By Brendan Thorson, LMP 1/5/2012,
This article is published in the 2012-2013 Winter issue of the Qi-Journal Magazine
Would you like to be strong, fit, well proportioned and energetic like a healthy teenager or young adult? You commonly hear people say: That person is so lucky. They do not exercise much, they eat whatever and whenever they want and they look great. I wish I could be like that too. Why do some people, young or old, have a great figure, energy levels, do not exercise much or seem to follow a strict diet, while others are just the opposite: always struggling with their figure, energies and commonly tired no matter how much they exercise or watch their diet.
The Ancient Taoists Masters sought longevity with strength and vitality, like people in the prime of their life. In their search, they found that in order to maintain youthful wellbeing, one needs to have vibrant internal energies of the organs, glands and all the body’s systems. If you want to feel young and strong, you need to be able to have the same internal energy and balance of the youth. Many of the secrets of the Ancient Taoists Masters teachings are available to you from Yi Ren Qigong–including the Internal-Alchemy secrets to a strong a youthful figure, regardless of your age.
Exercise and diet are very important to one’s health and vitality; however, if one’s internal energies, organs and glands are not working in a healthy and balanced way, neither exercise nor diet will result in a vibrant and well-shaped physique. Thus, the Yi Ren Qigong curriculum is set up with a step-by-step process to bring one improved energy, internal balance of the organs and upgrade/maintenance of the essential endocrine systems, glands and hormone levels. As practitioners develop themselves with the Yi Ren Qigong training, they begin to upgrade all of their internal energies and become aware of both their strengths and weaknesses. From their new awareness, each practitioner can begin to create a personalized training program to lead them to increased internal balance and strength–a biologically younger you. Many students notice their body strength and shape improve just from upgrading their internal energies without added physical exercise.
The Kidneys (life gate / kidney center) are a high priority in Yi Ren Qigong training to bring all practitioners improved energy levels and (in my experience) energizing all the other organs of the body (like the Sun sending its energy to the earth), creating strong legs, lower back (foundation), and powerful bones. In order for us to have a strong and youthful body, it is essential to have our kidneys functioning at the highest level possible. To further illustrate my point about the importance of the Kidneys to a powerful body, in Chinese Medicine they say weak Kidneys are responsible for soreness and weakness of the lower back and spine, weak body, asthma, assisting in digestion, weak bones, edema…..1 Before starting my Yi Ren Qigong training, I lived for many years with a very weak, sore and fragile lower back and spine. After a period of time with my training, I was able to feel the kidneys getting stronger, which resulted in my lower back also getting stronger too.
Another key area to keep our bodies strong and youthful is the stomach/pancreas system. The stomach/ pancreas system is connected to our digestion, necessary for the transformation of the consumed food energies into useful energies for the body. A weak or low functioning stomach/ pancreas system can lead to a weak appetite, poor digestion, retention of food, abdominal distention, lack of strength.1 Also according to Chinese Medicine, the stomach is responsible for the strength of the large muscles of the body.1 Therefore, if one’s stomach /pancreas energies diminish, that person may develop soft, weak and thin muscles. To summarize, the stomach/ pancreas system is very important area to keep the body in top shape.
The Liver also has a big role in one maintaining hearty strength. According to Chinese Medicine, the liver controls the health and strength of the tendons and joints. Therefore, one with weak tendons and joints would most likely have weak or low liver energies. When I first began having health problems as a teenager it began with left knee tendinitis and as the years continued I reached a point where I had weaknesses and problems in almost all of my major joints of my body–ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and wrists. Contrary to common modern day thought, the Ancient Taoist Masters believed that the tendons and joints were more important to develop in order to bring one strength with longevity–as opposed to today’s emphasis on building up the muscles. Through the Yi Ren Qigong practice we nourish and develop all the organs, including the liver, to help all practitioners gain stronger internal and external strength.
The Endocrine Gland System and hormones are another key factor in obtaining and maintaining power and an attractive figure like a young person. Every endocrine gland has its role and having each function at a high level is key for our health. I will focus on the functions of the Reproductive glands (testes and ovaries), Adrenals, pancreas and the thyroid glands and how they affect our health and youthfulness. The “essence” of the reproductive glands are essential for the overall vitality and longevity of the entire body and mind. It helps keep the body strong and vibrant: This is why boxers’ trainers commonly prohibit their fighters from having sex for a certain period of time before their upcoming fight. Personally I recall prior to starting my Yi Ren training how deeply exhausted and fragile I would usually feel after love-making, then after a period of time training and building up my internal energies I no longer felt exhausted after copulation, like I did before hand.
Earlier, I wrote about the pancreas and how it works with the stomach. From my understanding, the pancreas has functions of both an organ and a gland. As a gland, the pancreas “helps the body to maintain healthy blood sugar (glucose) levels. The pancreas secretes insulin, a hormone that helps glucose move from the blood into the cells where it is used for energy. The pancreas also secretes glucagon when the blood sugar is low. Glucagon tells the liver to release glucose, stored in the liver as glycogen, into the bloodstream.”2 One aspect of the Adrenal Glands, “The adrenal cortex produces glucocorticoids (such as cortisol) that help the body control blood sugar, increase the burning of protein and fat.”2 While, “The thyroid hormones control your metabolism, which is the body’s ability to break down food and store it as energy and the ability to break down food into waste products with a release of energy in the process.”2
From my experience, by practicing Yi Ren Qigong, we can really upgrade all of the glands. This will allow them to function at higher and higher levels. I have had numerous personal experiences with my hormone levels getting stronger, in fact, prior to me studying Yi Ren Qigong my facial hair grew very slow and extremely spotty, then after a certain period of time after I began my training my facial hair began to grow much faster and fuller. Another example is how my thyroid began talking to me; after a couple of years I recall being able to feel my thyroid commonly pulsating and vibrating and every time I felt it occur it was very clear to me that it was in the process of getting an energy boost to help it get stronger and function at a higher level and now 10+ years later I continue to feel my thyroid pulsate and vibrate as it continues to get stronger and stronger. From my own experience, the thyroid can be also used more or less like a light switch in that I can consciously amplify my thyroid and use it to turn on and activate other glands and systems of the body too. Healthy and optimum performance of the entire endocrine system, including the parts of the system mentioned above, are a major key in one maintaining vivaciousness and beauty.
In addition, to working with the organs and glands, the Yi Ren Qigong system also includes a few classes like the Moving with Qi, where we bring energy out to the muscles and muscle channels. The exercises we do in those classes are physically very easy and low impact, but I commonly see female students bodies get much tighter and slimmer from that class. From my understanding, this happens because we bring the new energy into the Fascia (in between the muscles and muscle layers) as the “Qi” goes into the fascia, it then begins to push out the old (unhealthy) fat tissues built up in those areas. This is a result of replacing the old fat with higher quality “Qi”. Like wringing water out of a towel or in this case excess fat.
The Internal-Alchemy–upgrade and balance of one’s internal energies and energy systems that occur from Yi Ren Qigong training can help most achieve a stronger and more youthful body. As a student who began Yi Ren Qigong training with so many weaknesses and problems I have personally experienced and witnessed my body become more youthful and look much healthier–biologically younger from my Yi Ren Qigong practice. If you are interested in looking and feeling younger I hope you will begin your journey with Yi Ren Qigong soon!
1. Tyme, L.Ac. The Student Manual on the Fundamentals of Traditional Oriental Medicine 2nd addition. Living Earth Educational Services. San Diego: 1996.
2. ”The Endocrine System: Endocrine Glands & Types of Hormones.” 2012. tp://www.hormone.org/Endo101/page2.cfm 6 Jan. 2012
Qigong and Taichi classes and seminars taught in Seattle, WA and throughout the Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest.