Thursday, 30 November 2017

YR-3: Daily Diet Variety

30 Nov 2017

To achieve a better yangsheng effect, one should intake at least 25 different kinds of foods on a daily basis, including grains, beans, nuts, vegitables, eggs, milk, meat and sea produce.

Recommended by leading yangsheng experts and prepared by the 'imperial kitchen', this diet has been practised by China's very top national rulers/leaders since ancient dynasties. As a diet principle, this number became known to the public only in recent decade.

While the content of the diet may vary with different people in different times, the number of 25 must be reached daily as it ensures the balance of nutrients.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

YE&T-3:. Leg Raising

29 Nov 2017

While sitting with nothing particular to do, raise your two legs alternatively and keep the leg straight in the air for 30 to 60 seconds each time, with your toes and foot back pulling toward your face as much as possible. When you do this stretching exercise, your thighs and calves should feel tight and tiring.

Do this stretching exercise for 4 to 6 minutes each time and twice a day, for it helps you maintain the health of your legs, which begin to age before any part of your upper body.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

BHH-3: Too Fastidious about Eating

28 Nov 2017

We are what we eat. While all of us have specific preferences for foods, it is no less harmful, if not more, than smoking or staying up late, to be a too fastidious eater: if you habitually eat too much of what you like better, be it spicy, sweet, salty, fried, preserved, smoked or barbecued, you will definitely destroy your internal balances (such as the balance between yin and yang, and the balance of nutrition), and become vulnerable to different physical disorders and diseases.

For a yangsheng practitioner, it is always healthier to eat something of everything, rather than too much of something.

Monday, 27 November 2017

GYH-3: Drinking Water before Breakfast

27 Nov 2017

After brushing your teeth, and before intaking anything else, drink a big glass of lukewarm water every morning.

The amount: 300 - 400 ml.
Water temperature: 20-30 degrees c, or as long as you do not feel it is cold
Water quality: boiled water, which may prove better than any kind of bottled water

This habit has good short and long-term health effects. For example, it can help clear/clean your digestive system, reduce your blood thickness (to prevent blood-related health issues), prepare your stomach for food intake, prevent from getting prostate problems, among other things.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

WTY-2: The Oldest Living Person Says...

25 Nov 2017

Born in Xinjiang Autonomous Territory of China on 25 June 1886 towards the end of the Qing Dynasty, this lady named Alimihan Seyiti is believed to be the oldest living person in the world as of today. During a recent interview about how she has achieved longevity, she shares 6 simple yangsheng secrets with us:

1/ Avoid being lazy and keep working;
2/ Follow a regular timetable for daily living;
3/ Eat all kinds of coarse grains and no supplements;
4/ Eat to her fill only by around 70 % at every meal;
5/ Pay attention to foot health

While these revelations are actually open secrets to most yangsheng practitioners, Seyiti does have a unique habit to help keep herself fit: she always enjoys walking on her bare feet.

For more information, read the article 'Chinese woman who claims to be 127 would be oldest person ever to have lived' from South China Morning Post (16 August 2013) at

Alimihan Seyiti: Oldest Living Person

Friday, 24 November 2017

FTY-2: Defining Yangsheng

24 November 2017

Baidu Baike (encyclopedia) defines yangsheng in this way: 原指道家通过各种方法颐养生命、增强体质、预防疾病,从而达到延年益寿的一种医事活动。现代意义的“养生”指的是根据人的生命过程规律主动进行物质与精神的身心养护活动. Translated into English, the term 'originally refer[s] to the Taoist medical practice of maintaining their lives, enhancing physical fitness, preventing diseases through various means to achieve longevity... [but] in the modern sense it refers to the physical and spiritual activities of nurturing one's body and mind in accordance with the laws of human life process.'

Quite obviously, neither of the two definitions from Wiki Baidu is clear and accurate enough. For one thing, yangsheng is not only a practice. Second, it is true that Daoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine have contributed most to yangsheng since ancient times, but gongfu practitioners, rich and high class people, including kings and emperors, may also have played an important historical role in the activity. Third, spiritual health could be no less, if not more, important than physical health. Fourth, what does 'the laws of human life process' exactly mean? - this phrase seems rather vague.

Since 'longevity' is a natural result of yangsheng, this theoretical component should be excluded from its definition as in the modern definition given in Baidu. Also, yangsheng involves a great deal of knowledge and even expertise. This being so, I would define yangsheng as follows: Yangsheng is a system of knowledge and practice concerning the attainment of one's physical and psychological well-being. As such, yangsheng is at once a socio-natural science and an art.

In fact, psychological, mental or spiritual well-being has a dialectic relationship with physical, physiological or bodily well-being, and may often prove even more significant than the latter to our holistic health. If fitness or 'health' is the key concept in physical well-being, its counterpart in psychological well-being should be 'happiness' or positive mentality. I will elaborate along these lines in my future footnotes to yangsheng.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

YR-2: Tofu Fried with Black Fungus

- Ingredients:
1/ 250 g Tofu 
2/ 100 g Black Fungus
3/ One green pepper
4/ Two cloves of garlic
5/ One spoonful of salt
6/ One spoonful of soy sauce
7/ One spoonful of chilli sause

- Method:
1/ Cut tofu into pieces of your chosen shape
2/ Soak the fungus in water for 2 hours, wash it well, and tear it into smaller pieces
3/ Peel off the garlic, wash the pepper and cut them into smaller pieces
4/ Put the garlic pepper into the wok when the oil is hot
5/ Add fungus, salt and fry them together for a couple of minutes 
6/ Put them away in a plate, and wash the wok
7/ Put the tofu pieces into the wok when the oil is warm
8/ Fry the tofu well on both sides until the surface becomes yellowish
9/ Add, salt, soy sauce, chilli sauce and a glass of water
10/ boil the tofu well until the soup is almost completely absorbed
11/ Add the cooked fungus into the wok, and fry everything together
12/ Remove everything out of the wok

- Note
This dish is not only very delicious but highly conducive to health. Eating it regularly is good to the lungs, helps improve the immune system, and especially maintain the health of one's heart and blood systems. 

                                                            Tofu Fried with Black Fungus

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

E&R-2: Neck Exercise

Neck or Neck-related problems such as pain, stiffness and dizziness used to be very common among mid-aged and elderly people, especially among those who had to sit at a desk most of the time, but now such problems are common among all age groups except perhaps babies and small children. Actually, this health issue has been growing increasingly serious as more and more people become 'addicted' to computers and cellphones.

Of many different ways to maintain your neck health, the following 4 kinds of exercise are probably more helpful to prevent, control and relieve the symptoms.
1/ Keep your neck straight, and push your head hard against your hands 36 times in each of the four directions;
2/ Punch yourself in the areas between your neck and shoulders 36 times from both the front and back;
3/ Reach out your arms horizontally in a straight line with palms up, and move them up and down like a butterfly moving its wingsour 108 rounds;
4/ Stand straight on your toes, and try to keep looking up at the sky/ceiling for 2-3 seconds and repeat this movement 36 times. 

If you do any two of the above 4 kinds of exercise on a daily basis, you will find them helpful to your neck problems. In my own case, a few years ago, I had a stiff neck almost every week, but since I began to do the exercise, I have never had one, while my neck pain and dizziness have also improved quite a lot.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

BHH-2: Using Tobacco

This is common sense now that everyone knows the harmful effects of using tobacco.

However, when he supposedly introduced tobacco to England in 1586,  Sir Walter Raleigh had no idea that he would turn out the culprit of a stubborn worldly health problem which has been haunting millions of people over the past 430 years.

In a complete list of cancer-causing materials published most recently by UN-WHO, tobacco smoke (second hand), tobacco smoking, and tobacco (smokeless) are ranked respectively number 107, 108 and 109.

Since the bad effects of using tobacco are well documented and commonly recognised, it is unnecessary to go any further than just mention here that tobacco smoking is one of the worst habits in terms of yangsheng.

A serious yangsheng practitioner would resolutely give up smoking, or never use tobacco to begin with.

Monday, 20 November 2017

GYH-2: Veggie Day

Another good habit to develop for the sake of yangsheng is to devote at least one fixed day every month to vegetables/fruits only. Here is the diet for the absolutely 'veggie day':

- Drink a big glass of water first before eating anything else in the morning;
- Eat leaves of napa (or chinese) cabbage boiled with water and several chili peppers cut into small pieces as the main course for each of the three meals;
- Drink water or eat fruits (such as apples, bananas, and oranges) in between meals or as needed;
- No fish, meat, eggs, diary product or even grains.

The best and most important health effects of this habit include helping 'clear/clean' your digestive system, detox, and boost your immune system.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

WTY-1: Why This Site?

Never did I think of creating another (blog) site after, let alone one about yangsheng. Indeed, with my extremely limited screen time and my deplorably poor computer skills, I would not spend any more time online than it is absolutely necessary besides maintaining daily communication and my e.journal Poetry Pacific. While enjoying a reasonably satisfactory life of freedom and happiness now, I sometimes doubt if it is really foolish to commit myself to another big project. However, for many years already, I have been haunted by two things.

One thing is that I strongly wish to have begun to pay attention to yangsheng at a much earlier age. Born with half a dozen congenital defects/deformities and growing up in poverty like an abandoned child in a remote Chinese village, I went through a great deal of physical and psychological suffering. In my later teenager years, I certainly knew the word 'yangsheng', but ignored it as something to be concerned by the rich or old only. For me, doing some physical exercise was all that I could and should do about my health. As a result, I continued to suffer from a poor health in addition to constant spiritual crises and physical hardships until I started to take yangsheng more seriously in 2011 when I attended a Puti Meditation class in Vancouver. Ever since then, I have come to more peaceful terms with myself. Although new health problems keep popping up in recent years, I have managed to recover from or get control over them. I know if I had begun to practise yangsheng earlier, I could have avoided, postponed, or alleviated all my ‘acquired' health problems.

Another thing is that I have always admired those who can make great contributions to the human world. Inventors, scientists, leading businessmen, spiritual and (sometimes) political leaders are particularly helpful in a big way. With my highly limited knowledge and capabilities, I could only try to contribute to society in my humblest way. Beginning from 2011, I have been following my own rule: since i am incapable of helping others in a big way, I should try to help those few who can do so. Quite against my character and despite my eye problems, I have done some translation and publishing work for a couple of spiritual leaders in the past few years, and now I volunteer as a diaper guy with the Foodbank. Realising that I have benefited a lot from yangsheng, I believe by creating a site to share my experience and knowledge, I can help people in a bit less small way.

It is my strong belief that as one of the most significant contributions Chinese have made to the human civilisation, yangsheng can benefit every human being on earth, and thus should be everyone's lifelong concern. Since no government or any educational institution has shown any interest in this, I am ready to introduce yangsheng to the non-Chinese-speaking world. Should a few pageviewers be able to benefit somehow from my effort, should yangsheng eventually become a government or educational program, I would certainly be more than happy.

Yes, given its great benefit to humanity, yangsheng ought to be a subject taught in high school, studied in university, integrated into government programs, and practised by everyone.

Friday, 17 November 2017

FTY-1: Understanding Yangsheng

Yangsheng is actually a quite ambiguous if not really confusing or misleading term even in and among Chinese. Ever since it was developed by Laozi and Zhuangzi (the two great founding fathers of Daoism) more than 23 centuries ago, this term has been interpreted traditionally in at least three different ways.

1/ To the vast majority of ordinary people, yangsheng simply means to 'preserve health' or 'keep fit'. Probably because they usually do not know the true value of sound health until they lose it, or because they do not have enough resources, they care or know little about yangsheng although the term is familiar to them. This is particularly true of youths and those living a poor and hard life.

2/ To certain groups of people,  yangsheng means to 'nurture life' in order to attain longevity. This interpretation is popular among high class or rich people as well as Daoist priests/practitioners and TCM doctors. For them, 'yangsheng' is basically a means to an end.

3/ To some yangsheng practitioners, yangsheng means to 'nurture both the body and the mind' for the purpose of attaining longevity. For them, yangsheng is still a means, but to achieve longevity, it is no less important to 'cultivate the mind and improve one's character' (修心养性).

All the above-mentioned interpretations are, as I see it, more or less problematic, although the third theoretical approach seems much more 'satisfactory' than the other two, and far closer to what Laozi and Zhuangzi may have had in mind when they first introduced the concept.

How should we understand yangsheng then?

Thursday, 16 November 2017

YR-1:Plain Fried Cabbage

- Ingredients
1/ 400 g cabbage;
2/ two chili peppers;
3/ one spoonful of edible oil;
4/ half spoonful of salt;
5/ one green onion

1/ Tear cabbage leaves into small pieces, and soak them in water for several minutes before draining;
2/ Cut the green onion and chilli peppers into slices;
3/ Put the onion and peppers into the wok/pan when the oil is warm;
3/ Put the cabbage pieces into the wok/pan when the oil is hot;
4/ Fry all the ingredients together well, evenly for 2 minutes or so

(For a different flavour, fry cabbage with two spoonfuls of vinegar instead of putting pepper beforehand.)

- Note
As cabbage is one of the very healthiest vegetables available, eat it as much as often as possible to keep your blood vessels, esp. arteries clean and free of garbage. In addition, this king of vegetables is particularly helpful in six other important ways: enhancing liver function, controlling blood pressure, adjusting blood sugar level, nurturing the stomach, ageing and inflammation-countering.

Image result for 清炒圆白菜

Image result for 清炒圆白菜

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

E&T-1: Exercise to Prevent Cataract & Presbyopia

Presbyopia occurs to everyone as part of the aging process, while cataracts are in most cases also age-related. Medical studies show risks of cataract and presbyopia increase steadily after the age of 40, and more than 90% of the population will develop such vision problems by age 65. Presbyopia is an unrecoverable issue. If not controlled or treated, cataracts can definitely lead to (legal) blindness.

If you want to prevent cataract and presbyopia, the most effective exercise is this::
1. Close your eyes;
2. Turn your pupils (to 'see') clockwise 36 times first, and then anti-clockwise another 36 times;
3. Use you two (fore)finger tips to press the qingming acupoint 36 times (see the picture below);

Keep doing this exercise once a day from age 40 to 50, twice a day from age 50 to 65, and more if needed. By so doing, your eyes(vision) will remain as 'young' as you would like to.

Image result for 睛明穴
the qingming acupoint

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

BHH-1 Staying up Late

For one reason or another, there are increasingly more night owls nowadays than ever before. Some people have to work on their night shits; some prefer to work or play until late at night; others are simply internet addicts. However, no matter what the reason, staying up late habitually is particularly harmful, and much more so even than smoking, to one's physical wellbeing.

According to traditional Chinese medicine as well as western common sense (and recent modern medical studies), it is true, as Benjamin Franklin has said, that 'early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.' In fact, the best bedtime is between 9:00-11:00 pm to 5:00-7:00 am every night. One, if not the, most important reason for this is very simple: your immune system begins to detox around 9:00 pm every day, while your liver cannot detox during its fixed timeframe between 11:00 pm and 1:00 am unless you sleep on bed. If you stay awake at night for too long and too frequently, the result can be quite disastrous to your liver, heart and almost your whole immune system.

That is to say, if you really want to yangsheng, DON'T be a night owl whenever possible!

Monday, 13 November 2017

GYH-1: Finger-Combing

On a daily basis, comb your hair with your ten fingers from the front to the back of your head 108 rounds after you get up in the morning, and repeat it before bedtime.

If you prefer to, or if you are more or less bald, you could alternatively finger-knock or palm-pat your head gently, also better twice a day, 108 rounds each time.

This habit helps to maintain your hair health (if you are not yet completely bald), improve your blood circulation in the head, and get a better sleep, among many other good long-term effects.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Happy Yangsheng 快乐养生

Both as a construct and as a practice, yangsheng is probably the best and the most significant contribution made thus far by the Chinese to the world or human civilisation, even greater and more important than the well known four Chinese inventions (papermaking, printing, compass and gunpowder). Out of 90 thousand pieces of classic literature survived during the past four thousand years, 10 thousand has more or less to do with traditional Chinese medicine, which is concerned with yangsheng in theory and practice alike. As pointed out in Science and Civilisation in China by Joseph Needham, 'one of the greatest scholars in [Britain] or any other country, of this or any century' (Independent, 26 March 1995),  Chinese civilisation is the first and only one in the world to pay so much attention to yangsheng.

Etymologically, "养生," pronounced as [yangsheng], is a verb as well as a noun originated in the Chinese language. Literally meaning 'nurturing life,' the word represents a unique ancient Chinese construct introduced by Lao Zi in his great book Tao Te Ching. Inclusive as it is, the term is used to refer to all the knowledge related to, and all the practices aimed at longevity through the cultivation of one's physical and spiritual wellbeing.  When it first called attention more than two thousand years ago, yangsheng was primarily a focus, a major concern for every Daoist follower or practitioner.  However, as more and more people began to pay heed to their wellbeing, it has become increasingly popular among Chinese, especially adults. Given its rich store of recipes, therapies, methods, techniques and know-hows accumulated over the past twenty-five centuries or so, it is not surprising that yangsheng can offer something really good and helpful to every human being. Indeed, in an advanced information age and an improved living condition, who would not want to learn to live a healthier, happier, and even longer life today?

To share experience, knowledge, thought and whatever is related to yangsheng as the Way towards wellbeing, happiness and longevity, I am creating this site despite my lack of computer skills and extremely limited 'screen time.'