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HEALTH & WELLNESS: Tai Chi & Qigong; They have no equals.....
Illness and injury prevention is core to Tai Chi and QiGong. The most basic aspects of the practice are an invitation to understanding what influences daily, seasonal and yearly changes. Our habits, patterns and tendencies can be observed over short, medium and long term periods of time, and will reflect a deeper way to cultivate wellness. Learning to study ourselves, and question our reactions or responses, helps us consider the small changes needed for daily health momentum.
The first hurdle we face is the decision to change, and creating enough space in our daily lives to accommodate that change. A common motivator of change is having something we suffer from regularly such as chronic or acute conditions, or a feeling of imbalance that we can’t quite place, but seems to re-appear with regularity. Compound symptoms are often hard to read which is why the “whole-system,” or systemic practice of Tai Chi / Qigong are the “holy grail” of preventive medicine. These practices are not built on faux-instant remedies, but rather the continuity of the ever-deepening process of experiential learning.
Lifestyle changes are most effective when approached from the inside out. We must take into account how the bodily systems work together, and be willing to adjust daily limitations. Our personal patterns and habits that work against us are there to be seen every day. We can become attuned to the repetition of negative experiences, thereby gaining a closer view of what creates imbalances, and begin to develop alternatives to the existing problems. The willingness to engage ourselves in this manner can be coupled with a basic knowledge of our mind patterns, shortcomings and physical limitations. This allows us a path to discovery, and a fundamental direction that begins to integrate our inside feelings and our outside world experiences.
Lets’ take a look at some of the more basic relationships between our bodily systems and how we can develop our own health and wellness:
The Feet: Use of the whole foot/feet governs stability or balance and supports the balanced use of the muscles in the legs, tendon strength and the production of new blood as it relates to correct use of the bones. Even and correct pressure in the feet stimulates blood production, opens up channels in the veins, arteries, capillaries, meridians, and is directly connected to open-mindedness and all the attributes that transform fear-trap-thought-forms. The base line function of the feet is that they govern the bodily circulations which is our primary cleansing mechanism. Taking care of the feet , is basic to mental and circulatory health.
The Pelvic Region: The pelvis is the single largest joint in the body and functions as the “relay-pumping station” for blood circulation. The pelvic bowl is the storehouse or energy center and regulates energy usage, sexual functions, the digestion and elimination process. The muscles in the upper legs, lower abdominal and glutes, are the largest and strongest muscles in the body. These central muscle groups associated with the pelvis coordinate and regulate how we use our energy, muscle-strength transference, and its efficiency.
The Lungs: Oxygen is the breath of life for each individual cell, the air needed for fire and the spark of energy we feel as Life Force. Oxygen needs to be replaced in cells for both cleansing and as our source of power. The inhale mechanism is replenishing, the exhale is part of the relaxation response. Deep breathing extends Life Force; shallow breathing shortens it. Life style quality is dramatically effected by routinely engaging in conscious deep breathing practice, while concurrently regulating the aging response.
The Heart: The heart has many functions in addition to circulation. A little known fact is that the heart is where all sensory perceptions first relay information. This makes the heart, the First Brain, or “headquarters” of all the sensory perceptions. We feel before we think, and the feelings we have, migrate up to the brain where we use memory, comparison, creative interaction and labeling to define our perceptions. This is a very direct insight into how feelings effects health and wellness. Our heart and sensory systems are a very sophisticated radar system that can feel any/all changes inside or outside of ourselves, and tend to stay in a constant state of flux in a healthy body.
In conclusion, prevention is perhaps understood best by those cultures that had to cultivate self-reliance. Harmonious habits come to us from learning to live in accord with our natural surroundings, adapting to seasonal changes, and knowing ourselves through tracking our life experiences. Learning to adapt, adjust, maintain and develop are extra-ordinary abilities. This requires daily awareness, open insight-reflection response and willingness; a tall order when dis-harmony is present. The gentle and powerful inclusion of natural intelligence can be returned, and meld with our post-birth education using the connective power of Tai Chi/Qigong. This is a path to our common ground and inner unity.