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Four Qigong Practices to Welcome Spring
16AprNo Comments
Four Qigong Practices to Welcome Spring
Zhou Xuan Yun April 16, 2017 No Comments

Four Qigong Practices to Welcome Spring

Spring Qigong

Qigong is a traditional Chinese wellness practice that uses a mixture of mindful body posture, breathing, and visualization to regulate the body’s Qi energy. Qigong stimulates meridians and acupuncture points, improving blood flow and organ function.  One of my personal favorite Daoist Qigong practices is Ling Jianzi’s Four Seasons Qigong.

 

Ling Jianzi 灵剑子 (239 AD – 374 AD) was a Daoist priest who had a deep understanding of yin and yang and the 5 elements.  Legend has it that he lived to be 126.  Ling Jianzi’s Four Seasons Qigong is designed to guide your body smoothly though seasonal changes.

 

During spring, the world’s Yang energy increases. It is a time of rebirth and growth.  Humans experience the same energetic changes. The spring season corresponds to the liver and gallbladder.  The liver is responsible for storing blood and controlling the smooth flow of Qi. Ling Jianzi’s spring practices awaken our own body after winter and welcome in the fresh spring energy.

Liver Meridian

Liver Meridian

The liver meridian begins on the inside edge of the big toe, and runs up the inside of the leg to the lower abdomen. It circles around the stomach, entering the liver and gallbladder. It continues through the rib cage and up the throat to the crown of the head.

 

Practice One

warm up

The first practice begins with a simple warm up to gather and settle Qi. Breathe in and raise your arms. Breathe out, and circle your arms back down in front of body to your Dantian (the energy center in your lower belly). Visualize the clean spring Qi filling your Dantian. Let it settle. Repeat this a few times.

Qigong 1

Now, begin the first practice by circling the arms outwards and have them meet in front of you as you breathe in.  Here, the fingers will then cross together and as we return the arms back towards us, use a bit of strength in order to pull the arms in opposite directions as you exhale.   Feel the chest and back open up, allowing your qi to circulate more freely.

 

Practice Two

Begin with the warm up from practice one.

Qigong 2

Now, breathing in, bring your hands above your head and interlace your fingers together. Then, rest your linked hands on the back of your head. Exhale and press your head into your hands, activating the upper back and chest.  Inhale to release. Repeat as desired. Finish by settling your hands in your lap. Let all tension release from the back and chest.

 

Practice Three

Bring with the warm up from practice one.

Qigong 3

Now, breathing in, bring your arms up to the side.   Bring your hands to the top of your left thigh. Breathing out, push down, activating through the arms and chest.   Turn your head on the opposite direction to extend the stretch.   Hold this posture for a few moments.  Inhale to relax. Repeat both sides.

 

Practice Four

In the Four Seasons Qigong Practice, the last exercise of each season helps the spleen.

Begin with the warm up from practice one.

Qigong 4

Now, draw your right arm outwards and then back across towards your left shoulder.  Bring your left arm out towards the left.  Bend the pinky and ring finger of the left arm as you extend out the arm and feel the right arm pull back like drawing a bow. Take a breath in and out to stabilize the arms. Breathing out, bring your arms back to your lap.  Repeat on the other side.

 

Closing Practice

Stack your hands atop your abdomen and begin drawing circles with a moderate degree of pressure to stimulate the qi of the Dantian.  Alternate between clockwise and counter clockwise directions.  Finish by resting the arms atop the lap once more and taking deep breathes focused into the Dantian.  Let the mind settle and the muscles of the body to sink and relax.  Take a minute or so to focus on your breathing and to forget all other thoughts. 

 

Why not give spring qigong a try? Remember to check in with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.  Comment below and let us know how it went!

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