Methods for Nourishing Vitality
Yang Sheng Fa
Most of the people I meet in the Qi Gong world who are interested in studying human Health and Preventative medicine, have experienced a personal health challenge, want to be more supportive for their friends and family, are practicing some form of front-line clinical support, and/or are considering a career in Integrative and preventative medicine.
If your Qi Gong journey has been inspired by a chronic personal health challenge, the ancient tradition of Yang Shen Fa can help support your health and healing in some very comprehensive ways. If you are interested in helping others, these tried-and-true methods of nourishing health, rooted in the oldest living system of medicine in the world will help you have a good foundation in preventative medicine.
The Chinese characters for Yang Sheng Fa (養生法) describe feeding your leftovers to your goat, just in case you need to eat your goat to stay alive. Some aspects of Chinese philosophy are very pragmatic. Said another way, Yang Sheng Fa is a lifelong daily practice of self-care that involves all aspects of your life, even the humble and seemingly unimportant things. That may sound a bit serious and obsessive, but this approach to living a conscious and healthy life is more about flow and seasonal alignment.
If your focus is on your personal Qi Gong practice, healing, and quality of life, there are many good books on Yang Sheng Fa – I will have one out as soon as I can. There are also many in-person and online group programs that get together and focus on cleansing, fat loss, and fitness. When it comes to human health, almost everything works better if you are doing it with a group of like-minded people.
If you are feeling motivated towards self-employment, entrepreneurship, and becoming a health care professional, which includes becoming a skilled and highly competent Qi Gong teacher, then I encourage you to find a respected Post-Secondary level course in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Functional Medicine and/or Evolutionary Nutrition. Learn as much as you can and then write a 6, 8, or 10-week course on health and guide some people through it. Include Qi Gong, Meditation, and Breathwork.
Become known as a leader in your specific area of interest.
I have offered the below Ten Week healing process as a personal healing journey for over 20 years to participants all over the world. It combines Chinese Medicine and Functional Medicine and teaching people a great deal about how their body works, what usually goes wrong, especially in modern life, and what anyone can do about it. Some people do it once a year.
- Start with the Do’s, Work on the Don’ts
- Design Your Personal Health Journey
- Get Enough Sleep, Rest, and Play
- Fitness, Fat Loss, and Fasting Strategies
- Stabilize Your Metabolism (Jing and Shen)
- All Disease Starts in Your Gut
- Resetting Your Immune System
- Support Your Liver’s Detoxification Pathways
- Increasing Elimination and Circulation
- Restore Your 60 Trillion Cells
Please get out there and share your passion for healthy living by teaching others!
The following list of healing opportunities is described in the context of Yang Sheng Fa.
- The Yang Sheng Tradition – how much family folk medicine did you grow up with? Learning a seasonal, sensible, lifestyle, diet, fitness, and longevity tradition will hopefully turn you into your family’s ‘folk healer’. Weird herbs, teas, potions, and all. Most people who fall in love with the Yang Sheng lifestyle become really good cooks, fitness enthusiasts, meditation students, conscious communicators, and sexually much more playful and intimate lovers.
- Chinese Medicine 101 – if you are ill and want to understand how to get healthy, you need to know what went wrong. To understand what went wrong, you need an understanding of how your internal organs, glands, systems, and enzymes work. You don’t need to become an expert; you just need a clear overview. The Chinese medicine model of organs, substances, and systems are very comprehensive and easy to understand. The differences with the modern scientific modal are minimal and mostly symbolic.
- The Four Constitutions and The Five Taxations – if you are not healing from a condition but want to personalize your healing path as meaningfully as you can. If you have a Wind Constitution and spend all of your days in a chair, that is where you begin, and those are the specific conditions you need to balance, change, or support.
- A Seasonal Diet – how much water you need in a day, the best proportions of fats, proteins, and plants, how much to eat, and what to avoid, are all determined by the seasons. Every food, herb, spice, and oil has certain energetic and healing properties. Over thousands of years, people have discovered the best combinations to promote health throughout each season of the year.
- Metabolic and Spiritual Fasting – fasting is one of the oldest and most effective forms of healing. Today, in a world of excesses, fasting is becoming a real lifesaver. There are many styles of fasting and reasons to fast. There are also profound, deeply personal, and transformational experiences that occur with extended fasting.
- Detoxification and Healthy Fat Loss protocols – throughout the seasons of the year and seasons of your life, you may need to ‘change things up’ in some very specific ways for enough time to restore your body’s natural ability to burn fat or eliminates toxins and wastes.
- Fertility and Longevity protocols – there are countless factors in why some people can have many children and why others must try for years. There are some common themes that improve libido, fertility, and longevity all at once, for both men and women. If you commit to a Yang Sheng life and focus on longevity, you will live a very long life, and more importantly, you will be happy and healthy until your last day.
- Finding Life, Work, Rest, Play Balance – balancing your Adaptive Resources and Erosive Influences is an equation that can be used to balance and heal any organ, system, habit, or schedule.
- Seasonal Fitness strategies for young and old – depending on your interests, age, and where you live, what is available for fitness opportunities will vary. From a Yang Sheng perspective, what you do for exercise is not as important as what your body needs more and less throughout the year.
- Sleep Hygiene – modern life, especially the overuse of screens, has changed the way we sleep. Chronic poor sleep has been linked with many chronic illnesses, not to mention the wear and tear on a person’s mind and soul. Sleep hygiene is a step-by-step sequence of changes that you can make to ensure that you are getting into deep enough sleep, for long enough, every night.
- Mental and Emotional Hygiene – the Yang Sheng Fa tradition has some very wise and skillful approaches to a more mindful life, as well as an entire practice for developing Emotional Intelligence.
- Conscious Parenting – the best way to make more healthy adults is to raise as many healthy and happy children as possible. Learning a few pointers from ancient indigenous cultures (Daoism) about raising children may just be what the modern world needs. I find these tools very helpful when you are learning to befriend your inner child as well.
- Sacred Intimacy – Qi Gong and Daoist practice exist in reverence to the dynamic energies of Nature, the Sky, and the Land. These practices are just as deeply invested in the interplay of energies between sexual Beings. Just like Qi Gong has instinctual, intuitive, emotional, and existential qualities; so does sexuality and intimacy. Handed down for generations, these common sense and playful approaches to a healthier, more joyous, and loving sex life are some of the most popular things I teach.
Becoming a Professional Qi Gong teacher is about both, the ability to be more specific and the ability to speak to the broadest and most impactful challenges of our time. Because I am speaking about becoming a health care professional, even if it is just for yourself, your family, and friends, I want to encourage you to keep learning about health. I have been a clinician for almost 30 years, and every few years a new perspective or protocol comes along that helps solve a specific problem from a new angle or some other new (or very old) approach can help almost everyone in some way.
Although I am very invested in the traditional knowledge that I have learned, I am very passionate about staying at the leading edge of Functional Medicine, lab testing, and nutraceutical protocols. If you like science are interested in a systems-based approach to healing, Functional Medicine is essentially Chinese medicine with a Microscope.