Three qigong practices that can help find your center again.
“Countless words count less than the silent balance between yin and yang” Lao Tzu
I’ve written a few times now about the wonderful benefits and positive impacts of movement meditations, like Tai Chi and Qigong. These practices are truly holistic in nature, allowing us to promote our physical, mental, and spiritual health, all at the same time!
A friend of mine is in the process of recovering from an extremely difficult medical treatment. She told me recently that she is struggling with her balance – Qigong immediately came to mind as a potential solution! Balance can be internal as well as external. A balanced mind and heart and lead to a more balanced life and health. My intention is that qigong can help my friend recover quickly.
Sadly, I lost a young, beautiful cousin last week to a possible overdose of pills and alcoholism. I truly believe that unhappiness and living out of balance attributed to her painful experiences. I know personally how quickly things can spin out of control, especially now but if we need a reminder to slow down, this is the time for many.
“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.” William Shakespeare
Qigong practice involves slow and deliberate movements that transition seamlessly between various postures. When we engage in Qigong, we focus on muscle control in well-grounded stances while flowing without pause.
Overall, Qigong is meant to be graceful. Those who look upon open space and see an individual or small group practising Qigong should be struck by how controlled and beautiful it is to see.
Among its many health benefits, Qigong helps tremendously with balance. The martial art requires us to coordinate breathing, energy regulation, and physical motion all at the same time. Through the process, we find balance in several ways.
“Balance is not something you find it’s something you create.” Jana Kingsford
There is improved physical balance that comes holding certain postures in the lower body while moving smoothly in the upper body. Those who practice Qigong learn how to maintain stability throughout the body at all times, never moving suddenly or rapidly. Because martial art is low impact, it is especially valuable for those with weak or compromised joints.
Qigong comes in many forms, allowing individuals to create whatever experience they want for their unique personal health needs. You can design a program that is geared towards certain parts of the body or focus on different elements of qi management. For example, one Qigong form might emphasize muscles and tendons while another strengthens joints.
Different exercises within Qigong also promote health in various ways. As one improves, he or she can gradually incorporate more challenging exercises and build on the experience gained from mastering easier movements.
“You thrive in all ways when you come into energy balance with YOU.” Abraham Hicks
In addition to physical balance, there is also restored energy balance that comes with managing yin and yang forces effectively. These opposing forces flow all throughout our body’s systems and organs.
In our busy lives, it’s easy to lose track of our healthy rhythms, which often results in our energy getting out of sync. We start carrying stress and tension in different areas of our body and internal processes don’t function properly.
Through Qigong, we learn how to send qi from overstimulated areas to undernourished parts of the body. As time goes on, people become more aware of qi and discover what it means to channel it with intention.
For those of you who are interested in practising Qigong, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of it. Be brave!
“Without courage, you can’t practice any other virtues consistently.” Maya Angelou
It’s important to practice qigong regularly to really appreciate and master the martial art form. You can’t expect to improve balance and stability if you only practice qigong once or twice a month. And you can’t grow to understand the power of qi in our lives.
The real health benefits come when you practice Qigong consistently. Your body will learn what it means to move with grace and control, which is hard to achieve unless you are performing specific Qigong exercises over and over.
Practice with Intention
Secondly, never just “go through the motions.” You should always practice Qigong with intense focus and intention. Remember, Qigong is as much a physical practice as it is a spiritual and mental activity.
Your mind should be engaged, but not distracted. You should be aware of your surroundings and your body in space. Your tendency may be to tune out because of the slow nature of the meditative movement. Avoid this temptation and always remain in control over your energy.
Finally, keep in mind that Qigong is not a short-term fix to an acute problem. It’s not a martial art you practice for a month or two to solve a specific health issue. Whereas runners might follow a training program for many weeks to prepare for a big race, Qigong is meant to evolve with you over years and decades.
Be patient and practice continually. Qigong is something you can enjoy for the rest of your life! And there is always an opportunity to grow.
Want to learn more about how I approach Qigong? Join us in our FB group, The Power of SHE Sleep. Health. Energy. for a few more weeks of free tai chi and qigong classes.