There are so many elements to staying healthy and often we will focus on just one or two elements of Qigong classes to stay well. Maybe we have friends who do lots of exercise and look great, this might draw us to stepping up our exercise routine to look as good as they do.
Or we read a bunch of on the benefits of good nutrition for longevity and decide – right its all about diet, I’m going to really eat well and learn as much about good nutrition as I can.
Then there is mindfulness and meditation, staying calm and emotionally balanced and we notice how those around us who meditate look so serene and happy … Intuitively we know that all these elements play their part towards a balanced healthy way of life, yet there rarely seems to be enough time in the day to do all the things we ‘should’ do to stay on top of our health and wellbeing.
My experience over many years of incorporating Qigong into my life as a daily practice is that having a good routine is a great starting point to keeping well and the more boxes your routine ticks ultimately, the healthier and more balanced you are going to be.
The Qigong daily routine for many regular practitioners starts first thing in the morning, before you have a chance to come up with a bunch of reasons to not do exercise today you are just out of bed and doing it. The thing with a Qigong workout is that there is not this massive hurdle to get over to get started each day. You don’t need a lot of space, you don’t necessarily need to go somewhere special to do it, you don’t even need lots of equipment to get underway. So that breaks down a few barriers – next thing is it’s not a big energy expenditure, so on a morning where you are a bit tired maybe not so well rested, the thought of a big run, swim or bike ride might just be too much to take on board. In fact, your routine is easily varied to suit exactly how you are feeling on any day.
Then we come to what you are getting out of a routine that looks deceptively low key and easy. First thing and often the biggest hurdle to get over is the mind, I find the morning mind is often full of thoughts and agendas and Qigong quickly reins it in and calms and focuses it. How does it do that? Quite simply we as humans are not capable of doing more than one at best two things at the same time. With Grace Qigong there are three things going on, breath, connected to movement, connected to leading the energy flow in the body and believe me people that takes up all the ram. Yep, when you are practicing well, all your attention is on those three things and the mind just automatically takes a back seat and to a large degree switches off from other thoughts. Now that in itself is a big deal – suddenly, you are exercising and meditating at the same time. Next thing is the way you are moving, as you progress with Grace Qigong your body naturally starts to open and increase its range of movement, strength, and flexibility.
So, these gentle looking movements are deceptively strong – as they work from the inside out. We learn to take our body through multiple planes of movement gradually increasing the range as we become stronger. The stances become wider, the movements become more expansive, and the strength and conditioning and cardiovascular components of the routines slowly ramp up. We learn to grow our practice into exactly what we need using our wonderful internal and intuitive body/ mind knowledge. Where that comes from is another big discussion that we won’t delve into right now.
So that next step takes the Qigong class into a strength and conditioning routine and a cardio routine when we choose to step it up to that level of intensity.
So now our early morning routine is starting to look impressive
· Meditation/mindfulness session
· Flexibility/range of motion session
· Strength and conditioning training
· Cardio workout
All on the back deck, or bedroom floor all in one session … haven’t finished yet
Let’s talk energy work, Qigong practice is all about consciously moving energy through the body and as nebulous as that may sound to some people the more you build your Yi (intent) through the practice, the easier it becomes to focus on flowing energy through the body in conjunction with the breath and the movements. In fact, the breath and movements are just the tools for getting the energy to flow, remember the literal translation of Qigong is ‘working with energy’
So, we are also connecting our internal energy to the external energy of the universe around us and focusing on drawing in the energy we want to have and gently releasing what we no longer need.
The next level of knowledge is learning all the meridians and what emotions are held in what organs of the body (another blog)
So, add to that list – energy work, or whatever you choose to call it, it may become as deep as building your connection to universal energy/higher consciousness.
Now our relaxed somewhat chilled looking early morning session becomes one hell of a lot more, I think we could consider this to be a serious case of leveraging or ramping the use of our time in a powerful way.
This my friends are why millions of Chinese people have been doing this for thousands of years. Once you start Qigong as a daily routine it becomes very addictive, and the health benefits really build quickly.
Qigong practice is not a cure all, but it sure does tick a lot of boxes.