Mariscela Alvarez: Manage stress with Chi Kung and Tai Chi
Special to The Union
The excitement and preparation to celebrate the upcoming holidays can create stressful situations impacting your immune system as a result of blocking the harmonious flow of your chi (life force.)
Because your being has a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspect — and they all relate to each other as a whole — stress has a profound impact in all your bodies.
The practice of Chi Kung and Tai Chi are natural ways to deal with stress because their essence is to find the point of balance between two opposite forces, also recognized as “balancing the chi.”
Stress can be managed using all the components of regular Chi Kung and Tai Chi practice, such as:
1. Breathing Exercises
Breathing from the lower abdomen or “dantian” is essential in the practice of Chi Kung and Tai Chi as a tool to release stress.
The diaphragmatic breathing in slow motion increases the amount of oxygen and blood flow to the brain. The mind and the nervous system become relaxed and more alert, producing a state of balance. In this state, you are more likely to disengage from a stressful situation and control your reactions, rather than creating resistance and tension by adding more stress to the situation.
2. Standing Meditations
While practicing some of the standing meditations such as the “Standing like a Tree” and “Holding the Chi Ball,” you learn to stay in a motionless position, even when your nervous system is refusing to stand still. You develop mental balance and concentration, as well as patience that leads you to release tension and anxiety, rather than increasing it by rebelling against the exercises. If you feel your energy is scattered, or you cannot think clearly, take a few minutes to ground yourself like a tree growing deep roots. You will prevent not only stress, but also depression. Furthermore, you will intensify your senses.
3. Warm Up and Chi Kung Exercises
Daily Chi Kung practice increases your level of physical stamina, enabling your body to release stress and anxiety safely. Chi Kung practice also boosts your immune system, preventing chronic stress that can lead to illness and mental disorder. You also develop an acute awareness of your body, leading you to locate the areas where your chi is “stacked” causing stress and tension.
With constant practice, you unblocked your chi while improving your balance, flexibility and coordination.
4. Tai Chi Practice
Tai Chi, considered a “way of life,” is an ancient Chinese tradition that when practiced regularly, improves the quality of your life, restoring the natural flow of your life force.
When engaged in stressful thoughts and situations, you become disconnected from the peace and quiet within.
The practice of Tai Chi allows you to reconnect with that deep place in you where you can experience an internal power.
Moreover, as you practice these slow movements, you become very alert and aware of your body, using your innate tools such as your breath, intention and imagination.
Your Chi Kung and Tai Chi practices will build a protective shield around you, raising your energetic vibration.
In this higher frequency, you not only start perceiving every situation in your life as an opportunity of self-growth, but you also begin attracting positive people and situations that contribute to the natural flow of your chi.
A word of caution: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. This or any other exercise program may result in injury. To reduce the risk of injury, never force or strain.
Consult your physician before starting this or any other exercise program.
Mariscela Alvarez is certified to instruct the Tai Chi White Dragon Short Form, Sun Short Form and Chi Kung exercises. Mariscela is offering a Tai Chi and Chi Kung free class on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 9 a.m. at Grass Valley Yoga: 10052 Alta Sierra Drive, Grass Valley (at Hwy. 49.) Ongoing classes will start on Dec. 1. For more information visit her at http://www.fyspirit.com or call (530) 863-0003.
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