This month, we explore Chi from ancient times to present day, how to find your chi and exercises to develop its full potential.
Used by the Chinese for centuries, Chi is also closely tied to the Chakra energy system and is the foundation of many health and fitness practices today. By connecting to and channeling Chi, you open the flow of energy within you promoting health, happiness and longevity. Chi is the inner strength to overcome physical, emotional or spiritual challenges in everyday life.
Chi is well known in martial arts, particularly Tai Chi and known as “moving meditation”. Through breathing and defined movement, students learn to focus and invoke the body’s natural use of positive energy. This results in the release of tension and promotes mindfulness. As we age, the cumulative effects of mental and physical stress cause muscles to tighten. When our bodies are tense over prolonged periods of time, the natural flow of chi becomes unbalanced or blocked, which may create physical illness. Tai chi is a wonderful and popular outlet for people who lead stressful lives. In martial arts, there is often a shift from defense maneuvers to softer, internal exercises to channel more chi. The ability to overcome challenges on the mat, as in life is linked to the ability to invoke the internal strength of Chi.
Many ancient therapy modalities are still in use today and centered on the use of chi including acupuncture, Reiki therapy, reflexology, Qi Gong, yoga and Feng Shui.
Finding your chi involves centering and is similar to meditating. Centering brings the mind, body and spirit into harmony and balance while developing your chi. To find your chi, try this simple exercise:
Sit in a comfortable position and allow yourself to completely relax. As you relax each muscle and part of your body, imagine your feet becoming one with the earth – known as grounding. Next, visualize a small hollow tube attached to the base of your spine running up through your body, the top of your head and extending into the universe. With eyes closed, breathe deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Focus on your breathing and allow the energy from the earth and universe to enter you through this hollow tube. Let the energy flow throughout your entire body. With each inspiration, you are allowing the entry of positive energy and with exhalation, cleansing the body’s negative energy. Through practice, you will achieve a greater awareness of chi.
Chi walking and Chi running are also becoming popular to practice aligning your mind and body through focused centered activity. The goal is to keep your body centered in the direction you are moving while maintaining concentrated focus on one object at a distance, much like an animal stalking its prey. Through perfecting this technique, you will begin to sense your body aligning with the energy from your eyes, almost as if you were being pulled toward the object of your focus. The coordinated effort between focused mindfulness and alignment of the body creates a greater sense of balance between your Yin (negative energy) and Yang (positive energy). This creates harmony within mind, body, spirit and heart.
Developing Chi can be practiced within any activity. By focusing your eyes on the object or task at hand and setting your intention (mindfulness), direct your body’s energy to your eyes. You will find that that when your mind becomes focused without distractions, your mind, body and spirit become aligned leaving you feeling refreshed, energized and clear headed upon completion.
In part three, we will discuss how to incorporate Chi into your daily life and home through the art of Feng Shui to create a more harmonized balance in life.