There are many factors that affect our health.:
The food we eat
The air we breath
The water we drink
The quality of our sleep
The exercise programs we adopt and
The how we handle stress in our lives.
One great way to combat stress is through the practice of Qi Gong.
Qi Gong, pronounced “Chee” Gong is an ancient Chinese practice that has been described as moving meditation. Combining gentle flowing movements with conscious breathing, Qi Gong brings balance to an over stimulated nervous system. This standing practice is ideal for those who have difficulty sitting in meditation making it an alternative for quieting the mind and reducing stress.
Qi means Life Force Energy and Gong means practice or skill. When we are under stress, our internal Qi, or energy, can be used up. The practice of Qi Gong restores balance by bringing external Qi into the body. Just as it is said that healing Prana in Yoga rides on the inhalation of the breathe for healing purposes, Qi moves in the same way.
But how often do consider the quality of our breath?
It is said that our breath controls our nervous system. Shallow rapid breathing activates the fight or flight response or the sympathetic nervous system, where as slow deep breathing activates deep relaxation or the parasympathetic nervous system. The quality of our breath greatly affects our emotional and physical state making our breath the cornerstone of our health and wellbeing.
Stop for just a moment and place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Do you feel your breath moving mostly in your chest or your belly? Is it rapid and shallow or slow and deep?
Today we are faced with processing more stress than ever before. The subtle movements of Qi Gong combined with long deep breathing gently guide us out of stress and into relaxation. With stress linked to all of the health challenges we face today, one can easily see the benefits of adopting such a lovely calming practice.