“If you want to accord with the Tao,
just do your job, then let go.”
Tao Te Ching, #24, Translated by S. Mitchell
One of my students ran off an article for me about a study conducted by Dr. Michael R. Irwin of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of Los Angeles regarding the effectiveness of T’ai Chi against the shingles virus. Though the test group of men and women ages 59 to 86 was a small one, the results were significant. All the participants in the T’ai Chi class showed an almost 50% increase in immune cell levels one week after completing the program. To read about this study log on to Science Daily at http:www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030922064321.htm or log on to USA Today and type in keywords “Study:Tai chi may help prevent shingles” (without the quotation marks).
The exercise described below, while not specifically designed to prevent any particular virus, will improve your level of immunity as do all T’ai Chi exercises, seated or standing. Consistent practice of T’ai Chi will result in an improvement in your ability to resist diseases.
Exercise #24 – Dragon Whips His Tail
Benefits: This exercise will lossen and strengthen your shoulders and arms as well as reducing any flab that may be present at the back of the arm. With the proper thoughtful, slow breathing, the flow of ch’i will increase significantly. You should be able to experience that flow in the tingling of your palms and fingers.
Posture: Your posture should be the same as it has been in previous exercises, feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Remember to sit up straight but relaxed with your back supported by the back of your chair.
Illustration by Jane Ramsey
1. As you breathe in slowly, bring your arms over your right shoulder, muscles relaxed. Your left hand should be level with your shoulder, your right hand in line with your right ear.
2. As you breathe slowly out, lower your hands so that the left crosses your chest, brushing your left thigh, ending palm downward to the side of that thigh. Tighten the muscles of your arm as you lower it.
3. Your right hand ends in front of your upper chest, palm facing forward as you complete your outward breath. Muscles should be tensed slowly as you push your arm to the front until your elbow is almost completely straightened.
- Try the acupressure point described below called Outer Arm Bone to supplement your exercise session.
Locate this pressure point on the outer surface of the upper part of your arm about a third of the way down toward your elbow.
There is a sinewy band of muscle on the outside of your arm. Press directly beneath the band that covers your shoulder for no less than 30 seconds.
Benefits – This very effective pressure point will alleviate aches in your shoulders, arms or neck.
Don’t forget to drink water at the end of your exercise session or any time you begin to feel thirsty. A Word of Caution…If you have or have had problems with your kidneys, please consult your physician regarding the amount of water appropriate for your condition.
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