Practitioners' News

2019: Make it a year of Nourishing Life (Yang Sheng)

by John Stan | Jan 02, 2019


As many practitioners of Acupuncture and TCM know, Yang Sheng is the practice of nourishing life. The branch of TCM knowledge called Qi Gong provides practitioners with a large number of internal and external practices that were developed over the centuries to promote physical, emotional and spiritual health.  

When practiced regularly and consistently, Qi Gong techniques allow for increased energy, more robust health and graceful aging.  In my training over the years, I have been exposed to many styles of Qi Gong and have linked the concept of Yang Sheng to these practices of Qi Gong. The ultimate purpose, I was taught, was to create personal health and thus avoid premature death. That was until I took the course on Yang Sheng with Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée here in Vancouver last November. 

For those of you who are not familiar with Elisabeth, she is a world-recognized scholar in Chinese Medicine classic literature. Her work over the last 40 years has helped many practitioners bring to life the deeper meanings in Chinese classical medicine.  

Her course on Yang Sheng did that for me, and I hope that by sharing the big “A-ha”, I had with this course it will inspire in you a more exciting and fuller understanding of Yang Sheng. 

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As I mentioned above, Qi Gong practices have been associated with the principles of Yang Sheng and I always saw them as one and the same - in essence, practices to cultivate personal health. But right off the bat, Elisabeth took us through a number of classical texts that delved into the classical meaning of “Life”, and the meaning of “Nourishing” Life and… according to the classics, it is not just about a set of personal practices to avoid disease and death. No! Yang Sheng was about the concept of Life in the biggest broadest frame of reference. The classics, she pointed out, focused on the idea of Life as a “force” that permeated all things, and due to its presence, gives us humans the opportunity to live and experience Life.  The classics, she pointed out, reflected that the concept of Life was not a personal idea but a universal idea. Life, as taught in the classics, was Nature, our Ecosystem and all that fills our Environment. 

Once I realized this, I got excited as practicing Yang Sheng took on an entirely different meaning. It was not only about personal health practices to avoid disease and death, but it was also about taking care of our community and planet. It meant being an environmentalist in the truest sense of the word… a caretaker for both our internal environment (our cellular ecosystem) and the external environment (our planetary ecosystem). Thus, the practice of Yang Sheng is twofold. It means taking time to nourish your own inner environment through practices such as cardio, weights, yoga, Tai Chi, mediation and visualization. In addition to these self cultivation practices, it also means taking care of our external environment by participating in reducing waste, reducing use of fossil fuels and helping others in our community. The practice of Yang Sheng was a bigger call for all us to be of service to Life and all that is living! 

As the news releases from the Paris Conference on Climate Change emerged over the last month, there is no doubt that the environment is in a state of crisis. Stark and severe changes were underway and these could not, nor should not be ignored. The news reports compelled us to wake up and begin to do everything we could to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, reduce waste and use recyclable/ biodegradable materials. Their collective message from the conference was the following: if we don’t change now, we will be caught in a planetary disease process that will cause increasing difficulty and damage to all inhabitants of our planet. 

This message from the Paris Conference on Climate change and the message from Elisabeth’s course on the Art of Nurturing Life and it relationship to Chinese Medicine combined together and created a formidable call to action for me, and I hope after reading this it does the same for you! Yang Sheng is about nourishing life on our planet and we all need to rise and heed that call. 

Here at Eastern Currents, we will be working hard in 2019 to reduce our environmental impact. We will be introducing policies and procedures to lower our carbon footprint. We will also be working with manufacturers to create products that reduce waste and are recyclable. 

We look forward to being of continuing service to you throughout the year. Together, our products and services and your efforts as practitioners help patients to be well and thus, empower them to be better caretakers of our environment. Our combined efforts are truly Nourishing Life for the greater good of our planet. 

Happy 2019 to you all! Together, in our personal, professional and business lives, let’s Nourish Life in its fullest and deepest meaning! 

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