The mind moves the Qi and the Qi moves the body
Qigong exercise is often referred to as mediation in movement.
These exercises work differently with the muscles than typical exercises. Aerobics and vigorous stretching build strength and ﬂexibility; qigong and other internal exercises build effortless power and looseness.
Muscular contraction prevents the free ﬂow of chi. The goal with qigong exercise is a feeling of relaxed power. This happens when the muscles, rather than straining, loosen, and allow the energy to ﬂow through.
It works to strengthen and balance all the internal organs. And slow, deep, regular breathing and qigong movement combine to send oxygen deep into the tissues. Qigong improves circulation by increasing the elasticity of the blood vessels themselves improving the circulation of fluids and energy in the body.
These exercises can be geared towards helping specific organs, organ systems, health conditions or emotional states. Qigong exercise makes your body more conscious by increasing your internal awareness, moving chi and activating your channels and meridians. It releases toxic energy trapped within the body's tissues and helps to retrain and rejuvenate the nervous system.
If you correct your mind the rest of your life will fall into place
- Lao Tzu
The only bad meditation is the one that was not done.
Your body speaks your mind. Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your body as you do to your fears
Qigong has numerous meditations to assist patients with healing and general well being. Taking time out from our day to go within is an essential part of healing and creating a healthy relationship between body, mind & spirit.
Before symptoms manifest in the physical body the energetic body gets sick. In todays society the relationship with self is often neglected in pursuit of the external world, often at great cost to the health of the physical body. When we continue to ignore signals sent from the body, urging us to pay attention to it or to slow down, it will eventually throw us in bed with an illness forcing us to take time out for the survival of the body.
Looking for a quick fix to make the pain go away so we can continue as before, is only delaying the inevitable. We need to begin to cultivate a new relationship with our bodies. Taking time out for inward reflection, listening to the body, and shutting out the external world - even if only for a few minutes a day - has tremendous benefits on the vitality of the body, mind & spirit.
The Benefits of Meditation
The principal benefit is that of stress management. Stress is an inherent part of daily life and stress management also means a healthier lifestyle and a healthier body. However, meditation properly practiced that is, on a daily basis, can have a rejuvenating effect not only on our body but also on our relationships with loved ones and in our workplace, home and general environment.
However, the true objective of meditation is entering the silence of the mind, that is, when thoughts as we know them come to a complete stop and we are able to be free of the mental chattering that accompanies us daily, unceasingly, for a brief moment. It is during this moment that the body can rejuvenate itself and even heal itself. In the silence of the mind, all things are possible and nothing is impossible
How do we Meditate?
If you follow the steps exactly you will be on your way to entering the stillness and silence of the mind. Remember meditation can also be very challenging especially if you sit down to meditate after a stressful day or have an agitated mind. The key is to remember that the mind is like a stubborn mule that we need to gain dominion of in order to allow us to enter the silence of the mind and allow us to hear the intuitive voice of the heart. Sometimes the mind will give you many excuses why you shouldn’t bother mediating today, like watching TV would be far more relaxing, or just do it tomorrow etc etc. but if you learn to discipline yourself you will find that after a while of practice and experiencing the benefits of the meditation you will start missing the relaxed state it does provide when you miss a day here and there.
The Steps of Meditation
1. Posture (Asana) - One that is conducive to alert awareness.
2. Breathing (Pranayama) • Counting the Breath • Following the Breath
3. Serene Observation and Study of the Mind
Observe the parade of thoughts that go through your mind. Allow thoughts to come and go. Do not become identified with any thoughts, that is, do not grab onto them and daydream. Simply observe them at a distance in a detached and objective manner.
Entering the Silence (Dharana)
When the Parade of thoughts comes to an end, the mind remains still and silent by itself. Spontaneous, effortless concentration (the Silence of the Mind) has emerged.
5. Meditation (Dhyana)
In the Silence
When the Mind becomes still and silent, consciousness escapes the bottle of the Mind to experience that which is "Reality".
Basics of Sitting
Sit on a chair, meditation bench or meditation cushion on the floor. Make sure your spine is erect and chin tucked in ever so slightly. This is the posture that has been used for thousands of years, for a reason - it works!
Sit several inches away from the back of the chair so that you will not be tempted to slump backwards and thereby fall asleep. An erect sitting posture, although seemingly difficult initially, is always much healthier for the body and for breathing. After a few sessions, you will discover that your back benefits from sitting in this manner. Sit with your feet placed firmly on the floor (without shoes).
If you are sitting on a meditation bench, sit with legs tucked under the bench and with spine erect.
If you are sitting on a meditation cushion, sit in the half lotus or full lotus position, making sure that your heels are resting on a mat and that your cushion is higher than the mat underneath it.
Whichever position you choose, once you sit down, close your eyes so that you will not be distracted by the visual impressions around you. Place your hands in the meditation mudra; the right hand resting on the palm of the left hand with the two thumbs touching lightly such that the union of the thumbs and forefingers form an oval shape. Rest your hands on your legs lightly on your legs. This mudra will help you gauge your alertness in meditation. If you find your thumbs slipping or slumping forward, it is because you have fallen asleep physically or psychologically (daydreaming) and you are no longer meditating.
Counting the Breath and Following the Breath
Now breathe naturally (no deep breathing). Focus your attention on that spot inside your nostrils where the breath touches when it goes in and out. Count your exhalations from 1 to 10 and then begin again at 1 again. If any thoughts enter the mind between 1-10, start over at 1 until you can count from 1-10 without any interruption of thoughts. Mastering this step may take several weeks or more before you should consider moving on to the next step. Be patient with yourself. Do not force the mind to be silent. This step is setting the foundation for your meditation practice.
When counting becomes very easy and a burden to the mind, drop the counting and move on to following the breath.
Follow your breath without counting that is, simply pay attention to the air that you feel as you inhale and exhale.
When following the breath is easily done without being pulled away by thoughts, and when it has become a burden to the mind, drop it and move on to the next step. (This process may also take several weeks to perfect.) Be patient and allow progress to happen as it should. Do not try to force the mind.
Serene Observation of the Mind
Now let go, and with awareness observe the parade of thoughts that go through the mind.
In a detached and objective manner, observe the thoughts and let them go.
Observe and let go! Observe and let go! Like a parade passing in front of you.
Continue until the parade of thoughts comes to an end all by themselves and you naturally and effortlessly enter the stillness and silence of the mind.
Be patient and don’t give up. Remember the only bad meditation is the one that was not done.
To obtain the full benefits of Meditation:
Be consistent, set time aside and practice daily. Think of it as time for yourself.
Set aside a specific time if possible. The period of time is not as important as daily practice. So if you only have 15 minutes or half hour to spare, daily use of this time is surprisingly effective.
Practice daily. Do not try to make up time from one day to the next by practicing longer on some days. Simply practice daily.
Set aside a specific area of your home to carry out your daily practice. It can be the corner of a room. Make sure it is conducive to silence. Create an atmosphere conducive to meditation - that is, one that is silent (no loud music, TV, etc.)
Preferably do not eat a heavy meal before sitting down to meditate.
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