I found my way to teaching qi gong from a need to re-balance my body after the reconstruction of my hip replacement. My original injury was from a major accident in my 20s and these man-made parts wear out! When I could no longer bend to sit in a chair I knew it was time to do an update. For years yoga had been my choice for pain relief but I needed a substitute in the later stages of recovery after physical therapy. I had been guarding my right side for years, always stepping up and leading with my left. I needed to find balance and the progressive head to toe stretching and massage of therapeutic qi gong was the solution. As a movement practice it is easily modified for individual needs and the flow of the movements in their gentle gracefulness appealed to my desire for comforting self-care.
If you follow along with us at The Parsley Way you know I’m a proponent of cultivating practice, the making and doing that fuels us all into action on a daily basis. Having a movement practice is equal in importance to having a creative practice. Consider your own movements on a daily basis– walking to the office, running errands, climbing stairs, working out at the gym or any of the myriad smaller repetitious movement activities of your day.
What turns motion into movement practice is concentrating your mind on the action of your body. It’s an act of kindness to your mind, body and spirit to unleash from the grind of the wheel and focus solely on the position of your body in space, on keeping your balance and alignment. There is a transformative power in getting to that place of gentle focus. Important cues for relaxation are embedded in the first deep breath in and out, the standing tall and stretching, feeling your body in balance, and the sound of the opening strains of the quiet music, always the same. When the familiar beginning and the slide into relaxation are paired, we feel the energy of the room coalesce into a concentrated whole supporting everyone in the class. I teach qi gong to pass it on and to offer it up in thanks.
I end the class with a reading from the Tao. We share a moment of reflection with an ancient wisdom allowing us to extend the time of pure relaxation and refresh our energy before heading out the door. With this practice as a touchstone all of us in the class are once again ready for action.
Whatever movement practice you choose I hope you’re making it a regular part of your life. As the retro slogan goes “it does a body good.”
See also Qi Gong is Mindful Movement
Photos by Claire Mauro