Archives for category: General

Following is an article by Deepak Chopra, et al found on Linkedin.  This is tremendously important information and I recommend everyone look into this and consider it very seriously, as if your life and the quality of life depended on it, because it does.

By Deepak Chopra, MD, William C Bushell, PhD, Ryan Castle, David Vago, PhD, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.

Ten years ago researchers began to focus on inflammation as a link to disease. They stood out in that they did not emphasize the acute redness and swelling that accompanies the site of a wound or burn as it heals, which is known as acute inflammation. Rather, they discovered clues were leading to something more subtle – a low-grade, chronic inflammation that has few if any overt symptoms. This kind of everyday inflammation has now been linked to an overwhelming majority of serious lifestyle disorders, including hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and most cancers. What was an intriguing trend ten years ago is now being recognized as major global epidemic, all the more dangerous because it is invisible.

We encourage you to read the first post we wrote last week in order to gain more basic knowledge about chronic inflammation. Going past lifestyle disorders, chronic inflammation may be the key to aging. In addition, numerous inflammation-related genes have been linked to susceptibility to most age-related diseases, such as those mentioned above. The chemical markers in the bloodstream that serve to indicate inflammation are associated with the aging body and cellular death. Already some gerontologists are floating the idea that inflammation may be the largest contributor to aging. If this turns out to be right it will greatly simplify a complex subject, because two aspects of aging have traditionally made it very hard to grasp medically.

First, the deterioration of the body over time is not a straight line but an unpredictable set of changes that look different in everyone. Second, no single process can be pinned down as “aging” by itself. The common signs of aging, such as losing muscle strength, defects in memory, and moving more slowly – not to mention medical conditions like arthritis and dimmed eyesight – are related to many different processes and don’t appear in every elderly person. In fact, there are at least a few cases where these changes are at least temporarily reversed; there are even people who get stronger and have better memories as the years go by. Chronic inflammation has the possibility to simplify this scenario, in part by exploring the common factor that so many seemingly unrelated aging processes share.

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The following article by Master Wang Zhijun, a Chen-style practitioner in Shanghai, offers a deep look at deep internal training in Taijiquan:  When we practice the Taijiquan form, we must train very hard and work on understanding and perfecting the ‘internal’ method of martial arts practice. This is how the Dao of internal health is developed, which is not dependent upon any form of externality….When ‘intention’ is used correctly, the mind is ‘stilled’ before expanding and embracing the divine-sky and the broad earth. This is how personal consciousness expands and is realised to share the same essence as the universe. This is the integration of the micro and macro-cosmic orbit circulations. In the deluded state, the fundamental integration of the divine-sky and the broad earth remains unknown. In the enlightened state, this obscuring layer of ignorance is ‘dissolved’ and the universal reality of diversity within oneness is directly understood.”

The Rest

Contemplation of The Immeasurable:

yangsittingBelow is a summary for Dr. Yang Yang’s Functional Meditation including the contemplations and mental principles.  Hopefully this will help in understanding this technique and process

Nurturing Daily Life through Contemplating Reality

Awareness Contemplations for Understanding Reality as it is through Functional Meditation

*The Meaning of Life

*Everyone is Seeking Happiness

*Nothing is Personal

*Everyone is Different

*Yin-Yang (Reality/Reversal)

The purpose of the Contemplations is to identify aspects of life to consider and upon which we can meditate, or contemplate. As a methodology for meditation, this technique is considered contemplation. The process is to take a topic for which we want a deeper understanding and to take it into meditation, to contemplate it. The process is basically a reversal of the Taoist cosmological idea of “from Wuji to Taiji”. In this case, we go from Taiji to Wuji. We take an idea into our busy minds and purposefully think upon it as a method for leading us to stillness. Once we reach of state of Wuji, we of course discard the idea and sit in stillness. In the process we make peace with the idea or concept we are contemplating so that once we leave meditation we are hopefully not bothered by the aspects of our life that relate to the contemplation. In time, we should be at peace with the idea more and more until we have a change in our relationship with the idea and the greater world. From this we can see that not only is this a good method for meditation, it is also a template for enlightened living, a guide for daily life and a way we can extend our “practice” to all aspects of our lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Following is a list of suggested reading (books, articles, videos) for Insight Qigong students.  The Basic Program Readings apply specifically to those just beginning on this path or taking our workshops, but are obviously applicable to any and all who may be interested.  Further readings explore Taijiquan, Yoga, Neigong, Zen and advanced Qigong practices.  They are divided into categories based on our approach to training, but only as a means for organization because in the end it’s all Qigong.

Basic Program Readings


Dr. Yang’s Evidence-Based Taiji and Qigong video  The Qigong on this video forms the underlying basis of the Qigong aspect of our basic program

The Healing Promise of Qi, by Roger Jhanke  This is a great general introduction to Qigong practice.


Mindfulness in Plain English  A great handbook on mindfulness practice

In the Sanctuary of Silence  How to plan and carry out a daily practice of superconscious meditation

Returning to Natural Mind  This video captures what we call applied meditation, being present all the time

Engaged Living

The Power of Intention  Wayne Dyer’s book on using mind and intention to live at a higher level.

Seven Lessons in Conscious Living  Roy Eugene Davis’ book for engaged living through the discipline of Kriya Yoga.  This is a simple outline to powerful daily living.


Further Readings


Hunyuan Qigong, Feng Zhiqiang  This advanced book forms the underlying essence of what Insight Qigong is all about.  Unfortunately it is out of print.  However, if you are interested in the book, please let me know.

Daoist Neigong  Once we get beyond the basic Qigong practice, we begin to  work with Neigong or internal skill.  This is not necessarily advanced practice as much as it is deeper practice.  This is a good general book for delving into Neigong.

Warriors of Stillness: Meditative Traditions in the Chinese Martial Arts  This is one of those books that belongs in every category.  Ultimately, it is about Zang Zhuang, or Standing Qigong.

The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing  This is a very good book on all aspects of Qigong practice by Ken Cohen, who is also a student of Hunyuan

Special Taoist Taiji Stick and Ruler Qigong  This book is by Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang and Master Wang Fengming on the Bang and Ruler.  This is high level Qigong and is recommended for those interested in going deeper into the practice.  It is available on Master Wang’s website, per the link above.  There is no direct link to the book nor a way to purchase online, you will need to contact Master Wang and send a check for the book.  There is also a video further down the page which accompanies the book well.  I recommend them both.

Taijiquan/Martial Arts

Taijiquan: The Art of Nurturing, The Science of Power  By Dr. Yang Yang.  The premier book on Taijiquan practice.

Chen Style Taijiquan  By Feng Zhiqiang and Chen Xiaowang.  This primarily is a book of martial applications utilized in Chen Style Taijiquan by two of the highest ranking masters in that discipline.

The Essence of Taijiquan  David Gaffney and Davidine Siaw-Voon Sim.  This is a great overview of the history of Chen Village, Taijiquan, and the practice of Chen Shi Taijiquan Gongfu

Internal Gung-Fu Volume 2: Fighting and Healing Methods, by Erle Montaigue  A look at the complete art of the Internal Gongfu of the original Yang school, by the late Master Erle Montaigue.

The Art of Peace  The way of the warrior is based on compassion, fearlessness, wisdom, and a love of nature.  By Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido

Spiritual Practice

Zen Mind, Beginners Mind  An important book in so many ways

The Upanishads  This is a classic.  But it is not an instructional book.  Rather, it is the kind of book that resonates more and more as one develops in practice.

The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge  There is a bit of controversy around Castenada, and this is not traditionally found in context with Asian practices, but it covers the Warrior’s Way, which ultimately transcends time and boundaries.  Recommended.

The Science of Self-Realization  This is a guide to spiritual practice in the Kriya Yoga tradition based on a commentary on the Yoga Sutras, the Shandilya Upanishad, and a brief outline of the inner meaning of the Bhagavad Gita.

Tao Te Ching  This is a staple for all seekers.  In this translation, Ursula Le Guin offers what I have found to be the best interpretation of Lao Tzu’s masterpiece.  It is much more poetic than rhetoric, a easy and at the same time challenging read.

I Am That  Talks with Nisargadatta Maharaj.  The natural approach for returning to union with the Ultimate Source.

We will be doing our 2016–2017 Winter Qigong Series on December 10th, 2016 and January 7th and 28th, 2017.  These are consecutive workshops in that they each build on the previous one.  However we will be keeping  the approach simple and approachable, so it is not necessary to take all three or any two consecutively.  However, the following outline is based on the assumption the student will be taking all three.

The theme and approach of this year’s workshop series is “Establishing a Daily Practice”.  Thus, we are also assuming the student understands the basic benefits of Qigong and the benefit of steady consistent practice.  Accordingly, we won’t be spending a lot time lecturing on the benefits of Qigong or the benefits of steady daily practice.  Rather, we will be spending more time on the components of efficient, effective practice and strategies for establishing a daily routine to the point that practice isn’t a separate activity as much as it is an essential aspect of daily life.

Please understand that Insight Qigong is not a variety of Qigong or a new approach to anything.  It is simply the name of my “school” (for lack of a better word) of Qigong training.  The overall majority of what I teach is Evidence-Based Qigong, as developed by my teacher Dr. Yang Yang.  I do supplement this with some complimentary aspects of Zen Buddhism and Kriya Yoga.  All of this is Insight Qigong.  It is what I have been trained in, am certified to teach, and believe in and practice myself on a daily basis.  The basic components of Insight Qigong are: Evidence-Based Qigong; Meditation; and Intentional Living.  The components of the workshops are as follows:

  1. Preparing the field: Warming up and stretching, basic standing Qigong
  2. Six Evidence-Based Qigong exercises
  3. Basic Sitting Meditation
  4. Intentional Living Regimines

In each workshop we will introduce different warm-up and stretching exercises, and variations of standing and lying down Qigong.  In each of the first two workshops we will introduce three of the six Qigong exercises and review all six in the third.  In each workshop we will introduce a different sitting meditation technique to include mindfulness, Pranayama, and functional meditation.  In each workshop we will work with different approaches to intentional living to include mindful (present) living, positive thinking, various stress-management techniques, and Dr. Yang’s Mental Principles.  Each workshop is four hours in length.  At the end of all three the student will have accumulated twelve hours of training and should be much better prepared for daily Qigong practice.  It will be helpful to bring a yoga mat and meditation cushion if you have them, but not necessary.

The training will be held at the Daishin Zen Buddhist Temple in Thomasville, NC.
December 10th, 10:00 AM–2:00 PM
January 7th, 10:00 AM–2:00 PM
January 28th, 10:00 AM–2:00 PM


Proper stretching is a must for efficient Qigong practice.  Stretching is necessary to prevent injury and to open the jingjin or the connecting tissue, tendons, and joints to allow for better energy flow.  There is not a standard format for pre-Qigong stretching, per se.  However, practitioners should ensure that the whole body, all muscle/tendon groups are worked.

Before stretching, the body and muscle groups should be warmed up.  This can be accomplished by vigorous walking or any of a variety of gentle exercises.  In our Taiji classes, we typically warm up with agility exercises:

Another possibility may be sun salutations:

It doesn’t have to be intense or complicated, just something you are comfortable with that will do the job.

After you have warmed the body, begin the stretch routine.  If you are a Hatha Yoga or Gongfu practitioner, you may certainly use the routine you are comfortable with.  If you don’t have a warm-up/stretch routine, the videos below are all suitable choices.  Once you get established in your practice, you may want to alternate routines to keep it interesting and provide for various approaches.





Being a Taiji/Qigong practitioner and teacher, I am frequently asked about the art, the why, how, about, what-if, belief, tall-tale, deep-meaning, etc…kind of questions.  The answers are basically easy.  There are evidence-based proofs of the efficacy of the art on many levels, and there are hundreds of thousands of amazing testimonies, records of martial prowess and miraculous healings, and there is the old proof-in-the-pudding of practical experience: just try it.

While I am thankful for these basic foundations, they are still just that: basic.  They don’t get anywhere near the real essence of this practice.  Unfortunately, I don’t think anything really does, at least in terms of language, the symbolic representation of something else.  This “something else” is experience.  There are aspects of Taiji/Qigong practice that just do not conform to words.  One could say there is nothing to say about it and be correct.  Not because there is nothing worth discussing or reporting on, but because there is no language that does the practice real justice. Read the rest of this entry »

To wake up in the morning is a true blessing.  We are given another day, and shouldn’t take it lightly.  Most systems of self-nurture recommend a routine for beginning the day.  Following is a recommended approach.   Read the rest of this entry »


Some history of Qigong from Dr. Roger Jhanke:

“There is a growing literature on the history, tradition, science and practice of Qigong.  Its origin is shrouded in the mystery of ancient China. There are stories of special techniques of breath practice that lead to immortality, healing powers, and special abilities…… The martial Gong enhances the strength, endurance and spirit of the warrior. The medical Gong can be used to heal diseases. Confucian Qigong is focused on self-cultivation, ethical development and refinement of personal temperament. The Taoist Gong is aimed at alchemical transmutation, merging with nature, longevity and immortality. The Buddhist Gong seeks refinement of mind, transcending the world of illusion and salvation of all living things…..”

The rest of the story