lord Ganesh is installed, a ceremony is undertaken to invoke his holy presence into the statue. This ritual is called the Pranapratishhtha Puja, during which a number of mantras are recited. Following this, a special worship ceremony is performed. Offerings of sweets, flowers, rice, coconut, jaggery, and coins are made to God. The statue is also anointed with red Chandan powder. Prayers are offered to Lord Ganesha every day during the festival. Temples devoted to Lord Ganesha also organize special events and prayers.Hindus worship idols, or statues, of their gods because it gives them a visible form to pray to. They also recognize that the universe is in a constant state of change. Form eventually gives away to formlessness. However, the energy still remains. The immersion of the statues in the ocean, or other bodies of water, and subsequent destruction of them serves as a reminder of this belief. It teaches that everything is temporary in life and that it's sometimes necessary to let go of things we love.*"
*-Festival Source: https://www.tripsavvy.com/ganesh-chaturthi-festival-guide-1539292
The lungs, called “the white emperor,” are full yin organs and paired with the yang large intestine. The lungs ensure the proper circulation of the Qi cycle and correspond to the metal element and autumn.
The lungs serve as a guide, assisting the heart in regulating the body’s Qi. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shares comparable Western perspectives, but additionally correlates the lungs with the traits of courage and will to survive, as they are spiritually influenced by the psycho-emotional traits of their spirit; Po housed within them.
TONIFYING LU/LI VISUALISATION
Using the colour white in visualisation will help tonifying the lungs. In any posture stretching the arms, visualise a brilliant white light entering the lungs, nourishing them with pure Qi. When you exhale, mentally, follow the line of the energy of the lungs in each arm (from the armpit to the inside of the arms, towards the side edge of the nail of the thumb), exhaling deeply through the mouth.
To Know more about the lung/large intestine meridians and the Metal element for yin yoga class planning. Please check the summary of The Golden Chamber of Qi here.
Similarly, like the leaves of the trees falling, or the statues of Ganesha immersed in the water, you can engage with a renewed state of mind and let the unnecessary energy of the year leaving you, getting ready for the rejuvenating and calming winter energy. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the autumn season is associated with the metal element of the pair lungs and large intestine meridians. The exercises related to the Lu/Li meridians are the selection of choice to engage yourself in the healing art of letting go.
Located in the upper torso, the Lung Qi connects to the pure celestial energy of respiration of heaven. The Qi of the Large intestine located in the lower body connects to the earth and relates to the stale, turbid energy of the self.
By giving attention to our respiration, with conscious inhalations, the lung meridian helps to maintain a good vitality, and permit us to be open to new experiences. The exhalations from the lungs, working in pair with the large intestine, help us to let go, stop holding onto the past and eliminating from our soul, mind, and body the depleting energy of sadness and grief.
If you feel the blues of the autumn season. Upon awakening, practice this wonderfully healing therapeutic Qi-gong exercise:
THE SPIRIT OF THE LIVER: THE HUN
The Hun. A Spiritual Liver Yin Class Planning
for Halloween (even if the Yin Liver/Yang Gallbladder are associated with spring)...Ghostly Qi can appear at anytime!
Why not connect your class with the spirit of the liver: the Hun or ethereal soul. It is described as the soul of the living or the dead. Chinese stories relate to wandering ghosts, as the expression of the Hun, leaving the body after death who haven't had anyone praying for them, practicing the death ritual of the soul. It is said that the Hun stores all the past experiences that manifest during dreams. It is
believed to live on after death and continue to the next life.
The Hun influences life/decision and planning. If it is not rooted, it expresses itself through floating feelings or fear before sleep and insomnia can occur. It is a common affliction showing that the Liver Qi is depleted. Blood cannot return well to the liver at night, and all functions become weak.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is mainly understood as Western medicine. However, in TCM, the Liver Qi ensures the smooth flow of internal Qi throughout the body, and it also stores and controls the amount of blood circulating within it. It withdraws it, stores it when resting or sleeping, and releases it during exercise. It also regulates the menstrual blood flow. It is associated with the central and autonomic nervous systems and governs our emotional state. It is in charge of the tendons, the nails and the eyes. The liver is the second largest organ of the body, and it is situated on the right side of the body, but the Liver Qi flows from the left side of the body, drawing its energy from right to left. Suppose the Liver Qi becomes stagnant with deficient liver blood, the tendons, ligaments. In that case, muscles will not be hydrated, nourished enough, resulting in cramps, lack of strength and flexibility, and blockages of all sorts. The quality of the nails is strong and healthy, and the look of a fresh eye with clear vision shows the balance of the Liver Qi; any troubles will manifest as brittle nails, white spots, lack of flexibility, myopia, or blurry vision.
"The spirit of the liver, the hun, rules the nervous system and gives rise to extra-sensory perception".
The liver ensures mental and emotional stability. It is described as the 'seat of the emotions'
also called the 'Immature Child'. Liver Qi needs freedom, expansion and free wandering.
Stress, anger, impulsive actions may damage this free flow and create a depression of liver Qi.
Anger and depression cause stagnation, as it produces heat from the liver to rise into the head,
the angry face person may be reddened, and redness anywhere always means heat.
Depression generates recurrent sight, pain and discomfort in the chest and breast (for a woman).
When stagnation occurs, emotional imbalances will be felt, such as outbursts of anger (excess)
(yang energy) or depression (deficiency yin) sinking energy under the influence of Po
(the spirit of the lung).
When depression settled for too long, Traditional Chinese Medicine relates that the Hun can
leave the house of the liver and wanders until wholeness is restored. By connecting with the Shen
of the heart, and the Po of the lungs; stretching the arms sideways with a conscious visualisation
of the energy flowing through the body.
Learn more on my book The Golden Chamber of Qi