The Path of Balance and Harmony
Principles and practices to nourish our Vitality
For full access, subscribe to the membership section (coming soon).
There are long recorded histories of using diet and lifestyle healthcare – making our daily habits health creating.
Cultivating health promoting habits and eliminating health depleting habits is the root of long term health. Small changes done regularly make big differences.
New changes take discipline. Once a habit, no discipline is necessary.
Balance and harmony create vitality.
Homeostasis is the modern biological name for what the ancient Chinese termed balance and harmony. Homeostasis is the ability of all living organisms to self regulate and maintain internal stability through time despite changing circumstances externally. Too hot is a problem, too cold is a problem, too dry is a problem, too damp is a problem. And so on. Homeostasis means maintaining balance between fluidity and stability, between what goes in and what comes out, between movement and rest, between building up and winding down. The better we encourage homeostasis to perform at a high level, the stronger our vitality – our health and happiness (wealth).
We can achieve this through practices that employ the principles of Cleaning and Strengthening. A balance between these two concepts regulates our homeostasis. We can clean or strengthen, and we can clean and strengthen. Too much cleaning causes malnutrition and vulnerability, too much strengthening causes congestion and blockage. Not enough strengthening causes atrophy, not enough cleaning causes toxicity. Habits that clean and strengthen our system minimise these problems.
We can take responsibility to look after ourselves well.
Principles to nourish Vitality
the 3 primary medicines:
the 6 secondary medicines:
Passion & Purpose
the 3 societal medicines:
Practices to nourish vitality
by Cleaning and Strengthening
The most important breathing technique for general physical and mental health:
For more breathing exercises, go to the Breathing Qigong course in the membership section (coming soon).
Eat healthy, feel healthy. Eat poorly, feel poorly. Every choice to eat healthily is of benefit, every choice to eat poorly is of less benefit.
The main diet I recommend is an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammation is at the root of chronic disease. Whilst great for general health, this diet is particularly useful for reducing or resolving headaches and migraines, irritable skin conditions (urticaria/hives may not improve with diet in the short term), autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular problems, chronic fatigue and for cancer support.
The diet works on the principle of Cleaning and Strengthening. High water content foods naturally detox, cool and Clean the body (fruits, vegetables, water and drinks). Dense foods nourish, rebuild and Strengthen the body (meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds, pulses, sources of healthy proteins and fats). Neutral foods provide stable energy levels (root vegetables, grains). Emphasis on green vegetables encourages high quality blood. Adequate nutrition is as important as adequate oxygen.
It is useful for your last meal to be 4 hours before you go to sleep, so you have finished digesting before you sleep. The traditional recommendation is to leave 12 hours of each day to fast, nowadays 16 hours is also popular.
“Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, supper like a pauper.”
Full membership (coming soon) gives you access to
- full length videos for each area of the body, including the eyes, neck, arms, legs, spine and organs
- prerecorded classes of different time lengths to suit your needs
- training in full body systems such as Dragon & Tiger Qigong, Shaolin Stretching & Conditioning and Organ Washing Qigong
- a weekly live class and Q&A session
- other lifestyle habits to keep you in balance and harmony, where vitality resides
These exercises have been passed down to me from a number of qigong and tai chi chuan masters – classical movements to nourish and heal throughout the entire body. The collection of qigong and breathing exercises are chosen for their ability to ground the practitioner, improve blood circulation, loosen the joints, stretch the connective tissue and nourish the vital organs (viscera) and nervous system.
The most important of all are the 4 Pillars, which improve all health conditions and can be practised for a couple of minutes or preferably around 10-12 minutes daily.
The Four Pillars
YinYang Breathing – quieten the mind, enliven the body
Standing Practice – core stability, structural integrity
Longevity Squats – rebuild the body, nourish the organs
Spinal Twists – strengthen and mobilise the spine and nervous system
Sample exercises for parts of the body. For the full set and much more subscribe to the membership (coming soon):
Lower back Hips, knees and ankles
Shoulders Mid back and spine
Meditation is a key tool in the Daoist ‘internal arts’ of neigong. Neigong techniques can involve stilling the mind, visualisation, engaging the senses and feelings, spiritual development and the conscious moving of internal forces. Neigong meditation can be sitting or lying, even standing or moving.
Daoist neigong is called daoyin and consists of meditations that train your attention and cultivate your jing (‘essence’, ‘vital force’) so you can live well and live long. Neigong practice is recognised by most qigong and tai chi chuan masters as the precursor to movement practices.
Daoyin is mainly intended to create flexibility of the mind for harmony between the internal and external environments, supporting homeostasis, developing in its practitioners a vital and healthy spirit.
I developed my own collection of meditations, the Vitality Meditations below, from the most effective methods and concepts I found for consciously stimulating and regulating our own vitality.
Free, low tech lifestyle habits to clean and strengthen
Cold showers – research demonstrates how cold therapy draws blood away from extremities, giving the heart less work to do, increases alertness and stimulates the vagus nerve, which moves us from fight-or-flight mode (the sympathetic nervous system) to rest-and-digest mode (the parasympathetic nervous system). We regulate temperature in our homes and venues so well now that our bodies have become deficient in being able to deal with the cold. The more we are exposed to cold in a therapeutic manner, the better our bodies are able to self regulate. We don’t overheat so much, our immune systems get stronger, we are able to stand a wider spectrum of temperature and climates, and reduced pain and inflammation. It allows us to produce much more brown fat, which keeps us warmer, as opposed to white fat.
Nature – getting into nature for 20+ minutes every day has been shown countless times in research to calm the nervous system, increase productivity levels, boost immunity (including increasing vitamin D levels from natural light), improve emotional stability (stress hormone levels) and promote faster recovery and healing.
Barefoot – stimulate the sole of your foot with the pressures and sensations of grass, earth, rock and water. The sole of the foot is the 2nd most nerve-rich part of the whole body. We normally retard their ability to keep us healthy by wearing rubber soled shoes and unnaturally hard, flat ground. Stimulating these nerve-rich soles brings increased neural feedback and fantastic benefits to prosperity, longevity and happiness. Not only do different natural surfaces give us some reflexology direct from nature, but there is substantial evidence that going barefoot recharges the body with electrons from the earth that are constantly and limitlessly being created. It is assumed that the influx of free electrons absorbed into the body through direct contact with the Earth likely neutralise free radicals in the body and in so doing reduce acute and chronic inflammation.
Strong natural medicine.