Spring Forward (part 2)


"Awakening" photo by D. Kuficha

It has long been written that the world as we know it will be forever altered by 2012. The need for a global consciousness of global respect, love and appreciation for all life cannot be understated.  We have passed the time for only having recognition and concern for our own problems. Yes, the spiritually-disenfranchised of this nation continue to support devastating wars and conflicts around the world. In so doing, the propagation of fear and terrorism is being used to further us away from our goal of global harmony.  Spring is the season of new thought and new ways of looking at old situations.  We are charged with taking evolutionary steps in the direction of inner peace, then world peace.  We have many movements coming forth to allow bring this goal to its fruition. One such goal is A Day of Global Silence.  The first date is07/07/07.  Spread the world and read the article on this website that will tell you how to use silence to create inner and global peace. Please lend yourself to this effort and spread the word for Silence. Shhh…”Be still and know that ye are daughters and sons of the Most High!”

It is through honoring the truth in our spirits, taking care to rest, eat well, speak truth, speak kindness, think high thoughts, and by respecting all life that we are most likely to remain strong, centered, focused, loving, caring, considerate, enthusiastic, helpful, encouraged and encouraging, motivated and motivating, inspired and inspiring. Many of us will suffer through our own or through the sufferings of others. One thing is certain, no matter how difficult, ridiculous, or fearful things may appear, ALL IS IN DIVINE ORDER. Take quiet time to honor yourself, your thoughts, feelings, fears, or confidences and to attune with greater frequency to the Divine Self, whatever you name IT, God, Allah, Jah, Yahweh, Jehovah, Mother Spirit, Infinite Spirit, Wakan Tanka, Holy Breath of All Life, Jesus, Buddha,Krishna, and so on. Remember also to honor the ancestors of ancient or recent past without whose lives yours would not be. The old folks put it aptly, “always remember where you’ve come from.”

QI GONG EXERCISES TO CALM THE INNER SELF: 

In the Huang Ti Nei Ching Su Wen, the Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti, asks Ch’i Po, “How can one achieve a tranquil atmosphere?” She answers, “By avoiding transgressions of the laws of nature.” One of the ways to avoid (too many) transgressions is through proper use of the breath. Perhaps one or all of the following three qi gong exercises will lively up your qi.

HARA BREATHING TECHNIQUE

Two important reasons for performing Hara breathing technique are to relieve the body, mind, and spirit of any type of stress and to circulate and strengthen the body’s qi (vital energy).  If you feel weak, overwhelmed, scared, angry, or just stressed out, breathing into the hara region will ease these feelings.  Breathing into the hara allows you to contact your reservoir of energy, and then helps you root it.  In so doing, you are bringing in the vibration of optimal health to your being.

Find a place of quiet peacefulness. Make sure the clothes you are wearing are loose fitting, especially around your waist.  You may lie down, sit down or stand up to perform this breathing technique. I find it more comfortable to either lie down with knees slightly bent or place a pillow under them to take pressure off the lower back, or sit in lotus (crossed-legged) position. Begin with natural breathing, allowing your body, especially your jaws, neck and shoulders, to relax.

Yoga birds balancing postures photo: D. Kuficha

Take three deep, cleansing breaths, inhaling slowly through your nose, expanding your abdomen, and exhaling slowly through your mouth. Now, slowly inhale through your nose to the count of five (“one thousand one” and so on). Place your tongue at the roof of your mouth. Feel your inhalation all the way down to your hara, the place located about one inch below your navel. As you inhale, your abdomen is expanding and your diaphragm moves down in a full breath. Hold the breath for another five counts. While exhaling, remove your tongue from the roof of the mouth, and slightly open it. To the count of five, slowly and quietly exhale through your mouth likening the breath to a cool breeze. NOTE: If a feather were to be placed in front of your mouth during exhalation, it would not be moved, so quiet and calm is the breath of the exhalation. Breathe continuously without pause between inhalation and exhalation.

Practice this technique daily for at least ten to twenty minutes in the morning and evening.  You will soon notice improvement in your inner feelings and in your overall physical health.

Copyright 1996 Dafina Kuficha, L.Ac.

Soothing Depression by Regulating Qi with Chinese Qi Gong:

Sit crossed-legged with both hands clenched in a gentle fist. Swing right-fisted arm to the left along with left one while turning head to the right. Then, turn left-fisted arm to the right along with the right one whilst turning head to the left. Keep the rest of your body still. Exhale gently through mouth while turning arms. Yet, inhale slowly through the nose while returning both fists to the middle part of the body.  This simple breathing exercise can treat fullness of the chest with feelings of frustration.

Ease anger & calm the liver:

Stroke the acupressure point in the pad between the big toe and the second toe (Liver 3). With your other hand, rub the point located right between your breasts & sternum (Conception Vessel 17). Next, hold the point on the back of your hand in the padded area between your thumb and forefinger (commonly referred to as the headache point, Large Intestine 4). Finally, locate the point two inches above and in the center of either wrist. The point rests between two tendons. Repeat several times, holding each point for a 1-2minutes.

NOTE: Do not rush through any of these exercises nor should you allow yourself to become frustrated because you are unable to immediately follow the instructions.  Lovingly re-read them until you are comfortable. I guarantee, as you focus and take your time, you will locate the points correctly and figure out the exercises. Stay calm and relaxed through all these exercise.

TREASURE YOUR HEALTH’S RECIPES, SOME BORROWED:

The springtime is a good time to limit your intake of heavy foods, as resting from heavy foods aids in rejuvenating the liver and other important digestive organs. Also because the weather is warmer, it’s better to eat lighter.

Avoid mixing fruits and veggies because they may cause digestive discomfort. While flushing or cleansing your liver, avoid dairy products, fish, chicken, eggs, unsprouted legumes, coffee or caffeinated drinks or products, starches, like potatoes, rice, and bread, milk or milk products, sugar, and alcohol. These are heavy foods and will interfere with your goal of flushing and resting your liver.

Afterwards you may return to eating some of those heavier foods or continue to avoid them, whatever proves wise for your metabolism and comfort.

Here are some suggestions for fresh fruits to keep on hand: apples, pears, oranges, bananas, figs, prunes, papayas, mangos, melons (usually eaten alone).

Trying any of these fresh vegetables, leafy vegetables, zucchini, avocado (small amount), cauliflower, turnips, lettuce, radishes, beets (tender, young ones and the tops), alfalfa sprouts, string beans or other vegetables that better suit your taste, in the afternoon and evening will keep stress off your digestive system.  Raw veggies and food preparations are great to eat as often as possible during this season. However, if you notice your digestive system is a bit sluggish, it may be wiser to lightly cook your food or steam your vegetables.  Legumes, lentils, mung beans are also good liver food.

“6 Root Revival Herbal Tea”

1 Part of each of the following herbs: Oregon grape root, burdock root, dandelion root, yellow dock root, sarsaparilla root, and echinacea root. This recipe can be used as a decoction by placing them in a pot (glass, stainless steel, or coated enamel. Avoid aluminum!) Bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Stir them well and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 15-30 minutes, more for the more woody herbal roots. Strain and serve. Drink 2-4 cups daily, as needed. This decoction will help revive a sluggish liver, cleanse and tone the blood of the liver, aid the digestive system and can be used to clear up some nagging skin problems caused by too much toxicity in the liver.

Important Note: Milk thistle has been widely used to restore our vital organ, the liver, to health. Silymarin, in the form of milk thistle, seems to rank high in terms of revitalizing the liver’s function. Coming in second is cynarin, an active ingredient in artichoke leaves.

Cynara plant photo: rain-tree.com

Cynara extracts have a choleretic affect, that is, it allows for proper transport of the bile to the gallbladder. Inadequate transport would increase the risk of liver damage. Cynara is also very effective in lowering LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, because it lessens synthesis of cholesterol in the liver.  Choleretics have been known to lower the levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides, as has turmeric. Turmeric has “historically” been used in effectively treating liver and gallbladder disorders.

Wild Berry Bright Eyes, a creamy, colorful berry smoothie!”

6 Wild Berry Zinger herbal tea ice cubes

½ cup almond milk, rice dream or 1% milk of choice

½ cup blackberries, washed

½ cup blueberries, washed

2 teaspoons honey or grade B maple syrup

¼ teaspoon pure raspberry extract

Steep one bag of Wild Berry Zinger herbal tea in a cup of hot water for about 20 min., or until the tea is strong and flavorful.  Pour the tea into six ice cube tray squares and freeze until solid.  Pour the milk into a blender and add the berries, honey or syrup, raspberry extract and Wild Berry Zinger tea ice cubes.  Blend on high speed until smooth and serve immediately.  Hmmm…..good!

Liver Flush Tea may be very effective in lowering both cholesterol and cleansing the liver.  It consists of 1teaspoon each of the following: fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, flaxseed, and peppermint leaves. Add 4 slices of fresh ginger, cut about 1/4in. thick.  Licorice root is optional, and not advisable or cautioned with high blood pressure.

At a medium high temperature, cook the gingerroot for 7 minutes in 1 1/2 ~ 2 pints of water.  Add the rest of the ingredients and steep for 10 ~ 15 minutes. Then, drink it a couple of times a day.  Caution:  If you are usually flushed and hot often, you may want to drink the tea eliminating gingerroot. Gingerroot may interact with anticoagulant drugs, and take care with gallbladder disease.

Tangy Cucumber Salad

2½ cups plain yogurt, ½ tsp. minced garlic, or to taste, ½ tsp dried dillweed, ½ tsp dried mint, 1 large Kirby cucumber or regular cucumber, grated.  Mix together all the ingredients.  Refrigerate 1hr before serving.

Dafina’s Vegetable Tofu Scramble  

2tblsps olive oil, 1 medium onion (chopped), 4 large garlic cloves (crushed), 2 celery stalks (chopped),  ½ lb. ea., grated carrots, asparagus tops, broccoli tops and stalk (chopped),

1lb extra-firm tofu, drained & crumbled, ¼cup organic tamari sauce,

1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional)

1tsp dark sesame oil

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat to sauté the onion, garlic and celery. Add the carrots, asparagus and broccoli stirring, for 10 minutes.  Add the tofu and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softer, and retaining their rich green color of the asparagus, celery & broccoli. Add the soy sauce and sesame seeds.  I add other spices like cumin, cayenne pepper, turmeric and oregano. Cook 1 minute more.  Stir in the sesame oil.  Serve hot with brown rice or basmati rice.  This scramble makes a delicious main course to any meal.

“The Healthy Salad”:

1part of each: parsley, alfalfa sprouts, watercress, dandelion, celery.  Mix and use with simple dressings, i.e., olive oil, fresh lemon juice

Healthy Organic Salad photo: D. Kuficha

and apple cider vinegar.  Not too much dressing, just enough for taste. Chew well!  For best results, eat organic!

The “Healthy Salad” is rich in blood-building chlorophyll, natural vitamins, esp. vitamins A&E as well as in minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, iron, etc.  It provides bulk for the intestines to regulate digestion and cleanse the intestinal walls.  It also provides nutrients, not only to help make new blood, but also to detoxify the blood-forming organs, especially the liver and lymphatic system.

As you continue to learn more about the ways to take care of your health characteristic to each season, also take heed to honor the importance and sacredness of your soul in all you do, think and feel.

Remember: Your health is your treasure!

Some References: The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, translated by Ilza Veith, New Edition; “Staying Healthy with the Seasons,” by Dr. Elson M Haas, “The Great Tao” by Stephen T. Chang, “The Ultimate Smoothie Book”, by Cherie Calbom.

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