Autumnal Greetings 2016

Autumn 2016

One leaf knows it is autumn

Dear Qi-friends,

Autumnal greetings from the peaceful and calm Norrtälje bay (in sunny Sweden)!

In China, we have a famous proverb: YiYeZhiQiu 一葉知龝 , which means ‘one leaf knows it is autumn.’ This red leaf caught my eyes as I was strolling with my daughter in the nature reserve last week … it reminded me that my one month summer vacation (Swedish style) was drawing to an end and that I would be writing this newsletter soon.

Autumn Begins 7 August … 

Although autumn begins on August 7, 2016 and the Cold Water cosmological energy might bring some welcomed cooling for a brief spell (especially in those areas that have been experiencing an unusual heat wave), ShuHuoZhiQi 暑火之氣, or Hot Fire Qi, will be in full force before completely retreating around August 25th.

Expect to have some extremely hot days until then! This will especially hold true for those of you who have experienced an uncommonly hot summer these last couple of months.

HanShuiZhoQi 寒水之氣 – Cold Water Extreme

However, HanShuiZhoQi 寒水之氣, or Cold Water energy, will dominate the remainder of the fall season, with some areas experiencing atypical rainstorms, hail storms and/or snowstorms.

Cold Water Caution! 

This extreme Cold Water influence may cause some difficulties for those of you who have potential weakness in gastrointestinal function, any kind of joint problem, an over heavy body, poor hearing, and/or lower back pain. This harming influence will be strong from September 22nd through November 22nd.

Cold Water Prevention

To avoid the deleterious influence of Cold Water energy and maintain balance in your life, please center your diet around healthy foods and place more emphasis on eating foods with pungent flavors. Also, please keep up with your daily Qigong practice.

Drinking plantain tea everyday will have special health benefits for most of us during this coming autumn season.

2016 Teaching Schedule Update

In order to support our Qi-friends cultivation, we will continue to expand my teachings in the states and throughout Europe.

Two upcoming retreats full

We are excited that many cultivation friends from around the world will be joining us in our next two upcoming retreats:

1. Our two year GanZhi Advanced Daoist Arts Program, in which I will systematically teach the relationships of the GanZhi to Chinese cosmology, astrology, the Yijing, classical chinese medicine, and internal alchemy, is full. We will be welcoming a international group of students to study here in Sweden every 6 months for the next two years.

2. To commemorate the 15th year of the passing of one my most influential teachers, Grandmaster Yang RonJi 楊榮籍 , I will be sharing (for the first time) the first 12 movements of the HuaShan 24 form. For this training, we will be meeting in a retreat style setting in upstate, New York. Although registration for this event is full, you are welcome to join us for part 2, in October 2017.

Still time to join a weekend course!

There are still a few spaces left in several of my upcoming weekend events this fall (in New York city; in Stockholm, Sweden; in Strasbourg, France; and in Aberdeen, Scotland). If you would like to participate, please check out the teaching schedule on my website for details.

Looking Ahead to 2017

During our extended spring 2017 teaching trip to the Pacific Northwest area of the United States, I will offer several events to support our local Qi-friends in Portland, Oregon…

Fire Dragon Shamanic Martial Arts Form Retreat

For years, students have been asking me to teach them the Fire Dragon Shamanic Martial Arts Form. I have finally decided to offer training of this special form from the EMei Shamanic Lineage. In a five day retreat, we will learn and practice this powerful form, which is based on the Yijing Eight Trigrams Arrangement.

Dai XinYi Chopstick form

I will be continuing teaching the Dai XinYi Teacher Certification series. In the next session, held in February 2017, I will be teaching the XinYi Chopstick Form. Each workshop in this series is open to the general public, to students of all levels, and is offered independently, meaning you are welcome to join us for as many of these trainings as you like, in any order that fits your schedule.

2016/2017 Winter/Spring Highlights


Best wishes for a healthy and happy harvest season from Karin and I,

Master Wu

Happy Longevity Peach Day! … and happy summer :)

Santorini - October 13, 2014
Santorini - October 13, 2014

 

9 April 2016

Dear Qi friends,

Happy Longevity Peach Day! Happy birthday to the Spirit of North! Happy birthday to Grandmaster Zhao!

Traditionally, Longevity Peach Day is the day when the Queen Mother of the West would invite all the immortals to KunLun Mountain in celebration. During the festivities, she offered Longevity Peaches … eating one Longevity Peach was known to bring 3,000 years of life!

Spirit of the North is XuanWu 玄武 – and is also the spirit of Water Element.  In Daoism, we believe XuanWu brings new life energy into the world and protects all beings.

Grandmaster Zhao ShouRong carries the lineage of the Dai Family style of XinYi (Heart Mind) internal alchemy and martial arts system. He was born on this special auspicious day, the third day of the third month in lunar calender.

Karin, Zenna, and I hope the spiritual energies of these two immortals (and Grandmaster Zhao) will bring happiness, health, and prosperity into your lives.

Good News!

I would like to share a couple of pieces of good news with you before I share more about the cosmological influences that will be influencing us all this summer.

  • The registration for our newly launched GanZhi Advanced Daoist Arts program is full! This two year course will be held in Sweden. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please send us an email.

  • Session three of the Lifelong Training Program is also full! This session will meet at a beautiful lodge nestled in the base of Mt. Adams in southern Washington state (USA).  It will be great to spend a week cultivating with old Qi friends.

  • Our publisher, Singing Dragon, is offering a free online Qigong festivalon April 21-22, 2016. Please check out the link – there will be a lot of interesting information available! For this event, I have donated one of my most popular previously published articles, The Pure Yang Mudra part I.

  • My wife Karin is busy writing the GanZhi BaZi Workbook! This book will provide essential and practical information on Chinese astrology … including the secret method (never before published) of how to calculate the astrology chart without a Chinese calendar book or a questionably accurate GanZhi app. Our goal is for the book to be available during the 2016 winter holiday season.

Summer Greetings

You may be wondering why I am sending you all this summer seasonal newsletter almost one month ahead of schedule. The answer is twofold:

Teaching trip in the Pacific Northwest

First, we will be leaving Sweden on Monday for a long teaching trip in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. We will have an entire month of back to back teachings scheduled, which will prevent me from doing any writing!

Third month of Spring – the Dragon month

Secondly, the third month of spring this season has unusual energetic pattern – one that differs from the general spring pattern I wrote about in my last newsletter. As such, I would like to give you a specific guidance about the upcoming Dragon month:

RenChen 壬辰 (Yang Water Dragon)

Even though many friends who are living in the northern hemisphere have enjoyed some nice warm spring energy, this month, RenChen 壬辰 (Yang Water Dragon), will carry in some Cold Water energy. Some friends may have already experienced snow storms during the last couple of days.

Please still follow my previous recommendations for the spring Qigong practice during this Dragon month.  However, please do not continue eating the cooling foods I mentioned in my Spring 2016 newsletter. Until 5 May make sure to consume food and drink with warming energy, such as ginger tea and adding cinnamon spice to your warming foods (like lamb stew).

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

From the Daoist cosmological perspective, the starting point of the summer season falls on May 5th this year. The energy of Mars will definitely dominate the summer – the power of Fire will be in full effect! I predict that many of us will experience an extremely hot summer, especially during the period of May 20 – July 20. This heat wave could last all the way through to the first month of autumn (until September 7th) in some areas.

Supporting patients through the heat

Clinically, practitioners will see that many of their clients will present with problems relating to heat disease, such as poor hearing, nose bleeds, cough, abscess, skin sores, red eyes, thyroid hyperplasia, sore throat, and even sudden death.

Starting on May 5th, please guide your patients to consume foods and drinks that are cooling in nature.

As I mentioned in my last letter, drinking high quality green tea will be a good choice to help disperse the heat this summer. I recently got some fabulous green tea shipped to me from my friends in China – the first harvest of the year! 🙂

Those of you who are tea aficionados may be able to notice the high quality nature of this tea and even its powerful Qi in the photo down below.

Cultivating with the heat

As always, the best way to maintain your balance throughout all the changes life brings is to continue your daily Qigong practice.

The Monkey Internal Alchemy Meditation practice I have shared before (from my book, XinYi WuDao) is still a powerful choice to help you balance your energy.

Regardless of your specific cultivation practice, please remember this advice:

君子向明而治
JunZiXiangMingErZhi
The enlightened being cultivates while facing brightness

Wishing Peaceful Qi to you and your families from the three of us,

Master Wu

Cultivation yields transformation – come join us!

In order to support our Qi-friends inner transformation process, I am expanding my 2016 teachings. Below please find an overview of upcoming training opportunities. Please click the event name for details.

Summer is coming!

CIMG7134

Summer is Coming! … as so is the rain

Dear Qi friends,

Greetings from our charming small town on the coast Sweden! My wife Karin and I have been soaking up this precious time with our sweet infant daughter. We were lucky to have a smooth home birth here in Stockholm in January and have been enjoying every moment with our baby since.

We moved from the big city two months ago and are enjoying as much outdoor time as possible, taking nice long walks in our little historic town and in the gorgeous nature surrounding us – everything brimming with Spring Qi. We are also well prepared with proper outdoor equipment for this coming rainy summer season!

TaiYin ShiTu 太陰濕土 Major Yin Damp Earth

Yes, summer is coming, as so is the rain!According to my understanding of Chinese cosmology, summer will begin on 5th May 2015. The rainy season will kick in around mid-May and will likely last about two months. The cosmological term for this rainy energy is TaiYin ShiTu 太陰濕土 – Major Yin Damp Earth.Under the influence of this cosmological Qi, we will not only be experiencing more damp, rainy days than the last several summers, but will also expect many people to experience some health issues involving digestive problems, weak lung Qi, brittle heart, joint pain, and ulcers.

Food as Medicine

I have started eating 15 Chinese dates everyday, drinking glasses of water mixed with a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar, and making bitter mushroom tea from some mushrooms I harvested last year from birch trees. For those of you who are interested, I believe that eating foods of a naturally sweet nature (of course by this I do not mean sugared foods), as well as sour and bitter flavors will help strengthen your vital energy this summer.

Qi as Medicine

In addition to making wise food choices, I encourage you to keep up with your daily Qigong practice in order to maintain your health and well-being. Actually, practicing the Goat Daoist internal alchemy practice that I discussed in my previous newsletter is still a good idea (the detailed practice can be found in my book, The 12 Chinese Animals). Regular practice of “Goat Qigong” will bring powerful benefits if you practice it throughout the summer.

Training Schedule Highlights

This summer, I will continue offering teachings throughout Europe and the U.S. in order to support our Qi friends’ cultivation. Here are some highlights:

Rothenburg, Germany

  • May 13-16:  I will teach Fire Dragon Meridian Qigong and Cosmic Orbit Qigong for the 46th annual TCM Congress in Rothenburg, Germany. More than 1,200 Chinese medicine practitioners from 35 countries will attend the congress – exciting!

 
Nantes, France

  • May 29- 31: Registration for the Shamanic Tiger Qigong workshop in Nantes, France has been fully booked since October 2014. It will be nice to meet many new friends in France!

 
Pacific Northwest (U.S.)

  • July 10: We will kick off our Pacific Northwest teaching trip with ChaDao QinDao in Portland, Oregon. We will explore traditional Chinese culture through an evening of tea and live GuQin music.
  • July 11-12:  We will be offering the Dragon Body: The Secret of Daoist Internal Alchemy workshop in Portland, Oregon.  This will mark only the second time I have ever shared this powerful 6 movement form from the inner teachings of Dai Family XinYi tradition. 

 

  • July 21-24:  We are looking forward to hosting Lifelong Training session 2 at a beautiful retreat center/23 acre organic farm located in a pristine highland valley near the base of Mt Adams (in southern Washington state). This training is open for anyone who has completed the Level 1 training.

 

  • July 21-24:  BaGua XinJing Certification in Sandy, Oregon (about 40 minutes from Portland). We will launch our Dai Family XinYi teaching certification series this year. In order to train future teachers of Dai Family XinYi practices, we have developed this series to preserve this unique system of knowledge with students who are committed to classical Daoist internal alchemy practices.

 
Sweden

  • August 20-25: Lifelong Training level 1 on Flatön.  We are happy to be returning to the Bohuslän archipelago off the west coast of Sweden (…voted one of the 10 greatest wilderness areas in the world). The spaces are filling up, so please email us to check availability before sending your application or deposit.
We hope you will be able to make it to one of these teaching events!

 
Karin and I are wishing you all strong inner fire this summer,
 
Master Wu

Three New Years Greetings from Master Wu

spring 2015 copy

YiWei 乙未

Three New Years Greetings

 

Dear Qi-friends,

Greetings from sunny Stockholm! Unlike the record warm winter we had last year, we are finally experiencing some snow and freezing temperatures this winter. My wife Karin and I are enjoying this winter-Qi – the greatest source for rejuvenating all new life energy. We will continue to take advantage of the winter feeling and maintain our focus on our annual winter personal retreat. I am sending this seasonal greeting a little early this year because I would like to share some special cultivation ideas for the coming new energetic year with you all.

 

Utilize the rhythm of Nature

According to ZhouYiCanTongQi 周易參同契, one of the most important Daoist internal alchemy classics, the rhythm of nature has great influence on human beings, and it is therefore important to understand the rhythm of nature and know how to cultivate with the changing rhythms.

By doing so, you will optimize your potential for inner transformation and for deep healing to occur.

Three New Years!

There will be three important shifts in the rhythm of Qi as we move from the current JiaWu 甲午 Year to the coming YiWei 乙未 Year:

  • Cosmological New Year – Alchemical Qi
  • Animal New Year – Yang (Solar) Qi
  • Chinese New Year – Yin (Lunar) Qi

 

Cosmological New Year – Alchemical Qi

This YiWei 乙未 Cosmological Year will start January 20, 2015

The Heavenly Stem Yi 乙 represents Yin Wood and the Earthly Branch Wei 未 represents the Earth and carries the Goat as its spiritual animal.  According to Chinese cosmology, I expect that the coming year’s climatic pattern to be influenced by Revenge Fire, Damp Earth, and Cold Water energies.

This means that I predict more rainstorms than average this year, with hail in the summer and snow storms in the winter.

I also expect that there will be strong windstorms in the coming months, especially on west coast area of your region.

 

Animal New Year – Yang (Solar) Qi

 Spring season will begin on February 4, 2015

The next animal sign begins on LiChun 立春, which marks the beginning of spring. LiChun is one of the 24 15-day segments in the annual solar cycle.  According to WanNianLi 萬年曆, the Chinese Ten-Thousand Year Calender, spring season will begin on February 4, 2015.

In my tradition, the coming of spring correlates with the start of a new annual animal sign – and this year it will be YiWei, the Year of Yin Wood Goat. In Chinese astrology, one of the four pillars that make up the basic chart is the animal which correlates to the Solar year of birth.

For example, all babies who are born between February 4, 2015-February 4, 2016 will have the Yin Wood Goat as their yearly animal sign.

Whether you have a goat in your chart or not, we will all be affected by the Goat energy this year.

Here is a brief synopsis of the symbolism of the Goat, as extracted from my book The 12 Chinese Animals:

“Goats give you gentle and peaceful feelings when they chew grass with a slow, grinding motion. Yet they move with great speed and agility when navigating their way through rough, rocky, mountainous areas. They have strong horns and are always ready to defeat their enemies.

Goat is the eighth animal symbol in the 12 Chinese Animals System.

We use Wei 未 to represent the Goat symbol in the 12 Earthly Branches.

Wei is a symbol for the 13:00–14:59 time of day, and for the sixth month in the Chinese Lunar-Solar calendar (which is approximately July 7 to August 8 in the Gregorian solar calendar).

Wei represents the napping time of day and the third summer month when nature is in its ripest season. It is a time or a place where Yang energy (life energy) continues its decline and when the life cycle becomes more mellow. We use the tidal hexagram Dun  ䷠ to symbolize the Goat.”

Chinese (Lunar) New Year – Yin (Lunar) Qi

This year we will celebrate the New Year on February 19, 2015

The Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the Winter solstice each year. This year we will celebrate the New Year on February 19, 2015. In China, we also call the New Year ChunJie 春節, or Spring Festival.

The Spring Festival is the most important and longest holiday of the year in China, the one in which we all prioritize spending time with family and friends. Traditionally, the celebration begins new year’s eve and lasts for almost an entire month.

 

YiWei and your Health

While the combination of YiWei energies will be good for those of you who need support from the Wood elements, it will also possibly cause added difficulties for those of you who have weak lung Qi, poor digestive function, and/or a lower sexual drive.

Some people will suffer more pain in their joints and tendons over the next couple of months.

I will go into more detail about how the seasonal cosmological influences will effect us in my coming seasonal greetings.

 

YiWei New Years Qigong – Goat Internal Alchemy

As I always emphasis, Qigong practice is a great medicine that will help you maintain balance and a sense of well being in your life.

The special Goat internal alchemy qigong form will be a powerful addition to your daily Qigong practice during this YiWei year.

This year, I will teach the entire 12 Chinese Animals Internal Alchemy form in Anchorage, Alaska on Sunday April 19th. In the workshop, I will explain the form in relation to the twelve Tidal Hexagrams – the spirit of Yijing (I Ching), and cover healing and spiritual transformation applications of the form.

For those of you who will be unable to join us in Anchorage, here is one of the Goat internal alchemy practices for you:

Tidal Hexagram Dun ䷠ Meditation

With a lit candle in front of you, start the meditation by straightening your back and feeling that your body is as stable as a mountain.

Make the Dun mudra by placing each thumb on the tip of the ring finger. The tip of the ring finger is related to the hexagram Dun.

With open and relaxed fingers, place your right mudra on your right knee, palm facing up and raise your left mudra to the level of your left shoulder, palm facing forward.

Adjust your breathing to be slow, smooth, deep, and even.

Feel each breath connect with your spleen, heart, and liver.

Meditate in this position for as long as you can.

At the close of your meditation, please cite this little prayer:

May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unwavering mind

May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unbroken breath

May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unpolluted body

Spring Courses in the US!

Below please find a brief summary of my upcoming courses in the US.

Events with a special early registration price are noted.

 

QiDao ChaDao: Qigong and the Dao of Tea

Qigong is an ancient technique for healing and inner cultivation. For thousands of years, sages have used the tea ceremony as a gateway to understand the Dao. Please join us for a sampling of special Chinese tea and demonstration of traditional Qigong.

Offerings:

March 13 2015 in Baltimore, MD (click for further details)

April 17 2015 in Anchorage, AK (click for further details)

 

Dragon Body: The Secret of Daoist Internal Alchemy

In Chinese culture, the dragon represents shifting, changing, invisible, mystery, flexibility, transformation, high spirituality, supernatural, and power.

The Dragon Body practice is a way to express all the characteristics of the dragon in your cultivation practice.

This practice strengthens the vital link between the governing meridian and conception meridian and is one of the most important ZhouTian 周天 (Cosmic Orbit) methods to transform your Qi and nourish your spirit.

Offering:

March 14-15, 2015 in Baltimore, MD (click for further details)

*Please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 6!

 

Daoist Internal Alchemy – BaGuaXinJing 八卦心鏡

In this BaGua XinJing (Eight Trigrams Heart-Mirror) training, we will review HunYuanZhuang 混元樁, the fundamental Heart-Mind standing posture, and the XinJing – the eight gentle movements designed to increase physical strength, nourish the joints and balance the mind. This practice represents the very foundation of YiJing (I Ching) philosophy.

Offerings:

March 15, 2015 in Baltimore, MD (click for further details)

April 18, 2015 in Anchorage, AK (click for further details)

*Alaskans, please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 17!

 

Daoist Internal Alchemy – ShengXiaoGong 生肖功

The twelve rhythms of nature are represented by ShengXiaoGong (Twelve Animals Qigong), from China’s esoteric Mt. EMei shamanic Qigong lineage, and give us access to the deepest spirit of the Yijing (I Ching).

April 19, 2015 in Anchorage, AK (click for further details)

*Alaskans, please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 17!

 

Karin and I are wishing you and your families a healthy and happy year of the Goat!

 

Master Zhongxian Wu

Winter Greetings 2014

Dear Qi-friends,

Winter Greetings from the Baltic Sea! It is auspicious that today, the last day of autumn, we have had our first snow to welcome in the winter. According to Chinese cosmology, winter will officially begin tomorrow, November 7, 2014.

Winter and Water

Winter is the season represented by the Water element. Water symbolizes darkness, mystery, wisdom, and rejuvenation.  From the Daoist perspective, Water is the primary element – the place from which all life energy begins. For these reasons, winter is the time for recharging our vital Qi and is the best season for our internal cultivation practice.

Time to Tonify and Cultivate

In China, we have a common saying – DongLingJinBu 冬令進補, which means ‘take the tonic during winter.’ Even young children know that during the winter season we must take special care to replenish our stores for the next annual cycle. To do so, we eat deeply nourishing foods every day and regularly supplement with tonifying Chinese herbs – even if we are already feeling healthy.

For Qigong and martial arts practitioners, we additionally emphasize the importance of DongLianSanJiu 冬煉三九 – dedicating yourself to daily practice during the coldest period of winter.

Are you ready?

In order to enhance my energy and strengthen my inner power, I practice Qigong and/or martial arts every morning. I have found it is extremely beneficial to continue my outdoor practice during the  coldest months.

I remember a specific Qigong workshop I taught during the winter of 1994, when I was still working as an engineer in China. I guided over 100 students through a special outdoor Qigong practice in freezing temperatures (and with plenty of snow on the ground). We practiced for almost 2 hours straight. Although some students were a little intimidated at first, by the end of our session everyone felt that it was the most amazing and invigorating Qigong experience they had ever had.

Are you ready for the challenge?

Dry Metal and Cold Water

Of course, each winter has its own unique features as well. Compared with last winter, in most parts of northern hemisphere it will be much colder this year. Unlike last year, I do not expect that we will experience a mild winter here in the Stockholm area. Like many places, we will encounter some heavy snowstorms and experience the Dry Metal and Cold Water (ZaoJin HanShui 燥金寒水) cosmological Qi.

Balancing the Effects of ZaoJin HanShui 燥金寒水

This Dry Metal and Cold Water Qi will generate more physical and mental challenges to those who have health issues related with skin, lung, large intestines, heart, gallbladder, and/or kidney.

Besides a dedicated daily Qigong practice, sour, pungent and bitter flavored foods will help support your good health and strong Qi during this winter season. Over the next few months, eating sorghum regularly will be especially beneficial for your heart health.

Upcoming Events:
Stockholm, Düsseldorf and Aberdeen

Before Karin and I completely submerge into our personal Winter Internal Transformation retreat, we will continue to support our Qi-friends’ winter cultivation this month by finishing up our weekly class series in Stockholm and offering two weekend workshops – one in Düsseldorf, Germany and the other in Aberdeen, Scotland. We hope some of you can join us!

Planning ahead for 2015 and 2016

Of course, we are also preparing an exciting variety of workshops and training programs in 2015 and are beginning to put our 2016 schedule together. For your convenience, we always keep our website’s training schedule up to date!

Tonifying Qi from Karin and I,

Master Wu

Summer Begins – Happy Summer 2014!

Sunshine Daydreams
from Master Wu
and Karin

 

Dear Qi-friends,Happy summer to you and your family! Karin and I have been enjoying our time in the magic Stockholm archipelago since returning from our one-month teaching trip in China last week.

Fun YouTube Clip from our China Trip!

We had a great time in TaiGu with my Dai Family XinYi teacher, Grandmaster Zhao ShouRong.  If you’d like to get a taste of what it was like to train all day at a 1000+ year old Daoist Temple in a remote area of China, you can watch this short little YouTube clip.We have been working hard on our newest project, the companion DVDs for our newest book, XinYi WuDao.  The DVDs, XinYi WuXing and XinYi BaGua, are expected to be released June 30.  70% of the footage for the DVDs was filmed on site at the same Daoist Temple, and much of it was filmed under the guardianship of a great 2,000 year old locust tree – cool!

Valborgsmässoafton Fire!

We made a large bonfire on April 30st, which is a time honored tradition for Valborgsmässoafton, the last day of April. It is the fourth biggest holiday celebrated here in Sweden – we officially clear out the all debris from the winter and welcome in the summer!

Summer begins

According to Chinese cosmology, today, May 5, 2014 is the starting point of summer. However, don’t expect the hot weather to arrive immediately. We will continue experience some chilly energy for the next two weeks.

For most of northern hemisphere, the dramatically warm temperatures will set in starting May 20th.  June and July will be dominated by excess Fire, and this strong Yang energy will cause Qi and blood circulation issues for many people.  I think it will prove to be a difficult season for those of you who have weak heart and lung function.

Protection from Excess Heat

Adding sea salt and apple cider vinegar into your daily food seasonings will nourish your health during the summer season. Bitter flavored foods and organic raw vegetables will be a nice addition to your daily diet this summer. Of course, your daily Qigong practice is one of the best ways to maintain your balance.

Keeping with our promise to supporting our Qi-friends’ inner cultivation practice, we have many teachings scheduled in the Pacific region of the United States and in Europe over the next several months.

Join us in the Pacific Northwest!

Karin and I will return to the Pacific Northwest soon for another extended teaching trip. In addition to Lifelong Training Program sessions one (May 21-27) and two (May 30-June 5) at Trout Lake Abbey in Trout Lake, Washington, we will have several offerings at Sun Gate Studio in NE Portland, Oregon:

We will also be offering a one day workshop in Cosmic Orbit Qigong in Seattle on June 15.

We hope to see you at at least in one of our west coast events!

European Lifelong Training Program – course full!

It is very exciting that our first offering of the Lifelong Training Program in Europe is now full. If you are interested in adding your name to the waiting list for the 2015 European level one training, please send us an email.

GanZhi Certification Program

We have also been busy preparing for our GanZhi (Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches) teacher’s certification program. We  and we expect to launch separate programs in both in the US and in Europe in 2015.   If you are interested in learning more, please email.

Looking Ahead

For those of you who like to make plans in advance, we will be offering many teachings during the fall and early winter. If you are interested in more details, you can always check my website’s teaching schedule.

Karin and I hope you will have a very pleasant and relaxing summer season. We will be in touch again in early August!

Harmonious Qi from Karin and I,

Master Wu

Happy Year of the Yin Water Snake!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yin Water Snake Greetings from Master Wu

Greetings from bright and sunny Stockholm! Since my winter solstice greeting, the daylight is returning quickly here in Sweden. Karin and I have been enjoying our new home, continuing our inner cultivation practices, writing, hiking in the impressive Royal National City Park, and watching the cycle of freezing and thawing of the waterways in Stockholm (the city itself is made up of 14 islands).   We are still appreciating the strong life energy of the North. After our time in northern Europe last winter, I no longer feel shocked to see green grass patiently waiting under the icy fields. Green belongs to the Wood Element – it is the color of new life energy and the spring season, and it reminded me today to write this seasonal update.

Spring 2013 begins tomorrow! February 4, 2013 marks the beginning of GuiSi 癸巳 the Year of the Yin Water Snake

The Chinese New Year falls on February 10 this year. However, according to WanNianLi 萬年曆, the Chinese Ten-Thousand Year Calender, spring season will begin tomorrow, February 4 at 00:13, which is the same moment that the Year of Yin Water Snake begins.

In China, the Snake is also known as XiaoLong 小龍 (Minor Dragon) and is generally regarded as an auspicious animal symbol.  We commonly say that children born in the year of the snake are likely to be very smart!

Contrary to popular belief, the new yearly animal sign and Chinese New Year do NOT typically fall on the same day

Many people think that the Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar. In fact, it is a lunisolar calendar, called WanNianLi or YinYangLi 陰陽歷. In Chinese, YinYangLi means moon and sun calendar, with Yin representing the moon, Yang signifying the sun, and Li meaning calendar. The fundamental building blocks of the Chinese calendrical system are GanZhi 干支, the 10 Heavenly Stem and 12 Earthly Branches.  This year, year of the Yin Water Snake, is denoted by the combination of the Heavenly Stem Gui 癸 and the Earthly Branch Si 巳.  The calendar tells us information about the lunar phase as well as the position of the sun.

The Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after Winter solstice each year.  This is why the actual date of the Chinese New Year changes from year to year – it does not follow the Western Gregorian calendar. The Chinese New Year is recorded based on the Yin aspect of the calendar.

The LiChun 立春, or beginning of spring, indicates the beginning of the next yearly animal sign. LiChun is one of the 24 15-day segments in the yearly cycle.  As I discussed in my book, The 12 Chinese Animals, the 24 segments are known as JieQi 節氣, and they symbolize the 24 positions of the sun’s movement across the sky and detail the 24 energetic patterns of each annual cycle – the Yang aspect of the calendar.

The message of GuiSi 癸巳

Each Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch contain many layers of symbolic meaning. As the situation or context changes, we may interpret the same Stem or Branch in a totally different way. I will briefly decode a Chinese cosmological perspective of GuiSi for you here.

The Heavenly Stem Gui represents Yin Water and the Earthly Branch Si represents Fire and carries the Snake as its spiritual animal.  This is why this coming year, GuiSi, is known as the Yin Water Snake Year. According to Chinese cosmology, Gui Water will transform to a deficient Fire energy.  In general,  I expect that the climate will be drier than it was during the Yang Water Dragon year. Si Fire will transform to JueYin 厥陰 Wind Wood, which provides a clue that the first half year will be windy and the second half of the year will be warm, including an unseasonably warm winter (in the Northern hemisphere). Together, GuiSi shows us that these cosmological energies will weaken the immune system of many people and suggests that the flu season will continue through March 22th.  Of course, each season will have its own impact, and I will go into detail about the next season in a few months.

Daily Cultivation Practice

Although we can not completely avoid the influence of the cosmological energy on our health, keeping a daily Qigong practice is always a great way to strengthen your immune system and maintain balance. I often say that Qigong is easy to learn but difficult practice on a daily basis.  One of my students, an acupuncturist, recently shared her blog with me. She has decided to commit to practicing Qigong continuously for 365 days. With her permission, I am attaching the link to her blog for you here, and hope that it will bring some of you inspiration to dedicate yourselves to a daily cultivation practice (365qigong.wordpress.com).

Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches – study card set!

Karin and I finished our newest project – a Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches study card set.  It will be published by Singing Dragon in April 2013. We are still working with the companion book and hope it will be ready this summer.

Opportunities to study XinYi internal martial arts

We are excited about our Yijing, FengShui and internal cultivation trip to China next month.  For those who are interested in joining us for just the one week XinYi 心意 internal martial arts trip (March 14 – March 21), we still have a few spaces available.  We will be training with my master, Grandmaster Zhao ShouRong 趙守榮.  You are welcomed to email me for details.

I will also offer a Dai family style XinYi workshop in Brooklyn, NYC in May during our upcoming visit to the states.

Updated 2013 teaching schedule

The April life long training program level 1 is now full!  If you would like to be added to the wait list, please let me know. During our trip to the US, I will be teaching weekend workshops in Oregon (Portland) in April and in New York (Manhattan and Brooklyn) in May.  When we return to Sweden, we will offer a Daoist Internal Alchemy and Qi Healing certification program during the week of the summer solstice. Our summer and fall schedule thus far include workshops in Germany, England, and Scotland, with preliminary plans to teach in Spain and Greece – please check www.masterwu.net for details!

Best regards from Karin and I,

Master Wu

Dragon Greetings from Master Wu

Spring begins Feb 4, 2012

Dear Qi friends,

Happy RenChen 壬辰 (Water Dragon) Year!

Although most Chinese and many other Asians celebrate the new year on the second new moon’s day after winter solstice, the astrological animal year actually starts on LiChun 立春 (Establishing Spring), which occurs each year around February 4. According to my Ten Thousand Year Chinese Calender, the Year of Water Dragon will officially begin February 4, 2012 at 18:22.

With respect to traditional Chinese cosmology, this will be the same moment that this spring season will start. My wife Karin and I are delighted for the opportunity to practice Fire Dragon Qigong with some Qi friends here in London this coming weekend when the Water Dragon arrives. I will send the Dragon’s Blessings of Great Transformation to you during our cultivation.

Regarding cosmological patterns, the Water Dragon will transform to Wind Wood and Cold Water. This suggests there will be powerful and perhaps disastrous wind and rain storms this year. The strong Wind Wood and Cold Water energies will also weaken many people’s kidney Qi, immune function and life energy.

On the other hand, Chinese Dragon is also a symbol for great transformation.  As such, the Water Dragon Year will be the best time to commit to your inner cultivation practices. Spending some time everyday with your Qigong practice and other inner cultivation techniques will help you maintain well-being and recover from  sickness or imbalance.

In Chinese, we have a saying – ShiBanGongBei 事半功倍 – which means achieve better results and exert only half of the usual effort. This year, Water Dragon Qi will make your Qigong and other spiritual cultivation practices more fruitful, thereby allowing you to reach your goals with much less effort compared with other times. I hope you will take advantage of this rare opportunity to spend more time practicing your inner arts and make a great change in your life.

After sharing some Qigong and Chinese Medicine teachings in the UK, Karin and I will spend about two weeks in the Arctic circle to cultivate with the Northern Lights in late February, when the Water Dragon will be raising its head on the horizon.

To continue to support our Qi communities, we will finish the Fire Dragon Meridian Qigong Book and DVD as soon as possible, and will offer more workshops across the world during the Water Dragon year.

Also, as requested by some Qi friends, we are considering opening a new entry level of our lifelong training program on the West Coast when we are in Oregon this May.

Please check my website (www.masterwu.net) for updates in my teaching schedule if you are interested.

With wishes for Auspicious Dragon Transformation,

Master Wu

The Purpose of Cultivation – an interview with Master Wu

Master Wu, thank you so much for agreeing to talk to Singing Dragon. I think you have just celebrated ten years of living in the West. Have you found over that time that our understanding of Chinese medicine has changed?

The Western understanding of Chinese medicine has definitely changed in the last ten years. I have noticed two main changes, with respect to the general public and the practitioners themselves. In terms of the general public, more and more people recognize the efficiency of Chinese medicine to meet their health care needs. More people are embracing Chinese medicine treatments because they want minimal unwanted side effects (or better yet, none at all) and also want to build up their health in order to prevent a future illness. In terms of Chinese medicine practitioners, I have seen that more practitioners are looking to understand the roots of Chinese medicine, and are emphasizing their own personal cultivation (for example through meditation, Qigong practice, studying the Yijing, Chinese astrology, etc.) to help them deepen their knowledge of Chinese medicine. Also, I see more practitioners are educating their patients about how important it is to strengthen their own Qi by improving their daily lifestyle habits and having a commitment to some internal cultivation practice.

How can Western practitioners best prepare themselves for studying Chinese medicine?

In terms of studying Chinese medicine, there is no difference in preparation for a Western practitioner or an Eastern practitioner. The best way to prepare is to do personal cultivation. In the Chinese medicine traditional education system, before the Master teaches you anything about medicine, they always first stress that you learn to be a good person and to cultivate your virtue. A good doctor first needs to be a good person, and have a good heart to help others. Traditionally, you didn’t learn medicine as a business venture to make tons of money. For the Master to share knowledge with you, he/she has to be clear that your deep purpose and drive is to help others. The HuangDiNeiJing (the Yellow Emperor’s classic text of Chinese medicine) emphasizes that you have to be careful not to teach certain skills to the wrong person – the wrong person, meaning someone who does not carry a high level of virtue.

You are lecturing at the Confucius Institute in London in February on the topic of Qigong as the basis for Chinese medicine. Can you say a little about why this is such an important topic?

Yes, Qigong is the source of Chinese medicine. The whole system was discovered by ancient enlightened beings who made profound connections about their bodies and Nature while in heightened Qigong states. According to the QiJingBaMaiKao (Investigations into the Eight Extraordinary Vessels), a book by the Ming Dynasty’s famous herbalist LiShiZhen’s, the subtle energies of the inner pathways of the body (for example the pulses, the points, the meridians, and even the organs themselves) may be seen only by those who cultivate Fan Guan (literally, ‘reverse observation’), or the ability to look within with clarity. LiShiZhen concluded that only high-level Qigong practitioners could see the meridian systems. Before the modern term Qigong became popularized, all Qigong cultivation practices (including seated meditation) were known as Guan, which itself means ‘observe or observation’, and implies self-observation.

Also, to develop an appropriate herbal formula for someone requires an understanding of Qi harmonization. Chinese herbal medicine was first taught by the ancient shaman king ShenNong (Divine Farmer). Actually, the first Chinese book of herbal medicine, ShenNongBenCaoJing is named after him and it is generally accepted that he wrote it as well. Our legends say that, through tasting the herbs, he was able to feel the different quality of Qi in each herb and understand how it relates to the Qi of the organ and meridian systems in the body. This kind of sensitivity and awareness was possible because he was a very high level Qigong practitioner, and was able enter into heightened states of consciousness and perception.

There would be no Chinese medicine without the ancient shamanic Qi cultivation practices of Qigong.

Would you tell us a little more about Qigong? Many people in the West are confused about what it is.

Qigong is modern, popularized term for an ancient method of physical, mental and spiritual cultivation. It can be translated into English as Qi cultivation, spiritual cultivation or working with the Qi. By the way, by Qi, I mean the vital energy of the universe that keeps everything alive. Qigong practice models a harmonious way of life and has been used throughout thousands of years of history by those who wish to attain Enlightenment.

Qigong involves working with the three parts of the body (Jing, Qi and Shen). In Chinese, Jing means essence and represents the physical body. The physical body is our structure and our container. It holds our essential life energy, our Qi body and our spiritual body. We can strengthen our physical bodies by practicing special Qigong postures. As I mentioned before, Qi translates as vital energy of the entire universe, including of course, the vital energy of your body. Your breath is deeply connected with the Qi body. Qi can also be translated as ‘vital breath’. In Qigong, we cultivate our Qi body by maintaining awareness of our breath and by learning techniques to regulate our breath. This will increase our vital energy or life force. The Shen means spirit, and represents our spiritual body. In general, our mind is related to our Shen. Once we pay too much attention to the external world or worry too much about what is going on in our life, we weaken our Qi. If we are always looking outside, we leak our spiritual Qi. In Qigong practice, we learn to look within in order to preserve our life energy.

How does it relate (if it does) to practices such as Yoga?

I have never practiced yoga, so I don’t have the personal experience to be able to talk about how it relates to Qigong. However, a number of my students are yoga practitioners by profession, and many of them connect their Qigong practice with their yoga practice. They have found that elements of their Qigong practice complement their yoga practice so that in general, the practices enhance each other.

What is the purpose of your cultivation/Qigong practice?

From the view point of Daoist practioners, the Daoist tradition is the immortal tradition. The purpose of Daoist cultivation practices is to become immortal. This often begs the question of what exactly is meant by immortality. In Chinese, the word for immortal is Xian, which is an image of a person who lives on a mountain. Throughout history, many Daoist masters have referred to themselves as ShanRen– Mountain People – because they spend long hermitages in the mountains (or anywhere in nature), cultivating their true humanity. Another word for immortal is ZhenRen– real or true human being. From the Chinese ideograms, we can see that the concept of an immortal is of one who has cultivated good health, happiness, and humanity and embodies these qualities in everyday life.

The idea of immortality or everlasting life has nothing to do with yearning to live forever. On a superficial level, of course no living being can escape death. Death is simply a part of the universal Five Elements natural cycle. However, death is always accompanied by the process of rebirth. In this way, there is no death. In the Immortal’s tradition, we have an expression – XinSi ShenHuo, which translates into English as “allow your heart to die so that your spirit will live.” I interpret this to mean that by embracing death and bringing it gracefully into our hearts, we understand the knowledge of immortality. This, to me, is enlightenment.

Yes, our lives are short – no matter how long we live, compared with the long stream of the time of the Universe, our lives are just a momentary sparkle. Sometimes, when people physically die, their spirits remain very much alive. The quality of our lives is not measured by the time we spend in this world, but how we learn to transform our personal emotional energy into a force that can help others.

You are also teaching a couple of workshops in the UK in February. They sound very interesting – can you tell us a little more about the practices?

Of course. I am excited to be teaching Fire Dragon Qigong in London and Five Elements Qigong in Oxford. Both are traditional Chinese Qigong forms.

Fire Dragon Qigong embodies the spirit of the rising dragon, which is an auspicious symbol of transformation in Chinese culture. Regular practice of this form establishes free flowing Qi in the 12 meridian systems of the body. It also helps transform areas of stagnation, thereby bringing the physical and emotional bodies into a balanced state of well-being. Actually, according to the Chinese calendar, the year of the Dragon begins on February 4, 2012. I will teach Fire Dragon Qigong that same weekend in honor of the Dragon and the great global transformation that will happen in 2012.

The Five Elements theory lies at the heart of classical Chinese philosophy and healing principles and is the foundation of Chinese cosmology and Chinese medicine. The Five Element Qigong form helps harmonize the Five Element’s Qi in our bodies and organ systems with the Five Element’s Qi of the Universe. Regular practice will help us smoothly navigate change in our lives.

What in your view are the greatest benefits of practice for people looking for a healthier lifestyle?

In the traditional Chinese healing system, the definition of medicine is something that embodies these three qualities: vitality, joy and harmony. Anything may be considered medicine, and doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical object. Instead, medicine is any object, event, thought or action that increases your vital energy, brings you joy (that you then can share with others), and helps you live harmoniously with yourself, with your family and friends (and society as a whole), and with Nature. In Chinese tradition, we consider Jing, Qi and Shen to be the best and most important medicine in the world. The greatest benefit of a regular Qigong practice is that you learn to access and optimize your own best medicine within – your Jing, Qi and Shen – to support your daily life.

Does a knowledge of Chinese medicine increase the benefits of Qigong?

Yes and no. In my experience, everyone who has a regular practice of a traditional Qigong form receives benefits from their practice. In ancient times, Chinese medicine was discovered through the practice of Qigong, and it gave a pathway of understanding the Universe through each individual body. In this way, the benefits of Qigong practice precede formal knowledge of Chinese medicine itself. In modern days, we often go the opposite direction, and use prior knowledge of Chinese medicine to help guide the practice. People who have taken time to study Chinese medicine may have a better idea of the specifics of how the Qigong form is working in their bodies. In spiritual cultivation practice, there is a phenomenon called “knowledge stagnation”, where having a lot of knowledge and thinking too much about what you think the practice will do becomes an obstacle to experiencing what is actually happening. On the other hand, advanced Qigong practitioners can use their knowledge of Chinese medicine to really deepen their practice. Either way, as long as you continue your daily practice with an open heart, Qigong will improve your health and deepen the relationship you have with yourself and with the Universe.

You have for some years been teaching an interesting Lifelong Learning programme, where students spend several days on retreat learning intensively from you. Could you tell us a little about this, and about the change and development you see in the students that follow through the programme?

In China, the traditional relationship between the student and Master is like parent and child, so that the Master can continue to give students guidance and support through their lives. Also, in different stages of practice of even the same Qigong practice, students will experience different phenomena, some subtle and some strong. Having step-by-step guidance helps the students understand the changes and keeps them from getting discouraged.

The purpose of the Qigong lifelong training is to create a family-style community of practitioners who are dedicated to supporting each other in their cultivation practice. We meet annually to share our experiences with the practice and to learn how to go deeper on this path to Enlightenment. Our intensive, week-long retreats provide the opportunity to learn a form in such a way that the practice becomes a part of the students, a part of their body and a part of their spirit, and this makes it easier for the practice to become part of their daily life. The retreats offer a different level of experiential learning than a few hours’ workshop or a weekly class can provide.

Over the last ten years of teaching in the West, I have seen many changes in my students – recovery from a disease process, increased energy, strength and flexibility, uplifted spirits, better relationships with others, healing practitioners who report greater success with helping their patients, etc. It is always nice for me to see how close my students grow towards each other during the retreats and how friendships grow into relationships that feel like family. We enjoy having a big Qi family!

Is Qigong a practice in which progress for all students occurs at roughly the same rate?

Not really. Different people have different bodies, different health conditions, different commitment levels (in terms of daily practice) and so have different experiences with their Qigong practice. Even the same person will have different experiences with their Qigong practice. Sometimes you will experience areas of plateau before you reach the next level, sometimes you will feel like you are moving ‘backwards’ in your progress and suddenly shoot forward, and sometimes it is just steady. After almost 40 years of practice, I feel I learn something new from my practice every day, even from the same form, again, again and again.

Would you tell us a little about your own experience with Qigong? How old were you when you began to practice?

I started to try some Qigong practice when I was about five years old, and began to take my practice really seriously when I was about 11. Originally, I practiced Qigong to have some fun. Surprisingly, I discovered many health benefits through the practice. In my first years of my memory, I was very sick, and every week I would have a terrible fever and my parents would take me to the hospital for medicine. I realized that I didn’t have to use medicine to recover when I was 11, and recovered through my Qigong practice even faster. So, I decided to stop taking any medicine and dedicate myself to my Qigong practice. Also, when I was young, I was very nearsighted and needed glasses. One summer break, I spent about one month in nature, practicing Qigong. At the end of the month, my eyesight improved so much that I didn’t need glasses anymore. Anytime I am feeling sick, have low energy, or something in life happens that affects me on the emotional level, I always practice Qigong and it helps me recover quickly.

Did you find it hard to keep up the practice during your education years, and how did you manage it?

Not at all. I followed the traditional way, as taught by my Masters, and got up early, at 4 am, to practice at least 2 hours every day. I lived on-campus during high school and university, and would be done with my practice before anyone else had gotten up. I always felt like I had more time to do everything I wanted than my classmates did. I think I had more energy than everyone else because of my Qigong practice.

Do you go back to China to visit the Masters who taught you?

Yes. Almost every year I go to China to see my Masters and spend time with them. It is the same way I go to visit my parents, just like family.

I know you are the lineage holder of several lineages. Would you tell us a little about what this means, and how the lineage holder is chosen?

In China, traditional arts and disciplines are passed on through a discipleship system. In this system, the acknowledged Master of a given discipline teaches a small circle of students. Traditionally, the Master will always design many obstacles for the students, making it difficult to continue studying. Most students will drop off because of these obstacles. When the Master feels the time is right, he/she will select the next “lineage holder” from the close-knit circle of students who have had the perseverance to carry on. The lineage holder is then responsible for preserving the entire system of knowledge and passing knowledge to others.

Your beautiful calligraphy appears on the covers of your books – would you tell us a little about the relationship between Qigong and calligraphy?

Calligraphy is a form of Qigong — it is movement within the brush and painting with your breath. When we practice calligraphy, we are working with our three treasures, Jing, Qi and Shen, which is the same as any Qigong practice. When we make a piece of art, we need to have the same three elements found in all traditional Qigong forms – correct posture, breathing and visualization techniques. In fact, in the Daoist tradition, we use the calligraphy brush as a tool for healing and spiritual cultivation. One special kind of calligraphy created by a Master is used as talismans for healing and for FengShui purposes.

It seems it all connects up – Qigong, Healing work, Calligraphy, Qin music, Yijing prediction, FengShui. Do they all support one another?

All of these are different styles of Qi arts and Qi cultivation. These practices are Qi vehicles for human beings to connect to Nature and live in harmony. On a superficial level, these practices may seem different or unrelated, but yes, they do connect up. The entire Universe is like an invisible Qi web, which connects everything. As LaoZi states in his DaoDeJing, the universal web is vast, and nothing can escape from it.

Master Wu, thank you so much for answering all these questions. We truly appreciate it, and the Singing Dragon in London is really looking forward to your visit in February!

Please visit Master Wu’s website at www.masterwu.net to find out more about his visit to the UK in February 2012 as well as his writing, teaching, music and calligraphy. You can find his four books published with Singing Dragon – Chinese Shamanic Cosmic Orbit Qigong, The 12 Chinese Animals, Seeking the Spirit of the Book of Change, and Vital Breath of the Dao, as well as his DVD Hidden Immortal Lineage Taiji Qigong – on the Singing Dragon website http://www.singingdragon.com