January 29, 2018
Practiced stillness, relaxation, and letting go this past Sunday by exploring the moving meditation of Zen Qigong. As a form of physical exercise – Qigong exercises are soft and flowing, incorporating deep breathing with gentle movements. These movements create physical healing benefits that move beyond the muscle and tissue, working with our ‘Qi’ – the living energy inside us that gives us life and consciousness. (I hope I explained that right. I’m no Qigong expert and thank Google for helping me with that explanation).
Over this past year I found myself moving beyond the strenuous, ‘no pain, no gain’ aspect of exercise. Discovering that there are more ways to strengthen the body than through arduous exercise. I use the terms ‘arduous’ and ‘strenuous’ lightly here, as I don’t literally mean drop-dead-on-your-face working out, or even passing out (Although it’s been known to happen) I mean more Aerobic / Endurance exercise, Strengthening exercise …
While I do believe that these types of exercises (at any level) are important, I strongly believe that Balance is further important. The balance of the above united with the ‘no pain, all gain’ side.
My mind and body was always Go, Go, Go. Increase my heart rate, feel sweat dripping from my face, feel muscle burn. It was almost as if I was going through the motions without really experiencing them. My mind/body never got a break, nor did my mind/body feel completely nourished, or given the stillness that it needed.
Yoga was the first step. Finding the mind/body/breath awareness and bringing that into my then ‘regular’ workout routine. The: stop and smell the flowers. Pause. Think about what I’m doing. Really experience it. I slowly uncovered that my workouts were becoming more mindful. I was no longer going through the motions of checking off another workout. I was almost becoming part of that workout. Becoming more mindful of my breath, my actions, and my being. I was becoming more aware of my energy and the energy that I projected out to others.
I ended up tossing one of my muscle / cardio days. My ‘Total Muscle Conditioning’ (I always say that like Arnold would for some reason) dropped off my work out schedule completely and I replaced it with Yoga.
I had Zero intention of ever trying Yoga. I kept saying, I’m not going to sweat, it’s too slow, I don’t need to ‘Zen Out’. I want to burn, push, and sweat.
I cannot emphasize here how wrong I was.
I left my first Yoga class feeling connected. Like the other half of me had suddenly awakened.
I thought: why didn’t I try Yoga earlier on in life? Like, waaaaaay earlier on. But then again, there is a time and place for everything in life, and it was then that Yoga came into mine.
As I mentioned, Yoga was the first step, but I felt that there was more out there waiting for me to discover. More healing modalities. Fast forward a bit, I became a Reiki Practitioner, incorporated a regular meditation practice into my life, attended teachings to further uncover and further discover how to incorporate these healing modalities into my life and into the lives of others – to help others take the time to pause, recover, relax, feel balanced, and be still.