This first simple exercise was taught to me as a Kung Fu exercise. In the West, Kung Fu is often thought of as a fighting art, but it is much more. Honestly, when I first saw the exercise, it seemed far too simple to be of much value. But according to Chinese Practitioners, it is a cure all, opening every meridian and circulating Qi throughout the body. They even claim it is a cure for serious diseases like cancer and diabetes, which I don’t know about.
I have to admit that when I first did the exercise, I was amazed. I could actually feel the energy moving up my arms, through my heart, and permeating my entire body. How could something so simple be so significant? I was told to do it for about 5 minutes, 3 times daily. If I have time, 10 minutes is even better than 5.
You can watch this short video to get a feel for the exercise. Note that as the arms swing up, the palms face up and when the arms swing down, the palms face down. There are some additional points below, but most are intuitively obvious.
Feet shoulder length apart.
Flexible knees, slightly bent, bouncing a little at each swing (just as is comfortable).
Relaxed upper body, feet firmly planted.
Tongue gently touching the roof of mouth.
If you would like, your mind can focus on any God of preference.
Arm swings frontward only to shoulder height.
Whole exercise should be in a relaxed state.
In general, 30 minutes each day—can break it apart to 2-3 sessions. Even occasional sessions of a couple of minutes are beneficial.
It has been suggested by the Chinese that if a person has cancer, they do a minimum of 2,000 times daily (but we have no way of knowing the validity of this and you should have doctor’s approval).
Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional.
This is the simplest exercise of the 3 part series. I do all 3 parts essentially every day. They have transformed my perspective on exercise as well as that of others here at Mount Soma, even people who I feel are in excellent, athletic, physical condition.
Elephant Journal is an online magazine that started out in Whole Foods and such. They emphasize a mindful life with subjects such as yoga, organics, sustainability, conscious consumerism, enlightened education, the contemplative arts, etc.
My article is currently featured on the home page of the Elephant Journal website, so a lot of people are reading it. Your comments will greatly help engagement. Thank you!
I just heard yesterday about drinking raw potato juice. It is supposedly a panacea… anti-inflammatory, diabetes, cancer, heart trouble, etc. I have no personal knowledge on the subject but when I Googled it, a lot came up. According to Dr. Kuai, a local acupuncture practitioner, Chinese traditional medicine says to drink 8 oz. twice daily on an empty stomach and do not eat anything else for an hour at least. He says some honey can be added for flavor. Online, some say carrot juice can be added for flavor. Use only the thin-skinned, white potatoes. Cut out any black spots, green patches, sprouts, etc. before juicing. The skin of those potatoes, I am told, is fine to leave on when juicing.
I do not know anything more and cannot say from my own experience if it is useful or not. I can’t imagine how it can hurt so I am going to give it a try.
If anyone has knowledge or personal experience with this, please post your comment.
Here is a nice little quote my fitness coach passed along today.
“If you continually do the stuff you’re already good at, you’re not training, you’re performing… When you focus on what needs to improve, now you’re training.”
Everything maps. The principles of fitness map nicely on to life. People aspire to a comfortable life of familiarity. People also wonder why they are not happy. Happiness means evolution, means expanding beyond that which is familiar and comfortable.
You have only two choices: drop back and punt, or go for a touchdown.
The cycling of hormones in the body is an incredibly complex and intriguing science. I have read a fair amount from many difference sources on the subject. I recently found a book that offers an interesting perspective on the hormone cycles involved in nutrient metabolism very concisely and very well. It is called The Renegade Diet. If you are interested, a brief summary follows:
The nervous system has two aspects: the sympathetic (which involves outward action sometimes referred to as fight or flight) and the parasympathetic (which involves internal homeostasis or internal maintenance of the body). The sympathetic ‘takes over’ during the day while we are active. The parasympathetic takes over a night when we sleep and the body rebuilds.
Cortisol is a hormone that stimulates action, the sympathetic. It is naturally high in the morning. Insulin is a hormone that drives nutrients from carbohydrates into the cells of the body.
If you eat a lot of carbohydrates, you first get an insulin surge and a lot of energy, but that is followed by a hypoglycemic crash when you become sleepy (think post Thanksgiving dinner).
According to the book, there are three phases in healthy eating which conform to the eating habits that humans evolved through millions of years:
1) The evening feast of protein and healthy starchy carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, white potatoes, etc.
This provides the nutrients for the body to rebuild over night. The carbohydrates spike insulin, which drives nutrients into the cells. Then the hypoglycemic crash occurs enabling one to get to sleep easily so the body can continue to regenerate all night. It is a natural time for Growth Hormone to be high, facilitating growth. This then is also the natural time for the nervous system’s parasympathetic phase. Minimal fats should be eaten at this time since fats and carbohydrates eaten together overwhelm the system and cause nutrients to be stored as fat instead of feeding the muscles and other cells of the body. 2) The 16-hour, overnight fast
This allows the food of the evening meal to be efficiently utilized. Growth hormone remains high throughout the fast, building the body. The fast also gives the digestive system time to rest and restore, rebuilding the enzyme stores, cells, etc. 3) The 8 hour daytime window to eat protein, veggies (for nutrients and fiber), and healthy fats like omega 3s, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.
This keeps the sympathetic nervous system ‘in charge,’ which prevents daytime hypoglycemic crash, thereby providing a full day of energy for an active, bright, clear, and dynamic life. Minimal glucose from carbohydrates in the system during this time has many health benefits:
• If carbohydrates are eaten often, then the cells become resistant to the spike of insulin post carbohydrate ingestion. This in time can lead to obesity and diabetes.
• The fatty acids in the blood are utilized as energy for the day. This ‘teaches’ to body to burn fat instead of storing it.
Too much stress causes too much cortisol to be released which creates abdominal fat and other health disadvantages. Coffee stimulates cortisol so a little in the morning, when cortisol is naturally high, is ok. However, coffee all day long and too much stress over stimulates cortisol, which is a problem.
Then comes the evening meal when the cycle starts again. There are many fine points involved but these are the basics. If you are interested there is plenty to read on the Internet. Many who follow this diet consider themselves to be on the 90% paleo diet.
One last hormone I would like to mention is Leptin. If you diet without a break, leptin forces the body to resist the process and you hit plateaus in your weight loss. Therefore, a couple of times a week, they recommend a fun meal of whatever you want… just not excessive. This actually speeds up weight loss and health.
So, there you have the basics. If you are interested you should certainly learn more about it before trying it out. Needless to say, consulting a doctor for any health issues before trying it out is wise.
Prior to eating along the lines of The Renegade Diet, I followed a more traditional six small meals a day. A takeoff on The Renegade Diet works better for me. The main way I deviate from The Renegade Diet is that I only eat one large carbohydrate meal in the evening, whereas some may eat carbs in the evening over a longer period of time. Also, for vegetarians, getting enough protein can be a challenge, but is certainly doable.
Personally, I find the whole arena of nutrition and physiology fascinating.
If you are interested in losing weight or just having a healthy diet, you may want to click the link below. Though the author is not vegetarian, the diet can be followed using only vegetarian foods. The book offers multiple options. Intermittent fasting overnight along with a large evening meal is his most powerful approach. He offers plans for maintenance, weight gain, weight loss, sedentary, and active lifestyles.
I sincerely appreciate your website. The topics and insights are helping me, my family, and patients so much every day as we try to have a healthier lifestyle in this modern, altercated environment.
Below is the link to a powerful documentary film – “Genetic Roulette” – about the toxicity, widespread contamination, health risks, and politics of GMO’s. As I understood it, this link will only be available for a short time until the film is released for sale, but the encouragement was to get this message out for a wide audience to see. Please view it ASAP.
Since your newsletter reaches so many conscientious people, please consider including a note with this link in your next newsletter.
Yes, GMOs are a huge problem. You see, the DNA maps on to the Veda in a very direct way. The Veda is the structure that underlies nature. To live in harmony with nature (true health) means that the physiology is in harmony with the Veda. The DNA code underlying your physiology is the gateway to the code underlying all of nature, namely, the Veda. DNA is the genetic code, which parallels and evolved out of, the Veda.
The DNA of each species resonates more fully with one or another aspect of the Veda. That is why herbal medicine works. By ingesting a plant that carries a strong influence of an aspect of the Veda that your physiology may be weak in, that aspect of your physiology is strengthened. Food supports your physiology in the same way.
However, when the DNA code of your food is altered, the influence is the opposite. The physiology is, over time, broken down. As per the video, many diseases result. The infusion of GMOs into our food supply is a big mistake.
Recently, I blogged about the troubled world economy. Now the troubled food supply. I do understand that many people become upset by such blogs. Please look beyond just getting upset. Look to being inspired – inspired to act.
We have the knowledge to understand the big picture as it applies to everything from food to the economy to every single field of life. We have the technology to cure any and all ills. To do so is a life well lived. Some will choose to direct that knowledge in a specific area, like GMOs. Personally, I direct my efforts to the very essence of the solution. By enlivening that, solutions to all problems will find a pathway to success. How a person chooses to direct themselves after gaining this knowledge is a personal matter.
Incidentally, it is indeed a small world. The video was directed by Jeff Smith. Coincidentally, I know him. He is a wonderful man that was in the ashram with me. We were inspired to serve humanity. He has chosen to do so by raising awareness of GMOs. I commend him for his efforts.
I was asked a question in comments to my autoimmune blog to which I responded:
Once a mode of function is established in the physiology, it can be difficult to remove it. After the physiology is ‘healed’ the memory remains. Even when the initial cause is gone, some degree of predisposition to the old habit is still there. Then again, is the initial cause in this sense ever really ‘gone’? The psyche too has its residuals. In this regard it is best not to think in terms of complete and total healing. There is always some level of tendency to return to that which is familiar.
Everything is everywhere. You are one with everything. Everything is there within you. Unity does not mean unity with the things you think are good and elimination of the things you do not. It means unity with everything. So healing is not about the removal of this and that. It is about the physiology having a ‘healthy relationship with…’ this and that. Of course, a healthy relationship with many things is to keep them at a distance, but not to deny the nature of their presence in your world. Life is indeed subtle.
There is a notion that energetic cords get created between people in relationship. If the relationship goes wrong, energy ‘healers’ sometimes think of removing or cutting those cords. That is actually not possible. In this sense, cords eternally exist between all things in existence. We are all one. Better to think in terms of cleaning the cords rather than attempting to eliminate that which is, in reality, eternal. A healthy relationship with people is to keep them each at the appropriate distance (i.e. have healthy boundaries) while at the same time being awake to the level where we are all one. Humanity has a great deal to learn about healthy boundaries, both culturally and socially. The word that comes to mind is “integrity”. This becomes spontaneous as the level of ones evolution rises.