Blog#37: Chinese Exercises for Health
The Chinese culture has developed many exercises which, if used regularly, correctly, and with positive expectations for improved health, can be helpful for many people. The exercises I present in this blog are safe for everyone to use. This month, I will share a simple walking exercise which combines erect posture, a positive attitude and a focused mind. It can be used for a moment or almost all the time when walking. People who practice yoga or tai chi regularly usually have excellent posture, and almost anyone else can too. A few hints to improve posture, if improvement is needed are to stand and walk with shoulders relaxed, but not slouched forward, to avoid locking the knees when standing and walking, and to imagine that the top of the head is suspended from a string that reaches directly upward. Generally, when posture is optimal or close to it, the body will feel lighter and more relaxed and energized than when posture is poor.
Here is the very simple exercise: while walking and maintaining good posture, place the mind on the soles of the feet and say the word “yes” silently in your mind. Obviously, common sense tells us that there are situations in which this exercise would be distracting and even problematic. Another thing: the mind should be truly positive when thinking/saying the word “yes” and the focus on the soles of the feet should be unwavering. Of course, it is important to also be aware of one’s surroundings while walking. If practicing all three together is too difficult, it will still be beneficial to practice any one or two of the three aspects of this qi gong exercise: 1. Good posture, 2. Thinking/saying the word “yes” with each step, and 3. Focusing the mind unwaveringly on the soles of both feet while walking.
Potential benefits of this exercise are many. People usually find that they feel more sure-footed, they are more confident and optimistic, and walking becomes easier and sometimes almost effortless. This exercise can be especially helpful while walking through ice and snow.