Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tai Chi and Swimming

Photo by: tchola

In order to try some new water activities this summer, I took a swimming class. It’s interesting that on the first day of my swim class, the first thing I learned was "relax". Relaxing helps your body float on top of the water. In the classes to follow, I learned few more things that are all very similar to what we need to do in Tai Chi. I've listed some of them below to share with you. How many Tai Chi principles you can find in these swimming fundamentals?

1. Keep your body straight. If you try to lift your head up, your body will sink down in the water.

2. It’s not how fast you kick that makes you move faster. It’s how far your arm reaches and pulls in each time. The more relaxed your elbow, the further you can reach, and the further you will swim on each stroke.

3. Don’t try to use force to lift your arm, use the turning of your body to naturally raise your arm and relax down to reach the water.

4. You need to make sure your arms reach the center in order to form a line with your body.

5. Don’t try to turn and lift your head, but turn your waist and body to bring your mouth out of the water to breathe.

6. You don’t have to turn a lot to bring your mouth out of the water; just turn enough to take a breath while minimizing your energy as much as possible.

7. You need to have good coordination of your upper body (arms) and lower body (legs kicking).

8. Keep your eyes focused while you swim so you don’t hit the pool wall!

As the summer comes to a close, keep these in mind as you transition back from the water to the Tai Chi studio.

Copyright Huan's Tai Chi 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

8 Secrets of Longevity from 30 Top Chinese Medicinal Doctors

Photo: The Character of Longevity in Chinese by Major Clanger

I just read an article in People’s Daily (China’s New York Times) in which 30 of the best-known doctors of Chinese medicine were interviewed and shared their Secrets of Longevity. These doctors are professors of Chinese medicine, authors of Chinese medicinal books, and heads of Chinese medicinal hospitals. And their ages range from 74 to 93 years old! Although each doctor had slightly different views and opinions about how to maximize life expectancy, they shared many similar thoughts. I’ve combined these into the 8 points below:

1. Eat Right
In order to live a long and healthy life, you must eat food which fits your body type. You should eat less meat and more vegetables. You should never overeat. Avoid frozen food, greasy food, or food with too much sauce. Drink less alcohol and don’t smoke.

2. Exercise!
Walk, swing your arms, and practice Tai Chi or Five Animal Play (an ancient moving system created by the famous Chinese Medicine practitioner, Hua Tou 110-207 A.D.) Sweating little is great but don’t overexercise. Massage yourself on your acupuncture points.

3. Don’t Depend on Vitamins
Vitamins can’t replace healthy food, exercise, and other activities. Don’t depend on Vitamins to balance your body; eat food instead. For example: Get your Vitamin A from carrots instead of from a vitamin tablet.

4. Get on Schedule
Your body has its own internal biological clock. Make sure you have the same schedule every day. Try to get up at the same time each morning and go to sleep at the same time each night. Getting off-schedule can make you tired and weak.

5. Wear Proper Clothing
Don’t try to be sexy by wearing skimpy outfits that don’t keep you warm enough! Wear enough clothing to protect yourself in the winter, but also make sure you don’t sweat by wearing too many layers in the summer.

6. Think About Age When Having Children
A child’s health may be affected at birth if the baby is conceived when the mother is over 40 years old.

7. Stay Positive!
Try to stay positive as much as you can! Don’t get angry, or if you do, find healthy ways
to release it (such as through Tai Chi or other exercise). Being depressed and angry will lower your life expectancy.

8. Get Enough Rest
If you are tired, then you need to get rest. Taking a small nap can help you during the day. Enough sleep at night is also very important.

Many of you already may have already heard some of these pieces of wisdom, but it’s nice to have them summarized again in writing. Wishing you a long and healthy life!

Copyrighted By Huan's Tai Chi 2010