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Shaking Practice

Shaking Practice

Many people find shaking practice to be the qigong form they remember and practice most often. Perhaps that’s because it’s easy, free-form and relaxes you quickly. Shaking is an invitation to check in with yourself and let go in the places that need it the most. It’s a chance to wake yourself up in the morning or let go of the day in the evening. It can help quiet your mind, send healing messages to the organs and tissues of the body and create the inner space you need to enter the stillness of being present and aware.

During a qigong class or practice session, shaking is the first form we do as a warm up for the form that follows. However, shaking is a form itself. If you would like to experience it with a group, you can join our upcoming Meridian qigong class which begins Monday, May 6, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, and Summer Solstice ocean practice. See class schedule.

You can practice for 5 minutes or up to 45 minutes (and more). You can follow along with the short video above. It is an example of how you can move your body as you focus internally on different areas as described below.

If you have less time, do a little free form shaking and tapping tight muscles like in the video. Then focus on each of the vertebra in your spine and shake them one at a time from neck to tailbone. This refreshes your entire nervous system. Finish with another minute of free style shaking, moving all your joints, follow that by feeling you are shaking from deep in your internal organs to the surface of your skin. Then stop. Let your outer body be still and notice your inner body and the sensations of movement, lightness and spaciousness. Drift for a moment in the space around you. Sit for a few minutes of meditation. Listen to your breath and feel into the sense of stillness and presence that is the context of your experience.

For a more expanded shaking session, continue shaking and focus your tapping on the body tissue layers suggested below. After tapping a few moments through the body from head to toe, shake and focus on that body layer as a whole, then move onto the next. When you finish, stop and notice as explained above. Always end with meditation.

  • Skin
  • Muscles
  • Bones
  • Internal Organs: heart, lungs, stomach-spleen, liver-gallbladder, kidneys, belly, reproductive organs.
  • Moods, feelings, emotions: like tiredness, boredom or anxiety, sadness or frustration

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Discover Clarity and Purpose

Discover Clarity and Purpose

Here is a simple qigong movement that may help you take a break and invoke your creative imagination. Practice it with sincerity and focus. It is from the Jin Jing Gong school of qigong and is called “Raising the Yin and Descending the Yang.” Read more to discover how you can use it to increase clarity and a sense of purpose.

How many times have you asked yourself “what do I want to do?” or some version of it like, what job feels right for me?,  or what’s my next project?, or what can I do to make a difference? Even the question “what do I want do today” helps us key into the part of ourselves that has a short or a long-range idea of what seems important and what we want to accomplish. Without this inner clarity, we can feel at loose ends and even depressed. We may start things but not finish them. Or we can lose the big picture and fret over the small stuff. Conversely, those who are very clear on their path and goals may miss the best of life because they keep themselves tied to their to-do list, or rigidly pursue their own agenda without warmth or partnership.

Either way we are out of balance with ourselves and our creative empowerment. The tendency is to react from conditioned behaviors and expectations rather than respond from an innate sense of purpose and choice. We can recognize these inner messages more easily when we take a break, quiet our thinking minds and call on our deeper intelligence. I love to use meditative movement to do this.

Raising the yin and descending the yang is very appropriate for the season because in the spring nature is clear about its purpose and is fresh with new life. The seeds that were planted last year and have patiently labored underground during the winter are finally able to burst forth with renewed vigor. Ah, the fresh breath of spring. It comes with the warmth of sunlight and the caress of new colors and smells. The chance to begin again brings a sense of hope.

When I practice this qigong movement, I like to imagine the feeling of spring and a plant or tree growing and spreading. Spring has Wood element energy according to classical Taoist thought. It is symbolized by a tree which is well routed in the soil and reaches upwards towards the sky. The tree is strong yet flexible and stays aligned with the earth below and the heavens above.

If you want to strengthen your clarity and sense of purpose, you can emphasize the upward movements of this posture, or “raising the yin,” with the intention of asking for inner guidance.  Yin here refers to the earth or ocean and can also be that which is below the horizon of our awareness. If you want to relax tension and the irritation and even anger that can emerge when things don’t go the way you want, emphasize “descending the yang.” This may also help lower your blood pressure. Yang refers to the light, warmth and wisdom that symbolically illuminates us from above. Do it with the intention of quieting your mind and opening to the situation with new eyes.

Practice this movement several times in succession until you feel an inner change in your mood and/or an energized relaxation in your body. The movements will help to slow and deepen your breath which helps you relax and feel centered. Even a few breaths make a big difference and help you see things from a different perspective.  Enjoy the movements and rest for a moment when you finish and before you begin a new activity to let your body and mind absorb the new energy. Practice daily for best results, and especially when you need it the most. Remember to be patient and give the timing of things and the results of your actions to the universe.

Fear and Bowing

Fear and Bowing

Today fall is in the crisp morning air. The temperature was a cool 51 degrees. It’s a reminder that the seasons are always changing and its time to start loosening any attachment to summer. We can say that in summer Mother Nature’s ego is in full beauty. Now the fruit trees and garden vines are bowing towards the earth with their mature bounty. We must pick the fruits, eat them and store them to preserve their nutritional value. Preserving and storing essence is a theme for this time of year.  Just as winter follows fall, if we don’t preserve the foods they will go back into the ground, decay, germinate and reemerge in the spring. Its all part of the process.

As I was practicing with my qigong group in the park, my thoughts went to my parents who are in decline.  I noticed the tension in my body and heart that is coming from my worry about them, and beneath that my fear and resistance to the aging process. Worry about the future is almost always backed up by fear or anxiety.

bowing kamala quale moon and lotus acupunctureOne antidote is to bring the mind gently back to the present and to the physical sensations in the body.  During qigong practice, especially during standing meditations, we are encouraged to relax, relax, relax and open, open, open. As I softened through my body, a healing message emerged in my mind. Like the branches that are bowing with heavy fruit, I must also bow to the process of life. This softening and allowing in mind and body eases fear. In this present moment I consciously return to preserving and storing my internal essence with movement, breath and visualization practices.

The meridian in the spotlight for September is the Kidney meridian in the system of the twelve earthly branches. Storing and preserving essence are key words for the kidney, which is like our life battery that must be recharged, or it becomes extinguished. Fear is the emotion we feel when the Kidney qi is low or stressed. Other key words, which come from the Kidney’s association with water, are surrender, humility, and strength through flow and perseverance.

To find out more about working with fear and the meridian of the month, check out my e-book, Meridian Health Almanac. Each chapter gives monthly insights for well-being in our holographic universe.

Live in a Connected Universe

Live in a Connected Universe

Grace: an elegance, body movements that are flowing and flexible, a shower of blessing, a giving of blessing, appearing radiant. Longevity: living a long life, perseverance, in touch with the infinite. In my mind, grace and longevity are concepts that belong together. It seems to me that the more I know about grace, the happier and more flowing my life will be no matter how many physical years it lasts. Grace and the infinite are connected. (more…)