After 46 journeys around the sun, the “aha!” moments I experience are on the upswing. Perhaps it’s because the wealth of global knowledge is now at my fingertips and I have an endless desire to search for guidance. Proper translation helps, and with continued momentum I find myself more globally aware.
Global is not foreign. Often it’s just different. Sometimes it’s better. Global Traditions are too often dismissed as obsolescent, when in reality they just plain work. Not living a culture since birth can mask the difference. It takes practice to realize.
My increased global awareness has also made me increasingly self-aware. And this is where I am realizing the most benefit. Aha!
It is in the development of this awareness that I have ceased to be a passive observer of my own healing process. And one of the core principles of Qigong is the development of our awareness.
Qigong (Chi Gung) is a traditional Chinese medicine that has transcended generations. Today, it is often referred to as an alternative mind and body medicine, and practiced in parallel with modern medicine, it yields positive results. For those who practice Qigong, and with growing scientific acknowledgement, the results are well documented. Search the global knowledge base, and several medical sources eschew the positive health benefits – lower stress, lower blood pressure, enhanced immune system. (http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/health-benefits-tai-chi-qigong?page=2 , http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/integrative_medicine/integrative_medicine_services/qigong/Pages/index.aspx)
Qigong is the combination of two words. Qi (pronounced “chee”) is the life force or vital energy flowing through all things in the universe. Gong (pronounced “gung”), is accomplishment, or skill acquired through steady practice. Together they describe a system for health, healing and vitality.
Often observed as a physical exercise, Qigong encompasses three components: gentle movement and postures, breathing, and a calming meditative technique. It comes as no surprise that qigong is seen as a basis for martial arts.
The postures and gentle, graceful and repeated movements increase chi flow. The exercises exude the benefits that most other exercises do, and being gentle, are easily incorporated into practice by people of all ages and physical ability.
Combined with a series of breathing techniques, the postures and exercises balance the body’s energy. This leads to relaxation and a peaceful mind, important ingredients that promote positive mental and physical health.
Connecting with your breathing is important for the meditative techniques that increase awareness and tranquility, which in turn helps us to better manage our own health.
With any new practice, proper translation is essential. Like a doctor that diagnoses the root cause and prescribed therapy, a Qigong instructor or teacher can assist with starting and remaining true to your path. We all benefit from someone to support and encourage us, and someone who can help keep our mind focused away from distraction. If you’re unable to locate a Qigong instructor or class in your area – there are literally hundreds of styles of qigong – look for other forms that incorporate the same principles (http://www.taoistsanctuary.org/qigong_taomed/qi_principles.html).
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin (raw or canned)
- 1 cup almond or coconut milk
- 1/2 cup carrot juice
- 1 tsp ground vanilla bean OR 1/2 tsp extract
- 1/2 tsp minced ginger OR 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp nutmeg OR pumpkin pie spice to taste (optional)
- Sweetener: 1/2 cup soaked dates OR 1-2 Tbsp honey or agave
- Place all ingredients in blender.
- Blend on high speed until very smooth.
- Chill in refrigerator or serve over ice.
- Sprinkle with additional spice for garnish.