Tag: spirit

The Three Treasures; Jing, Qi, Shen

The calligraphy above depicts the Three Treasures: Jing, Qi, Shen. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the preservation, protection and nourishment of the Three Treasures form the foundation of optimum health and spiritual well being.

The Basics:

Jing means Essence
Qi basically translates as Vital Energy
Shen means Spirit

The Details:

Jing – Essence
Jing is the source of life, health and longevity. We all are born with Jing Essence, which is stored in the Kidneys and which fuels all other energies. As we age, we naturally deplete our Jing essence; but chronic stress, illness and imbalance will exhaust our Jing faster than we can replenish it through foods and herbs. We must nourish Jing daily with acquired nutritive energy derived from healthy foods, water, meditation, exercise and Chinese herbs. To preserve and protect our Jing from depletion, we must avoid drug and alcohol abuse, bulimia or anorexia, excessive exercise and excessive sexual activities. The latter is especially important for men. Most healthy women don’t have to worry so much about losing essence through sexual activity. For all women it is more important to preserve blood. Chinese medicine tells us that Blood and Jing Essence share the same source. Blood preservation is especially important for a woman because when she loses blood, she loses Jing. The wisdom of a woman’s body initiates menopause as a way to preserve blood and essence for a longer healthier life. Women who experience very heavy menstrual periods or whose periods are absent may experience an Essence vacuity and require acupuncture and herbal treatment to regain healthy balance.

Qi – Vital Energy
In English, Qi roughly translates as vital energy, but its full meaning is as vast as the universe. The calligraphy of the Chinese word Qi depicts rice steaming, meaning that Qi is invisible like steam but also as substantial as rice. This energy is not an ethereal philosophical concept; Qi is palpable, movable, dynamic, storable, fluid and sustentative. It makes and defines everything about us, in us and around us. We are all made of Qi. Plants, herbs, insects and animals are made of Qi. The air we breathe is Qi. The energy we get from exercise is Qi. Acute or chronic illness, poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyles and excessive exercise or sleep will deplete Qi. Breathing exercises and healthy eating habits replenish Qi. Kung Fu practices such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and other healing exercises that generate, move and store Qi. To nourish our Qi we must live a balanced lifestyle, eat well, breath, exercise and preserve our energy by avoiding types of situations and people that drain our energy.

Shen – Spirit
Chinese medicine views the Spirit as an integral part of our life and our physical wellbeing. Therefore Qi, Jing and Spirit cultivation is essential for health maintenance. The definition of spirituality is uniquely individual because different spiritual practices work for different people. Though the process of Spirit cultivation is dynamic and ever changing, most spiritual practices call for mindful living, intentionally based on right thinking and right action. In addition, certain herbs and tonics can help enhance and develop Shen energy. Buddhist teacher and writer Llama Surya Das imparts these words of wisdom, “Living spirituality and its religions are not monuments or mausoleums, but ARE more akin to rivers, which need and want to keep flowing and inexhaustibly replenishing themselves, outflowing anew while returning to the source, endlessly recycling and revitalizing themselves. Not static but ecstatic — a living river of Dharma, of truth and love, of genuine spirit.” When we nourish our Spirit, we cultivate truth, authenticity and compassion for ourselves and others in our daily lives, the result of which is energetic balance and mental clarity.

 

Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com
Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
32 Union Square EAST, Suite 615N
New York, NY 10003
(646) 504.2251

 

The Health Benefits of Laughter Therapy

It is more than six years now since the first “Laughter Club” was set up. There is a growing demand for such clubs in India and abroad. Almost everyday more and more people are joining Laughter Clubs and are reaping its benefits. One of the benefits is that laughter puts the members in a positive frame of mind and gradually makes them positive thinkers. People suffering from a variety of stress-related diseases have benefited in some way or another. But we don’t claim that long-standing ailments have been cured by laughter therapy. Laughter is more of a supplementary and preventive therapy.

Anti Stress: Laughter is one of the finest, most economical and easy ways to reduce stress. Laughter is one of the best muscle relaxants. Laughter expands blood vessels and sends more blood to the extremities and other muscles all over the body. A good bout of laughter also reduces the levels of stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol. It is used as a form of dynamic meditation or relaxation. For meditation one has to put in a concerted effort to completely detach oneself, on mental and emotional levels, from one’s own feelings and thought processes, as well as from the physical world to prevent distractions. While laughing we do not have any conscious thought process and all our senses naturally and effortlessly combine in a moment of harmony to give joy, peace and relaxation. In other types of meditation you need to concentrate a lot to take your mind away from distracting thoughts, which is easier said than done. Therefore, laughter is, if I may say so, the easiest form of meditation and one which brings you instant relaxation.

Strengthens the Immune System: The immune system plays an important role in maintaining good health by keeping away infections, allergies and cancers. It has been proven by psychoneuroimmunologists that negative emotions like anxiety, depression or anger weaken the immune system of the body, thereby reducing its fighting capacity against infections. According to Dr. Lee S. Berk from Loma Linda University, California, laughter helps to increase the count of natural killer cells (NK cells – a type of white cell) and also raises the antibody levels. Researchers have found that after laughter therapy there is an increase in antibodies (Immunoglobulin A) in the mucous of the nose and respiratory passages, which is believed to have a protective capacity against some viruses, bacteria and other micro organisms. Many members of Laughter Clubs have noticed that their frequency of common colds, sore throats and chest infections has decreased. The effect of laughter on the immune system is considered to be very significant with regard to deadly disease like AIDS and cancer by improving quality of life.

Aerobic Exercise: The one benefit almost everybody experiences is a sense of well-being. After 15 minutes of laughter in the morning, they feel fresh throughout the day. There is no medicine like laughter which gives you such an instant result. The reason for the sense of well-being is that you inhale more oxygen while laughing. Laughter can be compared to any aerobic exercises except you don’t have to wear fancy shoes or clothes. You don’t need to sweat hard on the jogging tracks. According to Dr. William Fry from Stanford University, one minute of laughter is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine. Laughter stimulates heart and blood circulation like aerobic exercise. Laughter exercise is suited for sedentary people and those who are confined to a bed or wheelchair.

Depression, anxiety and psychosomatic disorders: The stress and strain of modern life are taking a heavy toll of the human mind and body. Mind-related diseases like anxiety, depression, nervous breakdowns and sleeplessness are on the rise. Laughter has benefited many people who were on heavy anti-depressant pills and tranquilizers. Now they are getting better sleep and their depression has reduced. People with suicidal tendencies have started living with more hope.

High Blood Pressure and Heart disease: There are a number of causes for high blood pressure and heart disease like heredity, obesity, smoking and excessive intake of saturated fats. But stress is one of the major factors. Laughter definitely helps to control blood pressure by reducing the release of stress-related hormones and bringing relaxation.

© Used with Permission

Dr. Mandan Kataria
http://www.laughteryoga.org
Mumbai, INDIA. 2003.
Phone : +91-22-26316426
E-Mail : laugh@laughteryoga.org

 

I Know Why Dave Chappelle Quit His Job

Dave quit his job to escape the stress. No amount of money is worth selling your soul for work nor is it worth not being allowed to manifest your soul’s work.

No. It was not because he was smoking crack as the media rumor mill tried to convince us. Did they think the only reason someone would walk away from a multi-million dollar job is because they were on crack? Or did they think that the only reason a black man would do that was because he was on crack? The media does a great job of manufacturing public thought especially when it is racist or sexist thought. And that is one of the reasons Dave quit- as you will read below.

Dave Chappelle joined the few who realize that putting up with certain pressures from work are not worth it. Stress is not worth the money, physical illness or emotional distress it can induce. It is not worth doing things which you consider unethical or uncreative.

Stressed? Try Acupucture, It Works!  Call 646-504-2251 for an appointment.

I watched Dave on Oprah and Inside the Actor’s Studio. He talked about the pressure his company placed on him to do certain things with the show that he completely disagreed with. He specifically mentioned a skit shown on the “Lost Episodes” which he believed only confirmed racial stereotypes rather than, in his usual style, mirroring them to us so we can stop using them. I saw the skit and I completely agree with him in spite of the audiences vote. Dave took the bold stance against popularity and financial gain. Dave stands for creative awareness and freedom, cultural awareness and freedom, and self-awareness and freedom.

Many of my patients are ill because of work related stress. They suffer fatigue, anxiety, headaches, frequent colds, insomnia, skin conditions , infertility, weight gain or loss and digestive problems such as IBS, and the list goes on. We

Stress from work or at home can compromise mental and physical health

all live in a society in which we must work to survive. So the very thought of quitting our jobs to find something more spiritually fulfilling can be scary. We worry about our bills, family responsibilities and financial freedom. But the truth is that we cannot have any of those things without our health in body and mind .

As I work with patients who are suffering from physical and emotional pain and illness we discuss lifestyle choices. Many of them decide to make the bold decision to change their lifestyle so that they can free themselves of this suffering. They make personal revelations about how daily choices effect their relationships with friends, family, co-workers, partners- or how choices block them from developing deep relationships because they are working 60 (or more) hours per week .

Lifestyle change is a branch treatment within Chinese medicine. For some people, lifestyle change does not need to be as  drastic as leaving a job. Maybe you can cut work to part-time or take breaks during the work day, stop eating lunch at the desk and go outside to eat, exercise, or use earned vacation time no matter how many pressing client jobs are on the plate. Your employers give you vacation time for a reason. If they get upset because you use the time you are entitled to, that is their problem, don’t make it yours. The government made labor laws for a reason. These laws protect our rights to breaks during the work day .

Are there ways you can reduce your stress, cultivate a sense that you are working toward the greater good for your self, your family or society? Take some time to think about this for yourself. Maybe even journal your thoughts and reflect on them. How much do you lose because of your job? And how much of that is worth the money? Do you know now why Dave Chappelle quit his job?

Stressed? Try Acupuncture, It Works!

Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com
Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
32 Union Square East, Suite 615N
New York, NY 10003
(646) 504.2251

The Art of Breathing

Breathing seems pretty basic. You inhale… You exhale… You repeat.
It seems odd that one would need lessons on how to breathe, but more and more I am finding myself educating new patients on the importance of deep abdominal breathing. Usually, the topic of breathing first comes up while the patient is lying comfortably on the acupuncture treatment table. As I ask them to take a relaxing deep breath in, I usually see only their upper chest expand and rise.

Imagine a baby breathing; they resemble a little baby Buddha with their belly extending in and out. The breath is deep, even and slow, easy and calm. You will see that it is not the chest that is rising and falling, but rather it is the abdomen moving in and out.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine we refer to this area of the body as the Tan Tien. It is described as an important focal point for internal meditative techniques and refers specifically to the physical center of gravity located in the abdomen three finger widths below the navel and two finger widths deep within the abdomen.

Over the years, life in a crowded city with chronic pollution problems, lack of fresh air, stationary work environments and overall stress can result in the gradual shift from abdominal breathing to chest breathing. To figure out if you are breathing correctly place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. When you take a deep breath in, the hand on the abdomen should rise higher than the one on the chest. This insures that the diaphragm is pulling air into the bases of your lungs.

Instructions for proper abdominal breathing:
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nostrils into the bottom of your Tan Tien When you’ve inhaled fully, pause for a moment and then exhale fully through your mouth. Purse your lips and imagine that you are blowing on a hot spoonful of soup. As you exhale, just let yourself go and imagine your entire body going loose and limp. It should take you twice as long to exhale as it did to inhale.

Learning and using proper breathing techniques is one of the most beneficial things that can be done for both short and long term physical and emotional health. Abdominal breathing helps to relax the nervous system, reduces stress and tension, lowers blood pressure, and calms the mind. Practicing abdominal breathing also massages and tones the internal organs – particularly the digestive organs.

We all live in and around this city together and experience the stresses and crowds that come with it. Stress is inevitable; coping is the key. Here are a few simple techniques that I have incorporated into my life and have shared with my patients:

  • If you work in an office desk environment, place a sticky note on the corner of your computer that simply says “sit straight and breath deep,” to remind you to practice abdominal breathing throughout your day.
  • When you find yourself in a store waiting on line, use that time to practice your abdominal breathing. Incorporate the breathing techniques while commuting; chances are you won’t mind the wait or the commute as much.

Getting back to proper breathing isn’t hard but it does take practice. So, make it a point to integrate abdominal breathing at least two to three times into each day and you will see a transformation in your physical and mental health transform.

 

By Sharon Wyse, LAc. Sharon practices acupuncture in NYC.

 

Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com
Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
32 Union Square East, Suite 615 N
New York, NY 10003
(646)504.2251