Qi Gong is a quick way to release stress and tension and get centered after a long day at work. Whether you have children to watch, dinner to prepare, or evening activities, this routine will help refresh and relax you as the day comes to a close. We don't usually have time for a bubble bath and a massage at the end of each day, but we do have a few minutes that will take us to a similar place of tranquility and balance so that we can enjoy our evening.
With the exercises I demonstrate here, you'll enjoy something truly relaxing that you can do in a short amount of time - no matter what other pressures and commitments you might have in your life. This will help you end the day joyfully, clear stress and tension, and be able to truly let go and unwind for a better night's sleep.
Think of a sun setting into the ocean, the peace and tranquility of day transforming into night. This is the quality of energy we want to cultivate with our evening routine.
Upper Back and Neck Flow
The Upper Back and Neck Flow clears tension from the muscles in the neck and shoulder area. As we go through our day, we collect tension in this area of the body. With stress, work, and a hurried life-style, tension accumulates and our shoulders slowly start to grow toward our ears. These muscles get shorter, spasm, and contract causing pain and stiffness. Holding tension in our neck and shoulders takes a lot of energy. Think of contracting the muscles in your arms all day; you would be pretty tired after a few hours. Well, this is what is happening in the neck and shoulders – we are unconsciously contracting these muscles. As you go through this sequence feel the tension melting like ice in the hot sun.
Find a place where it is comfortable, the hands don't have to be too high.
- Palm Press Behind Back. Bring your palms together, fingers facing down, behind your back.
Don't bring the head too far back. It is mainly a stretch to the sides and down. Bringing the head too far back puts pressure on the cervical spine. Just bring the head up to a neutral position, then to the side, down, other side, and back to neutral.
- Now, gently circle your head, bringing your ear toward the shoulder. Let the head fall forward, chin toward the chest. Then, to the other side, ear toward the shoulder.
- Circle the head slowly and feel the muscles stretch.
- Keep your palms pressed together and feel the stretch all the way down through your wrists.
Return to the Mountain
- Circle the head 7 times in each direction.
Return to the Mountain is another flowing movement to bring more energy
into the body, while also balancing your emotions and calming your
mind. The name of the movement signifies a return to a place of inner
tranquility and relaxation. You can use the movement as a way to clear
stress, nervous tension, anxiety or any negative emotional energy.
- Start by bringing the hands upward from the hips and crossing your wrists with the palms facing toward you.
- Bring the arms up to the shoulders with the wrists still crossed.
- Next, slowly let the hands and arms spread apart and gently bring the arms back down.
- As you bring the arms down feel any old or negative energy leaving the body and mind.
- Inhale as you bring the arms up with the wrists crossed.
- Exhale as you bring the hands down.
the legs into this movement by bending the knees as the hands come down
and standing straighter as the arms come up. Bend the knees as deep as
you feel comfortable. The deeper you bend the knees the more you will
work the muscles in the legs.
More Magic for the Neck.
- Repeat this movement seven times.
- Shoulder Stretch. Take both hands out to sides and press your palms downward, as if you were trying to reach the floor.
- Spread your fingers and flex wrists upward. Consciously bring your shoulders down as you press through the palms as well.
- Next, gently lean your head over to your right shoulder. Relax the head over, don't use force. Feel the stretch in the neck, shoulders, upper back, and forearms.
- Bring your head gently to the other side. Lean the head over to the left. Remember to bring your shoulders down as you press through the palms.
This is an excellent stretch to release the lines of tension that accumulate in the neck and shoulders. Through repetitive motion, stress and poor posture the area in the upper back, neck and between the shoulders gets locked up with tightness. This stretch lengthens these lines of tensions and creates better alignment through the upper body. This is also an excellent exercise to prevent or relieve tension in the forearms and wrists.
- Relax the head over to the left. Feel the stretch in the neck, shoulders, upper back, and forearms.
About Lee Holden:
acupuncturist, herbalist, and master Qi Gong instructor, Lee Holden incorporates
the principles of Chinese medicine in the treatment of his patients at the
Pacific Healing Arts clinic in Santa Cruz, Calif. Lee has traveled throughout
Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, China) studying Qi Gong, meditation, and
Chinese medicine and has worked with Mantak Chia, the world's foremost expert on
Qi Gong, and with self-improvement leader Deepak Chopra in facilitating
seminars, teaching, and writing books. Visit his website at www.pacifichealingarts.com.
Lee's new book 7 Minutes of Magic is now available in stores or at www.exercisetoheal.com. Lee's new DVDs are now available as well.