Winter 2013 Begins!

Greetings from the magical crispness of Stockholm’s archipelago! Karin and I have been living in Sweden for almost one year now and have been enjoying our new life here.  During this quiet season we have been paying close attention to the shifting light and falling leaves, observing the rhythms and beauty of nature. Now is also the time to make sure all of our fire wood is stored away for the coming winter months! The hours of sunlight grow shorter each day as the sun moves towards its lowest resting point in the sky. We are reducing our outdoor activities and spending more time for internal practices.

Winter 2013 begins

According to Chinese cosmology, the winter season starts today, November 7.  I predict that this winter will be an easier winter as compared to our last one. Although we will have some snow, ice and rain storms, we will experience more sunny and unseasonably warm days this winter, especially in the areas that had extremely cold weather last year. However, this may cause imbalances between Fire and Water within the body.  The guest Qi ShaoYang Fire energy and Damp Earth revenge energy will soon dominate our climate patterns.  The winter may prove to be difficult for those of you who experience symptoms of migraine headaches, weak kidney function, or poor digestion.

Balancing Fire and Water

Balancing Fire and Water is the most fundamental principle of Daoist internal alchemy cultivation.  It is also especially important during the cosmological patterns present this winter season. Here are some ideas to help you harmonize Fire and Water in the coming months:

Sour, Bitter and Pungent Food

Daikon - delicious winter treat!

Sour, bitter and pungent flavored foods will help keep you healthy this winter. In the winter time, your Yang energy is condensed deep within the body and when trapped,  can cause health problems.  Bitter flavored foods and herbs will help clear trapped inner heat and keep your Qi flowing smoothly. Sour flavors help strengthen the immune system and also help improve digestion.   Pungent flavors also help drain pathogenic heat and protect against viruses. I recommend eating thinly sliced daikon radishes, scallions and minced garlic, tossed in apple cider vinegar as soon as you begin to feel symptoms of trapped internal heat this winter.

XinYi 心意 – Heart Mind Internal Alchemy

I have been sharing some secret techniques from China’s legendary Dai Family XinYi internal alchemy and martial arts school during my weekly classes in Stockholm throughout the fall. This is a powerful practice to help build strong DanTian Qi and inner power. I will continue to share these practices in my upcoming workshops in Baltimore, Maryland (USA) on the 14-15 December and again in Tenerife (Spain) on the weekend of 15-16 February, 2014. I hope some of you will be able to join us!

Cosmic Orbit Qigong

From my personal experience, Cosmic Orbit Qigong is one of the most effective traditional Qigong forms to help harmonize Fire and Water in the body. For this reason, I specifically chose to offer an intensive weekend workshop in Düsseldorf (Germany) 22-24 November, 2013.  This training provides a rare opportunity to delve more deeply into the practice than a standard weekend workshop can offer.  The training schedule will be similar to my residential retreats, running Friday evening through Sunday evening. We will have full days of training, beginning at 6:30am both Saturday and Sunday.  Also, due to the demanding practice schedule, all meals will be provided.

Fu 復 Internal Alchemy Ceremony

Fu mudra

I’d like to remind you of the special winter Qigong practice from my book, The 12 Chinese Animals. Not only is this a powerful practice for the winter solstice itself (December 22 this year), but you will also gain great benefits from adding this simple practice to your daily schedule throughout the winter.

Please light a candle in front of you and place your hands in the Fu mudra, which is made by touching each thumb to the base of the ring fingers. The palmar crease of the ring finger is associated with the hexagram Fu. Make sure to keep your fingers together and relaxed. Then, place your mudra with palms on your belly and middle fingers touching the navel. First, open your eyes and look directly at the candlelight. Then close your eyes and imagine the candlelight is radiating from your DanTian (lower belly). Adjust your breathing to be slow, smooth, deep, and even. Feel how your DanTian grows lighter and brighter with each breath. Meditate in this way for as long as you can. At the end of your meditation, offer a short blessing:

“May the Spiritual Lights shine within my heart and body,

May the Spiritual Lights shine within my family and friends,

May the Spiritual Lights shine within all beings,

May the Spiritual Lights always shine with peace and harmony for the World.”

Some Exciting News to Share!

Lifelong Training Program begins in Europe

After careful preparation and a lot of support from the European community, QinJian Akademin has decided to offer our Lifelong Training Program in Europe!  The opening session will be held 26-31 August 2014 at Greenstones, an inspired eco centre nestled on the small and lovely island of Flatön, which lies off the west coast of Sweden. The number of participants will be limited to 14. Registration is now open and we have already begun accepting applications.  Please contact us if you have any questions or if you would like to receive an application form.

Two New Books

As many of you know, Karin and I were thrilled to finish our book on the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches, a rich and complex system which lies at the root of all classical Chinese wisdom traditions. We are now in the phase of going through the proofs and the beautiful, full color layout.  We expect the hardback edition to be launched in March 2014

Immediately after we finished the Stems and Branches book, we started working on a book on Dai Family XinYi internal alchemy and martial arts, one of the most secret and powerful martial arts systems in China.  If all goes as planned, this book will be published in time for our trip to visit my XinYi master, Grandmaster Zhao ShouRong 趙守榮, this coming March.

XinYi Internal Alchemy and Martial Arts China trip 2014

From 31 March – 10 April 2014,  we will guide a group students to train in Dai Family XinYi internal alchemy and martial arts with Grandmaster Zhao and to celebrate his 80th birthday.  If you are interested in joining us, please check my website’s teaching schedule for details (you will need to click the event name to access the flyer).

I hope you all will enjoy the cozy winter holiday season and will find some time to dedicate to your personal cultivation practice each day.  Please look for my Year of the Wood Horse greeting letter, along with its projected annual forecast, in your e-mail inbox by late January 2014!

Harmonious Qi from Karin and I,

Master Wu