Archive for ‘T’ai Chi Chuan’

October 3, 2012

Mindful Movement is Great for Everyone!

Mindful Movement is one of the Eight Limbs of Chinese Medicine and an essential component of health and wellbeing for everyone. At The Wellspring School for Healing Arts we enjoy being able to offer quality classes for the community that fall under the Mindful Movement umbrella, including both T’ai Chi Chuan and Qigong. Mindful movement helps synchronize your mind and body, keep you focused, in balance and healthier overall. The best part of Mindful Movement is that absolutely anyone can do it!

We also view these practices as indispensible components of our Amma Bodywork Therapy program and have incorporated 90 hours of T’ai Chi and Qigong classes into the overall curriculum. Giving students the opportunity to learn and practice mindful movement throughout the course of the program is a differentiator for their success as students as well as future practitioners. Our next Amma Bodywork Therapy program begins in February 2013! Click here to learn more about the program and to download your copy of the student handbook.

Check out a brief T’ai Chi demo in the below video given by lead Amma instructor, Michael Guida, BPS, LMT #19016. For more information and to register for any of our movement or meditation classes, click here.

September 29, 2012

Take care of yourself, this fall and beyond.

The warm, sunny weather we’ve been enjoying this past week here in Portland makes it hard to believe that it’s fall. However, next week brings the first of October and most likely cooler, damp weather. It’s really important to take care of yourself during the seasons, especially as we transition between different kinds of weather. In this post, Michael Guida, one of our Amma Bodywork Therapy instructors, shares three simple T’ai Chi exercises specifically for your joints, to help keep you moving through fall and beyond. Keep reading below and check out the video!

Please join us for any or all of our community classes this Fall. In addition to T’ai Chi with Michael, we will also be offering Qigong, meditation, holistic nutrition and whole foods cooking. You can find the complete list with dates, times, class descriptions and more:

book now

Below three exercises recommended by Michael specifically for joint health and what he had to say about the benefits of each for this time of year.

Autumn is a natural time to be outside and active, whether it’s gardening, going for a run or heading out for a hike. Taking care of our joints is essential and doing exercises specifically to open joints helps us enjoy these and more activities all year long. Joint opening exercises range the joints in the directions that they normally move to increase circulation of qi and blood, but don’t necessarily focus on ‘stretching’ the muscles. Here are 3 basic examples where you can warm up major areas of the body simply. This is a great place to start for everyone, regardless of the activity.

Stand with your feet parallel and your arms hanging at your sides. Without engaging the shoulders or arms, rotate your hips & torso left and right allowing your arms to just flop and follow the movements of the hips. Like a washing machine rotate left and right. Do this for 30 – 60 seconds. This is great for opening the spinal joints, the hips and the shoulders.

Stand with your feet parallel. Shift the weight into the left leg and lift the right knee as far as you can while maintaining balance. Then point that knee out to the right as far as you can, then slowly lower the leg until the toe touches the floor. Then bring the leg back to center and repeat. If you are feeling adventurous reverse the direction. Do about 10 of those then switch legs. It is important that you move slow and controlled.

If you are doing things with your hands where grip is especially important (climbing, gardening, massaging, kayaking, fishing, etc…) it is a good idea to do some joint opening for your hands and wrists. Simply hold your hands in front of you and ‘shake them out’ as if you are trying to shake off water droplets from your fingertips. This can be pretty vigorous and you can repeat for 30-60 seconds. This is great to do before, during and after any activity involving heavy hand use. It is also good to do if you sit at the computer for long periods of time.

Michael recommends you take the time to do these before, possibly during, and after activity, to feel better during your activity AND help stave off injuries. After all….who wants to be sidelined during the fabulous fall season or ever for that matter?

April 6, 2011

The Wellspring School Settles Down in Portland « The Portland Pedal Power Blog

The Wellspring School Settles Down in Portland « The Portland Pedal Power Blog.

March 25, 2011

Survival Skills for the Modern Day Wholistic Warrior – (Part 3)

Seaweed, Green Clay & Other Essential Nutrients

Part 3 of a 3-part series:

Contributed by Rylen Feeney

As noted in my previous post, I can’t spend enough telling you how wonderful wheatgrass is and how everyone should have some in their diet! There are two other nutrients, green clay and seaweed, that I would like to focus on. These really round out what I consider to be the top three essential for daily good health and counter-acting the negative effects of exposure to environmental toxins.

GREEN or BENTONITE CLAY

Clay is a powerful yet gentle detoxifier.  It can been used as an absorbing protective barrier or in baths to remove exposure to radiation and other toxins as well as be consumed with water to bind and absorb toxins internally.

“The Soviet Union put French Green Clay in chocolate bars and dispensed them freely to the masses to remove radiation their citizens were exposed to after the disaster.”
 (www.janethull.com). Furthermore, they buried the reactor in beds of clay and workers at nuclear planet in Russia cover their bodies in Bentonite clay under their radiation suits to prevent the absorption of radioactive substances.

Green Clay is found in seabeds in France and India. The clay helps balances body pH, has a high negative ion charge which in turn in responsible for it’s ability to bind with heavy metals and chemical toxins in the body.
 Green clay is rich in trace amounts of Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Zinc, Aluminum, Silicon, Copper, Selenium, Cobalt, Micro-algae, Kelp and other phyto-nutrients.

Download Handout on: Uses and Directions for Green Clay or see www.aboutclay.com


SEAWEED

Kelp and other seaweeds are wonderful nourishing foods.   Many claim that Kelp can be taken safely and preventively rather than the Potassium Iodine to protect the thyroid from radiation poisoning.

“Seaweed offers broadest range of minerals of any food.  Minerals found in the ocean mirror minerals found in blood.  Sea vegetables are an excellent source of iodine and vitamin K, B-vitamin folate, and magnesium, iron and calcium, and the B-vitamins riboflavin and pantothenic acid. In addition, sea vegetables contain good amounts of lignans, plant compounds with cancer-protective properties.  Lignans have been credited with inhibiting estrogen synthesis in fat cells as effectively as some of the drugs used in cancer chemotherapy. Diets high in folate-rich foods are associated with a significantly reduced risk for colon cancer.  An abundance of folic acid helps prevent birth defects and cardiovascular disease. Sea vegetables promote healthy thyroid function. With a good source of magnesium, sea vegetables have been shown to reduce high blood pressure and prevent heart attack, it also may help prevent migraine headaches, and reduce the severity of asthma symptoms.”   (Wellspring School student handout 2009)

“If there is insufficient iodine in the diet radioactive iodine-131 will be absorbed and collected in the thyroid gland. Even if radioactive iodine is absorbed by the thyroid, taking natural iodine helps offset the side effects of exposure.  According to Dr. Russell Morgan, one mg. of iodine for children and five mg. for adults taken daily will reduce by about 80 percent the radioactive iodine accumulated in the thyroid.  Whole foods are the best source of iodine, e.g. sea vegetables like hijiki, arame, kombu and dulse.  Iodine is leached from the thyroid gland by drinking chlorinated water.  Avoid iodized salt, which contains excessive sodium and no potassium.  Sea vegetables are rich in vitamins and contain most if not all of the essential minerals and trace elements.”  (Northland New Zealand ChemTrails Watch)

Sea vegetables are classified by their color.  The most popular types are:

  • Nori: dark purple-black color that turns phosphorescent green when toasted, famous for its role in making sushi rolls.
  • Kelp: light brown to dark green in color, oftentimes available in flake form.
  • Hijiki: looks like small strands of black wiry pasta, has a strong flavor.
  • Kombu: very dark in color and generally sold in strips or sheets, often used as a flavoring for soups or to soften and salt beans.
  • Wakame: similar to kombu, most commonly used to make Japanese miso soup.
  • Arame: this lacy, wiry sea vegetable is sweeter and milder in taste than many others
  • Dulse: soft, chewy texture and a reddish-brown color.

All of the above can be incorporated into many recipes or added as garnish to dishes. There are countless recipes available on-line. For more information on seaweed, check out the website of one of our past Wholistic Nutrition Program instructors, Jennifer Adler, to view her “Seaweed 101” video. http://www.passionatenutrition.com/seaweed-101/.

I think it is important to mention that all seaweed sources need to be clean and free of heavy metals and toxins. Seaweed should still be eaten in small amounts, as it is a powerful and salty food.  It is something that should be part of a healthy diet, not something we load up on in an emergency situation. I think that what is currently available is good but I would be wary of anything coming from the Pacific Ocean in the near future.  Eden Foods is a brand that I trust.

Other important dietary considerations: An anti-radiation diet should focus on the following foods as constants in a daily diet:

  • Miso soup
  • High beta carotene vegetables
  • Beans and lentils
  • Potassium, calcium and mineral rich foods
  • Fermented/Cultured foods
  • High nucleotide content foods to assist in cellular repair including spirulina, chlorella, algae, yeast, sardines, liver, anchovies and mackerel
  • Cod liver oil and olive oil
  • Avoid sugars, sweets, wheat & commercial non-cultured dairy.
  • A good multivitamin/multi-mineral supplement that includes D3
  • Black & Green Tea that contains tannins
  • Mushrooms: Mushrooms are a leading source of selenium and ergothioneine both reported to help protect cells in the body and boost immunity.

For specific reasons for each of these recommendations, see the resources below for explanations and more details.

I hope that something from my posts this week has resonated with you. Whether it’s a renewed commitment to your own health, a new resource or use for a nutrient rich food, or just taking a moment to consider that we are all connected, responsible and capable of transformation, these are just a few of the tools available to the modern day wholistic warrior.

Be well,

Rylen

January 3, 2011

Come Move with us in the New Year! PDX class

The New Year is  always a time for evaluating our lives, reassessing our priorities and making new commitments.  Often those commitments include improving our health.    The winter is a great time to try a mindful form of movement, such as T’ai Chi Chuan.  T’ai Chi is a great way to improve balance, support your joints and get focused.   Centuries old Chen Style T’ai Chi is said to be practiced with “a serene heart and a concentrated mind.”  Your nervous system is able to recharge, achieving deep relaxation.  Your body is rejuvenated by harmonizing the function of the inside and the outside of the body, circulation of blood and lymph is circulated, bone structure is improved, muscles are toned, and metabolism is regulated.

Chen T’ai Chi is composed of spiraling movements and practiced muscle control.  The qi flows from the tan tien (core center of energy) to the entire body through the spiral movements.  The Chen style is characterized by spiral movements that are soft and gentle with some fast and explosive motions interspersed, which facilitate the movement of qi.

Chen Style T’ai Chi Chuan can benefit the body by relieving pain, correcting digestive problems, relieve stress and build self-confidence, and discovering internal energy flow.

Come rejuvenate yourself and join us in Portland for a 13 class series of Chen Style T’ai Chi Chuan.

This class is devoted to learning the 19-movement form of Chen T’ai Chi. This is a simplified form developed by Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang to serve as a powerful introduction to the ancient Chen style T’ai Chi Chuan.

Class dates: (13) Fridays. Class dates (2011): January 14th, 21st, 28th, February 4th, 11th, 25th, March 11th, 18th, April 1st, 15th, 22nd, 29th, and May 6th. There will be no class on February 18th, March 4th, March 25th April 8th or May 13th. There will be an additional class hour on March 11th and May 6th for Amma students only to accommodate a midpoint and final form review.

The first three classes are open enrollment and drop-in’s are encouraged.  Enrollment closes before the beginning of the 4th class.  All students must be registered to take the series before the start of the 4th class.

Class Cost: Public attendees: $170 for 13 class/hour series (paid up front) or $14/if paid per class.  Current Amma and existing Yan Li students please contact the office directly for information on class pricing at 503-752-4840.

Introductory Special: Paying participants may bring a friend for free to one of the first three classes (only).

Or see: http://redirectguide.com/isavegreen/display.asp?isg=3511 for a coupon.

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