Health Qigong – The Eight Silken Movements (VI):Eliminate Diseases, Breathe from your Dan Tian

Written by Gioia Zhang

Translated by Yuqing Yang

 

The Eighth Section:Stand on your Toes and stretch seven times to get rid of an Illness 

This action can improve your calf strength and your ability to balance. The slight vibration caused by the heel lowering helps to relax and reset the muscles and relieve muscle tension. 

Video 1

This is a simple and easy action that can be done anywhere. First you should lift your heels, stretch your neck backwards and keep your head up, looking straight forward. After a slight pause, lower your heels back to the ground.  You should feel a slight vibration. Repeat seven times. 

While doing this exercise, you should keep your shoulders relaxed and do not shrug. When lifting, raise the heel as much as possible, and maintain your balance when you pause at the height of the lift. 

 

Cool Down 

The function of this movement is to help your Qi return to dan tian, to relax your muscles, and to calm your mind. 

Video 2

The cool-down can be divided into the following detailed steps: 

  1. Rotate your palms so that they face backwards, lift your arms from the side of your body to hip-height; 
  2. Bend your arms, placing your palms on your abdomen, the male should first place his left hand on the abdomen with the right hand on top of it, the female should put her right-hand underneath; 
  3. Lower your arms back down to the side of your body.

Picture 1

During this cool down exercise, the Laogong Temples (acupuncture points in Chinese medicine) of the two palms were stacked on the Dan Tian (see the red dot on the diagram above) so that your body relaxes and you start to breathe from your Dan Tian.  It is generally believed that the benefits behind lowering your Qi back to your Dan Tian (often referred to as your energy center) are based on meridian theory.  It is believed that the human body’s Qi and Blood, which are distributed along the meridians, run into your internal organs and arrive at your limbs.  The Dan Tian is located in the center of the meridians.  It can regulate your Yin and Yang, help to ease communication between your heart and kidney (the functions of both affect the other in Chinese medicine), increase Qi and blood production, activate and improve the functionality of the eight extra meridians, restore physiological functions and promote body regeneration. 

That concludes our introduction to the eight silken movements!  I wish you well-being and happiness every day! 

 

 

 

About Interact China 

 

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide!”  

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 13 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste. 

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion via ChineseFashionStyle.com, Kungfu Fashion, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts. 

 

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you! 

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Health Qigong – The Eight Silken Movements (V): Protect Your Waist,Increase Your Strength

Written by Gioia Zhang

Translated by Yuqing Yang

 

The Sixth Section: Reach down and touch your Feet to stabilize your Waist

Picture 1

This action will help to prevent and treat some chronic diseases of the genitourinary system by swiftly flexing and stretching and stimulating the spine, Du Meridian1 and related acupuncture points. At the same time, you give your kidneys, adrenal gland, ureter and some other organs a good traction massage, and can improve their functions and stimulate their production rates.

Video 1

This section can be divided into the following detailed steps:

  1. Stand with both knees upright, point your fingertips forwards and raise your arms upwards. Straighten your elbows, have your palms facing forwards and look straight in front of you

  2. Bend your arms,lower your palms down to the front of your chest, your palms should be facing downwards and your fingertips should be facing each other;

  3. Turn your palms to face upwards, then move your hands outwards and pass them below your armpits.

4.Press your palms on the sides of the spine and move down to the buttocks. While bending down with your upper body, move your hands downwards along the rear sides of your legs and then slowly around to the front so that they end on your feet. Raise your head and look slightly ahead of your feet. Pause in this position for a few seconds. Try not to bend your legs at any point.

  1. Move your palms forwards along the ground, and then use the arms to drive the upper body up, straighten up your elbows with your palms facing forwards.
  • One repetition includes one complete movement upwards and downwards. Repeat the complete movement 6 times.

After six repetitions, bend your legs slightly and then lean forwards with your palms in line with your abdomen, face your palms downwards with your fingertips facing forwards, look straight ahead.

Tips:Apply proper force when you move your palms down along the back of the body. Loosen your shoulders when leaning forwards. Keep your knees straight. Let your arms drive the upper body up.

Please be aware of the following mistakes:

Picture 2

  • When you move your hands down, do not bend your knees and do not bow your head;

Picture 3

  • Do not raise your upper body before your arm

 

The Eighth Section: Clench your Fists and Open your Eyes wide in order to boost your Qi

In traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is associated with the eyes. In this section, the movement of the eyes stimulates the liver. At the same time, the cooperation between the movements in this section stimulates the body’s major meridians. If done on a long-term basis, this exercise can strengthen the muscles and bones throughout the entire body.

Video 2

This section can be divided into the following detailed steps:

  1. Step to the left with your left foot, half squad your legs,and meanwhile,clench both hands into fists and place them in line with your waist you’re your thumbs inside and the eyes of the fist facing upwards,look straight in front of you.

  2. Punch your left fist forward at shoulder height,with the eye of the fist facing upwards,and then look at your left fist.

  3. Open your left fist,rotate your palm so that it is facing outwards and your thumb facing downwards,and then look at your left palm.

  4. Rotate your left arm outwards, bend your elbow slightly, and at the same time, rotate your left palm towards the left. When your palm is facing upwards make your left hand into a fist with your thumb inside. Look at your left fist.

  5. Retract your left fist to your waist side with the eye of the fist facing upwards, and look straight in front of you.

• The movement to the right should be the same as the movement to the left. Doing the movement once to the right and once to the left counts as one repetition. You should complete three repetitions in total.

Video 3

Once you have completed three full repetitions, shift your center of gravity to the right, pull your left in so that you return to the original stance, your feet should once again be shoulder width apart. Meanwhile,unclench your fist,lower your palms to the side of your body, look straight in front of you.

Picture 4

Tips: when you extend your fist to punch, fix your eyes on it. At the same time, you should hold onto the ground with both feet. Adjust the height of your squad depending on the strength of your legs;when you retract your fist, clench your fist tightly.

Please be aware of the following mistakes:

Picture 5

*do not bend your upper body forwards when you punch

*do not shrug your shoulders when you punch

  • when you retract your fist,please rotate your wrist and clench your fist tightly

Well, we are almost done with our introduction to The Eight Silken Movements. Have you been exercising in your spare time? How are you feeling? We would be delighted to hear from you in the comments!

 

About Interact China 

 

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide!”  

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 13 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste. 

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion via ChineseFashionStyle.com, Kungfu Fashion, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts. 

 

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you! 

Health Qigong – The Eight Silken Movements (IV): Relax Strained Organs and Reduce Your Heart Fire*  

Written by Gioia Zhang

Translated by Yuqing Yang 

 

Now it is time to introduce the Fourth Section: “Stretch Backwards for Physical Weakness and Sickness” 

Picture 1

Physical weakness and sickness (五劳七伤, the Five Lao and Seven Shang) refers to strains on your heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys and any one of the following seven emotions being impacted in a negative way: happiness, sadness, grief, fear, shock and longing. This section helps to stretch your chest and belly by rotating your upper limbs. Turning your head to the left and right can stimulate the Da Zhui acupoint and various acupoints on the back, which helps prevent physical weakness and sickness. In addition, it also improves blood circulation in your neck and brain and strengthens your central nervous system. 

Video 1

This section is divided into the following steps: 

  1. Straighten your legs and stretch them, lift your center of gravity while straightening your arms, fingers pointing downwards, eyes straight ahead.
  2. Open your arms out to the sides, palms facing outwards, turn your head to the left, pause for one second and look to the left behind your back.
  3. Bend your knees slightly, bring your arms back in and keep them by your hips, fingers pointing outwards, eyes straight ahead.
  • Doing this section once to the right and once to the left counts as one repetition, three repetitions in total. 

Video 2

  • At the end of the third repetition, bend your knees slightly 

Picture 2

  • Tips: keep your chin tucked in, correct your head posture, relax and lower your shoulders, try to keep your body still during the head movement, make sure your arms go all the way back when stretching them out to the sides in order to get a full stretch. 

Try to avoid the following mistakes: 

Picture 3

  • Do not move the center of your upper body backwards and keep your head as still as possible during the body movement 

  • Try to move your head and open your arms to the fullest.  

We will now move on to discussing the Fifth Section: Move Your Head and Legs to Reduce Heart Fire  

Picture 4

Heart Fire is the result of excessive fire elements in your heart. This section intends to simulate your spine and governor meridian to purge this heat and reduce heart fire. At the same time, it will increase the flexibility of your neck, waist and hip as well as strengthening the muscles in these areas. 

Video 3

This section is divided into the following steps: 

  1. Move your center to the left, step to the right with your right foot while raising your  hands above your head. Bend your fingers, fingertips facing each other, eyes straight ahead. 
  2. Bend your knees and do the horse stance while lowering your arms. Rest your hands on your thighs slightly above your knees.
  3. Raise you center of gravity slightly, then move it so that your upper body leans towards the right. Bend over and look towards your right foot.
  4. Move your center of gravity to the left while moving your upper body to the right. Turn left, bend over and look down towards your right heel
  5. Move your center to the right and get into the horse stance while tilting your head backwards; straighten your upper body, tuck your chin in, eyes straight ahead.
  • Repeat the section to the right. Doing this section once to the right and once to the left counts as one repetition, three repetitions in total. 

Video 4

  • After three repetitions, move your center to the left, take back your right foot, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, at the same time, lift both your arms above your head, palms facing each other. Bend your knees slightly, place your hands in front of your stomach, fingertips facing each other, eyes straight ahead. 

Picture 5

Tips: when doing the horse stance, your upper body should be straight; when you turn your body, make sure to stretch it lightly. 

This movement is very difficult, and you will exercise many joints and muscles. Please study the steps carefully and practice them multiple times. 

The human body is a marvelous system that links the heavens and nature. Regulating your meridians is crucial for your health, so try to do some stretching exercises during your work breaks. You can even do them while sitting on your chair at your desk! It will help to relax your muscles. 

*Heart Fire is a term used in traditional Chinese medicine and is used when someone is diagnosed with an excess of energy which can lead to disruptions in the patient’s health, be that physically, psychologically or spiritually. Emotional tension is the most common underlying factor in this condition. Click the following link for a fuller explanation of heart-fire, the causes and symptoms – https://healingpointacupunctureclinic.com/blog/heart-fire-summer-element. 

 

 

About Interact China 

 

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide!”  

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 13 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste. 

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion via ChineseFashionStyle.com, Kungfu Fashion, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts. 

 

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you! 

Health Qigong Eight Silken Movements (III): Fix your Shoulders and Back, Improve the Functionality of your Stomach and Spleen

Written by Gioia Zhang

Translated by Yuqing Yang

 

Today I will introduce to you the second and third stages of the Eight Silken Movements series. If you want to know more, please click the link below:

The second section: Stretch on both sides as if shooting a bow and arrow

Picture 1

This movement is similar to shooting an arrow. You have to open your shoulder joints and chest outwards to activate the governor meridian and acupuncture points on the back. This helps to regulate the lung meridian (hand greater Yin), improve the functionality of the lungs and intestines, strengthen the muscles found in your lower body, improve coordination and balance, strengthen your forearms and hand muscles, and exercise the joints in your fingers and wrists. This exercise can also help to fix a hunched back and your shoulder posture to lessen neck and back pain.

Video 1

This section can be divided into the following steps:

  1. Move your center of gravity to the right, step to the left with your left foot and stand up straight, slowly straighten your legs and at the same time, cross your arms in front of you, with your left palm facing outwards and your eyes looking straight ahead.
  2. Bend your fingers on your right hand and pull your right hand to your shoulder, your left hand should form a Ba Zi palm, rotate your left arm inwards and push out to the left until you reach the height of your shoulder. At the same time, bend your knees until you are in the horse stance, hold this position for a while, look to your left.
  3. Move your center of gravity to the right, relax your hands, draw a circle with your right hand at shoulder height, push your palm obliquely.
  4. Move your center even further to the right, take a step backwards with your left food and stand up straight, at the same time, hold your hands in front of your stomach, palms facing up, eyes looking straight ahead.

Video 2

  • The movement to the right should be the same as the movement to the left. Doing the movement once to the right and once to the left counts as one repetition. You should complete three repetitions in total.

Video 3

  • At the end of the third repetition, keep moving your center to the left, take back your right foot and stand straight. Bend your knees slightly and at the same time, lower your hands and hold them in front of your stomach, eyes looking straight ahead.

Picture 2

Tips: When you pull your hand to your shoulder, bend your fingers and close the gaps between them while straightening your shoulder. When you hold your hand in the Ba Zi posture, drop your shoulder and elbows, bend your wrists and straighten your fingers.

Please be aware of the following mistakes:

Picture 3

  • Do not raise your shoulders.

Picture 4

  • Make sure that your waist is straight.

Picture 5

  • Do not spread your feet too wide in the above posture.

The third section: to heal your spleen and stomach, you have to raise your arms

Picture 6

This sequence of movements helps to improve the functions of one’s stomach, spleen, liver and gall bladder. By stretching one arm upwards and the other downwards, you can exercise your stomach and the middle Jiao accordingly. Simultaneously, this movement will stimulate the main and collateral channels of your back and upper body. This is especially helpful for people with gastritis and stomach ulcers. The third sequence exercises the muscles and joints found on your spine and increases their stability and flexibility, which could prevent neck and shoulder pain.

Video 4

This section can be divided into the following steps:

  1. Straighten your legs and knees, raise your left hand up with your palm facing upwards. Once your left hand reaches face-height, flip your hand around, keep raising it upwards and to the left. At the same time, lower your right hand to your hip with your palm facing downwards and fingers pointing forwards.  Hold this position for one second.
  2. Bend your knees slightly while also bending your left elbow. Lower your left hand, hold it in front of your stomach; flip your right hand around, hold both of your hands in front of your stomach, eyes looking straight ahead.

Video 5

  • Repeat the steps starting with the right-hand side of your body. Doing the movement once to the right and once to the left counts as one repetition. You should complete three repetitions in total.

Video 6

  • At the end of the third repetition, bend your knees slightly, lower your right hand to the side of your right hit with your fingers point forwards and your eyes looking straight ahead.

Tips: Relax your chest and quickly stretch your whole body, straighten your waist, lower your shoulders, try to lower and raise both your arms.

Please be aware of the following mistakes:

Picture 7

  • Do not hold your palms horizontally or point your fingers forwards.

Picture 8

  • Do not make your elbows too straight.

Picture 9

  • Make sure to stretch your body as much as possible.

According to Chinese medicine, the diseases you have relate to your temperament.  Therefore, if you are too worried and anxious, it is going to affect your stomach and spleen. So, please try to be as positive as possible in your day-to-day lives!

By the way, do not forget that you can always practice just a single section or one specific movement in the Eight Silken Movements. Enjoy this short pause in your busy life!

 

 

About Interact China 

 

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide!”  

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 13 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste. 

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion via ChineseFashionStyle.com, Kungfu Fashion, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts. 

 

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you! 

Health Qigong – The Eight Silken Movements (II): fix your posture, calm your mind, and adjust your San Jiao

Written by Gioia Zhang

Translated by Yuqing Yang

 

Qigong is one part of Chinese culture; Health Qigong is a traditional national sport that regulates one’s mind, body movements, and breathing. The Eight Silken movements are the most popular form of Health Qigong.

Based largely on posture, there are Eight SilkenMovements which fall into two distinct categories – standing and sitting. The standing style involves being widely spread, which supposedly originated during the Qing Guangxu period. It can summarized in the following short verse:

  1. Hold up your hands and adjust your three Jiao1 双手托天理三焦
  2. Stretch out on both sides as if shooting a bow and arrow 左右开弓似射雕
  3. Lift up your arms to heal your spleen and stomach 调理脾胃须单举
  4. Stretchbackwards for physical weakness and sickness 五劳七伤向后瞧
  5. Move your head and legs to reduce heart fire (a special term used in Chinese medicine) 摇头摆尾去心火
  6. Reach down and touch your feet to stabilize your waist  两手攀足固肾腰
  7. Clench your fists and open your eyes wide in order to boost your Qi 攥拳怒目增气力
  8. Stand on your toes and stretch seven times to get rid of an illness 背后七颠百病消

 

The Eight SilkenMovements appear at first to be a simple set of eight movements, but you have to pay attention to every detail to gain the benefits of this type of health Qigong. So let’s start with the warm-up!

预备式.gif

The warm-up can be divided into the following detailed steps:

  1. Stand upright, relax your arms and look straight in front of you.
  2. Step to the left with your left foot so that your feet are shoulder width apart; rotate your arms inwards and then raise them, so they are straight in front of you in line with your hips; your palms should be facing down and away from your body.
  3. Bend your knees slightly and rotate your elbows and the back of your arm outwards; hold your arms in front your stomach; palms facing towards you, keep 10-centimeters distance between the fingertips of both hands, your eyes should look straight ahead.

Tips:  lift up your head, pull in your chin, touch your palate with the tip of your tongue, slightly close your lips, sink your shoulders, leave more space underneath your armpits, relax your chest and stomach, drop your tailbone and straighten your upper body.


Please be aware of the following mistakes:

0-2.gif

  •  When you hold your arms in front of your stomach, your thumbs should not point upwards; and the rest of your fingers should not point to the ground.

 

0-3.gif

  • Do not lean your upper body forwards and do not tilt your tailbone up.

 

0-4.gif

  • Don’t push your knees too forward.

 

0-5.gif

  • Your feet should be parallel.

 

This warm-up helps you to relax, regulate your breathing, appease your internal organs, and straighten your body. It prepares you mentally and physically for the following exercises.

 

Hold up your hands and adjust your three Jiao

9e3df8dcd100baa141a243444010b912c9fc2e46.jpg.png

“Hold up your hands and adjust your three Jiao” is the first section of the Eight Silken  Movements. The three Jiao refer to the upper, middle and lower Jiao.  The Upper Jiao refers to the body part above the thoracic diaphragm which includes the lungs and the heart;the Middle Jiao refers to the area that lies below the thoracic diaphragm and above the belly button, including the spleen and the stomach; The Lower Jiao refers to the area found below the belly button including the liver, kidneys, intestines and bladder.

Cross your arms in front of your lower body and lift them upwards so they are crossed in front of your upper body keep extending your arms to relax the three Jiao and your internal systems which will help to harmonize your Qi and blood.It accelerates the metabolic rates of your organs and prevents them from sinking. Through stretching, your body and joints will increase inflexibility and shoulder pain and cervical spondylosis will be prevented.

第一式.gif

The first movement can be divided into the following steps:

  1. Move your hands downwards in front of your body with your palms facing upwards,joining your hands together, fingers crossed with each other. Look straight ahead.
  2. Straighten your knees, raise your hands to chest-level, raise your arms over your head while keeping your palms facing upwards, lift your head and look towards your palms.
  3. Raise your palms until your arms are straight, tuck in your chin, look straight ahead, hold this position.
  4. Bend your knees slightly, lower your arms, hold your hands in front of your stomach with your palms facing upwards
  • One repetition includes one complete movement upwards and downwards. Repeat the complete movement 6 times.

Tips:  While you raise your arms upwards, you have to stretch your body and pause for a short period. When lowering your arms, relax your waist and drop your hips. When sinking your shoulders, relax your wrists and fingers and straighten your body.


Please be aware of the following mistakes:

1-1.gif

  • When you look towards your palms, make sure you lift your head completely.

1-2.gif

  •  Do not relax your arms when you raise them.

This movement is similar to stretching in general, so when you take a break from work, you can stand up and complete this exercise in a short space of time.

In the next blog, I will introduce you to the second and third stages of the Eight Silken Movements – “Stretch out on both sides as if shooting a bow and arrow” and “Life up your arms to heal your spleen and stomach.” For all health lovers, please follow my blog posts for more information.

 

[1]The Upper Jiao refers to the body part above the thoracic diaphragm which includes the lungs and the heart;the Middle Jiao refers to the area that lies below the thoracic diaphragm and above the belly button, including the spleen and the stomach; The Lower Jiao refers to the area found below the belly button including the liver, kidneys, intestines, and bladder.

 

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

 

 

What is Self-Cultivation?

By Joshua Neuhaus

One of the Chinese terms for self-cultivation is xiu-shen (修身) which means to strive to raise one’s own standard of virtue and morality. Another phrase for it is xiu-xin yang-xing (修心养性), it literally means rectifying one’s mind and nurturing one’s character. The term is used in ancient Chinese philosophy and if viewed in more detail takes different shapes in the schools of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism, even within one school of teachings it varies slightly from author to author. As this is just an introductory article it will take a less differentiated approach and try to give you a general idea about the term and – as it is the topic of our blog – will relate to the practice of martial arts.

Just as the schools share the motive of self-cultivation they also share the idea of a sage, a figure that has become the epitome of its schools moral and wisdom. Self-cultivation is an autonomous way of raising yourself to become much like such a sage. It is a process of self-finding and self-observation that will ultimately lead to the achievement of the perfect state of mind and body. Steps this might include are familiarizing oneself with the Chinese classics to the point of understanding their deepest meaning. In order to achieve this kind of understanding, you are expected to read those classics over and over at different stages of your practice and your life. Interestingly enough, another crucial step to self-cultivation is meditation – and that is valid even within the Confucian school, which out of the three might be the least spiritual.

Characters say: “Yijing”, a Chinese classic (Engl.: Book of Changes)

Just as writings of Chinese scholars show an awareness of the lack of language and words in conveying the deeper meaning behind their teachings, they are convinced that once you embark on this journey you will naturally come to see its value and necessity. The encouraging outlook on self-cultivation that Chinese scholars have given over centuries suggests that you will come to be in harmony with yourself and naturally will be able to interact with your environment in a way, that you are able to help others and bring health to the world, without harming yourself. One of the strongest arguments to encourage you to commit to self-cultivation might be how it really puts you first. Even a lost person that doesn’t understand their own unhappiness and is trapped within perpetually gasping for momentary escapes from this desperate state of self is supposed to grow to have a strong heart filled with enduring happiness, perfect emancipation, autonomy, and health. The Chinese teachings take this process of finding your middle and explain, that it goes hand in hand with becoming a cornerstone that will benefit the whole world.

 

Meditation and Qi

 

As for Chinese martial arts, they are deeply integrated into the idea of self-cultivation and can be considered one of its methods. In general, a practice that is common to almost every martial art is to calm the mind and to stop thinking. What this leads to is not numbness and stupidity as one might think, but rather it gives you nimbleness and the ability to adjust to any situation with unmatched ease. Things can be seen as what they are, and fear or other emotions will not cloud one’s judgment. Depending on the detail of each martial art, there are many more crucial practices. Any martial art will give you autonomy. Strength and skills achieved in martial arts will help you overcome fear and give you confidence, that there is something no one else can ever take away from you. If we took Tai Chi for example there even is the practice of being able to achieve one’s goals without exhausting oneself using force or going directly against others, these skills can be transferred to real life situations and are actually crucial skills of the sage.

If you enjoyed this article, I would be much obliged if you left a Like. Any comment you give will be answered by me and I really hope you do, because there is so much more to say and learn from each other.


About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters, and tailors, along with 12 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speaks English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 
If you have the passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Internal vs. External Martial Arts

by Joshua Neuhaus

When talking about Chinese martial arts, there are many ways of categorizing them, and calling them internal or external is just another way to do so. One might, for example, ask if a martial art is from the north or the south, from the Wudang or the Shaolin temples, Buddhist or Daoist, for real fight or for competitive sport. Categorizations, most of the time, are but a shallow casing we try to use, to store our knowledge. They might be helpful, but never perfect. And yet, let’s throw some light onto the meaning of internal and external martial arts.

All Chinese martial arts are a practice of accumulating skill. When mastered, those skills are deadly weapons used for self-defense or to kill on battlefields. In turn, when witnessing a true master of martial arts, no one can tell if what he does is internal or external. That is because any truly mastered martial art has the perfect balance of inner and outer.

The categorization of internal and external is as such actually a differentiation of how one specific martial art is learned. We either start from the inside and work towards the outside or the other way around. We either take a seed and nourish it to grow strong, or we take a barren of steel and hammer it to perfection. The result in both cases is strong, flexible, adaptable and precious.

Differentiating Internal and External Approaches

Starting out, internal as a term refers to that which is on the inside, such as our Qi, spirit, and mind. External refers to physical aspects such as body, muscles, tendons, and bones. An external martial art as such believes in raising speed, physical strength and reflexes first. First, you will reach the limits of your body and then you will look to the inside, to understand how to surpass those physical limits. It believes that you first need to do the correct movement with your body, and then slowly understand the internal process behind it, such as how Qi can lead the movements of the body. In the external approach, you might even force your breath to match your movements until eventually they naturally match up.

External fighting: young people, strong bodies and absolute reliance on techniques and strength.

An internal martial art, on the other hand, will rarely spend any time purposely strengthening your muscles or forcing your breath. While aware that our body at first has many limitations, the goals of practice are such as first finding relaxation. Only having achieved initial relaxation you move on to try and maintain relaxation in physically more challenging situations. In its most extreme form, an internal martial art will ask you to never move more than that, which you are able to back up internally. They say that intention leads the Qi and Qi leads the body. Meaning, what you actively put to use is your intention, not muscle. If you cannot, then relax better. Perfect relaxation eventually yields a quality that is often called steel wrapped in cotton, because while the touch of your body might be gentle and soft, upon closer inspections there is something deeply rooted, heavy and strong seated underneath it.

 

Internal arts: age doesn’t matter, physique might appear weak, reliance on perfect understanding of oneself and the opponent.

 

Which Is Right for Me?

In the end, both approaches can yield a similar level of skill. Furthermore, almost every martial art combines internal and external approaches even throughout the learning process. And yet, if forced to answer the question which approach is better, there is a tendency to pick internal martial arts. One reason is simply that internal martial arts are less straining for your body. While an external martial art might strain you to the point of ruining your body. The selectivity of external martial arts ruins many talents before they can come to flourish. Either way, you need an immeasurable amount of dedication to master any martial art. If you have the dedication, you might as well pick the way where your body is more likely to last through until the end.

Leave a comment to discuss this topic with me and check out this post on Quora, if you want to read further into it.


About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters, and tailors, along with 12 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speaks English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 
If you have the passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

The 5 Elements in “The Art of War”, Knowing Yourself and the Enemy

By Joshua Neuhaus

Sunzi is a scholar and a military commander of the warring states period in China. That puts him into the same period of scholarship that also Confucius and Laozi are said to have participated in. In “The Art of War” he compiled strategies that cover in considerable detail how to be victories on any battlefield. The format he follows in doing so is to bring up a problem and then offer a method for solution. He teaches which criteria you need to analyze and how to evaluate the input you gain. Furthermore, he covers the qualities a good leader needs and many psychological components, such as how to make your troops follow your command or how to make your opponent pull back.

“Who knows himself and the enemy, does not need to fear the outcome of a hundred battles. Who knows only himself, but not the enemy will win as many times as he fails. Who knows neither himself nor the enemy, will lose without exception.” Sunzi

To know yourself or the enemy cannot be achieved without developing a holistic view. The social and emotional climate of your troops and your people might change any time. A change in this climate might, for example, be caused when the ground you are acting on is lacking in providing foods or shelter for your people. If your people are starving anger might arise in their midst. Keeping in mind that you will want the climate to be peaceful and productive and supportive of your own goals you will need to set your mission accordingly. When you know what your mission is, then you can understand what kind of commander is suited for it. The command needs to be able to establish authority and lead your troops, it needs to understand which moves are necessary to accomplish the mission. This means that the command is in charge of designing methods. The quality of your methods and the assertiveness shown in applying them will decide over loss and victory of ground resources. And that is where one complete circle is drawn, as now you might have new ground to life off, which offers foods for your previously starving people. Success has come, your people now are not angry due to starvation anymore. On the other hand, your territory might be too great and your police forces too small to keep up with suppressing criminal activity. That is when your climate will make another change and you will have your next mission.

This flow of climate -> mission -> command -> method -> ground is one possible interpretation of the 5 elements model. While Sunzi does not emphasize this terminology himself, his book does indeed apply the idea just as the above-described way. To be precise the above is not just any 5 Elements (wu xing 五行) model, it is the 5 Elements in its flow of creation and nourishment (sheng). Originally it would read as earth condenses to create metal. Metal dissolves to nourish water. Water is absorbed to nourish wood. Wood burns to strengthen fire. That which is burned by fire returns to the earth.

In the application of “The Art of War” to the 5 elements, one might go further to reverse the flow. The reversal of the above flow (Sheng -> Cheng) is called flow of information, it follows the idea, that if you know if you know the opponent’s mission, then you know the needs of his people. If you know the troubles their climate has, then you know which resources their people are lacking. This flow emphasizes the need of concealing yourself from your enemies because if you don’t, they can easily learn all about you and anticipate your moves.

The 5 Elements interpretation of “The Art of War” can help you to understand yourself and your enemy. You could try to find a few parallels in your own martial arts system. Or even go as far as to apply this method to your business or personal life. While the original texts might have been about war, it’s application is universal. It is a study in its own right.

Your ideas and thoughts are always appreciated, please share them!


About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters, and tailors, along with 12 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speaks English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 
If you have the passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

 

The Eight Silken Movements – An Ancient Guide

Written by Gioia Zhang

Translated by Yuqing Yang

 


Around two years ago, probably due to how unlucky my animal year is (just kidding haha) 1, the state of my mental and physical health started to go downhill. I therefore started paying more attention to self-care and gradually developed a great interest in traditional Chinese medicine. Every time I go to my doctor for further advice, she always mentions the Eight Silken Movements, which are easy for both the elderly and children. They have slowly become part of my morning routine and are now the first thing I do after waking up. I would now like to introduce the sequence to you. I hope that more people can benefit from these movements! 


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The Eight Silken Movements or the Eight-Section Brocade, like the Five Animal exercises and Taichi Chuan, is a popular kind of physical exercise in China. It has a long history and is widely known throughout China. The first records of the movements date back to the Northern Song dynasty and are now more than 800 years old.  A “Jin” (Brocade) (锦jin3) is a high-quality silk product which is woven using multi-colored silk. For the ancient people, brocades represented the colors of the rainbow, beauty and elegance. These symbolic meanings perfectly embody the characteristics of the set of movements which contains delicate arrangements, smooth motions, help to prevent illness and strengthen the body.

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Compared with other types of exercise, the Eight Silken Movements have the following advantages:

  • As a callisthenic exercise, you do not need any equipment or have to be in any specific location in order to do the workout.
  • Efficiency; the entire sequence of movements lasts about 10 minutes and is only practiced once every morning and night.
  • Flexibility; it consists of 8 sections which are easy to learn. You can choose one or multiple sections for each workout according to your personal needs
  • The postures help to improve flexibility and are simple, making them suitable for people of all ages.

Full-body workout; the movements in combination with the regulated breathing exercises take care of the body, both inside and out.

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The Eight Silken Movements provide a full-body workout for both muscles and bones. The movements stretch the muscles and increase your internal strength, namely increasing flexibility and suppleness.

What is internal strength? It is a kind of force that can be easily directed and controlled. It is stored within and does not manifest itself externally. Internal strength is holistic, flows through the body, and is found throughout the body in equal measures, as is fully described by the saying, “iron covered by cotton, hardness hidden in softness”. There is a fundamental difference between internal strength and physical strength. Physical strength comes from our muscles and is gained through the kinds of exercises you would normally do while working out at the gym.  This kind of muscular strength easily deteriorates once you reach the age of 60. But if you have strong bones and muscles, you can live well into your 80s or 90s and still have an outstanding physique and good posture.

One’s temperament decides the quality of one’s internal strength.  Having a good temperament leads to the development of an easy-going, generous, joyful and peaceful internal force. Exercising internal strength requires us to put muscular force to the back of our minds, clear our minds of all distractions and to concentrate on our inner-most feelings. Long-term benefits of practicing the Eight Silken Movements include improving your skin, building your ligament strength, and increasing joint flexibility. Over time, the entire body becomes supple, and Qi cleanses the mind, body and soul.

Excluding the aforementioned advantages, the Eight Silken Movements also improve the nervous system and circulation, as well as your immune system.  During the exercise the internal organs are gently massaged which can help to improve vascular congestion and reduce blood pressure. The Eight Silken Movements rely on deep breathing, which can slow down your heart rate and improve blood circulation. In the long run, it can help to reduce cardiac output and increase lung capacity.

In the next few blog posts, I will introduce to you some practice tips for each movement, but you can also get a better understanding of the sequence of movements from the following video:

Usually, one is supposed to have much luck in his animal year, but the opposite is sometimes true. Animal year refers to the recurrent year of one’s animal sign in the twelve-year cycle.

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Yamada Mumon Roshi – Finding the Self

By Joshua Joshua@InteractChina.com

Yamada Mumon during his time was a monk of Mahayana Buddhism. In a collection of his words, Zen and meditation are explained in an easily comprehensible way that resonates with the broader masses of people. “Yamada Mumon Roshi’s Words” gives us insights into the role that Zazen (Engl.: sitting Zen meditation) plays in everyday life. It also emphasizes the hope that Zazen will not only be practiced for the benefit of oneself but also would come to benefit everyone. Lastly, his words even give detailed instructions on how to practice Zazen.

This article focuses on the meaning of Zazen and how Zen can help us to learn more about ourselves.

Yamada Mumon

Zazen and the Role It Plays

Yamada wants to clarify that Zazen first and foremost describes a certain mentality, and actually, body posture has less significance. Yamada explains the mentality of Zazen humorously, telling an anecdote from the Second World War. It is said that there was a line of people and more continued queuing up, as everyone expected to find something interesting with so many people gathered there. It turns out, at the end of the line there was a stranger’s funeral waiting for them. This anecdote is intended to convey the need for investigating our own self. We should avoid following a way just because others before ourselves took it. How to find and walk your own way, that is the question Zazen starts with.

Answering this question is not about conceptualizing or taking a scientific approach. On the contrary, it is about surrendering instinct, habit, and intellectual judgment. The “real self […] sees, listens, laughs and cries”: emotions come without thinking. Meditation can give rise to an inner clarity in which the real self can be perceived.

Mentality and Physical Posture

As mentioned, mentality takes precedence over physical aspects of meditation. Provided we have the right mental practice, we can, in fact, do Zen-Meditation regardless of whether we’re sitting, lying, standing or walking. That said, a beginner’s preference should be to do sitting meditation. Out of the four postures sitting is the calmest, yielding an inner calm as well.

Yamada Mumon instructs us to find both physical and mental calmness. Just like clouds in water will only go away when one stops stirring, the real self can only become visible through practicing tranquility.

As for how to enter the right mentality, we are instructed to cut all ties with the world surrounding us. We must separate ourselves from our sensual impressions. The Chinese monk Hui-Neng said, “not to move from seeing self-nature inwardly is called Zen.” By detaching oneself from the outer world, one can find tranquility.

Lastly, Yamada remarks that one should not be tempted to believe a dark surrounding could ease the difficulty of practice. Rather, a dark environment can cause illusions, daydreams, and might also lead you to fall asleep unintendedly. So, we should keep our eyes slightly open and stay in a well-lit place.

How to Find the Self?

Yamada’s instructions on meditation go into deep detail describing the correct lotus posture and how to ease the breath and heartbeat, among other things. However, the core principle remains tranquility yields transcendence. Yamada’s advice to beginners simply is: pick a bright and calm environment and sit down in the lotus posture. Do this as often and committedly as possible and the inner fog clouding our view from our inner self will slowly clear. This practice might even become an inspiration for others, teaching them to stop getting in lines that we don’t really belong in.

Source: http://onedropzen.org/uploads/Yamada_Mumon_Roshi.pdf


About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters, and tailors, along with 12 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speaks English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 
If you have the passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!