Could this be the answer?
I’ve never enjoyed the gym or any type of high impact workout, and I’ve struggled my whole life with finding exercise that works for me and is more than walking and maybe light weights. I enjoy walking at all speeds, but I know I need to stretch and use other muscles that walking doesn’t improve.
I’ve also struggled with meditation for at least two decades. I forced myself to meditate at least thirty minutes a day, often up to an hour, for many, many years, and I can say now it was nearly a form of torture for me. I never experienced bliss or oneness or had any mystical encounters. The most I would get out of it was a cup full of tears.
I have what Tibetan Buddhists call monkey mind. My mind flits all over the place, thinking dozens of things (if not more!) at once. Maybe I’ll get a breath or two in, but then I’m off to the races – what am I going to eat today; what’s on my to do list; where do I want to go on vacation; why did that person do that to me; what am I doing with my life; why did I say that to that person; what is the meaning of life; will I ever be able to meditate properly; should I keep trying; what’s wrong with me – and on and on and on. Seriously, it’s exhausting.
I know the point of meditation is to slow the mind down until you can concentrate on one thing only, so it will cause monkey mind to go away, but me on a cushion is essentially a disaster. Me in a yoga studio or gym is another disaster.
Walking has been my main exercise for many years, with some dancing at home on occasion, but walking is my preferred form of workout. And, don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a huge help. Walking has so many benefits, from strengthening one’s immune system to improving sleep, enhancing creativity, stimulating the digestive system and improving health overall.
But I realize it’s not enough – other muscles, joints, and even my energy, needs to be stretched and worked out also.
And I might have found the answer – Qi Gong or Qigong (sometimes written as Chi Gong). A couple people have recommended it over the past year, and I, of course, have thought deeply about it but did nothing – until a few weeks ago when I found some YouTube videos and gave it a try.
Qi Gong translates to “energy work”. Qi (pronounced “chi”) is the life energy inside a person. The Chinese practice is over 4,000 years old and is based on traditional Chinese medicine. It’s a combination of breathwork, meditation and exercise. It’s essentially a slower form of Tai Chi – and it could be a solution to both my problems!
The purpose of Qi Gong is to help circulate the flow of energy throughout one’s body by drawing in life energy and unblocking stagnant energy. There are a multitude of moves to learn, and I’m just a beginner so don’t know much, but just the names of them make me want to practice. Some examples of moves:
Painting a Rainbow
Two Hands Hold Up the Heavens
Wise Owl Gazes Backwards
Lifting the Sun
Let the Dove Free
Don’t they sound beautiful?
After one or two moves, you can feel the energy starting to move throughout your body and into areas you are working on. It’s an excellent morning routine for anyone at any age or fitness level.
Health benefits of Qi Gong include:
Boosts the immune system
Improves blood pressure and resting heart rate
I’m looking at Qi Gong to potentially replace my more traditional meditation (or nap) practice and think it’s an easy, focused way to exercise that stretches parts of my body that need to release.
Must go – I’m now off to Hug and Swing the Sun.
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Join me each week in the Whole Health Journal as I write about food and health, experiences lived and dreamed, and as I explore my spiritual side. This article originated there.