Your Self-Care Qigong and Tai Chi Functional Meditation
QIGONG (chi gong) Qigong is a 5000 year old Chinese system of healing and therapeutic exercises, and is well known today for preventing illness and treating disease. Chi is breathe, the air we breathe, life energy. Gong means work, task, self-cultivation; the art and skill of cultivating your life energy. Qigong is a mind and body practice consisting of mental concentration, visual imagery, focused attention and breathing technqiues, specialized postures and movements and meditations. Combining all these elements can keep your chi, your life energy moving, and cleanse the energy channels, (acupuncture meridians), relieve stagnation and open up blockages in the body. You will also enhance your respiration, cardio vascular system, balance, immune system, strengthen muscular and skeleton system and much more.
This unique mind body training affects the psycho-physio-neuro-immunological response and can help you achieve optimum mind body health. Qigong training gives you greater mileage from a smaller output of energy and helps to restore depleted energy reserves. These changes are measurable. Studies indicate that during the practice of qigong, oxygen consumption is reduced by 31% and the metabolic rate by about 29%.
The body begins to collect instead of continually disperse energy, which is what happens when we experience mental, emotional and physical stress. The goal is not to expend your energy entirely, but to keep about 25% on reserve so that it becomes available when you need it. It is energy saving, less becomes more; you begin to build strength from the inside out.
Qigong is your self-care which becomes a way to prevent disease and improve health. Patients who practice qigong recover more quickly from surgery and chemotherapy, and gain the skills necessary to take charge of one’s own health.
There has been an increasing acceptance of qigong in the west, as more and more practitioners can attest to its wonderful health value on the mind and body. It is considered to be one of the most widely scientifically studied exercises known today. Research has revealed that Qigong promotes the healing of gastrointestinal disorders, hypertension, heart disease, stress, insomnia, arthritis, anxiety, cancer and many other illnesses. Qigong is for all age groups, no matter what physical condition you are in. It can be done standing or sitting or lying down, you can even just use your mind and visualize yourself practicing the movements.
Train at your own pace and you will begin to see the positive changes. This is the exercise we can grow old with to stay young!
TAIJIQUAN – (Tai Chi Chuan)
Tai chi can be translated as ‘grand ultimate fist’, and meditation in motion. Traditionally practiced as an ancient form of Chinese martial arts, tai chi is now practiced throughout the world as an effective exercise for mind and body health, fitness, balance and overall wellness. According to TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine, when chi, life energy is blocked in the body, illness and chronic conditions can occur. The more chi flowing through our bodies, the greater the health allowing for a natural progression of optimum health. Tai Chi is a whole body, whole mind exercise. It treats health systemically and can restore the body to its original healthy state. The more one practices you begin to create an invisible shield of inner health and strength within you and around you where stress, pollution, and disease can be less likely to occur.
Well known as a healing art and meditation in motion, this gentle, slow kung-fu, therapeutic, low-impact exercise is suitable for individuals of any age and varying physical abilities and can help promote better balance, mobility, agility and increased vitality. Tai Chi has been well known to help provide relief from asthma, back pain, arthritis, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and many more illnesses and conditions.
Tai chi is based on nature and harmony, the philosophy of yin and yang. The gentle flowing movements contain inner power that strengthens the body from the inside out, improves mental and physical balance and brings better health and harmony in your life. With practice we strive to seek internal stillness while in motion and to seek internal movement while externally still. There is no advantage in learning tai chi in a hurry. It is not how quickly you can learn a tai chi form, it is how well you learn it that gives you maximum health benefits and enjoyment. With tai chi, it is more common that people who learn slowly will gain more benefits and progress further. In time, the goal should be to practice daily on your own.
With consistent continued practice, repetition of movements, class after class, week after week, month after month, year after year, you will begin to acquire an internal memory. I like to say that you are a ‘practicing internalist’, studying what is going on internally in your body while you are in motion or in stillness. Eventually you will be able to practice on your own and enjoy the wonderful benefits of Tai Chi daily.
Tai chi is different from other exercises. Initially you may feel awkward and clumsy, it is perfectly normal, be prepared to spend some time getting used to this. Medical studies show that if you want to learn a skill, practice it slowly. Studies have also shown people gain significant health benefits after three months of tai chi.
Today, Tai Chi is practiced in every corner of the world for health improvement. Scientific studies show that Tai Chi improves and possibly prevents chronic conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. In addition, it improves balance, boosts immune system and reduces stress. In fact, Tai Chi improves practically all aspects of health. The class is designed to be easy to learn, safe and effective for your health and enjoyment.
Tai Chi and Qigong is a form of complementary medicine and can become your daily self-care practice. It is not meant to take the place of diagnosis or treatment by your physician. You should never feel pain in your practice, use common sense and listen to the wisdom of your body. No teacher, doctor or therapist knows your body better than you. If it makes you feel good, inspires and motivates you, then it is a good prescription for the soul!
Train at your own pace and you will begin to see the positive changes. This is the exercise we can grow old with to stay young, your self-care Daily Dose of Vitamin Chi!