Carl Hendel, M.D 10/99

The healing of wounds is an important part of Western Medicine. The Chinese medical culture has millennia of experience. And common sense has been around even longer. The oft' given prescription for a muscle pull is "rest." The other frequent prescription is "walk it off." Sounds like yin and yang to me!

So, how do we find this balance of work and rest required for health? As usual, I find explanations contained within the TaiJi teachings. How do we relax? Most people don't know that they are not relaxed. Some do. Even people who deeply study the idea of "relax" as a major part of their lives (sincere students of TaiJi) may spend years of practice and not fully understand the meaning of "relax."

After a decade or two of practicing, one can always relax more. This is the fabled secret. The challenge is in the amount of work required to "relax."

Hypnosis, imagery, and meditation all address "relax". TaiJi Quan includes the body in movement as well as stillness, a true mind/body connection.

The idea of healing many leg injuries requires "relax" and "do not re-injure."

Relax requires differentition of yin and yang. Without this, the empty cannot truly be empty. If it isn't empty, it is not relaxed. "Simple, not easy", say the teachers.

"Do not re-injure" means to practice carefully, listening to the injury. To quiet and relieve, "stand higher and take a shorter step." These are wise words from teachers.

Perhaps it is helpful to examine this as a two step process, although, in life, they are inseparable. When the injured leg is to be "full"and supporting the body, protection from re-injury is the result of standing higher and taking a shorter step. When the injured part is to be empty, it must be really empty.

An image that comes to mind is ocean waves bathing the shoreline (a yin/yang study of the interface.) As we move from full to empty and empty to full,the tide of qi rises and falls like gentle waves bathing the tide pools, our tide pools being the tissues themselves. This movement washes and cleanses, clears stagnation and therefore relieves pain. Healing is supported and promoted.

Correct practice, is, of course, required for the benefits of practice to fully manifest. What better purpose do our lives have than to cultivate health and balance. So "practice and relax."

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