The day before yesterday in yoga class my ‘tree balancing’ posture was near perfect. I focused on some sun dappled leaves outside the third floor studio on 13th Street and my mind seemed as quiet as a still lake. I’m not sure why because I woke up late, unable to address the issue of my missing credit card because I had a deadline to finish before racing out the door for the 7 minute walk-run to Integral Yoga. I must have tapped into an inner calm because my surface was flooded with a frantic frenetic energy.
I use yoga, dance, and qigong practice as way to keep my energy balanced and strong. Qigong is different from the others in that although there are some gentle movements, the ‘work’ one does is mostly internal, that is, to focus the mind on different parts of the body, to become aware of the breath, and to ‘learn’ to be still. It is based on Classical Chinese Medicine and works to balance and build vital life energy (qi).
The following is a good qigong balancing exercise. If you would like to see a similar one you can find it in a video I released in 2005:
Find a time and place where you will not be disturbed. Take a deep breath in and when you exhale relax your shoulders. Take another breath in and let your belly expand. Let it naturally contract on the exhale. Place your hands in the prayer position in front of your heart and focus on a stationary point in front of you at eye level.
Move your arms out to the sides so they are shoulder level with your hands relaxed as you bring your left foot into the right ankle, and balance for a few seconds on the right leg.
Place your left foot down, and bring your palms back to center.
Do the same exercise as above only balance on your left leg this time.
Come back to center with both feet on the ground and your hands in the prayer position in front of your heart. Repeat 8 times (4 times to each side).
You can gradually increase the balance time according to your comfort. Don’t forget to breathe, smile slightly and enjoy!
Please note: Qigong exercise does not help you to break a sweat or bring you to the edge of your physical strength and flexibility. It is best done in conjunction with other forms.