Weekend Qigong retreat at the beautiful Beacon Bank Farm which nestles in gently rolling Staffordshire countryside. Secluded from neighbours and busy roads, it feels suspended in an earlier period when time passed more slowly and nature provided the news of the day. It is a wonderful place to stay and unwind, to let go of the hustle and bustle and to just enjoy the simple, natural pace of life with our small community.

The Zhan Zhuang course will be run by Sifu Tony Dove who is a disciple of Master Lam.

Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung:
‘Standing Like A Tree Energy Exercise’.

The term ‘Standing Like A Tree’ was first used by by Master Lam in the 1980’s, when he introduced Zhan Zhuang (pronounced ‘Jam Jong’) to the West. The roots of this fascinating art go back at least 27 centuries.

In practice, you stand and grow just like a tree. With no strain, and developing steadily, you establish strong foundations. On these firm foundations, you grow health and happiness.

The root of the experience is in static postures.  As the body becomes settled, new aspects of the art are added, developing the breadth of the practice.

Zhan Zhuang develops relaxed stability in body and mind.  The Art of Zhan Zhuang is like a fully grown tree, with many branches coming from one root. The different branches of the art include health, medical, martial and meditative applications.

The diversity of branches give shape to the tree, making it naturally balanced, vibrant, abundant, generous,
and strong.

At first, the effects of Zhan Zhuang work inwardly, and are personal.  Later, they become stronger, and are noticeable from the outside.  This is much like a tree grown from a seed, small at first, yet finally providing shelter and sustenance to huge variety of life.

 

 

 

 

 

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When your body is not aligned,
The inner power will not come.
When you are not tranquil within,
Your mind will not be well ordered.
Align your body, assist the inner power,
Then it will gradually come on its own.
Nei-Yeh (Inward Training, 4th century BCE), chapter 111

Qigong lessons for children offer a possible way to improve wellbeing at school, according to research carried out in Sweden

OBJECTIVES:
Psychologic problems is increasing among pupils and has become a major problem in Sweden as well as in other Western countries. The aim of this study was to explore whether scheduled qigong exercise could have an effect on well-being at school, psychologic distress, self-image, and general stress.

SUBJECTS:
Pupils, 13-14 years, were assigned to either a qigong group or a control group.

INTERVENTION:
The qigong group had scheduled qigong 2 times a week for 8 weeks.

MEASURES:
Self-reported well-being at school, psychologic distress, self-image, and stress were measured pre- and postintervention.

RESULTS:
The control group had reduced well-being at school during the semester and the qigong group was stable. The qigong group reduced psychologic distress and stress, and had a tendency to improved self-image, whereas no changes were found in the control group. Self-image explains 47% (R(2) = 0.47) of well-being at school, and stress explains 29% (R(2) = 0.29) of psychologic distress.

CONCLUSIONS:
Scheduled qigong, meditative movement, is a possible way to improve well-being at school.

J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Sep;16(9):939-44.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Can you be both martial and spiritual?
Can you overcome your ultimate opponent?

To be martial requires discipline, courage, and perseverance. It has nothing to do with killing.
People fail to look beyond this one narrow aspect of being a warrior and so overlook all the other excellent qualities that can be gained from training.

A warrior is not a cruel murderer. A warrior is a protector of ideals, principle, and honor. A warrior is noble and heroic.

A warrior will have many opponents in a lifetime, but the ultimate opponent is the warrior’s own self.
Within a fighter’s personality are a wide array of demons to be conquered: fear, laziness, ignorance, selfishness, egotism, and so many more. To talk of overpowering other people is inconsequential.

To actually overcome one’s own defects is the true nature of victory.

That is why so many religions depict warriors in their iconography. These images are not symbols for dominating others. Rather, they are symbols of the ferocity and determination that wc need to overcome the demons within ourselves.

By now, you have probably heard of the health benefits of green tea and how amazing this magic drink is but do you know exactly what they are? The Eastern beverage we are all so curious to learn more about, seemingly has endless ‘pluses’ and no negatives, but what exactly are some of the benefits of drinking green tea?

Countless scientific studies have shown that consuming several cups of this useful elixir per day has nearly innumerable health benefits ranging from its ability to lower high blood pressure and regulate blood sugar to its knack for aiding in weight loss.

Health benefits of green tea include the reduction of the “bad” form of cholesterol. In addition, the same studies have shown lower levels of certain liver enzymes which suggest reduced risk of liver disease.

One of the health benefits of green tea is that it has been proven to increase your body’s ability to burn calories more efficiently. You won’t see weight melt off of you overnight, but the tea’s thermogenic properties can help you get over a stubborn weight-loss plateau or help you step up your metabolism.

For thousands of years, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have credited the health benefits of green tea with being helpful in preventing and treating all sorts of ailments.

We now know that the health benefits of green tea are due largely in part to its powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants are kept largely intact due to the very minimal processing that the leaves undergo. The harvesting, gentle processing, and the fact that the leaves are not allowed to oxidize or ferment, much of these polyphenols and antioxidants remain in the final product.

One of the most favorable health benefits of green tea is that it scavenges harmful free-radicals which contribute to aging and poor health. Consuming several cups per day or taking an extract is a great habit to get in to and although it does contain caffeine, it’s less in comparison to coffee.

Another health benefits of green tea is that you get the pick-me-up and mental clarity associated with caffeine—just minus the jittery side effects.

This beverage is perfect for helping people slowly wean themselves off of caffeine without the withdrawals and irritability while providing their body with disease-fighting phythochemicals!

Aside from the numerous and obvious health benefits of green tea, a soothing cup of can soothe our very minds.

Truly enjoying this timeless beverage affords us the much needed opportunity to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of our hectic lives and simply relax!

Click here for a complete guide to Green Tea
Photo by Dano 

TIME magazine has called Tai Chi the “Perfect Exercise.” What’s the big deal, why is it so different from typical exercise and who can benefit from practicing tai chi?

Most of the estimated seven million Americans who practice the ancient art of tai chi do so to increase their health, not for self-defense.

Western medical research studies confirm what hundreds of millions of tai chi practitioners have experienced themselves: tai chi improves health, reduces stress, and mitigates the effects of aging.

Click here to read the full report that includes info on
Tai Chi – Exercise for your health
Chi is Life-Force Energy
Western Health Studies confirm Tai Chi has many beneficial health effects

Before you start make a pot of tea, sit down and relax. Hope it inspires you too!

Thanks to Bruce Frantzis for sharing this wonderful article. Bruce is a Taoist lineage holder in both the Wu and Yang styles of tai chi, as well as bagua, hsing-i and Taoist meditation.

Serves 6.

Ingredients:
2 onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium squash
2 pints vegetable stock
1 cup dried chestnuts,
soaked
2 cloves garlic
1 bayleaf
1 teaspoon rosemary
Splash of cider vinegar
Parsley to garnish
Pinch paprika

Method:
Presoak the chestnuts overnight or use fresh chestnuts if available. Chop the onions roughly and fry in the olive oil until softened. Chop the squash, removing the skin and seeds, and sweat with the onions, turning occasionally until it starts to soften. Add the vegetable stock, chestnuts, crushed garlic, bayleaf and rosemary. Simmer for 40 minutes, remove the bayleaf and liquidise adding a splash of cider vinegar and a good twist of freshly ground black pepper.
Serve garnished with parsley and a sprinkle of paprika.
10 minutes preparation/50 minutes cooking.

Action:
Squash nourishes the Spleen, strengthening the Qi and helping remove Dampness. Chestnuts also support the Spleen as well as warming the Kidney, strengthening Yang and gently stimulating Blood circulation. This recipe is ideal for the condition of Spleen Yang Deficiency.

This recipe has been reproduced from Daverick Leggett and Meridian Press book Helping Ourselves, Click here to read Simon Fielding, European Journal of Oriental Medicine review.

Daverick along with Graeme McCracken also run daily seminars to weekly retreats on the theory and practice of food energetics, Qigong and Meditation, lectures in nutritional theory, tasting and cooking.


Hilly village lanes,
Whitewashed sunlit walls
Cerulean sea.
The laughter of children.

No matter where in the world you go, no matter how many languages are spoken, and no matter how many times cultures and governments clash, the laughter of children is universally uplifting.

The mirth of adults can be variously jealous, insecure, sadistic, cruel, or absurd, but the sound of playing children evokes the ideal of a simple and pure act. There are no concepts, no ideologies – only the innocent pleasure of life.

We as adults dwell upon our grizzled complexities, our existential anxieties, and our preoccupations with responsibilities. We hear the merriment of children and may sigh over our lost childhoods. Although we can no longer fit into our old clothes and become young again, we can take comfort in the optimism of children.

Their rejoicing can gladden us all.

We are too often in a rush for our child is far better for them to fully live each year of their lives. Let them what is appropriate to their time, let them play.
And when their childhood is spent at adolescence, help them in a gentle transition.

Then their laughter will continue to resonate with cheer and hope for us all.

Yintang (M-HN-3)
Hall of Impression

Location
At the glabella, at the midpoint between the medial extremities of the eyebrows. Lying between the eyebrows, in an area ascribed to as the ‘third eye’ by many traditional cultures.

Benefits
Can help with frontal headaches, vertigo, common cold and insomnia.