While some might rely on medication or plunge into controversial diets in order to manage stress and lose weight, one might find it more comforting to rely on more natural solutions.? The Dragon’s Way program, a traditionally rooted program prioritizing wellness of body and mind, does just that. Created by Dr. Nan Lu, the founder of the Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, at the start of the new millennium, The Dragon’s Way draws on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) principles that have a history of over 2,500 years. Yet, these ideas and practices are still present in the modern day, and in Western society, with common examples being acupuncture, and cupping.?
Shawn Tubridy is a certified instructor of the Dragon’s Way program, and has taught classes locally for five years, practicing for around fifteen years. “Einstein has taught us that everything is energy,” she says, “and that includes the body.” However, Tubridy contends that this new science is old knowledge, Chinese medicine knowing this for 5,000 years. Humans have energy pathways called “meridians” that go through the body, she explains. The Dragon’s Way program places a strong emphasis on the philosophy of interconnectivity within the body and its functions, as well as with nature and the universe. TCM, which is free of medical specialists, maintains that an ailment in one part of the body would be related to a discomfort in another, all due to an imbalance of energy throughout the body. “Any pain in the body is a result of stagnant energy, so when you keep the energy moving, you can eliminate pain and disease from the body,” says Tubridy.
According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation (TCMWF), Qigong is an “ancient energy practice” that uses specific movements and postures with the goal of increasing the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”), or energy, throughout the body’s meridian system. The Dragon’s Way incorporates a form of Qigong, called Wu Ming Qigong, which is the backbone of the program. If practiced routinely, Wu Ming Qigong is able to “clean-up” the body and promote Qi levels. What distinguishes Qigong movements from martial arts is the idea that it is not intended to be physically exerting, making it accessible to most people and able to be widely practiced.?
The second part of the Dragon’s Way program is a specialized healthy eating plan, called “Eating For Healing.” This plan, which aims to promote weight loss and remedy various discomforts that result from eating, is about more than rationing one’s meals or keeping track of calories. The plan, which is primarily vegan (with the exception of seafood), focuses on fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and eliminates certain foods that supposedly cause an imbalance in one’s digestive system. Says Tubridy, “We waste more Qi digesting food than we do most things in life. Fried foods, for example, might cause the stomach to become too heated, while cold foods require the body to waste Qi in order to increase the stomach’s temperature.” The eating plan’s purpose, according to Tubridy, is to “rest your digestion, so that your liver, stomach, and kidney meridians and energies can work better together.” It is designed to foster a positive relationship with food amongst its participants, rather than make eating be an adversarial activity. Excess weight, which the TCMWF identifies as a consequence of a Qi imbalance, is one of the intended results of the “Eating For Healing” plan. However, weight loss is merely a side effect, as the plan aims to resolve the root cause rather than specialize on the singular issue itself.?
The third component and benefit of the Dragon’s Way is a framework for lifestyle changes. TCM stresses the importance of listening to one’s body, especially in the context of the Five Elements of traditional Chinese medicine. The Five Elements system? is “a comprehensive template that organizes all natural phenomena into five master groups or patterns in nature,” explains the TCMWF. “Listening to the body from a Five Element perspective is the basis for understanding how the body communicates its needs. This communication could be in the form of cravings, emotions or discomforts. Learning how to read these signs is the foundation for making sustainable lifestyle changes.” Tubridy’s class explores these Five Elements in depth.?
The last part of the four main components of the Dragon’s Way is the importance of herbal supplements. While Tubridy herself has not taken them, the TCMWF expresses the importance of including herbs in one’s daily regimen: “By including herbal supplements as par. The Dragon’s Way program is more than a local trend, however. In the United States, there are 82 instructors certified by the TCMWF, spanning across 20 states. In addition, France, Island, South Korea, and Spain are each home to one instructor.?
“It has really helped a lot of people, and that’s why people from so many places have become instructors,” says Tubridy, whose students have reported significant physical and mental improvements from the Dragon’s Way. Tubridy has also benefited herself from enrolling in the program as well. “For me, I used to get numbness in my arm at night, and the Qigong was the only thing that would help me with that. But, I also fell and broke both of my feet and my back three years ago, and I really wouldn’t be walking nearly as well if it wasn’t for Qigong. It’s has just improved my health in so many ways.”
A free intro to the Dragon’s Way program is available on August 9th at the T-Fit Fitness Center in Trumansburg. The six week series of the program begins on August 16th. For questions, contact Shawn Tubridy at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (607) 279-6543.