by MATCM Student Gillian Avina
As a student at Yo San, I am coming to understand the deeply therapeutic effect that a daily spiritual practice can bestow upon the mind, body, spirit, personal relations and general quality of life. The seemingly simple, effortless and daily practice of Qi Gong can have a profound effect on not only our current quality of life, but also on the rate at which our bodies and minds age. Qi Gong (meaning Qi – vital energy, Gong – working with the Qi), is an ancient meditative practice and healing modality that consists primarily of physical movement, meditation and breathing exercises. With a consistent practice of Qi Gong, one can develop a more acute sense of the energy flow in their body and be able to guide the Qi to specific areas that may be needing some extra support. A balanced flow of Qi throughout the body is a key ingredient for a healthy and easeful aging process, because as time goes on and life happens, if healthy, vitalized Qi is not replenished and the body is not given the support necessary to repair itself, issues can become chronic, the body can be thrown off-balance and more signs and symptoms of aging can present themselves.
Because of its calming and meditative quality, Qi Gong has a significant effect of lowering hypertension/high blood pressure. This conclusion was based on a study done in China, in which patients practiced the “Yan Jing Yi Shen Gong” form twice a day for 30 minutes. This form is particularly recommended for lowering blood pressure and addressing Senility/Dementia. While on the topic of hypertension, it is important to recognize the effect that Qi Gong has on the heart and circulation; Qi Gong can improve circulation and cardiovascular function, which are often severely weakened by hypertension, stress and the general experience of aging. Qi Gong can also restore healthy levels of sex hormones that are sometimes depleted due to the aging process, as well as increase blood flow to the brain. In this way, Qi Gong can address Altzeimers, Dementia, and general reductions of cognitive function that so often afflict our aging loved ones. Since Qi Gong incorporates physical movement, it can strengthen the muscles and prevent them from atrophying or breaking down. It can also increase blood flow to stiff and painful areas of the body, unblocking stagnation and allowing for easier movement.
There is never a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ time to practice Qi Gong, but if you, your patients or your loved ones are starting to experience symptoms of aging such as stress, memory loss, hypertension, cardiovascular issues or pain and stiffness in the joints, now would be the perfect time to step onto this deeply healing path and receive all of the gifts of nourishment, ease and harmony that a daily Qi Gong practice has to offer.