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Relaxation

Relax in the mountains

SadahamYathra / Pixabay

One of the most important aspects you will learn as part of Qigong is relaxation. Relaxing is important to activate the body's healing response. Relaxing means to let go of tension and stress that is held in the body. It also means to let go of tension and stress in the mind.

Relaxing the mind allows for a deeper state of relaxation to occur in the body. So what exactly does it mean to relax your mind? The human mind is typically busy thinking tens of thousands of thoughts each day, most of which are the same thoughts day after day. On top of that, people are stressed out from work, the bills, the kids, their health issues, their families, etc. If you are experiencing similar thoughts, you may find it difficult to turn these thoughts off. Some have difficulty sleeping because they can't shut down the thoughts and worries.

If you learn Qigong, you will learn effective techniques to quiet your busy mind. Here are a few techniques. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Focus on each inhalation and exhalation. You can even count your breath cycles. Inhale, exhale, one, inhale, exhale, two, inhale, exhale, three, and continuing for five minutes or more. Another simple technique is to repeat a mantra. That is to repeat a word or phrase over and over again. The word or phrase can be as simple as "calm" or "calm, peace, relax" or it can be a complete sentence like: "I am calm, peaceful and relaxed in all situations". Just make sure it is something positive and empowering. Keep in mind that your mind may wander, especially in the beginning. If this happens, just bring your awareness back to your technique (count, matra, etc). It is important to practice one of these techniques consistently one or more times each day. The more you practice, the quicker you will notice the results of focusing and calming your mind.

As you learn to calm and quiet your mind, you will begin to feel less stress. This is a sign your mind is relaxing. Now it will be much easier to relax your body. Now you can use a simple progressive relaxation technique to relax your body. You can start with your head; put your attention on your face and head. Imagine all tension releasing from your head. You can lightly tense your head and face and release. Feel the tension melting away. Repeat for your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, back, abdomen, pelvis, legs, feet, etc. You can spend extra time in areas that do not release. Once you finish at your feet, repeat the entire process two more times. Practice this at least once a day, following a technique to calm and quiet your mind. It is important to find a quiet place for your practice where you won't be interrupted. Sit in a comfortable chair. You can close your eyes, but don't fall asleep. If you tend to fall asleep, then slightly open your eyes. These simple techniques are quite effective. There are many other techniques in Qigong for training the mind and body to relax. Seek out a teacher if you want more information.

Qigong Benefits

If you are wonder what the benefits are for practicing Qigong, then you have come to the right place. Did you know that there are studies that suggest that between 70-90% of doctor's visits are stress related [1]. If that is true, then stress is an epidemic. Stress causes many issues in the body, including suppressing the immune system and digestion, hypertension, and many others. Also, U.S. Health care cost are about 17% of GDP or $2.7 trillion [2]. It's staggering. This means that it costs about $8,508 per year per capita [2]. Of course if you have any major issues that requires hospitalization, it could be much, much more. Now here's the good news. Qigong classes are low-cost and effective at reducing stress and improving your health, which will inevitably reduce medical costs.

Qigong Benefits InfoGraphic

So how does it work? Qigong practice relaxes the body and the mind. It opens the energy channels in the body, which improves the energy circulation to the organs and the entire body. Through practicing Qigong, you can build more energy in the body. And overtime, Qigong practice will improve your physical body condition.

For more information about Qigong Benefits, check out our article, “The Benefits of Practicing Qigong”.

References
[1] http://www.stress.org/americas-1-health-problem/
[2] http://pgpf.org/Chart-Archive/0006_health-care-oecd

Qigong Exercises

Qigong exercises are sometimes called “movement forms”. These including standing postures, moving exercises and martial arts forms like Tai Chi. Qigong exercises are a great way to reduce stress, strengthen, heal and energize the body. Since the meditation aspects of Qigong are yin (still, mental, internal), it is necessary to balance the body with Qigong exercises, which are yang (movement, physical, external). Even gentle Qigong exercises are yang (remember yin and yang are relative). Maintaining yin and yang balance is important for having a healthy mind, body and spirit.

While doing regular exercises like weight lifting and running, we focus on the physical aspects of the exercise and we exert a tremendous amount of energy. This tends to leave one feeling fatigued or exhausted afterwards. This is not the case with Qigong exercises. Don't get me wrong, you may still feel sore after practice, if you are out of shape and have energy blockages, that is normal. However, the practice of Qigong brings the mind to the present moment, which allows you to be very clear about whatever you choose to focus on. So while practicing Qigong exercises (or meditation), we choose to focus our mind in our body for healing, strengthening and energizing our body. Therefore, it's the mindfulness of focusing the mind into the body with visualization and concentration on relaxation and healing that energizes the body during the Qigong exercises.

Some Qigong exercises target specific areas of the body, including the hands, internal organs, to increase and improve the flow of energy. For example, the "Hip Rotations" exercise of Wisdom Healing Qigong enhances the energy flow in the kidney energy system (kidneys, bladder, sex organs, hormones, fluid regulation). Some exercises target the entire body. A standing form, called "Balance Standing", of Inner Dan Arts Qigong, energizes and opens the energy channels in the entire body. When you first begin to practice "Balance Standing", the legs may shake. This means that there are blockages to the flow of energy in the legs. Consistent daily practice will open the energy channels over time and the legs will stop shaking. A doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a specialty in Qigong may prescribe a particular Qigong exercise to heal a specific illness. So Qigong exercises are practiced for prevention and longevity, as well as to heal illnesses. There are so many different Qigong forms that any person is bound to find an exercise that they will benefit from.

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Inner Vitality Qigong is dedicated to providing useful information about Qigong and other natural health solutions for living a healthy and abundant life. We provide in-person and home study courses in Qigong exercises and meditations. We also provide Qigong Wellness coaching.

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