Archive for Breathing

Why Do We Go Slow in Qigong

14 Powerful Reasons for Slow Qigong

Many Qigong exercises are done slowly, sometimes very slowly. Why is this? There are many reasons that going slow is one of the best ways to get the most out of a Qigong practice. There is overlap between the many reasons given below, as every piece stated contributes to all of the other pieces. We are whole beings, not a conglomeration of separate parts. I speak of each reason separately for ease of personal exploration. There are more than 14 reasons for frequent, slow movement practice.

The Race to Slowness

Engage in the oft-missing luxury of unhurried movement. Life is so fast, especially modern life. We get out of balance with the speed, intensity, complexity. Slowness is something we miss, at a deep level, something we crave.

1.  Improve Lymph Flow

Going at slow speed activates the pulsing lymph flow in the entire body, because it resonates with the slow, rhythmic way lymph likes to move. An enormous flow of lymph fluid can move through your body. Optimizing your lymph flow will increase the many valuable tasks that the lymph does, such as clearing up cellular wastes, draining toxins, reducing inflammations, fighting infections, preventing illness and generally cleaning up the interstices of your body. Going at Tai chi speed activates the lymph flow in the entire body. Lymph likes to pump through the many nodes and vessels of the body at a slow rate: a six to 8 second pulse is ideal.

2.  Notice More

The more you can discern in a relaxed state, the more you empower yourself. Practicing any movement slowly allows you to notice more within the movement. You enhance awareness of sensations, your breath, where your mind is, and different aspects of your body. Going fast, you skip over things. There is so much to notice in your body that you never have before. The more you can, in a relaxed state, notice, the more you empower yourself. Take time to enjoy the scenery, to partake of the pleasures of movement. Learn and assimilate what you notice.

3.  Allow Time to Connect More of your Body Together

In Qigong and the internal martial arts you practice using all parts of the body. You don’t want any portions of your body languishing, lazing, hiding. You want complete movement everywhere. Slowness allows the ignored or left-out places a chance to engage in the movement. These shadow places are areas of pain, chronic problems, lowered function, and trauma. Getting them involved in the healing movement is quite empowering on many levels. Parts and places are better; and the whole is better

4.  Ground, Root and Center

Three of the most important principles of Qigong are Grounding, Rooting, and Centering. Each of these are easier to learn and enhance by going slowly. Grounding is when your body’s energy flow is equalized within and without (like the grounding you would do with an electrical wire.) Rooting is relaxing the tension downward to create physical stability. Centering is putting your mind into your lower abdomen (Lower Dantian.)

5.  Improve Your Breathing

It is easier to take deep, full, even, long and  relaxed breaths when you move slowly. In slowness, it is easier to integrate your breath with your movement. Improving your breathing is probably the most basic and most useful method of a long life of health. Qigong at it’s bedrock level is really breath training. Proper breath training can alleviate, improve or cure just about any chronic illness you can name. Chronic illnesses, whatever they are called, are, in a big way, a failure of whole body, healthy breathing.

6.  Switch from Fight/Flight to Relax/Heal

Our stressed out nervous systems are usually unbalanced in some kind of futile fight against the intensities of the modern world. The autonomic nervous system handles the various internal processes of the body like organ function, digestion, blood cell production and internal communications. The sympathetic part of this system is Yang—active and fast and easily overfed by stress. Slow Qigong practice releases the hole of the overworked sympathetic side and engages with the too-ignored parasympathetic side. It is the parasympathetic nervous system where most healing is enabled. The parasympathetic slows you down (think “parachute.”) The parasympathetic slows us down (think “parachute.”) This is the Yin aspect of the autonomic (automatic) nervous system of the body.

7.  Qi Moves like Water

Qi is a vast concept that basically means full, fluid, intelligent, enlivening flow. The Qi of your body connects distant parts of your body into one unit of movement. But it does it within certain rules of motion. “Qi,” it is said, “moves like water;” while consciousness moves as fast as light. One aspect of health, is the full flow of Qi throughout the body. Qi, like water, flows by going under, over, through, or around obstacles in it’s path. Whatever obstacles you may have in your body—whether through tension, injuries, congestion or compression—your Qi has to find a way through. Water and Qi are ever-changing. This takes a moment. With your thinking you can just be somewhere—poof, instantly. With Qi, which is the interconnecting flow of your body, it takes time. If you go too fast, you don’t give your Qi time enough to authentically flow. Going too fast is a mechanical approach dictated by your brain. Going slowly, you give your Qi time enough find its way and to strongly flow. Going too fast is a mechanical approach dictated by your brain.

8.  Coordinate Posture, Movement, Breath, Mind, and Qi

Aligning these five factors is Qigong. When all five aspects are engaged in synchronized, mutually-supporting, principle based concert, you are practicing Qigong. For instance, when you begin a move, you begin to inhale. Likewise, when you finish the move, you complete your exhale. All through, the movement is smooth and regular, as is the breathing.

The effects of Qigong can be felt very early in your training. Your body is not doing one thing while your mind is doing another. You are not exercising while thinking about the movie you watched last night. You are not haphazardly breathing while sending Qi to your toe and slumping your torso. Yet, it takes a long dedication to practice and refinement of principles to gain gobs from Qigong. (Remember: practice is fun.) When these five factors are all moving together, in a whole-body synchronization, you are engaging in great self-healing work. You will like what you feel and love not getting sick much (or at all.)

9.  Strengthen Muscles

Many of us use faster movements to propel our body into movement. We use momentum rather than strength. Throwing ourselves around with willpower, we drain our internal resources. (This is the story of my first 30 years on this planet.) Slow movement develops a full-muscle strength that is different than that unhealthy explosive power. By actively using more of each muscle in each moment of time within the full extent of a motion, we become more integrated. Your muscles become smarter, stronger, and gain greater endurance. More importantly, this kind of strength, this longer, slower, easier strength leads to more relaxation. The muscles of the thighs (the longevity muscles) are particularly important to strengthen and Qigong (and Taiji) are great at developing them.

10.  Relax the Heart and Blood Vessels

Cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart and strongly pushes blood through the blood vessels. Slow Qigong moves blood through the body by relaxing the heart and vessels. Qigong helps regulate a heart that is often too anxious and working too hard. Moderately vigorous exercise is important for long-term health. Overly vigorous exercise is usually an imbalanced behavior that, if continued, will eventually lead to serious health problems. Besides the physical health issues of heart and blood, over-work of the heart and over-energization leads to unhappy emotional issues. A tense heart is also a heart prone to anxiety.

11.  Increase Body Awareness in the Moment

Practicing slowly is moving meditation. It is meditation that doesn’t put you to sleep. You can better access the peace and promise of this moment. If  you have heard of the benefits of meditation but cannot seem to sit still for it, trying these slow Qigong approaches. The moving meditation of Qigong brings your focus to the present moment, the place of healing. Moving out of the past, we let go of the dragging hold that past has on us. We can let go of fears that were once valid for us, but are not more. We can release, day by day, the hold of our previous injuries, mental, physical, and emotional. We can better access the peace and promise this moment. For myself, I would much rather move to meditate than sit. Many people extol the benefits of sitting meditation, yet, we in the 21st century already sit so much. Our bodies stagnate and so do our minds. Get off the cushion, off the couch, off the chair and get your calming meditation in as you move your joints, pulse your lymph, massage your organs, and breathe with Qi.

13.  Develop Smoothness of Motion

Gaining smoother movement is both a method of and sign of healing. Herky Jerky motions are indications of blocks and rocks and dry spots in your inner environment. When you slow down, you notice the places that are not smooth and fluid. The clicks, and ratchets, and hatchets in our movements; the sticky, stagnant, and stuck places; the rickety, rackety, hacked places. Noticing, you can take measures to bring more fluidity to each spot.

14. Release Tension and Finally Relax

Slowness encourages release of tensions throughout your body, calmness in your emotions, clarity of your focus in the moment and superior whole body, whole being relaxation. Relaxation leads to the healing of stored traumas and a sense of well-being now.

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Master List of Articles

Here is a List of the Principle Articles and Videos on this Qigong Website

Note: These listed articles come from the Blog section of this website. There is also a section of Pages, which contains much information as well. The links to the Pages can be found to the right on any page.

Fun with Qigong Homepage

How to use this site.

Welcome to Fun with Qigong

My first post.

Introduction to Qigong

A video explaining the basics of Qigong.

A Simple Explanation of Qigong

What exactly is Qigong?

Audio Interview

A 55 minute overview of Qigong, along with a sample of the Six Healing Sounds.

The First Principle of Qigong

Practice. Preferably daily.

My First DVD: Fun with Qigong

A video guide to learning the gentle, powerful, principle-based Qigong set called The Five Flows.

Moderation and Fasting

All endeavors seeking health should not be excessive. Excess kills. Moderation heals.

Healing the Heart

Simple approaches to heart health.

Reducing High Blood Pressure

Video detailing some Qigong ideas for lowering pressure.

Breast Health

Exercises and resources from a non-invasive, vitalistic, self-empowering approach. Every woman should learn about these methods.

Inexpensive Acupuncture

Social justice through heartful needles.

Sudden Inhalation Syndrome

Shock breathing is normal but not natural. Learn how to breathe with ease.

Qigong and Fibromyalgia

Decrease pain with Qigong.

Simple Taiji Video

An introductory form to practice the principles and basic movements of Taiji (Tai chi).

Insomnia

Insomnia Article

Thoughts and exercises for working on that night-stealer insomnia.

Insomnia Video 1

Overview of Qigong exercises for overcoming insomnia.

Insomnia Video 2

Charge the Kidneys and connect the Kidneys to the Lower Dantian.

Insomnia Video 3

Warm the feet.

Insomnia Video 4

Draw Qi from the Lower Dantian to the feet. 

Front-loading Qigong

Practice extra amounts of Qigong before travel, expected stressful events, or busy times to come.

Hot Hands of Qi

Qigong will warm and balance your hands.

Qigong and Warm Hands: Part 1

A second class with the heat camera shows some fascinating photos.

Relax Your Shoulders, Descend Your Qi

Sink your Qi to relax your being.

Qigong and the Upside Down Snowman

Get out of your head and center in the lower abdomen. Health and joy await you. Let go of tension and sink your Qi to feel much, much better. [with a video]

You Can Cure Hot Flashes

Make hot flashes a thing of the past with this simple, powerful technique. [with a video]

Qigong, Vitality and “Limitations”

Work within your limits, but don’t let them define you.

Four-Part Protection Process

A Meditation and Medical Qigong Method for staying sane and clear in an insane world.

Alleviating Depression and Other Traumatic Emotions 1

The overview video of the “Old Man…” exercise.

Alleviating Depression and Other Traumatic Emotions 2

The second video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Lungs and sadness.

Alleviating Depression and Other Traumatic Emotions 3

The third video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Open the heart and release armoring.

Alleviating Depression and Other Traumatic Emotions 4

The fourth video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Clear worry, excess emotions, and anger from the middle burner.

Alleviating Depression and Other Traumatic Emotions 5

The fifth video of the “Old Man…” exercise. Putting it all together.

Three Types of Qigong Practice: Singles, Sets, and Sequences

Three ways you might practice: Focused, expanded, or sophisticated ways.

Qigong Sets

Understanding what Qigong sets are and how to utilize them.

Qigong Sequences

Understanding what Qigong forms are and how to utilize them.

Five Flows in a Single Exercise

One exercise can take you through all of the flows, if  you stick with it.

Preventing Colds and Flu with Qigong

These gentle, immunity-enhancing exercises truly work.

More on Preventing Colds and Flu with Qigong

Use healing sounds and slow, gentle, movements.

Qigong Strategies for Illness

How, when, and when not to do Qigong when illness is in the picture.

Qigong Workshops

A baker’s dozen of Qigong workshops your group may want to host.

The World-Famous First 64 Form

From Wild Goose Qigong, there is much healing in the intracies of these fun movements.

Reduce Stress with the Super Powerful Method of Belly Breathing

So much of a person’s stress arises from the backward, upside down, unnatural, but entirely common practice of chest breathing.

Pay Attention to Your Feet

With so much heady focus in our world, we lose connection to the whole of our bodies and the sustenance of the earth. Become more whole and balanced by paying attention to your feet as much as to your brain.

Save Yourself from a Lightning Strike

Crouch and survive.

Simplified Exercise Set

Sometimes an entire set is too much.

Open and Move from the Gate of Life

The Gate of Life is so important and so practical and so unknown.

Can Qigong Save America (and the World?)

We desperately need inexpensive, effective healthcare. Qigong is one of the answers to this urgent need.

Slap Yourself Healthy

Gentle tapping methods for wellness.

The Three Intentional Corrections

How to reframe and refocus your experience in the moment with Qigong.

Healing Knee Pain 1

Using the wall sitting exercise.

Healing Knee Pain 2

Success with the wall sitting exercise.

Change Your Life in Two Minutes a Day

Getting a daily Qigong practice started can reward you with big health dividends later on.

Bend Your Knees for Health’s Sake

Bending your knees helps alleviate many chronic pain symptoms.

When in Doubt, Shake

Use the Shaking the Body exercise to release fear, uncertainty, and tension.

Exercise with Ease

Be gentle and moderate with your Qigong to get the most out of it.

Qigong Will Soon Be a Common Sight

“People just have to get used to it.”

Spend a Billion Dollars to Save a Trillion

Qigong could save huge amounts of money, nationally.

Qigong is a Medical Bargain

It is downright cheap. It is gold that takes put pennies on the dollar.

Three Little Words Can Change your Life

The first three principles of Qigong: Practice, Modify, and Refine.

I Healed My Smashed Toe with Qigong

Using the gentleness and gentility of Qigong for giant gains.

Stay Centered or Suffer the Consequences

Multi-tasking leads to injury.

Breathe When You Type

Qigong is cheap medicine, easily accessible.

Train Your Qigong in Calmness

Qigong practice cautions.

The Secret Practice of True Wealth

Invest in Qigong and reap the lifelong rewards.

The Half-Half Rule

At least do some Qigong. You will be happy you did.

The Baby Bowl

Healing babies instead of watching the Superbowl.

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Inhale Well and Speak Easily

One of the prime reasons to pursue Qigong is to get more energy. One of the Qigong ways to get more energy is working with breathing. Qigong breathing practices could be looked at as the foundation, or the essential aspect, of Qigong.

Sudden Inhalation Syndrome

There are many aspects to becoming a better breather, and many benefits. One of the aspects is becoming aware in your daily life of how you are breathing. Lately I have been noticing how some people have a pattern of speaking that can’t be good for them. I call this pattern Sudden Inhalation Syndrome.

What people with this habit do is take a rapid, high-chest, short, intense inhale before quickly speaking. It is a quick, strong sniff followed even more quickly with talking. Most people with such patterns are not aware of them.

This is Shock Breathing

Grasping such fast, small breaths emulates the kind of inhale a person takes when they are suddenly shocked by something unexpected or fearful. It is the breath of surprise and fear. Try a few of those breaths yourself, right now. Do you feel how intense the experience is? Such a breath can immediately lead to feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, unsteadiness, and dizziness. This breath method uses only secondary or tertiary breathing muscles to pull in air, creating muscular tension in the upper chest and neck and throat. It compresses the heart, constricts the throat, and compromises the lungs.

This collection of mental, emotional and physical states is not the ideal platform for speaking.

So Many Symptoms from Shock Breathing

Other possible symptoms include headaches, jaw pain, back pain and shoulder issues. Because the heart is being compressed along with very little abdominal expansion on the inhales, high blood pressure will come. Stress, fatigue, low grade frequent illness, digestive issues and elimination issues are likely as well. Sudden inhalations into the chest before speaking is a type of stress breathing. It overstimulates the fight, flight, fright, freeze mechanisms of the Sympathetic Nervous system. (By the way, the Sympathetic Nervous system doesn’t have much sympathy; It is all about survival in the midst of danger.)

Causes of Sudden Inhalation Syndrome

There are many reasons someone might be a a quick breath speaker with Sudden Inhalation Syndrome. Most of the reasons have to do with upbringing and emotional trauma earlier in life. For most people there is a something about having to get in a word as soon as possible after someone else was speaking. Whatever the causes, becoming aware of the pattern and retraining it, will lead to much healing.

I doubt recreating the experience of shock over and over again all day long is what most people want to do.

Breathe with Relaxation

Breathe...Then Speak

What to Do

Watch how you talk. Learn to notice when you breathe-speak this way. Give yourself reminders to check in frequently on yourself. Little stickers posted around are good for this. I like to give little green dots to my clients and students. This is a simple, cheap, and effective retraining technology.

“Ding”

Another method is to find a kind (a sympathetic) friend or coworker to help you notice. In Toastmasters, budding speakers are taught to eliminate verbal fillers like “ah,” “uhm”, and “you know” with a bell. Every time a speaker says a filler, the bellmaster rings the bell. In real time the speaker gets feedback. It takes only a few weeks to drop fillers to 5 to 10% of what they were. Have your watchful friend say “ding” or something else you choose when they catch you suddenly inhaling before speaking.

Also, when someone else is speaking, keep breathing. Don’t hold you breath.

Teach people who interrupt you to give you a chance to collect your thoughts and your oxygen when it is your turn to speak. As an adult, you don’t have to rush in to be heard, at least not in most of your life.

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Breathing Workshop

Awaken the Breath

When:         Saturday, June 5, 2010

Time:         10:00 to 2:00

Cost:          Only $40

Location:    Robert’s beautiful healing studio at

                  1095 East Axton Road, North of Bellingham.

Sign Up:     (360) 398-7466, or rbbatesdc@comcast.net

 

Breathe Bigger, Better and Easier

Breath Practices are some of the most powerful healing exercises you can do. You can insert conscious breathing into just about any part of your day and be better off for it. You can benefit from conscious breathing practices virtually your entire life. Any amount of good breathing you do adds to your health.

With These Breathing Practices You Will

  •  Massage the internal organs for greater all around health
  •  Keep the head clear and promote mental clarity
  •  Help move the lymph throughout the body, increasing immunity function
  •  Increase your energy
  •  Calm your emotions
  •  Increase your lifespan
  •  Decrease tension
  •  Sleep deeper
  •  And much, much more

 What We Will Cover in This Workshop

  • Qigong breathing practices, each with different health goals
  • Simple tests to assess how well you are breathing
  • Easy ways to integrate vastly more quality breathing into your   everyday life
  • The Framingham Study: How your breath capacity can accurately predict your lifespan; and how to definitely increase your lifespan with breathing practices

 Breathing Exercises We Will Practice

Follow the Breath. Just watch. Notice how you are actually breathing. You can learn a lot about yourself this way.

Graduated Quiet Breathing Meditation. Build awareness and sink into a relaxed, healing mode of being as you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, coordinate your consciousness and balance your brain

Abdominal Breathing. The foundation of proper breathing. Breathe into and out of your abdomen, letting it expand with the inhale and flatten with exhaling.

Belly Book Breathing. Re-teach yourself how to use your diaphragm to pull air into your body by expanding your abdomen, instead of lifting your shoulders to bring air in.

Pelvic Breathing. Sometimes breathe low into your pelvis to build power and prevent many problems.

Low Back and Kidney Breathing. Drawing the air into the lower back to expand that area and fill the Kidney’s with Qi.

Filling the Vase. Fill your torso with breath like pouring water into a vase; the water fills up the lower parts first before working up. Empty your breath in reverse.

Gentle Breath Holding. Holding the breath for a short time—repeatedly—to help relax tensions in the breathing apparatus.

Plus

The Remembering Breath. Put up green dot stickers. Every time you see the dot, take a deep breath. This will give you many deep breaths each day.

10 Percent More. Add just a little to the size or seconds of each breath.

Breathing Awareness Set (to take home.) Begin to take more control of your daily breathing habits.

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Qigong in the Public Consciousness

Qigong is slowly making inroads on the consciousness of America. An article on one of my students was recently in the local newspaper here in Bellingham, Washington, USA, North American Continent, Planet Earth.

Vitality

Lee Willis has been benefiting from Qigong for a decade or so. I find Lee to be one of the most present, friendly, happy, helpful and engaging people I know. The photo and article don’t quite show her effervescence. And she vehemently denies–as the article speaks of–that she is a sufferer or victim of any kind. In the decade plus I have known her, I agree with this self-assessment. She leads not just an active life, but a thorough life.

Lee Willis in 2007

Qigong Awareness is Growing

Anyway, read the article. The benefits and joys of Qigong (and Tai Chi) are trickling up, seeping into general consciousness. Maybe we will soon see a bigger awareness of these arts. Most individuals–and the country as a whole–would be better off practicing these internal movement arts.

Lee Willis teaches a short, gentle Tai Chi form that was designed for people with arthritis (whether or not they are victims), but the form is actually great training for anybody seeking better internal and external balance, smoother movement and less pain in their bodies.

Modify Your Movements When You Need to

Lee mentions the principle of modifying in the article, which is so key in making a practice work for whatever your current physical needs, abilities, and areas of concern. To restate the principle of modifying: Find a way to move that doesn’t hurt, whether this means using less effort, doing slightly different movements, or making the range of the motion smaller. By modifying as necessary, you engage your body in relaxation, which engenders healing responses at all levels of your being.

The Omnipresence of Limitations

Another point she touches upon is the fact that most of us have some “limitations” in our health to deal with. Actually, everyone does. Working within the boundaries of whatever your current abilities are–rather than fantasizing or blithely stepping into the dangerous water of overdoing–is so much of what Qigong is all about. When engaged in healing practices, activated movement within relaxation is necessary. Working within your limits is both wise and pleasurable. Pushing into pain is the path to problems.

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Reduce Depression with Qigong #2

Below is the second of five videos on Reducing Depression with the “Old Man” Qigong Set.

There are three movements in the Old Man exercise, beginning with the Lung Movement, as taught in this video.

Open the Lungs and Release Grief

In the Lung movement you will stretch the lungs open, massage them repeatedly with relaxed arm movements and release sadness into the earth. Each movement is accompanied by a directed healing sound, one that is specific for that area, bringing loosening vibration to the cells of the targeted area. The Lung sound is “SHHHH” or “SSSSS”.

Contraindications for Practicing Healing Sounds

According to Jerry Alan Johnson people should not practice Qigong sounds if:

  • They have any bone fractures
  • They are in the throes of an acute illness
  • They are pregnant
  • They are menstruating

I’m not sure about the last one. It seems to be more of something to be cautious about and aware of your own body’s needs. Refer back to the second principle of Qigong: Modify.

Note: The “Lung” movement is also a Kidney strengthener. Bending over while imagining your feet are in warm water is–in the Five Elemental Energy conception–nutritive for your Kidneys.

Without going into it in too much detail in this post: Full, strong Kidneys give you energy, healthy bones, mental clarity, and a sustaining connection to Nature.

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Reduce Depression with Qigong #1

Below is the first of five videos of a movement and healing sounds Set that is very effective in helping to alleviate negative emotions. The full name of this exercise Set is Old Man Searching for the Reflection of the Moon at the Bottom of the Tide Pool. That is a mouthful; I usually just called it “Old Man.”

Many People Have Benefited

I learned this set from my Medical Qigong teacher Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson. He credits Dr. Her Yue Wong with introducing it into the USA in the 1970’s. Dr. Johnson told me that he gave these exercises to more people than any other healing prescription. He often found that very sick people were holding so much armor that they were unable to relax enough to let healing enter and spread through their bodies. So he taught them the Old Man to release their holding, usually to impressive results.

Open Blocks and Release Stuck Emotions

Following a sophisticated understanding of the Five Elemental Energies system, the Old Man Set opens blockages in the body so stuck fluids, Qi, and blood can flow again, resulting in healing. By upgrading from stagnant swamp internally to flowing rivers and rivulets, health naturally re-establishes.

Since 2000, I have taught this exercise to many clients. Over and over again they have come back to me with glowing reports of how well it has helped them manage or delete unhealthy amounts of blocking, sludgifying emotions, feelings, and sensations.

Many Emotional States Helped

I’ve truncated the name of the encompassing term of the video to depression, but the Old Man exercise is great for helping with many emotional weights, including: sadness, grief, impatience, judgementalism, anxiety, worry, low energy, unprocessed emotions, indecisiveness, lack of clarity, anger, grumpiness, and rage.

Below is the Overview Video of the Old Man. In the next post I’ll add the video detailing the Lungs and sadness tomorrow; and videos 3, 4 and 5 over the next week or two.

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Qigong Workshops Offered

Here is basic list of Qigong Workshops that I offer. Click the hyperlink to get the 20-page PDF document of more detailed descriptions of each workshop listed below.

  • Five Flows Qigong Set: Two-hour workshop
  • Qigong to Prevent Colds and Flu: Two or four-hour workshop
  • The Delightful Dozen: Four-hour workshop
  • Healthy Joint Qigong: Two, four, or six-hour workshop
  • Empower Your Breathing: Four-hour workshop
  • Six Healing Sounds with Color Radiation: Four-hour workshop
  • Qigong Self-Massage: Two or four-hour workshop
  • Swimming Dragon: Four-hour Workshop
  • Taiji Qigong (Tai Chi Chi Kung): Four-hour workshop
  • Chakra Tuning and Auric Butterfly: Four-hour workshop
  • Five Animal Frolics Qigong: Two or four-hour workshop
  • 36-Movement Snake Qigong Set: Taught in a pair of four-hour workshops
  • Introduction to Medical Qigong Therapy: One-day or two-day workshop

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Reducing High Blood Pressure

In the 5:17 video below I teach three simple and relaxing exercises that can reduce high blood pressure.

Exercise 1: Belly Breathing Retraining

Breathing high and hard in the upper body can put extra pressure on the heart. Many, many people breathe this way and have for years, it having long ago become an ingrained, unconscious habit.  Breathing in this manner over and over and over, every day, for years, leads to habitual stress and underlying, unresolvable tension.

Belly breathing is the natural way to breathe; the first step for most people in retraining how they breathe.

Using a belt or flat strap, you can gently retrain your breath to become comfortable with going lower, slower and deeper. Simply wrap the belt around your abdomen–not tightly, just snug. Inhale, sending your breath deep to your belly. Such an inhale will create expansion against the strap. This teaches the muscles a better way of breathing. It shows them what to breathe against–the palpable pressure of the belt.

Exhale by relaxing the belly, allowing it to deflate.

Exercise 2: The Healing Sound “Haaaahh”

Look down and make the sighing sound “haaaahh.” Make this healing sound as the hands are expanding out and down from the heart, opening the hands forward, outward and toward the the ground.

The sound vibrations help release tension energetic stagnation in the center of the chest.

Opening and lowering the arms and hands dissipates tension out of the chest into the earth.

Looking down sends energy and consciousness downward; which is what you want for lowering your blood pressure.

Exercise 3: Rooting the Heart Energy in the Dantian

Begin with your palms facing down at the upper chest. With an exhale, press down from the upper chest to lower abdomen. Intend that excess energy in your heart to descend to your lower energy center, where it stays.

The premise of this exercise is that most people with high blood pressure have too much energy in the chest and too little in the lower energy center (the Dantian.) By redistributing the energy, a new and better balance in the body is established, leading to easier breathing, easier blood flow, and more calmness.

YouTube Preview Image

See a Larger Version of the Video on Youtube.

You can cure your insomnia.

Publish when the Youtube videos are available

Following is an effective self-healing method for sleep difficulties.

This short qigong series can help you sleep through two energetic mechanisms:

The redirection of your Qi.

Charging your Kidneys.

Redirect Your Qi

The Qi is redirected, in a series of steps, from your head, to your Kidneys, to your lower abdominal center (Dantian), and finally to the bottom of your feet. Being awake means your body’s consciousness and energy is outside of your body, forward in focus, and up. The insomnia prescription will bring your energy in, back, and down.

Charge and Fill Your Kidneys

The Kidneys, which also include your adrenal glands (which lie on top of each Kidney), are crucial in Chinese Medicine approaches. To put it simply, the Kidneys can be thought of as fuel reserves, as gas tanks. Your tanks get emptied by forcing and using willpower to get things done. You run out of energy, and are essentially running on fumes. If you have ever heard the term, “too tired to fall asleep,” then you know what I mean.

Here is the prescription for insomnia

The instructions for how many reps to practice: The more persistent and bad the insomnia, the more reps.

Steps one, two, and three can be done standing or seated.

Step One

Massage the Kidneys until warm. You can massage up and own, back and forth, or around in circles, both directions. You can use the palms or, if you can’t reach easily, the backs of the hands. Warming the kidneys will increase the blood flow, relieve tensions around them, and generally turn them on. You want your Kidneys “on” so your thinking brain can turn “off” for several hours.

Reps: 20 to 50.

Step Two

Place your palms on your back, over your Kidneys. Inhale to your kidneys. Round your back a bit with the Kidneys to help expand the tissues around those fist-sized structures. With the inhale, image you are drawing energy that is extra and unneeded from your upper body to your Kidneys. Exhale into your kidneys to store that extra energy.

Reps: 20 to 50.

Optional, if the Kidneys need a lot of attention:

Repeat steps one and two, twice more.

Step Three

Place your right hand on your lower abdomen (Dantian), below the belly button and the left hand over the left Kidney. On the inhale, connect to the left Kidney. Don’t breathe to it, as you did in Step Two, just be there, at the Kidney. On the exhale, use your breath and intention to guide Qi from your Kidney to your lower abdomen.

Now place your right hand on the right Kidney and left hand on the lower abdomen. On the inhale, connect to the right Kidney. On the exhale, use your breath and intention to guide Qi from your Kidney to your lower abdomen.

Steps four and five are done seated.

Step Four

Warm up your left sole of your foot by rubbing it with your right palm. The center of the palm is a fire point, connected to the heart in acupuncture and qigong theory. The point being rubbed on the foot is called Kidney 1 (KD-1) or Bubbling Well. It can be found in the space created by the two balls of the foot.

Repeat on the other leg, warming up the right sole with the left palm.

Reps: 20 to 50 per side.

Step Five

Place your left hand on your lower abdomen (over the Dantian) and the right hand on the sole of the right foot. Feel the Dantian on the inhale. On the exhale, gently encourage energy to travel down the leg to the bottom of the right foot. You may have to cross the lower left leg over the right leg to reach the sole easily.

Reps: 20 to 100 per side.

Repeat on the other side, right hand on Dantian, left hand on right sole.

Show the kidney location

It might take a few sessions of practice, and a few nights, for chronic insomnia to begin to lessen it’s cruel hold on your sleep, for the water to make progress on filling the well.

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Reduce Stress with Belly Breathing Video

Breathe with Your Diaphragm

In the 3:42 video below on belly breathing, I talk about the importance of breathing with the diaphragm muscle inside of the body.

Instead of using the muscles of the ribs, chest, shoulders or neck to bring air into your body–an inefficient, tension-producing approach–use the muscle designed to get you lots of air: the diaphragm.

The Diaphragm is Dome-Like

The diaphragm is a thick, circular muscle that adheres to the inside of your ribcage. It is below the heart and lungs; and above the liver and organs of the abdomen. When you inhale, it expands downward, like a dome. This pulls air into your body.

The stronger and more trained it is, the better you breathe: You get more of the dome-like, downward expansion. The farther it expands downward, the more air you pull into your lungs and body.

Here is a website with some drawings and a moving animation of a diaphragm.

Relax and Expand

When you inhale with the diaphragm while relaxing everything else, two obvious results happen with your body:

  1. Your belly expands.
  2. Your shoulders don’t rise; and the muscles of the chest and neck stay still.

Breathing this way will give you more energy, relaxation, and happiness.

Breathing Prompts

On this video I also talk about a simple technique that easily brings many more deep breaths into your every day. The dot-reminder system gives you a free deep-breathing practice everyday.

YouTube Preview Image

To see a larger version of this video, go to YouTube.

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