If you’re like most of us, the current circumstances are presenting you with new challenges and uncertainties. The shifting of daily routines often creates stress and brings up questions about the future. While we’re not always able to control the circumstances that surround us, Qi Gong offers us powerful tools for letting go of stress and cultivating a calm and peaceful state within.
Evolutionarily, stress is a natural response to danger. In the wild, life-threatening circumstances would put us into a mode of fight or flight in order to ensure our survival. While there are situations in which such a reaction can benefit us, there are also many times when our stress response is both unnecessary and counterproductive.
Outside of immediate, life-threatening events, stress really doesn’t help us out too much. Yes, it can make sure our mind is aware (sometimes too aware) of potential dangers, but it also causes us to waste a lot of energy on thoughts that don’t serve us. For example, spending hours upon hours of time-consuming media in a frantic, fearful state doesn’t actually achieve anything constructive in your own personal life. Being an informed citizen is healthy, but it’s also important to know how to prevent negative messages from overwhelming your mind or emotions.
Not only are stress and anxiety negative feelings to experience, but they also reduce your immune system and make you less resilient to threats to your health. As ironic as it sounds, the same stress response that is intended to protect you from harm can actually make it more likely that dangerous diseases or illnesses are able to attack you. Basically, one of the best ways to maintain a happy and healthy existence is to focus on reducing stress and cultivating vitality.
Before getting into the Qi Gong practice we promised, it’s important to add that day-to-day life decisions play a big role in determining your level of stress. We already talked about limiting negative media, but it’s also helpful to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, eat healthy foods, and spend time in nature.
Being outside and engaged with the natural world is like diving into an ocean of healthy, rejuvenating energy. There’s something really magical and healing about going on a walk, hiking, biking, or doing other outdoor activities that allow you to immerse yourself in the great outdoors. For that reason, you may find it very helpful to dedicate some time each day to being outside.
Qi Gong has many powerful qualities, and one of these is its ability to melt away stress and create a peaceful and energized state of being. Below, we’ve included a brief three-exercise Qi Gong practice to help you experience natural stress relief through the healing benefits of Qi Gong. We’ve also added a video of Lee demonstrating the practice following the explanation.
Three Exercises For Natural Stress Relief
Wave Breathing: Start in a standing position with your legs about shoulder-width apart. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. It’s not that important which hand you decide to place on the belly and chest so just do whatever feels most natural to you.
Start to inhale slowly and let your lower abdomen start to rise, and then your chest. When you exhale, first release the air from your chest and then allow your belly to empty. Try to make your breath slow and deep. The rising and falling of your hands on your body is a good indication of how effectively you’re breathing into your belly before your chest.
In Qi Gong, we view the breath as an important way in which the body communicates with the mind and emotions. By working mindfully with the breath, you’ll be able to tap into your emotional state to let go of the stress and anxiety that doesn’t serve you.
Buddha Holds Up The Earth: After a couple of minutes, we’re going to add some simple arm movements into the practice. As you inhale, bring your hands up through the middle of the body until your arms are fully extended above your head at the top of your inhale. As you exhale, allow your hands to drop slowly, staying close to your body and ending up around your waist at the bottom of your exhale.
As you exhale, bend your knees slightly and feel your energy come to a resting position. As you inhale, extend your knees so your legs are straight and feel your energy expanding within you. This is a wonderful practice for cultivating rich, vibrant Qi throughout your body.
Centering: The third and final practice of this routine is called centering. Bring your feet close together and stand upright with your hands together by your waste. Then, circle one hand out to the side and upward until it’s directly above your head. Then, draw it slowly downward until your hand passes your forehead, and then your chest, and then return it to your lower abdomen.
After you’ve done that motion with one hand, do it with the other. Keep switching hands and try to breathe with each movement. As you circle your hand up to the sky, inhale. As you bring it down, exhale. Feel the energy of your mind, heart, and body connecting and centering.
Centering is an excellent way to gather the energy you just cultivated so you can finish your practice feeling both energized and grounded. When you’re grounded and centered in yourself it’s a lot easier to release stress and find peace and harmony. This grounding exercise is especially important when you’re working on releasing stress, but it’s also a wonderful way to finish any Qi Gong practice.
Here’s a short video in which Lee demonstrates the routine we just talked about.
If you’re interested in learning more healing Qi Gong practices, be sure to check out our Qi Challenge. The Qi Challenge is a great opportunity to learn more exercises and participate in a community-driven practice framework.
Just like it’s important to be consistent with your eating, sleeping, and nature habits, Qi Gong is something that is much more enriching when you have a regular schedule. By offering clear and attainable practice instructions, the Qi Challenge makes it very easy to cultivate a regular schedule for daily living.
Not only is the Qi Challenge an excellent way to focus on reducing stress and cultivating joy, but it’s also a great opportunity to learn about the variety of other transformative benefits that the practice offers. Click on the banner below to learn more or join today.
Written By Ian Drogin