Life is stressful, and it appears that it’s getting worse instead of better. Each of us has our own list of items in our lives that produce stress and cause anxiety. More than ever, we need to find ways to relieve our stress and bring back into a calm, centered state of mind and body.
Thanks to my sister, Pandora, I’ve been introduced to an activity that is a great stress reliever—Qi Gong. The first word is pronounced, chi, the second more like gung. I’m only at the beginning level, but already I feel more relaxed and centered when I perform this 10 – 15-minute ritual that is in some ways similar to Tai Chi.
Qi Gong (also spelled chi gung or chi kung) is a gentle form of exercise composed of movements that are repeated a number of times. They often stretch the body, increasing fluid movement through the blood, synovial and lymph systems. A synovial joint is relating to or denoting a type of joint that is surrounded by a thick flexible membrane forming a sac into which is secreted a viscous fluid that lubricates the joint. Examples of synovial joints are knees hips, wrists and shoulders.
Qi Gongs slow methodical movements are almost hypnotic, focusing the mind on building awareness of how the body moves through space.
When you practice and learn a Q Gong exercise movement, there are both external movements and internal movements. These internal movements or flows in the Chinese language are called neigongor "internal power". These internal neigong movements make Qi Gong an excellent health and wellness practice.
The internal movements also differentiate Qi Gong from almost every other form of exercise in the West that often emphasizes prolonged cardiovascular movements (such as running and biking) or that focus on muscular strength training (such as weight lifting).
Mental and emotional stress can manifest themselves in any number of physical problems. Inner tranquility in our western society is almost a joke when measured against our normal daily stresses and demands. But I’m learning the importance of the inner tranquility that can be developed through Qi Gong, as well as understanding how this tranquility can help improve my overall health and well-being.
As I mentioned, I’m still at the beginning level, intentionally starting out slow. But already, after only a few 15-munite sessions, I can see the practice helping me to better manage my stress and anger.
I encourage you to look into this relaxing art of exercise. As it has and is doing for me, it may help you strengthen and balance the energy of your mind.