Why Qigong?

People often ask me why should I do Qigong and why would they want to do Qigong. What would they get out of it anyway? I’m devoted to my Qigong practice because it makes such a huge difference in how I feel. Mostly, I answer the same way to each person with only a nuance of difference. By developing a Qigong practice, a person cultivates Qi within, using techniques that purify the body, mind, and spirit. I notice first and foremost a lowering of the anxiety. I find an expanded sense of self. I find myself by the end of a set of exercises.

When I recently had a reaction to the fumes of off gassing from new carpets, I increased the repetitions of lung exercises to release the accumulated toxins from my tissues. Mostly, what I generally notice is that the more a client develops a Medical Qigong practice, the fewer acupuncture and medical qigong treatments they need.

I just finished teaching a weekend class and many people noticed a newfound sense of integration that hadn’t been there prior to taking the workshop. It was wonderful to find out how other people noticed something different in them all that week. So yes, it really helps. Many research projects have been done that show it lowered blood pressure, the pulse rate, helps with diabetes, promotes a healthy immune system. But research is not very personal. The only way you will know is to give it a try.

I’m very grateful to all my teachers and to this amazing offering that I have had the good fortune to develop.

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Enjoying the Delights of Winter

This week, on Tuesday, we work up to a little more snow on the ground than had been the prediction. I was surprised when I woke up and looked out that it seemed to be a real snowfall. The commute was awful with a number of accidents on the road.

In part, it’s the unexpected aspect of these winter events that takes us for a ride as we resist the direction that nature takes us. If we quite simply go with it we find ourselves in a very different kind of situation. As an example, 25 years ago I was visiting a sick friend in Baltimore when it started to snow. I said my good-byes wanting to get home before the weather made it too difficult. But by the time I got to the highway it was already coming down heavily.

I decided to keep going. Luckily there were more experienced drivers on this snow-laden road than myself. People were going 25 miles an hour and driving in a line on this 4-lane highway. One person suddenly decided that it was too slow and speeded up landing herself in the median very quickly.

Having grown up mostly in Florida this was a first time event for me. Maybe I continued because I didn’t know any better. But I enjoyed the road. There were some parts of the journey where I was in the only car I could see. I continued at the slow pace and drank in the snowy wonderland all around me. I got into a kind of rhythm. I was one with snow that continued to fall heavily and the deep snow on the road. Surprisingly, I felt a kind of pure joy experiencing the wonder of all that is winter. When people ask me what is a peak experience in your life, this is one of the experiences on my short list.

Nowadays the weather report tends to be exactly right the majority of the time. But the lessons about moving in concert with nature are always there. Let’s watch the wildlife and take note. And let’s take the opportunity to move slowly and feast on the beauty of these snowy winter days.

cardinal

Photo by Julia Lightfoot

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On New Years Resolutions

Every year, people take the opportunity of the New Years to put unwarranted pressure to loose those extra pounds, to try harder at their work, try harder to become more than what they are. Sometimes people make very long lists. Sometimes I’ve even made very long lists of all the things where I could improve. Usually lists fail consistently when it comes to making changes in the way one approaches this life.

Yesterday morning I awoke thinking about the New Years and how I hadn’t put together a list. And I wondered what would be on it if I had put one together. Immediately I thought that only one thing really deserved to be on this list: take joy in everything. So I guess that means that I will celebrate that I only gained 4 pounds over the holidays and not 6. And that while we might be having a very rainy winter this year, (and I like rainy weather least) I will celebrate that we have had some sunny days as well. And while things can always be better, there are blessings in each day.

It’s very easy to go from ones perceived flaws and make a resolution list; but what if we make the list by enjoying what really is. For decades I have pursued this idea of staying in the present moment. I meditate, I pray, and I practice Qigong as my tools. Perhaps the absence of the list is the indicator that I’m making headway. I will enjoy and experience joy for the experience of everything that happens this year, and while it certainly won’t be all good, it will be part of the celebration of life.

May you experience the blessings of being alive in the coming year.

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