Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Translation: "A young girl inquired Peng Zu on Dao. Peng Zu found Dao when he was very young and understood how to adjust his body to stay young. He looked like 15 years old when he was in fact 170."
Peng Zu (彭祖) lived in Wuyi Mountain. He is a legendary long-living figure in China. He has supposedly lived since Yin Dynasty( 1400 B.C.). He lived more than 170 years old.
It’s a very rare case in the past since people didn’t have the modern medicine and comfortable living condition to protect their body to live long. One thing that Peng Zu mentioned about a lot in his writing is The Five Organ Talk. Liver (肝), Heart (心), Spleen (脾), Lung (肺), and Kidney (肾) are the five major organs that Chinese people really care about. Peng Zu believed that each organ can help others and each organ can reduce strength of others. Only when you adjust them well, then your body will become healthy.
In Peng Zu’s writing, he mentioned
1. Liver helps the heart but hurts the Spleen.
2. Spleen helps the Lung but hurts the Kidney.
3. Kidney helps the Liver but hurts the Heart.
4. Heart helps the Spleen but hurts the Lung,
5. Lung helps the Kidney but hurts the Liver.
He has also mentioned about the keys to adjust them. These keys are the five tastes, sweet, salty, sour, and bitter and piquant.
These five tastes could affect the five organs dramatically; they can either help or hurt the five organs.
1. Sweet goes to Spleen.
If you eat too many sweets, it will benefit your spleen, but a very strong spleen will hurt your kidney. Weak kidney will cause sore waist, and knees, so older people are not recommend to eat too much sweets.
2. Sour goes to Liver.
Sour hurts the spleen. Too much sour in food can cause digesting problem which cause diarrhea.
3. Piquant goes to Lung.
Too much piquant hurts the liver which can cause dizziness.
4. Salty goes to Kidney.
If you have short breath or chest pain which caused by a weak heart, don’t eat salty food, because salty goes to kidney and hurts the heart.
5. Bitter goes to Heart.
If you have taken too much bitter food, it will hurt your lung, which means it will cause coughing. If you are coughing, don’t eat bitter food.
On the other hand, the five tastes can help you. For example: when a woman is pregnant, she doesn’t have enough blood in her liver. She need eat a lot of sour food to help her liver. Balance your intake of five different tastes, and then you can have a much healthier life.
P.S. I am not a Chinese doctor, but I did some research to put together this post for people who are interested. It’s for your reference only and something to put in mind to balance your daily life when eating.
Copyrighted Huan's Tai Chi 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
We all know from The Food Pyramid, that you should eat 2 servings of meat and poultry and at least 6 servings of bread or rice. Long before the US Department of Agriculture developed The Food Pyramid, Confucius (551-479 BCE) had already written that he would never allow the quantity of meat to exceed a proportion to the rice he took.
Confucius has mentioned his 8 eating habits:
1. He liked to have his food finely cleansed and cut into small pieces.
2. If the food had stored too long changing the color or flavor, he would not eat it.
3. If the food is over cooked , (burned), he would not eat it.
Hint: Burned food has CO2 which is poison.
4. If the food was not fresh, he would not eat it.
5. If the food was not cut into the right proportion, he did not eat it
Hint: Chinese cut the food into pieces before they cook them. If food is not cut properly, it might not be cooked evenly; small pieces can get burned before you finish cooking the bigger pieces.
6. He would not eat if he accidentally put too much sauce, or not enough.
Hint: Too much salt/sodium or sugar consumed is not good for your health
7. If the food was purchased from a small shop or individual, he would not eat it.
Hint: Buy from trusted food market
8. The only thing he didn’t set a limit to was wine consumption, but he did say to drink enough wine but not enough to get drunk.
You probably know many of these 8 habits already. Beside the 8 habits, he said that you should not talk while eating. Eating and talking together is multitasking and results in catching food in your throat. You should talk only while having an empty mouth. I found it’s extremely impolite to talk while you are eating. If someone cooked the dinner for you, eating it with full attention is the best appreciation.
Confucius cautioned, “Don’t fill your stomach”. Chinese often think 80% full is the best for your stomach. You won’t digest well and it will bring too much work to the digesting system if you consume too much food. I know it’s very tempting when you go to your favorite restaurant and not eat that last bit on the plate. You need to take a breath, take it home and eat for next meal. If Confucius was having dinner with you, he probably would do the same thing.
The most important thing Confucius taught is “Don’t just eat, do something meaningful with your life.” This is why I am translating his words to you, so we can all be healthy.
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Copyright by Huan's Tai Chi 2009
Friday, January 22, 2010
If you are doing your Tai Chi right, you should feel Qi/ Energy flowing around your body during or after practice. Some people never feel the Qi. The reason cause this is either they don’t have the correct movements or they didn’t slow down their movements. Same methods can apply to your common life.
Here are 6 methods to help you slow down your Tai Chi movement
1. Don’t hurry on transition movements.
You need to have even speed; You should pay as much attention to transitions as the single form.
2. Do it slowly when landing or lifting foot, and leg.
Step like a Cat. Any noise made while stepping means you are moving too fast
3. Complete one move before going to the next one.
If you didn’t complete a move, then you are wasting time doing your Tai Chi. Only completed each movement, then you did the whole Tai Chi. Take your time and complete the moves.
4. Upper and lower body coordination
Lower body move faster than upper body is a common mistake of beginners. Slow down your lower body and make sure it moves together with upper body as one piece.
5. Shoulder relax and Elbow drop down
Keep your shoulder relaxed and elbow drop down will help you slow down your movements.
6. Don’t double weight.
Double weight is like multitasking, it’s defiantly a cause of fast movements.
Now, here are 6 methods to help you slow down your life and help you relaxed, each one is kind of related to the 6 methods I mentioned above.
1. Leave some time in between your appointments
It will give you time to prepare the next meeting or adjust from last one. You will be less stressed when you are prepared.
2. Walk and talk slow to show your confidence
3 minutes late for an appointment will not cause you losing a job or kill you. Fast steps only show people you are such stressed person.
3. Get your projects done well rather than roughly finished
Rather than hurry and finish both projects, take your time and finish the cardinal project well and ask your boss for extension for the second one because you need it done well. You could finish both projects quickly but with bad quality, you will please no one.
4. Coordination between your plan and actual meeting
Always make sure how much time needed for the meeting, and the topics need to be discussed and prepare. Make sure don’t go out of the topic and if it went over time, politely tell others you have next meeting to go, exit and pick up/schedule another meeting.
5. Straight your back and lose your shoulder
Right body structure is important to help you relax. Whether you are sitting in front of a computer or walking, straight your back will release pressure to your neck, and lose your shoulder will also help your total body relaxation.
6. Don’t multitask
Just like what we mentioned in Tai Chi method 6, multitask will bring stress.
Enjoy some relaxed time!
Copyright by Huan's Tai Chi 2009
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
When we talk about Chinese Tea, Lu Yu is one of the tea masters we talk often. Not only because he published his book “The Bible of the Tea”, but also he had a very interesting life. Lu Yu was an orphan. He didn’t even have a name and got his name from the Daolist bible “The Bible of Change” when he did “Gua” on reading himself. The name Lu Yu means feather on ground. His pen name ( in tradition, sophisticated Chinese has a pen name) Lu Hong Jian means, giant bird landing gradually on ground. It made you feel that he has set up a big goal for his future. He was adopted by Zi Ji Monk. The words Zi Ji mean accumulation of knowledge. Zi Ji found Lu Yu a very smart boy, so he started to teach him Buddhism bible when he was nine; however, Lu Yu was not interested at bible study. He liked to write poetry himself. Zi Ji blamed him on not studying the bible and sent him to clean the floor and bathroom. At age of thirteen, Lu Yu can’t stood Zi Ji’s rule and left the temple without noticing Zi Ji. Since Zi Ji always drinks the tea made from Lu Yu, he stopped drinking tea after the departure of Lu Yu.
Dai Zhong, the Tang Empire heard of this and found it’s hard to believe. He had the best tea master from the country made a cup of tea for the Zi Ji monk. Zi Ji had one sip and stopped drinking. Empire secretly got Lu Yu in to the palace and made tea. This time, Zi Ji drank the whole thing and cried, “This tea tastes exactly like what Lu Yu made for me.” Lu Yu then came out and met with Zi Ji monk again.
Do you have any unique skills just like the tea made by Lu Yu? What are they and why are they so special?
More on Lu Yu:
Lu Yu love friends, his friends includes Li Bai (Shakespeare of poems in China), Du Fu ( The king of dramatic poems) and Yan Chen Chin. ( The king of calligraphy, his is one of my father’s favorite, I was told by my father to mimic Yan’s calligraphy when I was little, unfortunately, My calligraphy still need a lot of improvement unlike my father’s.)
Lu Yu also believed a person should never be late for an appointment with a friend. I agrees with him on this because this is a true gentleman should do.
Copyright by Huan's Tai Chi 2009
Thursday, January 14, 2010
It's shocking to hear that Haiti had a 7.0 earthquake January 12. It made this country worse because Haiti is an impoverished country, one of the world's poorest and least developed. Comparative social and economic indicators show Haiti falling behind other low-income developing countries the 1980s. Haiti now ranks 149th of 182 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index (2006). About 80% of the population were estimated to be living in poverty in 2003. Most Haitians live on $2 or less per day. Economic growth was negative in 2001 and 2002, and flat in 2003.
Now they need most help because of this earth quake. It might be us some day because we never know when nature disaster will hit you. Donate to Mercy corps, one of the trusted charity team I trust. They received four stars in organizational efficiency. You can donate through their website at http://www.mercycorps.org. Thanks and we wish people in Haiti can recover quickly with our help.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I drink tea every day and I make my tea in the right way. It’s essential to know how to cook water for your tea. Not enough time to cook or overcook the water will affect the taste of the tea. An experienced tea drinker needs to know how to boil his/her water to preparing the tea in the right way.
Lu Yu’s ( Tang Dynasty) once wrote in his book “The Tea Bible”. “Once the water boils, the bubble will shape like a fish eye with a little sound, we called this the first boil; If the water shapes like linked pearls, we called this the second boil. When the water starts to wave, we call this the final boil.” Any time after those three, we consider overcooked water and you can’t make tea with this water any more.
Zhang Yuan ( Ming Dynasty) wrote in his book “The Record of Tea”, “There are three major ways and fifteen minor ways to tell about the water for your tea. Shape, sound, and steam are considered to be the 3 major ones. Shape is from inside of the water. You can hear the sound without near the water. Steam can be checked quickly by vision. Water bubble shapes like shrimp eye, crab eye, fish eye or linked pearl means the water is still not ready. Once the water start to have wave, then it’s ready. When you first hear the boiling sound, or higher pitch and even vibrating sound, the water is still not ready. When these sound has been gone, then it’s ready. When the steam first appear, or appears more, floating above the pot, it’s not ready. When the steam goes straight all the way up, then it’s ready.
How have I cook my water? To cook the water, you need to put the stove on high heat. Pour water into the pot with cover on. Once you hear the little boiling sound, it’s time to take the cover off and check the water on shape, sound and steam.
Warm your tea cup once with small amount of boiling water, remove the small amount of the water. Put dried tea leaves in, pour the rest of the hot water in, put the cover on. Wait till the tea leave expand and sink to the bottom of the cup.
Now you can RELAX! Open the tea cup cover. Have a small sip. Enjoy your tea and rest of the Year!
Copyright by Huan's Tai Chi 2009