Practice During the Day

As you no doubt already know you are a bit taller in the morning than at night. Does that mean you have to have a day staff and a night staff for your practice? Of course not. But there are differences in practicing at various times of the day. The best time, it has been said for centuries, is near dawn. The Chinese correlate the rising of the sun to the rising of Yang energy. At this time it’s good to warm up lightly but you can easily build to a pretty stiff workout and feel no ill effects. Here’s a time for strength training and heavy weapons. Speed and crispness can be improved.

The opposite is true for the other end of the day. A good night work out, which should halt about twenty minutes before you go to bed, should also end with a  qigong, standing or meditation exercise. Basically the day is for expansive skills and the night for contractive. Weapons like the straight sword and double weapons are good here. Stretch slowly. Play with ideas and special skills but don’t let the training become too cerebral or you will spend the night watching your bedroom walls.


Here is a list of the day’s hours from the traditional medical view. Check out the different times you practice or, more importantly, avoid it. You may find this interesting.


Time Period   Time Branch       Organ

03:00-05:00       Yin           Lungs
05:00-07:00       Mao           Large Intestine
07:00-09:00       Chen          Stomach
09:00-11:00       Si            Spleen
11:00-13:00       Wu            Heart
13:00-15:00       Wei           Small Intestine
15:00-17:00       Shen          Bladder
17:00-19:00       You           Kidneys
19:00-21:00       Xu            Pericardium
21:00-23:00       Hai           TripleWarmer
23:00-01:00       Zi            Gallbladder
01:00-03:00       Chou          Liver

Note that many of us eat from 7:00 to 9:00 in the morning and that’s as we should. It’s good to “rest the heart” around noon but after lunch the small intestine comes into play helping you to digest. With enough time in between you can work out here with impunity.


There is  a time of the day which on people mostly commonly agree—even if they know nothing about Chinese medicine: this  is the double period between 3:00 (15:00) and 7:00 when everyone feels a little drained. During this time, the “water period”, napping is almost as good or better than practicing if you can arrange it. The best is a relaxed repetitive exercise like taking a walk  or lightly practicing simple skills. You get sleepy at work around this time don’t you? Well,of course civilized countries often have “siesta” around this period of the day. Not a bad idea.

One Response to “Practice During the Day”

  1. patrick hodges says:

    According to Prof. Steve Joordens, U of Toronto, Scarborough, regarding memory, etc. older people shine in the morning whereas younger do better from middle afternoon to early evenings. Our education system for younger people has it backwards. Very, very good article. Perhaps, then, to remember those long routines, better for me as an “old feller” to practice in the mornings. =)
    That’s why, when my better half asked me to empty the garbage later in the day, I “forgot” =D

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