Rejuvenation Secret #1: Improved Mood, Increased Energy, and Better Stress Resistance

Disaster Recovery – Using the Ancient Chinese Silk-Weaving Exercises

This last week, like so many of us in the Mid-Atlantic area, I was without power for several days. As with many of you, I carried through the actual power-outage itself well enough. Adrenaline kicks in, and our survival instincts take over. We solve problems, come up with creative fixes, and simply deal.

It’s the aftermath that is toughest.

The adrenaline surge fades away, and we’re left with clean-up. Messy, nasty fridges and freezers. Things strewn all over the house. More dirt and grime, wear and tear. This is when – all too often – it seems overwhelming.

Like many of you, I’ve had a post-power-outage personal energy and power drop. This morning, I was barely able to do a yogic downward dog. What makes this even more challenging? When we’re stressed, we tighten up. That takes a further toll, and it’s even harder to do those “stretch and release” things that we know will help us feel better.

Rebooting our personal power and energy is like rebooting any system. We do the simplest and smallest things first.

My personal “power-up” sequence uses a special movement/energy/breathing sequence: the silk-weaving exercises. These are essentially a “pre-kung-fu” movement series – not as full-fledged as T’ai Chi, but movement-and-breathing-oriented. Sort of like a martial arts version of yoga warm-ups. Very powerful and effective.

A good video preview showing extracts of these silk-weaving exercises. Another good web resource gives detailed instructions for the Eight Pieces of Brocade, which is another term for the silk-weaving exercises. Here is one more YouTube demonstration video for the Eight Pieces of Brocade.

My results:

  • Better energy (I was indeed able to get into some yoga and other stretches),
  • Improved mood, and
  • Reduced stress along with a better attitude about dealing with the post-power-outage clean-ups.

Overall, a really big impact from just 40-60 minutes of silk-weaving exercises, followed by yoga and a Western esoteric energy-practice called circulating the body of light. (See Donald Micheal Kraig’s book, Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts, referenced in my previous blogpost, Creating Personal Energy.

Michael Minick’s The Kung-Fu Exercise Book: Health Secrets of Ancient China is the book that I used many years ago to teach myself the basic silk-weaving exercise patterns. Since then, having studied T’ai Chi and Oriental dance for many years, I’ve been able to decipher the secrets that were NOT put into the book. That has made my technique more powerful and effective. Minick’s book is now (sadly) out of print; used copies are available through

For information on circulating the body of light, read Donald Michael Kraig’s excellent book: Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts


Best wishes, and more power to you!

Related blogposts:

Releasing Neck Tension (and Minimizing the Dreaded "Dowager’s Hump")

Looking Younger – by Releasing Neck Tension

One of my dear friends exercises regularly. I see her often getting up in the morning, putting together a blender-full of a healthy protein and fruit smoothie, and heading out to the gym before she goes to work each day. She’s resumed her “healthy lifestyle,” and she’s getting fitter and trimmer.

As we women get older, we are likely to get <a href="
As we women get older, we are likely to get osteoporosis, resulting in the dreaded ‘dowager’s hump.

Nevertheless, I keep seeing a persistent hunch-over in her shoulders and neck. It’s the emerging dreaded “dowager’s hump”!

Far too many of us are getting this “hunched over” look; partly because so many of our activities – from working at the computer to driving a car – induce this posture. They all bring our arms forward and “hunch” our necks downwards.

If You Can’t Be a Good Example, Then Be a Horrible Lesson

I see my friend, and get a pointed reminder of how I don’t want to look!

Just like her – and possibly just like you – I spend most of my days at the computer. Occasionally, I’m driving about town. These two activities take up the bulk of my time.

Seeing how I don’t want to look is a powerful reminder to include “dowager’s-hump-fighting-strategies” into my life.

But – just like you – I get absorbed in my work, sometimes for hours at a time.

What can we do?

Proactive Steps to Minimize a Dowager’s Hump

As we get older, we can’t simply rely on exercise alone to keep osteoporosis (and the dowager’s hump) at bay. We need to think about a more integrated strategy, including:

  • Diet, including dark leafy greens – possibly with vegetable juicing, together with with good calcium/magnesium supplements,
  • Targeted exercise, focusing on a complete core-strengthening regime, and
  • Specific stretches to open up our neck, upper back, and shoulder/pectoral areas.

Dr. Natalie Cordova, a Chiropractor and posture expert, gives us some ideas on what we can do to strengthen our backs and reduce the likelihood of a dowager’s hump.

Jim Evans also suggests some exercises to help deal with a dowager’s hump.

Releasing Neck and Back Tension Will Help Minimize a Dowager’s Hump

Most of us have desk jobs. Between sitting at our desks, sitting in the car (with our shoulders brought forward as we grasp the wheel), and then sitting at home in the evenings, we are all too often in a posture that tightens our neck and hunches our shoulders forward. Even in our “leisure moments,” we’re reinforcing this posture. (Feel the posture that you’re in while watching TV, doing texts and emails, and other digitally-based activities.)

One of the most notable signs of aging is our posture. Actually, it’s a combination of posture and muscular/joint stiffness. “Limberness” is a sign of youth. Being hunched over, with a tight, drawn in neck, with rounded shoulders is a sign of both stress and aging. And when we get “fixated” in this kind of posture, we start looking like a turtle – one that is very reluctantly sticking its head out of its shell! That’s the “dowager’s hump” stage.

Surprisingly, not many fitness coaches and anti-aging gurus focus on this. But a tight neck, and tight shoulders, are not only absolute give-aways about aging, they also feel awful! It’s hard to feel vigorous, lighthearted, and happy when our posture says that we’re hunching over to avoide the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”!

Perhaps even more surprisingly, the key to unlocking neck and shoulder tension (and releasing a “dowager’s hump”) starts not at our neck, but in our hips, pelvis, and lower back. As we release these areas, we begin to “mobilize” our spine. Once we do that, we can start releasing tension up and down our spines – reaching up into our neck. This is how we create a youthful, vibrant body!

I’ve just come back from a week at a client site. There were task-filled days, often be-bopping from one place to another, with the “to-do list” always on my mind. While I could do some stretch-outs, some yoga, and some walking while at my client’s, it just wasn’t ideal for my early-morning “sun salutation” yoga workout. And now, returning to home base, in the midst of unpacking and taking care of everyone’s physical (and emotional) needs, I’m noticing a tight neck. And also, a tight back, and a very tight lower back and hip area. The secret? A combination of yoga and “belly dance basics” – a series of stretching and releasing exercises that are actually best done in bed, or on a soft and yielding surface. I’ve been combining that with deliberate breathing, opening up my diaphragms. And without even getting to my neck area, I’m already getting some release.

Our yoga practice doesn’t have to be fancy, and we don’t need to do lots of advanced poses. But just getting some “downward dog” and “sun salutations” in helps tremendously to release tension in our hips, lower back, and sacral area. And all of this is necessary before any form of dance can begin.

Very best wishes as you use Oriental dance (belly dance) for personal growth and healing!

Yours in dance –

Alay'nya - author of <a href="">Unveiling: The Inner Journey</a>
Alay’nya – author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey

Author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey
You are the Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus. Become the Jewel!

Founder and Artistic Director, The Alay’nya Studio
Bellydance a courtesan would envy!

Check out Alay’nya’s YouTube Channel
Connect with Alay’nya on Facebook
Follow Unveiling: The Inner Journey on Facebook


P.S. Want a couple of good DVDs to help strengthen your core and minimize dowager’s hump tendencies? Check out the two below!





Gerson Kuhr, aka The Fitness Pharaoh on Unveiling: The Inner Journey

What does the Fitness Pharaoh, producer of the highly-acclaimed Core Training for Belly Dancers, have to say about Unveiling: The Inner Journey?

Gerson writes:
“Masterfully written. This is one of the most inspiring books that I have come across in a long, long time. It is “must reading” for any woman who wants to get in touch with her “inner diva” and realize her full potential as a dancer and human being. It’s empowering for men as well. The resources alone (mentioned throughout the book) are well worth the purchase price.”

Read this and more reviews of Unveiling: The Inner Journey.



Alay’nya, Unveiling: The Inner Journey





Copyright (c) 2012; revised 2013, Alay’nya. All rights reserved.

Related Posts: Creating a Youthful Presence Through Belly Dance

How to Use the "Fountain of Youth"

The “Fountain of Youth” – The Beauty Secret That Costs Nothing (and Makes Us Look Years Younger)!

Would you like to get out of bed looking ten years younger? What if something made you look even better than having a good night’s sleep, or a rousing round of early morning sex? Both sleep and sex are good; no question. But what if there was one more thing that would increase your beauty, your vigor, your vital energy, your zest, and your overall confidence and sex appeal? What if there was a single, ultimate, “anti-aging secret”?

And what if this anti-aging secret cost nothing but time?

It’s just because this “costs nothing more than time” that you don’t see articles about this in the major women’s magazines.

We all know that today, more than ever, beauty is “big business.” We know that “Baby Boomer women” in North America make up the world’s demographic with the greatest disposable income. Manufacturers and marketers know this, also. That’s why TV shows and women’s magazines are a vehicle for advertising all manner of skin care, hair care, and beauty products. They also promote services – ranging from cosmetics customization to cosmetic surgery.

All of these are good. I have no problem with any of these, and am as interested as the next woman.

But there’s one more thing – a “special something” which no one mentions. And they don’t mention it simply because there’s no profit margin. Your favorite plastic surgeons won’t get you under the knife for this. Your favorite “medi-spa” won’t book you for a bit of Botox. Revlon and Estee Lauder – and all the many other cosmetics companies – won’t post greater profits to their stockholders.

The 2011 Summer-Fall issue of New Beauty magazine has articles such as “Botox Breakthroughs” and “The Secret Surgery: How to Look Years Younger in 60 Minutes or Less.”

These are all good – please, I am not suggesting that we don’t take advantage of each and every benefit that these advanced beauty methods offer. From spas to supplements, from hormones to yoga, from restylane to revitalizing face creams – I’m for all of them.

But let’s think about a “one hour beauty treatment” that doesn’t involve a surgical procedure – or even visiting your favorite masseuse.

What could we do so that, as Lord Byron said, our lips would be “roses over-washed with dew“?

This is not some arcane secret that requires a lifetime of questing, and years of esoteric study. Rather, it is practical, efficient, and learnable. Moreover, it gives us instant results. By accessing and using our very own Fountain of Youth, we increase our beauty – we actually do look years younger – without the time and cost (and potential downsides) of cosmetic surgery, injectables and lasers, and other means that are common in our current “beauty culture.”

The Fountain of Youth: What It Is, What It Isn’t

In Unveiling: The Inner Journey I write about the very real Fountain of Youth that any one of us can access and use. It’s all in Chapter 29, “Pragmatic Esoterics.” And I was practicing it this morning, just after waking up.

And yes, I did look ten years younger getting out of bed today!

P.S. Do you want instant access to this “secret”? Go to: The Fountain of Youth: It “Really Is” Real!