How do you start your day? Watching the news. Reading the paper. Going for a run. Hitting the gym (now that they are open!!!). Seated meditation. Or maybe, three shots of espresso! Whether you are trying to get stronger, leaner, improve flexibility or joint range of motion, or just feel more alive, these are but a few of the Benefits of a Morning Qigong Program.
The soft graceful movements of Qigong are deceptively stimulating on the body. Although to the onlooker it may seem pretty much like modern dance in slow motion, for the practitioner, there is a lot going on.
What are the benefits of a Morning Qigong Program?
Whether your day is starting at 5 am or 10 am, a morning Qigong program can radically change your health and well-being. The benefits are not just how we look on the outside, but more importantly, it affects how we feel on the inside.
Mental benefits of doing a Morning Qigong Program
Many people strive to have or rather struggle through, a morning seated meditation program. It’s been well documented that beginning your day with practiced focused intention, whether it be simply on your breath or maybe cultivating a positive emotion or mindset can have wonderful health benefits.
It really sets your day off on the right foot… mentally. Beginning your day with a quiet, peaceful mental outlook changes every aspect of your day. Whether it's home or work life, your perception creates your reality. When you are seeing the world through eyes that are connected to a harmonious mind, everything looks brighter.
As a moving meditation, Qigong provides you with all the benefits of a seated meditation program while healing your physical body at the same time. It's like working out with a therapist!
Physical benefits of doing a Morning Qigong Program
The physical benefits of the morning qigong program are really quite layered. A man much wiser than me once taught me that the physical fountain of youth is composed of three facets. Those being flexibility, range of motion, and muscular stability. Qigong practice checks all three boxes.
Qigong movements are typically weight-bearing, while circular and dynamic in nature. These kinds of movements serve to promote the movement of blood, oxygen and most importantly, Qi, throughout our body. The smooth and effortless movement of these three components dictates the state of our health. Qi moves the blood and blood moves the oxygen that every cell in our body needs.
As the choreography of the qigong movements challenges your balance, coordination and muscular endurance, your mind and body harmonize in their training stimulus. The physical stimulus of the movements becomes the anchor tying you to the present moment. Training the mind and body at the same time.
What aspects or elements should you focus on in a Morning Qigong Program?
There are many different potential aspects that would serve you well for your morning Qigong practice. For me, the production and movement of Qi tend to take the top spot. As the morning is the most Yang time of the day, focusing your practice on the health of the organs that create and support your Qi is always a good choice.
Qi would be considered yang to the yin of blood. In contrast, a blood-focused program would be great for an evening qigong program. Which it just so happens I will be talking about next week. Whoot!
Between 5-11 am is the time of day when there is lots of energy in our digestive system. It is the time when our body is looking to make use of the nutrients we have eaten over the last 24 hours. The process to make the Qi our bodies need to survive and thrive is a three-part process involving three different organs.
What are the best organs to focus on in a morning Qigong Program?
Your kidneys are the foundational organs of the body and are responsible for storing your “Jing”, the essence you got from mom and dad. Your DNA would be the closest comparison in western medicine. It is that jing that creates the spark igniting your energy or Qi to flow.
The Qi of your kidneys is known as the Pre-natal Qi or ancestral Qi. Think of it as your inheritance from your parents. It is the hand you're dealt. How you play with it is up to you.
Your kidney rules over your knees and lower back, so exercises dedicated to the kidneys tend to provide low back stretching and knee movement. Both are great to get you going in the morning.
Your lungs are the organ that takes in “kong Qi” or natural air Qi. Oxygen is the first and most important form of energy we need to take in from the world around us. As a gas, its energetic vibrational frequency is faster than the solid mass of the human body. That being the case, every breath serves to energize and excite our life force and physical body.
65% of the human body is actually made up of oxygen. We are literally a big bag of hot air! Lol! The air we breathe forms one-half of the acquired Qi we take in from the world around us. Acquired Qi (postnatal qi) can be thought of as the money we make from our job that tops up the inheritance we get from our parents.
Although all qigong exercises incorporate deep diaphragmatic breathing which serves to fully oxygenate the lungs, exercises specifically focused on the lung meridian and its associated organ go the extra step of treating excesses or deficiencies that may be the cause of energetic problems in the lunges.
Qigong movements that target the lungs tend to involve flexion and extension of the thoracic spine (upper back) as well as rotation in the shoulders. These help to stabilize the posture of the shoulder girdle allowing for proper respiration as well as the structural stability of the upper body.
The spleen and stomach work together to turn the food we eat, known as “Gu Qi” into the energy and blood used to make and run our bodies. The air we breathe and the food we eat make up the two forms of postnatal Qi we must take in from the world around us to supplement the Prenatal Qi in our kidneys that we received from mom and dad.
Spleen exercises tend to incorporate spinal rotation or flexion and extension which serve to stimulate and massage the digestive organs. In addition, because the Spleen and stomach meridians run down the front of the legs, the exercises tend to work the legs as well. Activating the large muscles of the legs first thing in the morning is a great way to activate the metabolism and get the body burning stored calories.
How long should a Morning Qigong Program be?
The benefits of a morning qigong program are not time-related. Whether you spend a few minutes or an hour, what is most important is your specific and focused intention. That being said, a twenty to thirty-minute program is more than enough to stimulate the energetic movement within the body.
Done on a regular basis, a morning Qigong program just might be the catalyst to actually make you want to get up a little earlier to greet the day… Give it a try!
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