Instead of writing on my travel blog about meditation and Qigong (some of the best energy, relaxation, stress-relief, and awareness work you can do), I've decided to dedicate an entire blog to them.
Meditation and mindfulness are new, old buzz words.
Everyone is meditating or trying to meditate or taking meditation classes or watching meditation videos.
I say, GOOD FOR YOU!
I've been meditating for 27 years and teaching for 24 years.
I have been doing Qigong (a form of moving meditation) for over 10 years and teaching for 4 years.
I 've tried all sorts of styles and techniques.
When I get away from meditation and Qigong I'm less calm, and allow less to roll off of my back.
What works for YOU, works for you.
Here are some recommendations.
I use these exercises on the road, and have taught them in class. They feature various techniques .
Take what works, and leave the rest.
*Always remember that these techniques are NOT a substitute for medical care or medical advise. They are some of many tools for your health and well-being. Please see your doctor if you are experiencing any emotional or physical challenges that remain with you or come on suddenly.*
Meditation and Qigong have a myriad of reactions in the body and mind.
You may feel relaxed, fall asleep, laugh, cry or simply feel content. It is all normal and there is no need to judge your experience.
Those who are participating in these energy modalities are part of a growing population tired of feeling tired or stressed.
You don't have to believe anything or NOT believe anything. Apply what works for YOUR life.
Welcome new ways to relax.. Who doesn’t want to relax? Or need to relax? By relax I mean doing something more than watching tv, having a drink(s) or scarfing down big plates of nachos.
The term "Mindfulness" is used often in business and in professional sports.
YES! Your favorite athletes are most likely practicing mindfulness, Qigong, Tai Chi, visualization, and more..
Call it what you like You can call it paddling up the Mississippi for all I care. As long as you are taking the time to DO IT is all that matters!
A lot of my teaching focuses on the breath.
That sounds pretty simple, right?
And it is.
If you are alive you are breathing.
What do you expect to get from these techniques?
What would you LIKE to get out of these exercises?
If you've been curious, and have never done anything like this before, you might feel a little awkward at first.
In meditation I don't insist you sit in any formal position. Staying upright is best. If you lie down make sure you stay awake. Your hands don't need to be in particular mudras (positions). I may recommend some but it's up to you. They work for me to keep the energy circulating.
Qigong has stances and ways of sitting to enhance the flow of energy. I'll always walk you through them. Generally they're pretty simple.
Some breathing exercises may seem weird, but they all have a point.
Just go with it.
We are in this together, and no one is watching.
“How long do I need to do these exercises?"
That question may be an indication that your brain is resisting.
You need to go with it and release control. Do one exercise until you feel you are ready to go on to the next exercise.
If you work with customers, and sometimes challenging or irate customers, certain types of breathing will get you through tough situations and help you keep your cool.
If you travel (and we all know travel can be REALLY stressful) keeping a cool head will go a long way with the flight attendants, the check-in staff and the counter staff at the gate. Plus, it might even get you a decent upgrade!!
One artist I worked with came to see me in a terrible panic about his upcoming concert. He knew that I did breath and relaxation work. I gave him a simple counting breath and body relaxations exercises.
His anxiety was greatly decreased by the time he left my office.
Constantly we all come in contact with all sorts of people. Knowing what calms you down translates calm to others. When you are calm, those you encounter may become calmer, too.
When you do some of the exercises below you may feel a bit light-headed and that is perfectly normal.
If you feel dizzy, stop what you are doing and return to your natural breathing.
We are getting a lot more oxygen into our bodies and our cells with these breathing exercises.
Our bodies aren't used to that unless we have been practicing for a while. We talk quickly, take shallow breaths, run around during the day, not to mention that the body is used to quick inhalations.
Keep this in mind.
When you are consciously breathing your mind cannot run amok. It's very hard to focus on two opposing things at once. Your mind will try to pull you away from what you are doing. It will struggle, argue, tell you that you are bored and you aren’t getting anything from this.
BUT if you continue, you WILL feel a difference.
Make sure you put your phasers to stun. (Turn off your phones for non-Star Trek fans)
Place yourself in a comfortable position making sure you can stay awake and engaged.
Read through the exercises FIRST then do your best to duplicate them with your eyes closed. Move from exercise to exercise at your own pace. Asking yourself "does that exercise feel complete?" before you move on.
You may do these exercises with your eyes open or closed. I find I get more from them with my eyes closed.
Here we go!!!
1) Put your attention in your feet. Relax your feet. Moving up relax your legs, relax your hips, relax your torso, relax your chest, relax your shoulders, relax your arms, relax your hands, relax your neck, relax your jaw. Breath through this for a few minutes.
2) Breath naturally in and out through the nose. REALLY focus on the breath. Stay here for a few minutes.
3) Put your hands on your rib cage. When you breathe, in you expand your ribcage, when you breathe out you release your ribcage. Repeat.
4) Breath in the through the nose and out through the mouth. SLOWLY. Repeat.
5) Ocean breath – breathe in through the nose. Open the mouth and breathe out from the back of throat. It sounds a bit like water rushing out to sea and then coming back to shoe,. or like air rushing through a cave. Repeat.
You can take a break here or continue.
6) Take deep breaths through your nose for a slow count of 5. Then exhale through your mouth for a slow count of 5. Repeat.
7) Breath to the beat: Inhale through the nose for a count of 4, pause for a count of 4, breathe out through the mouth for a count of 4, pause for a count of 4. Repeat.
8) Cannon Ball Breath or Cooling Breath – form your mouth in an small O. Draw air in through your mouth slowly then release keeping the lips pursed. Repeat.
You can take a break here or continue.
OR do the next exercises at another time.
These breath exercises originated in Qigong. They have been shown to be effective in different parts of the brain where particular emotions reside.
Do each exercise for a few minutes OR one at a time to relieve impatience, worry, sadness or depression, fear and anger.
All these breath exercises start with inhaling through the nose. Each breath is released SLOWLY.
9) To Release Impatience – Inhale through the nose, open your mouth and exhale as if you were going to say HAWWWW. Release the breath without vocalization.
10) To Release Worry - Inhale through the nose and form the word WHO. Release the breath as if saying WHO without sound.
11) To Release Sadness or Depression – Inhale through the nose and exhale forming SSSSSSSS - like steam escaping through the mouth.
12) To Release Fear – Inhale through the nose and exhale as if blowing out a candle with a long exhale. Note: this is different than #10.
13) To Release Anger – Inhale through the nose and release the breath while similulating SHHHHHHH through the mouth.
Return to your natural breath.
Open your eyes slowly.
Come back into the room.
I hope you can use some, many or all of these exercises in long, medium or short sessions.
They can be done anywhere inside or outside but do not do them while driving or operating machinery.
As always thanks for reading.
See you next time!
With a combination of nearly 25 years as a master meditation teacher, Qigong instructor, sound healing teacher and Reiki master teacher, KaZ considers those only to be certifications. No labels for her. She feels deeply that she is as much of a student as a teacher.
A seeker by nature, she continues to let her life evolve. If through her journey, education and teaching experience she has insights or life examples that give others peace and contentment KaZ feels she is doing what she was put on the planet to do.
This blog focuses on the arts of Qigong and meditation.