Qi breathers are quick tips and exercises that take only a moment to view and to practice. Use them any time you have a free moment in the day to help move you towards balance, well-being, and feeling better.
In 2009, researchers at The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California combed through 1,019 videos on YouTube of animals that appeared to be dancing. http://goo.gl/lTqOg1 After careful analysis, they concluded that only fifteen showed evidence of the animal coordinating movement to the music that was played, fourteen of which were parrots and one an Asian elephant. Despite this evidence of the potential for animals that are vocal learners to dance, without humans to create music, these animals to do not exhibit dancing behavior in their natural environments.
Dance is one of the few physical exercises that humans can perform better than any other
living creatures on earth. Throughout history, there has not been a single society that did not incorporate dance into their culture.
Dance is a very natural movement for humans, and as an exercise that is inherent in our nature, it can have tremendous benefits to our health. We can find the most basic and fundamental movements that are incorporated into all forms of dance within qigong. These natural movements distribute lymph, aid in the function of our veins, and boost the circulation of both blood and qi. Watch this qi breather to learn one of those basics movements that can easily be incorporated into your daily life.
Focus: Layers of the Mind
All of us have multiple layers to our minds; we are capable of doing and thinking many things at the same time. Some of us sing while we shower, dance while we clean, hum while we cook. Often times, the more intelligent we are, the more we split our focus, occupying our minds with several things because it can be difficult to find something challenging enough that requires the entire focus of our minds.
Only math savants and highly practiced individuals can hum a tune and derive Fermat’s Last Theorem at the same time. Only a simpleton cannot hum and wash the dishes at the same time.
However, we can learn even from simpletons. Ask the simpleton to do the dishes, and you can count on him to get it done because nothing else occupies his mind; the task represents a challenge that requires the entire attention of his mind.
Ask a highly intelligent person to do the dishes, and they may get distracted; their focus may split from the menial nature of the task and they run off to do something else instead. Understanding that we have multiple layers to our minds is the first step to learning the single-minded focus that is required to achieve great accomplishments.
Focus: Integrating Components
A common way to describe someone who has an obsession is single-minded, implying that person thinks about one and only one thing.
This is an excellent description of focus: the entire mind is occupied with the achievement of a single purpose.
However, as discussed in this Qi Breather, true focus is not only singleness of mind, but singleness of your entire being. When you are capable of directing your spirit, mind, body, emotions, and energy and set up your social and environmental interactions all towards a single point of intention, you will find true focus and see stunning results at astonishing speeds.
WCKG Intervew with Matt Dubiel
The interview presented in this Qi Breather aired on WCKG on December 14, 2013. In it, Matt Dubiel and I discuss a broad overview of what qi and qigong are and how qigong, an art that is 5000 years old, can benefit you in your every day life in today’s society. The interview lasts over 50 minutes. Digest it in chunks, or set aside an hour to learn some fundamentals of qigong.
還陽水 (Huan Yang Shui or “Return to Life Water”) Part 2
Happy Lunar New year! We continue with the explanation of how going through the simple process of making Huan Yang Shui makes it different than regular water and discuss some of our physical senses.
還陽水 (Huan Yang Shui or “Return to Life Water”) Part 1
In this qi breather, we introduce a little-known secret in Chinese Medicine, 還陽水 (Huan Yang Shui or “Return to Life Water”), which has been used for generations to clear skin, improve energy, appear more youthful, and improve health. In part 1, I share what it is, why it is that it can provide such powerful benefits, and how to make it. Part 2 will share some of the science behind it and why not all water is the same.
Panic and Anxiety
Panic and anxiety outside of immediate physical danger comes from internal thought forms and patterns and a vivid imagination. The combination of these thoughts and our vivid imaginations causes us to react to fantasy: either events of the past that are no longer reality, or projections into the future or complete fantasy that never were reality.
Remember from previous Qi Breathers that life, reality, and joy are all in the now. Depression lives in the past and worry lives in the future. Understanding this helps us realize that being in the present and in tune with our physical realities will quickly help alleviate anxiety and panic.
Then, to help us release troublesome thought patterns and to balance emotionally, we can use some powerful acupoints along the Ren (CV) and Du (GV) meridians.
Being present in the moment is an important life skill. It is the first step in paying attention and achieving focus. Life happens in the now, never in the past or in the future. Any good qigong, meditation, or task that is successfully completed begins with bringing oneself into the present. This Qi Breather demonstrates one very simple exercise to help root you into the moment of the present.
Intent and New Year’s Resolutions
Before we set New Year’s Resolutions or even a dream or goal in life, it is useful to define all the desires that we have for our life and to prioritize them. Revisit them occasionally, as your priorities will change as time goes by. Below the video is the sheet that I came up with when defining my own intent for my life. Some items may not fit into your own vision for your life and there may be some items that you wish to include that I did not. Take the sheet and make it your own. And may you have a happy and successful year!
The end of a year is a great time to pause and take a moment to reflect on the year that has gone by. Think of the significant events in your life this past year and recognize the progress you have made. This will help you set your intention for the new year and have the right thoughts to help flow your energy and create the life you want in the upcoming year. Have a wonderful and happy new year!
Jet Lag and Travel Fatigue part 2
Now that we know one way of preventing jet lag and travel fatigue, what do we do if we are already experiencing jet lag? This video introduces an effective technique used by acupuncturists to treat jetlag. It can also be used as a preventative measure.
Rather than waiting until you arrive at your destination, you can begin using this while you are still in the airport of departure. Figure out what time it is at your destination, then find the corresponding acupoint and stimulate it. Then, every two hours move on to the next point until you are at your destination!
Jet Lag and Travel Fatigue part 1
Traveling far and for extended periods by airplane can interrupt our circadian rythms, exposes us to more Heaven/Yang energy than we’re accustomed to, and spreads our energetic bodies over great distances. Learn a simple way to counteract these and arrive at your destination energetic, refreshed, and in synch with the local time!
Gratitude and Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving! In qigong, there are 2 ideal states to achieve: a blank mind and a feeling of bliss. One of the quickest routes to the blissful state is to be appreciative and grateful. Both the blank mind and the state of bliss lower our resistant thoughts and our resistant qi flow, helping us to circulate qi and remove blockages.
Thanksgiving is an excellent holiday because it reminds us to seek out and recognize all that we have to be grateful for in our lives. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for following the Qi Breathers series!
Kidney Qi Boost
For the last of the exercises in the caffeine-free energy series, we will boost our kidney qi. Whereas the previous exercises focused more on bringing us into a more Yang state, this exercise will utilize the kidney qi to boost our alertness. In Chinese medicine, kidney qi is responsible for controlling and converting jing, which is essesntial for growth and reproduction. Kidney qi will boost your urge and drive to take action; it is a very restless type of energy. We want to stimulate it lightly to help increase our energy, alertness, and body warmth, but not so much that we become agitated and fidgety.
Nostril breathing can wake you up and warm you up fast. Be careful not to overdo it, though, or you may hyperventilate! Try it on those long drives where you just can’t seem to stay awake.
In this Qi Breather, we continue with our exercises to help us feel more awake and alert with Yang Breathing. Yang Breathing is similar to Yin Breathing except it creates a more active state while still having a calming effect. I like Yang breathing because it can be done anywhere you may be feeling sleepy, like in a car. It can also be done discreetly, so your coworkers in the conference room or your classmates in the lecture hall won’t know what you’re doing!
The next few Qi Breathers will introduce quick, simple exercises that will help be more alert and awake. Long-term use of caffeine can put you into an excess Yang state and deplete Yin Energy. The point sequence in this Qi Breather will help energize you without the use of caffeine. Ultimately, however, you will still want to develop good sleeping habits and do qi building exercises to replenish your low energy.
Feeling Your Qi – La Qi (拉氣)
La Qi (拉氣), pulling qi, is a simple exercise to help reawaken your sensitivity to your qi. If you are currently relatively healthy and in an emotionally and mentally turmoil-free state, you should be able to feel your qi while following along with this video. If you cannot, don’t worry! With training and practice not only will your qi be stronger and easier to detect, but your sensitivity to it will increase as well.
We naturally try to keep our vision in focus, contracting muscles in our eyes to keep images sharp. When we practice the soft gaze, we relax the muscles in the eyes, allowing them to rest and removing what is for most people their main sensory input. This has a different effect than closing the eyes. Closing our eyes helps us internalize and listen to our inner voice. It is useful for looking within and for visualization. The soft gaze removes sensory input from the eyes while still keeping you present. It is helpful when blanking the mind
and finding the internal observer – the part of us that simply observes without analysis or judgement.
Yin Breathing is a simple exercise we can do to help balance out Yang conditions. Mental stress, insomnia, TMJ, clenching jaws, grinding teeth, overactive mind, and worry are all common examples of an overly Yang state. Practice Yin Breathing whenever you feel stress or add it to any qigong exercise or light physical activity you’re already practicing.
Form and Posture
Proper posture allows your qi to circulate freely through your body. Watch the video and learn how to practice good posture!
“Qi Breathers” are quick tips and exercises you can use to feel better any time during the day you need a quick break. This Qi Breather is on belly breathing, one of the most fundamental exercises in qigong.