Free flow of qi, the vital energy that moves and motivates all bodily functions and transformations.
The simple practice of regulating the body, breath, and mind can be easily adapted for enhancing everyday activities. It has far-reaching benefits for well-being and peace of mind through establishing alignment and regulation of one’s body, mind, and spirit. This serves to open the free flow of qi, the vital energy that moves and motivates all bodily functions and transformations.
It is a process that involves paying special attention to physical alignment, regulation of breath, as well as focused mind intent. This specific approach is derived from the practice of the Chinese exercises of tai chi and qigong. A practitioner of these exercise arts ultimately increases integration of mind, body, and spirit through moving “together as one.”
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that is primarily practiced today for its fitness and wellness benefits. Graceful and flowing movements are formed together into what is traditionally known as a form or set. Tai chi practice induces complete relaxation and is commonly known as “meditation through movement.”
Qigong (pronounced chee-gung) is practiced with the main purpose of cultivation of qi within the body. It differs from tai chi in that it was originally created with medical and health purposes in mind. Qigong involves gentle and flowing movement techniques which incorporate breath, sound, visualization, and self-massage. Both tai chi and qigong are forms of physical fitness that are practiced to promote internal healing.
- The body should be supple like an infant
- The movements should be flexible like a snake
- The feeling should be soft like water
- The breathing should be smooth like a cloud
- Qigong Proverb
Regulation of the body
This refers to increased flexibility, heightened relaxation and establishment of proper body alignment. It leads to a smooth and easy flow of qi and ensures that it continues to be built and stored properly, rather than squandered and lost.
The best way to create this within oneself is to maintain a straight flat back with a relaxed pelvis and buttocks tucked underneath. Also, it is important to relax the shoulders and keep head erect, while aligned with the back. This positioning can be done while sitting, standing or walking. Moreover, be mindful to relax the soles of the feet, while feeling the connection to the ground. This helps with more complete centering and greater composure throughout the day. Body regulation in this way also leads to a regular and rhythmic breath, with the added benefit of a more relaxed and calm mind.
Regulation of the breath
This has to do with being conscious of the natural rhythm of one’s breath. This activates qi flow and thus promotes health by gathering, stimulating and circulating vital energy throughout the body. It is also important to breathe into the diaphragm and belly in a full, slow, relaxed, smooth, regular and rhythmical manner. In doing so, inhale and expand the belly, then deflate it upon exhaling exhalation.
Belly breathing serves to build qi within the body, enhance oxygenation of the blood and strengthens digestion. Furthermore, it promotes heart and lung function, cleanses the blood, nourishes the mind and calms the spirit. This breathing method also allows for breathing in a maximum of air with a minimum of effort.
Resting the tongue on the roof of the mouth, just behind the teeth is also recommended for regulation of the breath. This opens qi flow within an area where two major energetic pathways meet. The activation of the energetics through these pathways serves to strengthen energy flow, release stagnant energy and open qi movement within the remaining twelve main pathways in the body.
Keeping the mouth closed and breathing in and out through the nose during belly breathing is preferred. This serves to activate glands in the nasal passageway to fight off bacteria, while the mucous membranes prevent cold air extremes from penetrating the body. Additionally, is also highly recommended to spend time outdoors whenever possible to take advantage of clean fresh air and to commune with nature. This will also help to bring about serenity and mental clarity.
Regulation of the mind
This has to do with staying focusing on what a person is doing in a moment of time, rather than being distracted and “all over the place.” When mental concentration becomes more single-pointed it leads to a more peaceful and serene state of being. This cuts down on overthinking about “a thousand things” at once, which is traditionally known as the “monkey mind.” It allows for the accomplishment of a multitude of tasks done with clear intention.
There is a saying in qigong and tai chi – yi dao, qi dao, which translates as “where the mind goes, the qi follows.” Remembering this saying throughout the day is a way to keep the mind clear and concentrating on the more appropriate matters at hand. It will save a tremendous amount of time in the long run and keep a smile on one’s face.
In our modern world, having an open mind to the wisdom of the ancient Chinese exercise arts will make a big difference in one’s quality of life. It leads to the ability to protect oneself from the never-ending onslaught of information. Regulation of body, breath, and mind allows for the creation of a calm, focused and integrated existence. It is a wonderful shift in sensations bringing an enhanced awareness that emanates throughout the body, one that brings one into the joy of the moment.