Sunday, March 22, 2015

                                      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. 

This month’s offer:  as always, feel free to contact me with questions about this exercise.  In addition, I want to share the link below with you.    Either cut and paste the link to your browser or highlight it with your mouse and then right click to view and listen to a 13 – 14 minute You Tube video of two songs with art, photography, and acting as accompaniment.  This video, “Ovations for a Wise Man and a Fool”, was directed by Claudia Hommel.  Several of my nature photographs are included in the first song, “For a Tree”, written and sung by Elizabeth Doyle.  Claudia Hommel sang and directed the second piece, “Bravo for the Clown”.  Both women are world class cabaret singers.   And, incidentally, next month’s qi gong will be something I call “walking trees”.                                 


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