Posts by Peter Deadman

Yinyang in qigong 4: coiling and uncoiling

“For all [to practice] this Way: You must coil, you must contract, You must uncoil, you must expand, You must be firm, you must be regular [in this practice] Nei-Yeh (Inward Training), China, 4th century BCE[1] Neigong/qigong One of the key characteristics of the Chinese ‘internal’ mind-breath-bodywork tradition, is the practice of lengthening or uncoiling (yang) and settling back or coiling (yin). These movements are performed through the whole elastic body, slowly (in synchronicity with lower abdominal breathing), mindfully, with the minimum of muscular tension and not to our full stretched capacity. Indeed stretching feels like the wrong word since
Read More

Yinyang in qigong 3: internal and external

Yinyang in qigong 3: internal and external Chinese martial arts are commonly differentiated into two styles: external-yang (waijia) and internal-yin (neijia). Of course the distinction is not rigid, since like all yinyang differentiation, each contains elements of the other. However it can be a useful shorthand. Waijia – external – yang Mention Chinese martial arts to most people and they likely think of people flying through the air, yelling and delivering dramatic kicks and punches, maybe even smashing bricks with their bare hands. Typified by the Shaolin fighting monks, this is waijia (pronounced whyjeea). Like much modern exercise, these external styles aim for
Read More

Yinyang in qigong 2: strength and softness

“Being strong without letting strength go too far, being flexible without becoming ineffective, strength is joined to flexibility and flexibility is applied with strength.” Liu I-ming, 18th century CE In this second blog discussing the application of yinyang theory to qigong, I want to discuss the complementary opposites of strength and softness. Strength – yang We all need to build and maintain sufficient strength to accomplish whatever we want to do in life. For most of us that doesn’t involve anything heroic. In a varied and ‘natural’ life, we probably want to carry all kinds of things – children, shopping,
Read More

Yinyang in qigong 1: Nourishing and moving

“Flowing waters do not stagnate because they move. The qi and the body are also like this. If the body does not move the qi will coagulate.” The Annals of Lu Buwei, 3rd century BCE “Moving, be like water, still, be like a mirror”. Zhuangzi, 3rd century BCE This is the first in a series of blogs about yinyang in the practice of qigong. Though outwardly simple, yinyang theory offers meaning and insight into almost every aspect of our existence and it could be argued that the whole of qigong is an exercise in understanding, embodying and playing with it. [At the
Read More

Qigong workshop

I’m offering a two-part workshop in the famous baduanjin (eight silken movements) practice that dates back to the 11th century. It contains all the essential ingredients of qigong – cultivation of the three skills of body, breath and mind. In these challenging times qigong can help us stay grounded and resilient. Cultivating the body, we develop elasticity, strength, stability and alignment. Cultivating the breath, we learn how to move into a nourishing and healing, relaxed parasympathetic state. Cultivating the mind, we build mindful presence and actually start to change the physical structure of the brain, building areas responsible for managing
Read More

Finding My Way: Memoirs and Short Stories

I spent part of lockdown writing a new book, with all profits going to the Chinese Medicine Forestry Trust. It’s a raw and honest account of childhood, teen rebellion, drugs and hippie travelling, transformation into a natural foods pioneer, studying Chinese medicine and more.  It’s available as an e-book from Amazon (you don’t need a Kindle device – you can download a free app for phones, tablets, laptops etc.). Apologies for using Amazon but it’s realistically the best option, with for authors and readers – I guess that’s why they are so successful. Here is a sample from Chapter14: Music When
Read More

Finding My Way: Memoirs & Short Stories

I spent part of lockdown writing a new book, with all profits going to the Chinese Medicine Forestry Trust (https://tcmft.ctdonate.org). It’s a raw and honest account of childhood, teen rebellion, drugs and hippie travelling, transformation into a natural foods pioneer, studying Chinese medicine and more. It’s available as an e-book from Amazon (you don’t need a Kindle device – you can download a free app for phones, tablets, laptops etc.). Apologies for using Amazon but it’s realistically the best option, with for authors and readers – I guess that’s why they are so successful. Here’s a short section from chapter
Read More

A new slant on why exercising and moving are so good for us

New Scientist, June 15th, ran an article by Herman Pontzer called ‘Step on it’, subtitled ‘We know exercise is good for us. But how much do we need?’ He points out that most animals are really lazy – resting and sleeping whenever possible to save energy for survival and reproduction. Great apes, for example, rest or sleep 18 hours a day. But as our ancestors began hunting and gathering around 2.5 million years ago, they gained an evolutionary advantage from being able to exert themselves physically for long periods of time. Those who hunted or gathered more successfully survived better
Read More

It’s all about fibre

Nobody needs reminding what a confusion of different dietary models there are out there – many shouted from the rooftops and vigorously promoted by authorities as varied as nutritional experts, the food industry, and young (usually female) vloggers selling the ‘clean’ eating message. One common feature of popular diets in the past few years has been the anti-carbohydrate trend, espoused by paleo eaters, Atkins diet advocates and many more. Carobohydrates have been blamed for a host of diseases – especially the steady worldwide rise in obesity. The problem with this reductionist approach is that carbohydrate at a category covers everything
Read More

Qigong and the Paddington Stare

Anyone who has seen the wonderful film Paddington 2 (and what a delight in store if you haven’t) will remember the Paddington hard stare. As the little bear says,” my aunt taught me to do them when people had forgotten their manners”, and in the movie, even hardened convicts quail when Paddington turns it on them. I found myself referring to the Paddington stare in a recent qigong class when we were doing the tiger form. Chinese qigong books often suggest that a ‘fierce stare’ be adopted when doing practices like the tiger. The tiger belongs to Wood and thus
Read More