Tai Chi is Meditation in Motion

Tai Chi Water

If you are looking for internal peace, the ancient Chinese practice of tai chi may be the answer. Whether you are feeling stress from everyday life or have physical issues such as high blood pressure, the calm and relaxed movements of tai chi have been producing calmer minds for over 700 years.

I have found tai chi a great way to stay fit, mentally and physically. Tai chi forces you to focus and be conscious of every movement of your body and every breath you take.  It totally takes your mind off any stressful thoughts you may normally have related to work, family or other normal everyday issues.  For a brief period of the day you are immersed in this calming technique.  After you have finished your tai chi session the relaxing effects of tai chi typically stay with you the rest of the day.

I highly recommend looking into tai chi. It does not take any special skills or athletic ability.  Anybody can join a tai chi group at any age.  Within a very short time you will find yourself enjoying the mindful engagement in fluid motions that relax your mind and body.   You will find tai chi groups in libraries, hospital health centers, senior centers, community centers and private organizations.  I practice tai chi in a park with a group of friends.  We add Chinese music to our tai chi sessions to add to the enjoyment.

Photo by Denis Carrascosa – http://tinyurl.com/y83n4em5 

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig 

Sponsor – This article is sponsored by Zodiacals™ Baby, a line of soft and cuddly t-shirts, body suits and coveralls for infants in sizes 3-24 months available in supermarkets and online at www.zodiacals.com.

Baby Clothes Featuring Chinese Zodiac Cartoons

From infant’s body suits and t-shirts to baby coveralls, a new line of basic baby clothes is now available online at zodiacals.com and in selected King Kullen supermarkets on Long Island, NY.  A complete list of participating supermarkets is available at the zodiacals.com website.Miss Piggy 4X4.png - 6-17-17

Zodiacals Baby clothes put a new twist on basic clothing for infants. Every baby needs a soft t-shirt, body suit or coverall to sleep in. The new Zodiacals garments are not only ultra-soft to keep baby cozy, the adorable animals add a special meaning to wearing the garment.

Each Zodiacals garment features a cartoon character created by award winning Chinese American artist Tiffany Chang. The characters are based on 2,000 years of Chinese legend and each animal has a special meaning.  Monkeys, for example, tend to be clever and curious.  Roosters tend to be trustworthy, sharp and sociable.  Goats tend to be sensitive, sweet and charming.  Mothers can select cartoon characters that match their baby’s personality.

The new Zodiacals baby clothes are available in sizes from three to twenty four months. The short-sleeve t-shirts are made with 100% cotton so that they feel soft on the baby’s skin yet resist the wear and tear a growing child will put on clothes.  The bodysuits feature a lap-shoulder neckline so you can get the baby dressed and undressed with ease.  The 100% cotton coveralls will be your go-to footed coveralls throughout the year.

Is Your Baby a Little Monkey?

Cartoon Monkey S

Is your baby widely curious and sharp minded? He or she may be a little monkey.  The Chinese have studied monkeys for over 2,000 years and found them to have unique characteristics. They were found to typically be clever, curious, charismatic and extremely inventive.  If your baby is a little monkey he or she is going to have a wonderful life.  Monkeys are playful, loving and wise.  They are fun to be around because they are so creative and generous.

A couple of years ago I traveled to the Zhangjiajie Mountains in China where there were hundreds of monkeys. As we hiked up the winding mountain trails we could see whole families of monkeys on the hills on the side of the road.  Occasionally a few monkeys would venture over to where the people were which gave us an up-close look at their behavior.  Through personal experience I can verify that monkeys are quite clever with sharp minds.  This was demonstrated when they would use a variety of tricks to get food and trinkets from the people we were traveling with.  I could also see that they were very social animals by the way they were interacting with each other on the side of the road.

Artwork by Tiffany Chang – www.tiffanychang.us

Sponsor – This article is sponsored by Zodiacals™ Baby, a line of soft and cuddly t-shirts, body suits and coveralls for infants in sizes 3-24 months available in supermarkets and online at www.zodiacals.com.

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

 

 

 

 

Tai Chi for Kids

Kids Tai Chi

If you are looking for a way to help your child maintain focus, calmness and self-discipline tai chi may be the answer. Children can experience a lot of stress today both at home and in school. Tai chi can help children cope with stress because it promotes inner harmony and relaxation. Children who are relaxed and balanced get more out of life. Tai chi is an exercise that involves the body and the mind. You move almost every part of your body while at the same time you are using the mind to remember the moves. It requires focus to think through the movements. Because of this Tai chi teaches children to remember and to have self-discipline.

Tai chi is interesting to children because it is related to the martial arts and many of the movements are derived from the natural movements of animals and birds. It is fun because it is performed slowly and gracefully. While the child is performing tai chi he or she is focusing on posture and balance. This is a good alternative to the sitting position where they spend most of their time. As a side benefit the child practicing tai chi may do a better job of keeping their weight under control. Stress promotes the desire to eat and the combination of exercise and reducing stress in a child can help with the problem of over eating.

Photo by Ben Burkland Carolyn Cook – http://tinyurl.com/y7brvbx8

Sponsor – This article on a child’s growth and development is sponsored by Zodiacals™ Baby, a line of soft and cuddly t-shirts, body suits and coveralls for infants in sizes 3-24 months available in supermarkets and online at www.zodiacals.com.

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

 

A Baby’s First Five Years

Baby Learning

What occurs during the first five years of a baby’s life can have an enormous impact on how well a baby develops throughout its lifetime. A portion of a baby’s brain cells are prewired at birth, however much of a baby’s development is based on learning that takes place during the important first five years.  According to a recent WebMD article by Colette Bouchez (http://tinyurl.com/m673joe) one-on-one parent-to-baby contact is the key to successful growth and development of a baby during this critical initial period of the child’s life.

There have been many toys, books, videos and other learning tools that are promoted to be able to help an infant develop its intelligence during the initial years of its life. The article by Colette Bouchez, however, points out that all the baby really needs to boost its brainpower is its parents.  Paying close personal attention to the baby is its best learning tool.  This includes talking to the baby, playing with the baby and paying attention to what interests the baby.  This is really the best way to stimulate the baby’s brain to grow and develop. Bouchez suggests while reading to the baby the parent should point to pictures and then use them to identify shapes, animals and other things that engages their interest.  This is much better than sitting the baby in front of a television and assuming he or she is happy.

Photo by Thomas – http://tinyurl.com/n6g6525

Sponsor – This article on a baby’s growth and development is sponsored by Zodiacals™ Baby, a line of soft and cuddly t-shirts, body suits and coveralls for infants in sizes 3-24 months available in supermarkets and online at www.zodiacals.com.

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

 

 

 

Picking a Name for an Asian Baby

Asian Baby III

Many Asians, when having babies after coming to the United States, begin a search to find the right name for the baby. Some prospective parents choose to give the baby an Asian name.  For many, picking an Asian name is easier because the Asian parents are often familiar with appropriate names and the meaning of these names.  Others, however, search for an appropriate western name in English.  This can be much more difficult because the meaning and popularity of these names is less clear.  The popularity of names for babies in the Western world changes over time and a great name 50 years ago may no longer be popular.

There are some names like James and Emma that have been around for centuries and are still popular in the western world. According to a recent article in AARP’s Home & Family online magazine (http://tinyurl.com/leglz7u) however, there are many names for babies that are quickly dying out.  The following is a list of 36 names that, according to AARP, are in danger of becoming extinct:  Angela, Bertram, Beverly, Carol, Cecil, Clarence, Clive, Cyril, Debra, Diane, Donna, Dean, Doris, Dennis, Derek, Duncan, Elaine, Ernest, Geoffrey, Horace, Joanne, Leonard, Maureen, Malcolm, Nigel, Neville, Paula, Roy, Sally, Sandra, Sharon, Sheila, Tracey, Wendy, Yvonne, Wayne.

The AARP article reports that 50 years ago the most popular girls’ names were Lisa, Kimberly, Michelle, Mary and Susan, while the most popular boys’ names were Michael, David, James, John and Robert. Names that are now starting to rise in popularity, however, are quite different.  They include names such as Tahiti, Koa, Calista, Alizeh and Ines.  These new trends in western names make picking a name for the new bundle of joy particularly difficult for prospective Asian parents.

Photo by Sodanie Chea – http://tinyurl.com/kg4c3dr

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

 

Chinatown in Havana Cuba

Chinatown in Cuba

As I passed through the dramatic Chinese-style gate to Barrio Chino de La Habana (Chinatown in Havana) I was shocked to find a lack of any Chinese people on the streets. I expected to see small stores selling things like scallion pancakes and tons of people speaking various dialects of the Chinese language.  There were a few Cuban style Chinese restaurants but nothing like what you would find in the Chinatowns of New York, Houston or San Francisco.  The only language I heard people speaking was Spanish and I saw no Asian faces.

I was told that at one time Havana’s Chinatown was one of the largest in all of Latin America. Starting in 1847, hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers were brought in to replace the labor of African slaves. After completing 8-year contracts, the Chinese immigrants generally settled permanently in Cuba, where their descendants have since intermarried with local Cubans.  After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, however, most of the Chinese Cuban entrepreneurs fled the country for the United States. Since that time Cuba has not attracted Chinese immigrants.  The redevelopment of Havana’s Chinatown would require huge investments and the current political conditions in Cuba are not favorable to this.

As I walked around Barrio Chino I ran into a Chinese Language School that was mainly teaching Cuban children to speak Chinese and learn about the Chinese culture. Although all of the staff personnel I met were Cubans they were doing a good job of exposing Cuban children to Chinese traditions and language.  The school also introduced me to a magnificent Chinese martial arts school located within the gates of  Barrio Chino de La Habana.  This became one of the highlights of my visit to Cuba.

Photo by Laura – http://tinyurl.com/lkuja56

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

Tai Chi in Havana Cuba

Cuba Tai Chi

This week I had an amazing experience practicing tai chi in Havana Cuba. There is an incredible Chinese martial arts school in Havana’s China Town where many locals gather in the mornings to practice tai chi. The name of the school is Escuela Cubana de Wushu and it is headed by Master Roberto Vargas Lee.  Master Lee is an accomplished martial artist who received a 4th degree black belt in karate before he began studying Chinese martial arts in China  He is now a world-class master of wushu and tai chi and heads one of the largest martial arts schools in the western world.

We arrived at Escuela Cubana de Wushu at 7:15 AM and were greeted by around 20 locals who had also arrived early to stretch and get ready for tai chi. Within the next 15 minutes there were at least 60 people filling the practice area.  Their ages ranged from their mid-thirties to their seventies and eighties.  One of the women told me she was 92 years old and had been practicing tai chi regularly for many years.  Around a third of the participants were male.  Everybody was wearing a silk Chinese jacket of various colors and several were wearing a complete silk tai chi uniform.

The Escuela Cubana de Wushu complex is one of the best martial arts training schools I have seen anywhere in the world. There is a huge outside courtyard that comfortably held the 60 plus people in our morning tai chi group.  In addition, there is an indoor training hall with Chinese decorations and martial arts weapons tastefully displayed on the walls.  Each training hall has a raised stage where the instructors are located so everyone can clearly see them.  An excellent speaker system broadcasts music and instructions, making it easy and fun to perform the tai chi forms.  With a large ying yang painted on the floor, the beautiful Chinese decorations and the Chinese flag flying next to the Cuban flag I felt like I was in an authentic martial arts school somewhere in China.

Photo by Tiffany Chang.  All Rights Reserved

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

 

Chinese American Artist Featured At Sterling Oaks

Shaolin Monkey

Award-winning Chinese American artist Tiffany Chang is being featured this month in the Sterling Oaks clubhouse in Naples Florida. Her art encompasses a variety of different bodies of work and includes a collection of oil paintings based on the animals of the Chinese zodiac.  Two of these animals, the Shaolin Monkey and the Tai Chi Rabbit will be on display during the Sterling Oaks exhibition.  Selections from her Garden collection will also be on display including a series of large oil paintings of exotic flowers found in Naples.  Using her unique style she has dramatized these flowers to maximize their impact to the viewer.  Her entire garden collection can be seen on her website www.tiffanychang.us.

Artist Tiffany Chang was born in Shanghai, China and raised in Taipei, Taiwan where she started her training as an artist at the age of 10. She now lives in Naples, Florida during the winter months.  She initially trained in Chinese calligraphy and brush painting.  In her early 20’s she transitioned to western art while she studied oil painting.  She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California and a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut.

Artwork © Tiffany Chang.  All Rights Reserved

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

 

Kung Fu Granny

Kung Fu Granny III

I have long believed that continuous practice of kung fu and/or tai chi would help one maintain a healthy long life. The article Kung Fu Granny by Chieu Luu and Nanlin Fang published by CNN on February 19, 2017 reinforced this belief.  Zhang Hexian, a 93-year-old grandmother started practicing kung fu when she was four and still wakes up at 5 a.m. to practice each morning.  She has been practicing kung fu for 89 years.  Kung fu has been a tradition in her family for more than 300 years.

Ms. Zhang says “to have good body you need to exercise and keep a positive attitude”. She credits kung fu, plenty of sleep and a healthy diet for keeping her healthy.  She has never had to go to a hospital.  Zhang, who lives in China’s southeastern Zhejiang province says all of her family members have learned kung fu.  She believes it instills discipline and strength.  She also feels it is a good way to learn self defense.  I personally have been practicing either tai chi or kung fu several times a week for over 25 years and I feel great.  Hopefully I can also keep doing it until I am 93.

Photo by CNN – http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/19/asia/china-kung-fu-granny-trnd/index.html

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig