Archive for March, 2011

Harmony and Adversity

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I get inspired by watching birds.  They seem so care free, impervious to the worst weather.  Like yesterday morning, when Carolina wrens, sparrows and finches were singing during the snowstorm.

And how did so many birds survive this brutal winter?   Here’s a theory: birds and other animals live in harmony with the natural world, so can adapt to adversity, like extreme weather, food shortages, etc.

We humans can learn a lot from the birds.  We are usually way out of harmony with nature,  and pay the price with health, environmental and social problems.

Cultivating a harmonious relationship with the energy of nature is one of the goals of Qigong.  The gentle movements, deep breathing and meditation in Qigong produce a more balanced and contented state of mind.  So with regular practice, we gain the ability to face down adversity and greet every season with a song.

Qigong Science

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Scientific studies have shown that practicing Qigong delivers tremendous health benefits.  The only debate revolves around the “how” and “why.”

To the ancient Taoists and Buddhists who developed these practices, the answer is fairly simple. Qigong movement, meditation and breathing exercises strengthen the chi in our bodies and remove chi blockages that lead to disease.

Western science has no way to measure chi, so explanations for why Qigong is good for you are more complicated.  Some researchers say that Qigong triggers the “relaxation response,” which lowers blood pressure and activates our own inner healers.  Others opine that the gentle exercises in this practice offer the benefits of a strenuous aerobic workout without wear and tear on muscles and joints.  Still others point to enhanced blood and lymph flow.

Maybe they are all right.  But for the sake of simplicity, I’ll vote for strengthening chi flow and removing blockages.

Qigong reduces cravings!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Cravings — for food, diversions, stuff or whatever — make us feel out of control and never offer lasting happiness.  Still, we all have them, so it’s good to find ways to reduce their effects.

In my experience, Qigong practice helps.  The more I practice, the less I feel swayed by pangs of desire for fabulous vacations, or intense yearnings for the latest electronic gear or new camera lenses.  I am better able to enjoy life just the way it is, without need for someone or something to “complete” me.

Cravings don’t usually disappear, but they become more manageable.  I still want that new expensive lens, but I won’t get it unless buying it really make sense.  In other words, I can control my desire, rather than the other way around.  This is one of the best benefits to be gained from Qigong, or any mind/body practice.