Friday, 19 January 2018

WTY-9: Yangsheng and the Confrontation with Reality

19 January 2018

The most important impact that life may have upon us is what is happening to us in the moment. More often than not, whether we feel happy or not has the most to do, in other words, with the way we see and face the concurrent situation we find ourselves in. For the sake of yangsheng, to live a happy life, it is therefore imperative to develop and sustain the right attitude towards what we are experiencing right now.
All the happenings or non-happenings we are facing can be divided into three large categories: good/desirable, bad/undesirable, and whatever else in between.
If something good is happening to you, you well know how to face it, but keep in mind that good things can be bad in disguise, or may turn to bad in time while you enjoy or celebrate it.
If nothing particular is happening, you should learn to wait for something good to come. (If you keep thinking or worrying about bad things, they most probably will come.)
If something bad, really bad is happening to you, you'd better keep reminding yourself of the following:
1/ Something bad can be a good thing in disguise, or may turn to good in time;
2/ Bad things could have been much worse, and therefore may actually be worth celebrating;
3/ Each negative experience is meant to prepare you for a better future.
Once you integrate into your mindset Lao Zi's teaching 'Luck and misfortune always come in turns' (福兮祸所伏, 祸兮福所倚 ), you will certainly be able to develop a basically positive mentality.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

YE&T-9: Tongue Exercise for the Brain

17 Janurary 2018

For the well being of your brain, or to prevent Alzheimer's disease, it's helpful to do this group of tongues exercies:
1/ Reach out your tongue as far out as possible before withdraw it back;
2/ Wave your tongues outside your mouth from left to right or the other way around;
3/ Bite your tongue everywhere as hard as you do not feel hurt.
Do each set of the exercises 36 rounds once a day.

Monday, 15 January 2018

GYH-9: Brushing Teeth after Food Intake

15 January 2018

As there are always a large number of bad bacteria left in our mouth after food intake, it is a good habit to brush our teeth after each meal (or 15 minutes or so after eating certain foods, such as apples and yogurt).  Even if circumstances do not allows us to do so, we should at least rinse our mouths well with clean water to maintain oral hygiene. This habit is particularly helpful to our tooth, heart, blood system, among other things.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

WTY-8: Soong Mei-ling's Yangsheng Secrets

13 January 2018

Soong Mei-ling or Soong May-ling, former first lady of the Republic China, lived up to 106 years of age despite the breast cancer she had developed by age 40. During an interview about how she managed to live such a healthy, happy and long life, she made several most important points:

1. Keep up a good mood - she seldom got angry, worried, sad, or too emotional about anything;
2. Avoid salty and greasy foods - she ate mostly vegetables, spinach and celery in particular;
3. Pursue a good hobby - she began to learn traditional Chinese painting around age 70 and eventually became a highly attained artist.

Image result for soong may-ling
             photo taken at age 106




Thursday, 11 January 2018

YR-8: Mushroom Braised with Turnip

11 January 2018

- main ingredients
1. White turnip
2. Dried Mushroom

-steps
1. soak dried mushrooms in water for 2 hours or so;
2. wash the turnip and cut it into chosen shapes;
3. put a spoonful of edible oil into the wok;
4. add slices of green onion when the oil is warm;
5. fry the turnip with the oil and green onion for a few minutes;
6. add the mushrooms, water, salt and soy sauce;
7. boil everything together;
8. add sliced chilly (or other spices of one's choice) when the water/soup becomes almost totally absorbed;
9. stir everything well before putting it into a container


Tuesday, 9 January 2018

BHH-8: Eating Too Much

9 January 2018

With plenty of food for most people nowadays, we tend to eat too much on a regular basis. During the suppertime when we should actually eat much less than during other times, we often eat too much, especially 'good' foods, such as meat, fish and highly refined grain. According to many yangsheng experts, many of us modern people suffer from poorer health and more diseases than our ancestors simply because we eat more than needed by our body. Over food intake makes our digestive system over-work, while too much nutrition definitely does more harm than good to our body. 

Friday, 5 January 2018

WTY-8: Yangsheng and Positive Mentality

5 January 2018

Whoever wants to live a healthier, happier and longer life must perforce have a positive mentality.

As a state of mind, 'a positive mentality' is actually a composite of basic attitudes, which mainly include the attitudes towards what we are facing in the moment, who and what we ourselves have been up to now, and what we expect in the future. Apparently, if we can at least most of the time see and treat with a positive attitude what is happening to us at the moment, we will become attained yangsheng practitioners and thus live a more enjoyable life.
Some people may have been 'born' with a positive mentality; others can certainly learn and develop it in a self-conscious way. No matter what, a positive mentality has nothing to do with who you are, what you do, where you live or how rich/poor you have been.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

YE&T-8: Shoulder Lifting

3 January 2018

To prevent yourself from catching a cold in particular, or help improve your immune system in general, you might want to lift your two shoulders simultaneously as high as possible before letting them down every morning or afternoon, once or twice a day, 36 rounds each time.

Monday, 1 January 2018

GYH-8: Tea Drinking & New Posting Schedule

1 January 2017
GYH-8: Green Tea Drinking

Some people may prefer coffee, some tea, and still others just water. While all these three are very helpful liquids to the body, the healthiest one is arguably tea, especially green tea. For elder people or those beginning to age, green tea is undoubtedly the best kind of drink: as recent scientific studies show, it contains more polyphenols than any other kind of drink, which function to boost one's immune system and fight against ageing, among other good effects.
-----------------------------------

NEW ALTERNATE POSTING SCHEDULE::

As some friends have kindly suggested, we are going to post yangsheng material according to a less frequent or new alternate schedule from today on - the idea behind it is to allow our fellow yangsheng practitioners more leisure, since daily postings may be a bit too demanding to some friends.

yANG WEEK
Mon: Good Yangsheng Habits (GYH)
Wed: Exercises & Therapies (E&T)
Fri: Footnotes to Yangsheng (FTY)

yIN WEEK
Tue: Bad Human Habits (BHH)
Thu: Yangsheng Recipes (YR)
Sat: Way towards Yangsheng (WTY)



Saturday, 30 December 2017

WTY-7: Wang Yung-ching's Yangsheng Secret

30 Decenber 2017

Wang Yung-ching, also called YC Wang, the founder of one of the largest business empires in Taiwan and for many years the richest Taiwanese (the 178th richest person in the world according to the 2008 Forbes survey), lived a busy life as long as 92 years. Asked about his most important yangsheng secret around age 90, he said: hitting a wall with my back every day.   

Image result for wang yongqing taiwan

Friday, 29 December 2017

WTY-7: Yangsheng and Occupation

29 Dec 2017

Although there is no specific statistic report showing which occupations are most yangsheng-friendly, we can reasonably assume that Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors live a healthier, happier and longer life than most other groups of people.

Not only do they have more yangsheng knowledge (as partly required by their profession), but they also begin to practise yangsheng self-consciously at an earlier age than any other professional groups of people in the world. Naturally, like certain schools of Daoist priests, they are among the most accomplished yangsheng practitioners.

We are not all TMC doctors, nor do we have to choose this occupation to become accomplished yangsheng practitioners, but we can begin learning and practising yangsheng sooner than later. After all, don't we all hope to enjoy a healthy, happy and perhaps long life?

Thursday, 28 December 2017

YR-7: Three-Red Soup

28 Dec 2017

Some people may easily get cold hands and feet, and this feeling often gets worse in winter. While the reason has most to do with one's weakened qi and blood system, or heart condition, doctors can do little about it. However, you might try this food therapy called 'three-red soup':
1/ 250 grams of red beans;
2/ 10 (red) dried dates;
3/ 2 spoonfuls of red (brown) sugar;
Boil the first two ingredients together for a few minutes; then add the third and simmer the soup for another 10 minutes.
Eat the soup every day before breakfast for 10 days as a cycle. Repeat this cycle if necessary, and you will see how it works on you (the effect varies with different people).

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

YE&T-7: Belly Rubbing

27 December 2017

Rub your belly closewise first, and then counter clockwise 36 rounds each time; better to do so once before getting up, and a second time before sleep. For more and better effects, you can rub your belly by drawing increasingly larger and smaller circles around your navel with your palms. This simple exercise helps to maintain the health of your stomach and intestine systems, among other things.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

BHH-7: Eating No Breakfast

26 December 2017

For one reason or another, many people, especially the younger, seldom eat breakfast. This is a bad habit. Because the human body usually needs more energy in the morning than in any other periods of time during the day, no food intake after getting up undoubtedly makes the body work without enough energy in the whole morning. If this habit lasts long, the body inevitably will suffer a lot from malnutrition, poor health and even diseases.

Monday, 25 December 2017

GYH-7: Singing While Taking a Shower

25 December 2017

Some people like to hum, whistle or sing aloud while taking a shower. This is a good habit in terms of yangsheng because it helps not only to maintain the health of one's lung and heart systems, but also to keep one in good spirits. Indeed, just as we feel lighthearted when we make such pleasant sounds, so we cannot help singing aloud when we feel lighthearted during a shower.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

WTY-6: Yuan Liaofan and His Altered Destiny

23 December 2017

In practice, there have been numerous stories about how people have changed/improved their fate mainly through their self-reforms. The most famous example in Chinese history is Yuan Liaofan (1533-1606), who proved himself to be a great accomplished yangsheng practitioner by living a much healthier, happier and longer life than his fate had believedly predestined.

This is the story, as retold in Zhang Xinyue's Creating Abundance (Vancouver: Poetry Pacific Press, 2015, translated by Yuan Changming)::

Yuan Liaofan (1533 – 1606), originally named Biao, then renamed Huang, styled Qingyuan, also Kunyi, or Yifu, first known as Xuehai, then as Liaofan, was born to a medical doctor’s family during the Ming Dynasty. His father died when Liaofan was a small boy. Later he gave up his studies to become a doctor as his mother hoped. When he passed by Ciyun Temple once on his way to collecting medical herbs, he met an old but young-looking man called Mr. Kong, who encouraged him to pursue a scholar-official career. Inviting the old man to his house, Liaofan reported this encounter to his mother, who told him to treat Mr. Kong well and asked the old man to tell his fortune.
According to Mr. Kong, Yuan Lianfan was to be ranked 14th as a county candidate, 71st as a prefecture candidate, and 9th as a provincial candidate before he could achieve some fame. He would become a lin-student or one of the second-best xiucai in a certain year, a gong-student or the best xiucai in another and eat certain amount of rice in that capacity. After his release from formal Confucian restrictions, he would be appointed Magistrate of some county in the Province of Sichuan in a certain year. Three and half years later, he should resign and return home. He would die without a son at the age of 53.
Yuan Liaofan took notes of all these details and remembered them well. It turned out that everything happened exactly as Mr. Kong had predicted, except that the amounts of rice Liaofan Yuan ate during his lin-studentship was not right: Mr. Kong had foretold that he would not become a gong-student until he consumed 91 dan plus 5 dou of rice, but somehow he was recognized as such by the provincial minister of education when he had finished eating only 71 dan. In private, Yuan Liaofan began to nurture some doubts about Mr. Kong’s predictions. However, Yuan Liaofan’s gong-studentship was later revoked by an acting minister. It was not until the grand examiner Qiuming Yin read his paper and became deeply impressed that Yuan Liaofan was made a gong-student again as a result of Yin’s intervention through an official order to the magistrate. During this dramatic period, Yuan Liaofan ate more rice which, added to what he had already consumed, made the total sum exactly 91 dan plus 5 dou.
These occurrences made Yuan Liaofan realize that everyone’s personal advancements and setbacks were predetermined. It was also preordained whether one was to be fortunate sooner or later. Given all this, he began to make light of everything and henceforth became downhearted.
In 1569, Yuan Liaofan went to Mount Xixia to visit the Zen Master Yungu, where the two sat still face to face, meditating with a clear mind for three days without ever falling asleep. Surprised as he was, Master Yungu asked, ‘How have you managed to sit still without any distractions for as long as three days?’ In reply, Yuan Liaofan told the master everything about his experiences predicted by Mr. Kong.
‘In Taijia’s words,’ said Master Yungu, ‘man could go against God’s will, but he must perforce fall if he chooses to.’ As pointed out in the Book of Poetry, ‘Always remain studious in harmony with the ordinances of God, and you will attain much happiness.’ Mr. Kong predicted that you could never pass the imperial examination, nor would you have a son. This is your fate, or the so-called ‘God’s will,’ something you can actually try to change. If you maintain a high moral integrity, perform more good deeds, and accumulate as many hidden virtues as possible, how can you not get what you deserve?’
Greatly inspired, Yuan Liaofan decided to perform 3,000 good deeds; he kept a record and subtracted one from it for every bad thing he happened to do.
During the imperial examination held in 1570, Yuan Liaofan should come out third as predicted by Mr. Kong, but he actually won first place and began to have a different fate. In 1581, he begot a son; five years later, he obtained his doctorate, and was appointed Magistrate of Baodi County. In 1593, he was promoted to be a section chief of the Imperial Defense Department. He died when he was more than 70 years old.


Friday, 22 December 2017

WTY-6: Yangsheng and Destiny

22 December 2017

Many people believe in destiny or fate, if not in God. Since fate is by definition a 'necessary' development of events beyond human control, it is considered to be unchangeable by any one. Whether one can live a good life or achieve one's life goals thus depends more on fate than on effort. As for one's life span, it is something always preordained by the 'Sky', as most Chinese people believe.

However, that's not true. Even if there is a 'sky' or supernatural being controlling our fate, we can always do something about it. Theoretically, whatever is to happen to us results more or less from a combination of causes, which may have to do with our genes, character, psychological tendencies, behavioural patterns, past experiences, living circumstances, social backgrounds and etc. Such conditioning elements are never entirely out of our control, for we can at least reform our selfhoods.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

YR-6: Health Effects of Daikon Juice

21 Dec 2017

Many people suffer from discomfort when the climate is dry. They cannot help sneeze a lot and their noses may bleed. Here is a helpful recipe for dry nose, chronic rhintis cicca, which can also function to prevent from catching a cold or the flu.

1/ Use a blender to get juice from a peeled daikon (white radish/turnip);
2/ Use a cotton swab to apply the juice to the inside of nose

And you will immediately feel more comfortable.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

YE&T-6:Therapy for Winter Cough



20 Dec 2017

Some people just cannot stop coughing in wintertime. While doctors and medications are surely able to help in one way or another and to varying degrees, here is a more natural way to relieve the symptoms:

1. Cut ends off three long eggplants;
2. Put the eggplants ends into the fridge for about six hours;
3. Boil the eggplant ends in water for 5 to 10 minutes;
4. Drink the water daily, once in the morning, once before bedtime.

For many people, especially those with lung fever, this theropy proves very effective. At least, it costs little and has no harm.

Image result for Image result for 茄子把

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

BHH-6:No Mouth Rinsing after Meals

19 December 2017

Many people forget to, or do not, rinse their mouths after food intake. Apparently, this is a bad habit, since the act of eating always leaves something between our teeth, which might cause problems later. It would be even better to brush teeth after each meal; while circumstances may prevent us from doing so, we can at least do something to maintain our mouth hygiene by rinsing it.

Monday, 18 December 2017

GYH-6: Getting up Early

18 Dec 2017

Just as Benjamin Franklin has said: "Early to bed and early to risemakes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise". Indeed, it is advisable to get up between 5:00 and 7:00 am every day. According to classic Chinese medicine, our large intestine meridian begins to work actively during maoshi (from 5 to 7 o'clock in the morning). Accordingly, one should finish bowel movement within this time window. In addition, our body needs stretching as well as fresh air after 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

WTY-5: Prevention of Diseases or Poor Health

16 December 2017

There are specifically different reasons for our poor health or diseases, but in general, the following ten may prove to be common root causes in most cases:

1/ Getting angry easily;
2/ Often staying up late at night;
3/ Eating uncommon foods or simply too much;
4/ Doing little physical exercise;
5/ Taking everything too seriously all the time; 
6/ Feeling sad too long;
7/ Remaining depressed for a long time;
8/ Working too hard (or 'overdrafting' oneself) for long;
9/ Worrying too much constantly; and
10/ Living too lonely a life

Ostensibly, 1/, 5/, 6/ 7/ and 9/ are psychological and related directly to one's personality traits, whereas the others are mostly (social/behavioural) habits. 

According to yangsheng experts, we can live a life relatively free of diseases if we avoid the above 10 psychological or behavioural tendencies. 

Friday, 15 December 2017

WTY-5: Yangsheng and Religion

15 December 2017

Yangsheng and religion are closely interrelated. Succinctly, their relationship can be seen in two simple ways.

On the one hand, as a system of beliefs, religion may play a significantly helpful role in yangsheng. Whether they are self-conscious yangsheng practitioners or not, those with a strong religious faith can usually live a happier life than most non-religious people. The most important reason lies in the way strongly religious people are better prepared spiritually to deal with all kinds of hardships in life. With a solid faith, they may suffer less psychologically, to say the least.

On the other, both yangsheng and religion are a practice or, rather, lifestyle. Just as a particular religion determines the particular way its followers live, yangsheng guides its practitioners in terms of how they should live. Religious people have a whole set of living habits centering around a super-being, while yangsheng practitioners also have a whole set of living habits centering around their own life.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

YR-5:Three Slices of Ginger

14 Dec 2017

Every morning, it is advisable to eat three (roughly two mm-thick) slices of fresh ginger better before than while eating breakfast. 

Fresh ginger is one of the very best foods for all yangsheng practitioners, as it helps to maintain the health of, or even enhance, your digestive, blood and immune systems. However, avoid eating ginger after lunch.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

YE-5: Wall Hitting

13 Dec 2017

Stand straight against a wall (or a tree/pole), and use your back to hit it as hard as you feel comfortable for 108 times each time. Do this back-stimulating exercise once or twice every day. This is a self-massaging exercise that helps you not only to relax your back muscles but, more importantly, to keep your major meridians and energy channels fit and functioning well.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

BHH-5: Too Much Sitting

12 Dec 2017

No less harmful than smoking, staying up late, picky eating, and getting angry easily is sitting too much or for too long every day. From the traditional point of view of yuangsheng, this habit is really very detrimental to our health because it may not only cause many spine/vertebra-related problems, such as neck pain, dizziness, back pain and leg pain, but also weaken our internal organs, resulting eventually in many diseases, prostate problems and heart conditions in particular.

Sitting too much and/or for too long every day is probably the commonest and most persistent bad habit that everyone of us have. Fortunately, more and more people are beginning to realise the need to get the habit under control, and the practice of standing to work or entertain is certainly a healthy new trend in some professions or among some groups of people.

A yangsheng practitioner should try to reduce sitting time to the minimum. Even when sitting is a must-thing to do, we should sit properly and do some stretching every 30-60 minutes.

Monday, 11 December 2017

GYH-5: Taking a Foot Bath Daily

11 Dec 2017

'People begin getting old from their feet.' This is a well known health proverb among Chinese yangsheng practitioners, which pinpoints feet as the very foundation of old-age health.

Important as it is, foot health deserves special attention once we turn fifty in general. To take good care of our feet, we'd better take a foot bath (or spa) for 15 to 20 minutes before bedtime every day. By doing so, we can at least have a better sleep as well as better-functioning legs.

For more and better health effects, it is even more recommendable to use herbal medicine soup instead of water, if not too inconvenient.

Yes, taking a foot bath daily is a good yangsheng habit although it may not be so to some people, like those with diabetes or thrombus problems. As our feet have many an acupoint,  such a bath can help us not only maintain our foot health itself but also improve our physical wellness as a whole.

However, please be warned that those with diabetes and high blood-pressure should avoid foot bathing, as it may produce an undesirable effect.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

WTY-4: Forever Young in Heart

9 December 2017

Li Shufan, born in 1926, married a Chinese man and moved to Wuhan in 1950. Ever since then, she has been living in the city as the only person of Russian origin. At age of 92, she was invited to participate in the CCTV New Year's Gala, where her singing and dancing shocked the whole nation. Asked how she had been practising yangsheng to live such a long and happy life, she replied: Always remain young at heart and be self-confident!


Li Shufan singing at CCTV New Year's Gala

Friday, 8 December 2017

FTY-4: Yangsheng and Lifestyle

8 Dec 2017

According to Zhong Nanshan, a leading yangsheng expert in China today, our health and life span depend 15% on our genes, 10% on our social environment, 7% on our physical environment, 8% on our medical resources, and 60% on our lifestyle. That is to say, how healthy we are and how long we can live are determined most significantly by our own chosen lifestyle.

What is our lifestyle then? 'The way a person lives', as it is defined, is in essence nothing but an individualised set of habits, which we have develop since our birth. This set may vary with different people in numbers, but basically, it can be divided into two large categories, one concerning our behaviours, the other our inner activities.

To live a healthy and attain longevity is primarily to develop a whole set of good habits conducive, to yangsheng is to follow a good lifestyle.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

YR-4: Six Best Foods for Blood System

7 Dec 2017

The following are the six best kinds of foods, which are particularly helpful to clean blood or maintain blood health, and prevent formation of thrombus, vascular blockage, and heart diseases::
1. Corn;
2. Onion;
3. Oatsmeal;
4. Black fungus;
5. Green tea;
6. Peanuts
Eat any of the above mentioned three times a week at least, and your blood will remain as young as you would love to be.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

YE-4: Tooth Knocking

6 Dec 2017

As we are getting old, some of our teeth may gradually become loose until they are eventually lost. Important as they are, we should make every effort to maintain the health of our tooth.

Among many possible ways to prevent our teeth from getting loose or lost, these two kinds of tooth exercises are probably easier and even more effective than your dentists might have to recommend:
1/ Twice every day knocking your lower teeth against your upper ones (or the other way around) for at least 100 times;
2/ Keeping your teeth bitten hard whenever you urinate or make a bowel movement.

In the long run, these tooth exercises will contribute a great deal to your tooth health.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

BHH-4: Getting Angry Easily

5 Dec 2017

Of all the bad living habits we have developed over time, getting angry easily is probably the very worst, and also the most difficult one for us to give it up. No matter how it may have become part of our nature or personality, this psychological tendency is definitely as harmful to our health as any other bad habit in the long run. While traditional Chinese medicine has kept warning us that anger can have a particularly damaging effect on our liver, recent scientific studies show that fury actually produces a toxic element within our body, which can be poisonous enough to kill a lab rat.

In addition to its negative impact on our physical wellbeing, anger can also lead us to say or do something stupid, wrong or destructive. Since wrath can serve no good purpose at all in our lives, we should learn to get this negative feeling under control in every conceivable way.

To many Chinese yangsheng practitioners, anger control has been a major part of spiritual cultivation since ancient times.

Monday, 4 December 2017

GYH-4: Eating Less Than 'Enough'

4 Dec 2017

One of the very best habits to develop for the sake of yangsheng is to eat your fill only by around 70%. Eating too much is always worse than eating enough, while eating enough is in most cases worse than eating less than enough.

In other words, it is a particularly good habit to practise quantity control of food intake.

As it usually takes at least 20 minutes for our stomach to tell our 'brain' whether we have had enough food intake, eating enough actually means eating too much already before we stop eating at a meal. If what we eat is 'junk food' or non nutrition-balanced food, eating too much will be doubly detrimental to our health.

Eating your fill only by around 70 % will prevent your digestive system from over-working. Also, this good eating habit can help avoid many potential health problems.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

WTY-3: Fears - a Yangsheng Poem

2 December 2017

Fears
        by yuan changming

Before rising with his long and thick pigtail  
Nurgaci openly proclaimed his seven bitter hatreds
Against Ming China, which eventually made him
The father of the Qing Empire... I do not have
Such prestigious hatreds, except for only a few
Hidden fears or, rather, non-fears: yes, I fear

I don’t fear not being rich, not being
Famous, not being powerful
Not being physically attractive, not
Being gifted or talented, not being
Normally healthy and, in particular
Not even being as poetic as I would
Otherwise have wanted. Although absolutely
Private, aren’t my fears sweeter than bitter?

Friday, 1 December 2017

FTY-3: Four Fundamental Principles for Yangsheng

1 Dec 2017

1/ It is essential to develop a positive mentality. Sometimes referred to as positive attitude, optimistic mindset or (sound) mindfulness, a positive mentality enables us to live a rich and healthy emotional, intellectual and spiritual life. You may be introvert or extrovert, poor or rich, young or old, but you can always make conscious effort to become positive-minded. 

2/ It is important to live in harmony with nature. In practice, this means to follow the way of nature or imitate nature (道法自然), as Lao Zi taught us in his Tao Te Ching. For example, acupuncture, physical exercise and organic/food therapies are more natural than surgery industrial/chemical compounds when it comes to deal with health problems. 

3/ It is always advisable to maintain various living balances than otherwise. Such balance can and should be maintained at different levels and in various aspects of life, as between work and play, between activity and stasis, between yin and yang, between control and indulgence. Any overly emphasis on one would break the natural equilibrium with the other. 

4/ It is always better to prevent than cure. This principle seemed to become increasingly popular in the world only in recent decades, but has been emphasized and practised especially by Daoist practitioners and traditional Chinese doctors for more than two thousand years.

Needless to say, one can write a pamphlet or even a thick book on each of these principles, but theories are always less interesting, so we post them here briefly just for casual discussion or future elaboration. 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

YR-3: Daily Diet Variety

30 Nov 2017

To achieve a better yangsheng effect, one should intake at least 25 different kinds of foods on a daily basis, including grains, beans, nuts, vegitables, eggs, milk, meat and sea produce.

Recommended by leading yangsheng experts and prepared by the 'imperial kitchen', this diet has been practised by China's very top national rulers/leaders since ancient dynasties. As a diet principle, this number became known to the public only in recent decade.

While the content of the diet may vary with different people in different times, the number of 25 must be reached daily as it ensures the balance of nutrients.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

YE&T-3:. Leg Raising

29 Nov 2017

While sitting with nothing particular to do, raise your two legs alternatively and keep the leg straight in the air for 30 to 60 seconds each time, with your toes and foot back pulling toward your face as much as possible. When you do this stretching exercise, your thighs and calves should feel tight and tiring.

Do this stretching exercise for 4 to 6 minutes each time and twice a day, for it helps you maintain the health of your legs, which begin to age before any part of your upper body.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

BHH-3: Too Fastidious about Eating

28 Nov 2017

We are what we eat. While all of us have specific preferences for foods, it is no less harmful, if not more, than smoking or staying up late, to be a too fastidious eater: if you habitually eat too much of what you like better, be it spicy, sweet, salty, fried, preserved, smoked or barbecued, you will definitely destroy your internal balances (such as the balance between yin and yang, and the balance of nutrition), and become vulnerable to different physical disorders and diseases.

For a yangsheng practitioner, it is always healthier to eat something of everything, rather than too much of something.

Monday, 27 November 2017

GYH-3: Drinking Water before Breakfast

27 Nov 2017

After brushing your teeth, and before intaking anything else, drink a big glass of lukewarm water every morning.

The amount: 300 - 400 ml.
Water temperature: 20-30 degrees c, or as long as you do not feel it is cold
Water quality: boiled water, which may prove better than any kind of bottled water

This habit has good short and long-term health effects. For example, it can help clear/clean your digestive system, reduce your blood thickness (to prevent blood-related health issues), prepare your stomach for food intake, prevent from getting prostate problems, among other things.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

WTY-2: The Oldest Living Person Says...

25 Nov 2017

Born in Xinjiang Autonomous Territory of China on 25 June 1886 towards the end of the Qing Dynasty, this lady named Alimihan Seyiti is believed to be the oldest living person in the world as of today. During a recent interview about how she has achieved longevity, she shares 6 simple yangsheng secrets with us:

1/ Avoid being lazy and keep working;
2/ Follow a regular timetable for daily living;
3/ Eat all kinds of coarse grains and no supplements;
4/ Eat to her fill only by around 70 % at every meal;
5/ Pay attention to foot health

While these revelations are actually open secrets to most yangsheng practitioners, Seyiti does have a unique habit to help keep herself fit: she always enjoys walking on her bare feet.

Note:
For more information, read the article 'Chinese woman who claims to be 127 would be oldest person ever to have lived' from South China Morning Post (16 August 2013) at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1297022/uygur-alimihan-seyiti-age-127-may-set-record-oldest-person-alive


Alimihan Seyiti: Oldest Living Person

Friday, 24 November 2017

FTY-2: Defining Yangsheng

24 November 2017

Baidu Baike (encyclopedia) defines yangsheng in this way: 原指道家通过各种方法颐养生命、增强体质、预防疾病,从而达到延年益寿的一种医事活动。现代意义的“养生”指的是根据人的生命过程规律主动进行物质与精神的身心养护活动. Translated into English, the term 'originally refer[s] to the Taoist medical practice of maintaining their lives, enhancing physical fitness, preventing diseases through various means to achieve longevity... [but] in the modern sense it refers to the physical and spiritual activities of nurturing one's body and mind in accordance with the laws of human life process.'

Quite obviously, neither of the two definitions from Wiki Baidu is clear and accurate enough. For one thing, yangsheng is not only a practice. Second, it is true that Daoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine have contributed most to yangsheng since ancient times, but gongfu practitioners, rich and high class people, including kings and emperors, may also have played an important historical role in the activity. Third, spiritual health could be no less, if not more, important than physical health. Fourth, what does 'the laws of human life process' exactly mean? - this phrase seems rather vague.

Since 'longevity' is a natural result of yangsheng, this theoretical component should be excluded from its definition as in the modern definition given in Baidu. Also, yangsheng involves a great deal of knowledge and even expertise. This being so, I would define yangsheng as follows: Yangsheng is a system of knowledge and practice concerning the attainment of one's physical and psychological well-being. As such, yangsheng is at once a socio-natural science and an art.

In fact, psychological, mental or spiritual well-being has a dialectic relationship with physical, physiological or bodily well-being, and may often prove even more significant than the latter to our holistic health. If fitness or 'health' is the key concept in physical well-being, its counterpart in psychological well-being should be 'happiness' or positive mentality. I will elaborate along these lines in my future footnotes to yangsheng.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

YR-2: Tofu Fried with Black Fungus

- Ingredients:
1/ 250 g Tofu 
2/ 100 g Black Fungus
3/ One green pepper
4/ Two cloves of garlic
5/ One spoonful of salt
6/ One spoonful of soy sauce
7/ One spoonful of chilli sause

- Method:
1/ Cut tofu into pieces of your chosen shape
2/ Soak the fungus in water for 2 hours, wash it well, and tear it into smaller pieces
3/ Peel off the garlic, wash the pepper and cut them into smaller pieces
4/ Put the garlic pepper into the wok when the oil is hot
5/ Add fungus, salt and fry them together for a couple of minutes 
6/ Put them away in a plate, and wash the wok
7/ Put the tofu pieces into the wok when the oil is warm
8/ Fry the tofu well on both sides until the surface becomes yellowish
9/ Add, salt, soy sauce, chilli sauce and a glass of water
10/ boil the tofu well until the soup is almost completely absorbed
11/ Add the cooked fungus into the wok, and fry everything together
12/ Remove everything out of the wok

- Note
This dish is not only very delicious but highly conducive to health. Eating it regularly is good to the lungs, helps improve the immune system, and especially maintain the health of one's heart and blood systems. 

木耳炒豆腐的做法
                                                            Tofu Fried with Black Fungus

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

E&R-2: Neck Exercise

Neck or Neck-related problems such as pain, stiffness and dizziness used to be very common among mid-aged and elderly people, especially among those who had to sit at a desk most of the time, but now such problems are common among all age groups except perhaps babies and small children. Actually, this health issue has been growing increasingly serious as more and more people become 'addicted' to computers and cellphones.

Of many different ways to maintain your neck health, the following 4 kinds of exercise are probably more helpful to prevent, control and relieve the symptoms.
1/ Keep your neck straight, and push your head hard against your hands 36 times in each of the four directions;
2/ Punch yourself in the areas between your neck and shoulders 36 times from both the front and back;
3/ Reach out your arms horizontally in a straight line with palms up, and move them up and down like a butterfly moving its wingsour 108 rounds;
4/ Stand straight on your toes, and try to keep looking up at the sky/ceiling for 2-3 seconds and repeat this movement 36 times. 

If you do any two of the above 4 kinds of exercise on a daily basis, you will find them helpful to your neck problems. In my own case, a few years ago, I had a stiff neck almost every week, but since I began to do the exercise, I have never had one, while my neck pain and dizziness have also improved quite a lot.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

BHH-2: Using Tobacco

This is common sense now that everyone knows the harmful effects of using tobacco.

However, when he supposedly introduced tobacco to England in 1586,  Sir Walter Raleigh had no idea that he would turn out the culprit of a stubborn worldly health problem which has been haunting millions of people over the past 430 years.

In a complete list of cancer-causing materials published most recently by UN-WHO, tobacco smoke (second hand), tobacco smoking, and tobacco (smokeless) are ranked respectively number 107, 108 and 109.

Since the bad effects of using tobacco are well documented and commonly recognised, it is unnecessary to go any further than just mention here that tobacco smoking is one of the worst habits in terms of yangsheng.

A serious yangsheng practitioner would resolutely give up smoking, or never use tobacco to begin with.

Monday, 20 November 2017

GYH-2: Veggie Day

Another good habit to develop for the sake of yangsheng is to devote at least one fixed day every month to vegetables/fruits only. Here is the diet for the absolutely 'veggie day':

- Drink a big glass of water first before eating anything else in the morning;
- Eat leaves of napa (or chinese) cabbage boiled with water and several chili peppers cut into small pieces as the main course for each of the three meals;
- Drink water or eat fruits (such as apples, bananas, and oranges) in between meals or as needed;
- No fish, meat, eggs, diary product or even grains.

The best and most important health effects of this habit include helping 'clear/clean' your digestive system, detox, and boost your immune system.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

WTY-1: Why This Site?

Never did I think of creating another (blog) site after poetrypacific.blogspot.ca, let alone one about yangsheng. Indeed, with my extremely limited screen time and my deplorably poor computer skills, I would not spend any more time online than it is absolutely necessary besides maintaining daily communication and my e.journal Poetry Pacific. While enjoying a reasonably satisfactory life of freedom and happiness now, I sometimes doubt if it is really foolish to commit myself to another big project. However, for many years already, I have been haunted by two things.

One thing is that I strongly wish to have begun to pay attention to yangsheng at a much earlier age. Born with half a dozen congenital defects/deformities and growing up in poverty like an abandoned child in a remote Chinese village, I went through a great deal of physical and psychological suffering. In my later teenager years, I certainly knew the word 'yangsheng', but ignored it as something to be concerned by the rich or old only. For me, doing some physical exercise was all that I could and should do about my health. As a result, I continued to suffer from a poor health in addition to constant spiritual crises and physical hardships until I started to take yangsheng more seriously in 2011 when I attended a Puti Meditation class in Vancouver. Ever since then, I have come to more peaceful terms with myself. Although new health problems keep popping up in recent years, I have managed to recover from or get control over them. I know if I had begun to practise yangsheng earlier, I could have avoided, postponed, or alleviated all my ‘acquired' health problems.

Another thing is that I have always admired those who can make great contributions to the human world. Inventors, scientists, leading businessmen, spiritual and (sometimes) political leaders are particularly helpful in a big way. With my highly limited knowledge and capabilities, I could only try to contribute to society in my humblest way. Beginning from 2011, I have been following my own rule: since i am incapable of helping others in a big way, I should try to help those few who can do so. Quite against my character and despite my eye problems, I have done some translation and publishing work for a couple of spiritual leaders in the past few years, and now I volunteer as a diaper guy with the Foodbank. Realising that I have benefited a lot from yangsheng, I believe by creating a site to share my experience and knowledge, I can help people in a bit less small way.

It is my strong belief that as one of the most significant contributions Chinese have made to the human civilisation, yangsheng can benefit every human being on earth, and thus should be everyone's lifelong concern. Since no government or any educational institution has shown any interest in this, I am ready to introduce yangsheng to the non-Chinese-speaking world. Should a few pageviewers be able to benefit somehow from my effort, should yangsheng eventually become a government or educational program, I would certainly be more than happy.

Yes, given its great benefit to humanity, yangsheng ought to be a subject taught in high school, studied in university, integrated into government programs, and practised by everyone.

Friday, 17 November 2017

FTY-1: Understanding Yangsheng

Yangsheng is actually a quite ambiguous if not really confusing or misleading term even in and among Chinese. Ever since it was developed by Laozi and Zhuangzi (the two great founding fathers of Daoism) more than 23 centuries ago, this term has been interpreted traditionally in at least three different ways.

1/ To the vast majority of ordinary people, yangsheng simply means to 'preserve health' or 'keep fit'. Probably because they usually do not know the true value of sound health until they lose it, or because they do not have enough resources, they care or know little about yangsheng although the term is familiar to them. This is particularly true of youths and those living a poor and hard life.

2/ To certain groups of people,  yangsheng means to 'nurture life' in order to attain longevity. This interpretation is popular among high class or rich people as well as Daoist priests/practitioners and TCM doctors. For them, 'yangsheng' is basically a means to an end.

3/ To some yangsheng practitioners, yangsheng means to 'nurture both the body and the mind' for the purpose of attaining longevity. For them, yangsheng is still a means, but to achieve longevity, it is no less important to 'cultivate the mind and improve one's character' (修心养性).

All the above-mentioned interpretations are, as I see it, more or less problematic, although the third theoretical approach seems much more 'satisfactory' than the other two, and far closer to what Laozi and Zhuangzi may have had in mind when they first introduced the concept.

How should we understand yangsheng then?

Thursday, 16 November 2017

YR-1:Plain Fried Cabbage

- Ingredients
1/ 400 g cabbage;
2/ two chili peppers;
3/ one spoonful of edible oil;
4/ half spoonful of salt;
5/ one green onion

-Method
1/ Tear cabbage leaves into small pieces, and soak them in water for several minutes before draining;
2/ Cut the green onion and chilli peppers into slices;
3/ Put the onion and peppers into the wok/pan when the oil is warm;
3/ Put the cabbage pieces into the wok/pan when the oil is hot;
4/ Fry all the ingredients together well, evenly for 2 minutes or so

(For a different flavour, fry cabbage with two spoonfuls of vinegar instead of putting pepper beforehand.)

- Note
As cabbage is one of the very healthiest vegetables available, eat it as much as often as possible to keep your blood vessels, esp. arteries clean and free of garbage. In addition, this king of vegetables is particularly helpful in six other important ways: enhancing liver function, controlling blood pressure, adjusting blood sugar level, nurturing the stomach, ageing and inflammation-countering.


Image result for 清炒圆白菜
Pepper/Hot-Flavoured


Image result for 清炒圆白菜
Vinegar/Sour-Flavoured






Wednesday, 15 November 2017

E&T-1: Exercise to Prevent Cataract & Presbyopia

Presbyopia occurs to everyone as part of the aging process, while cataracts are in most cases also age-related. Medical studies show risks of cataract and presbyopia increase steadily after the age of 40, and more than 90% of the population will develop such vision problems by age 65. Presbyopia is an unrecoverable issue. If not controlled or treated, cataracts can definitely lead to (legal) blindness.

If you want to prevent cataract and presbyopia, the most effective exercise is this::
1. Close your eyes;
2. Turn your pupils (to 'see') clockwise 36 times first, and then anti-clockwise another 36 times;
3. Use you two (fore)finger tips to press the qingming acupoint 36 times (see the picture below);

Keep doing this exercise once a day from age 40 to 50, twice a day from age 50 to 65, and more if needed. By so doing, your eyes(vision) will remain as 'young' as you would like to.




Image result for 睛明穴
the qingming acupoint

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

BHH-1 Staying up Late

For one reason or another, there are increasingly more night owls nowadays than ever before. Some people have to work on their night shits; some prefer to work or play until late at night; others are simply internet addicts. However, no matter what the reason, staying up late habitually is particularly harmful, and much more so even than smoking, to one's physical wellbeing.

According to traditional Chinese medicine as well as western common sense (and recent modern medical studies), it is true, as Benjamin Franklin has said, that 'early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.' In fact, the best bedtime is between 9:00-11:00 pm to 5:00-7:00 am every night. One, if not the, most important reason for this is very simple: your immune system begins to detox around 9:00 pm every day, while your liver cannot detox during its fixed timeframe between 11:00 pm and 1:00 am unless you sleep on bed. If you stay awake at night for too long and too frequently, the result can be quite disastrous to your liver, heart and almost your whole immune system.

That is to say, if you really want to yangsheng, DON'T be a night owl whenever possible!

Monday, 13 November 2017

GYH-1: Finger-Combing

On a daily basis, comb your hair with your ten fingers from the front to the back of your head 108 rounds after you get up in the morning, and repeat it before bedtime.

If you prefer to, or if you are more or less bald, you could alternatively finger-knock or palm-pat your head gently, also better twice a day, 108 rounds each time.

This habit helps to maintain your hair health (if you are not yet completely bald), improve your blood circulation in the head, and get a better sleep, among many other good long-term effects.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Happy Yangsheng 快乐养生

Both as a construct and as a practice, yangsheng is probably the best and the most significant contribution made thus far by the Chinese to the world or human civilisation, even greater and more important than the well known four Chinese inventions (papermaking, printing, compass and gunpowder). Out of 90 thousand pieces of classic literature survived during the past four thousand years, 10 thousand has more or less to do with traditional Chinese medicine, which is concerned with yangsheng in theory and practice alike. As pointed out in Science and Civilisation in China by Joseph Needham, 'one of the greatest scholars in [Britain] or any other country, of this or any century' (Independent, 26 March 1995),  Chinese civilisation is the first and only one in the world to pay so much attention to yangsheng.

Etymologically, "养生," pronounced as [yangsheng], is a verb as well as a noun originated in the Chinese language. Literally meaning 'nurturing life,' the word represents a unique ancient Chinese construct introduced by Lao Zi in his great book Tao Te Ching. Inclusive as it is, the term is used to refer to all the knowledge related to, and all the practices aimed at longevity through the cultivation of one's physical and spiritual wellbeing.  When it first called attention more than two thousand years ago, yangsheng was primarily a focus, a major concern for every Daoist follower or practitioner.  However, as more and more people began to pay heed to their wellbeing, it has become increasingly popular among Chinese, especially adults. Given its rich store of recipes, therapies, methods, techniques and know-hows accumulated over the past twenty-five centuries or so, it is not surprising that yangsheng can offer something really good and helpful to every human being. Indeed, in an advanced information age and an improved living condition, who would not want to learn to live a healthier, happier, and even longer life today?

To share experience, knowledge, thought and whatever is related to yangsheng as the Way towards wellbeing, happiness and longevity, I am creating this site despite my lack of computer skills and extremely limited 'screen time.'