We are all looking for ways in this busy world on how we can find a more balanced lifestyle and release the stress and anxiety that builds up over time. Here are 5 quick exercises to help you shift your state of being and give yourself a break from the chaos.
It all begins with the Breath
1. One of the best ways to shift your emotional state of being is through breathing. If you find yourself in a place of being stressed out and anxious, take a moment and stop and simply take some deep breaths. Abdominal breathing (in through the nose and out through the mouth) involves getting your diaphragm involved in the breathing process. This muscle located at the bottom of your ribcage can get quite tense when your body is experiencing strong emotions.
When breathing using the abdominal method remember 3 things, long, deep and slow. To get the maximum benefit, you will want to breathe using long inhalations that flow deep into the body at a slow rate of breathing. Allow your exhalation to be at an equal pace to the inhalation.
For maximum benefit and a quicker turn around let the exhalation be longer than the inhalation. This will allow the stuck and stagnant Qi (pronounced: chee - energy) within the body a chance to be replaced by a more invigorating and robust Qi. Do this until you feel a shift in your state of being usually between 3-9 breaths.
Let's hear some Sound
2. Another way to make a transition out of stressed state is using sound. A clearing sound (and there are many) can help you move heavy emotions out of the body. In Medical Qigong, we have healing sounds for each of the bodily organs . The one for the Heart is the best to let go of your anxiety and stress. This healing sound is “ha” much like laughter, which also very healing for the heart and body, but made for this purpose as a sighing sound.
Start by standing or sitting comfortable, take a nice deep inhale and as you exhale make a sighing sound, “haaaaaaaaa” . Allow any stress and anxiety housed in the heart and chest to be released as you exhale. See it leaving as dirty, grey smoke. With each inhalation, see yourself filling up with energy as you let go of the strong emotions on the exhalation. Do this until you feel a shift in your state of being usually between 2-5 breaths.
Doing Exercises to Support the Energy Flow
3. Somethings you need a more physical shift within the body to help change your state of being. The next 3 suggestions are exactly like that. The first one is called Dropping Post. This exercise is like a post pounding into the ground.
Start by standing with feet about hip-width apart and parallel with each other. Begin lifting and dropping the heels of your feet in a bouncing fashion. Feel the vibration of the resonance from this action flow from your heels up your skeleton to the head. Imagine this action shake loose any stuck energy deep within your body and seeing that energy drop down through the body and out of your feet and into the Earth. Let yourself bounce for as long as you need based on your state of being. Finish with a short burst of free-form shaking, while focusing on any particularly troubling areas still within you.
Modification: If this is too difficult (or painful), leave the heels on the ground and make it a little knee bounce.
4. While Dropping Post works from a more deep level in the body, this next exercise works more superficially. If you want to clear out your nervous system or the connective tissue (areas which hold a lot of stress and emotional baggage), then a more appropriate exercise is called Trembling Horse.
This exercise is also from a standing position like Dropping Post, but with the exception of making your stance be shoulder-width instead of hip-width. Inhale and begin to shake the wrists on both arms, move that vibration up to the elbows and finally begin to shake the shoulders. Exhale and shimmy this down your spine all the way to your feet much like a dog shaking off water from its body.
This exercise will make you warm as toxic heat is released from the body. Continue to shake up the arms and down the body for a total of 9 repetitions. Stop check in with yourself and if needed do it another 9 times.
5. The finally offering to shift a state of anxiousness or stress is to toss it away much like you would a ball. This exercise is called Counter Swing. Imagine any of the toxic energy stuck in your body flowing up from the navel in two streams towards each shoulder. See it continuing to flow down the arms to the centre of the palms of the hands.
Now, begin in the same posture as the previous exercise. Inhale and lift both arms out to the sides of the body to shoulder height. Exhale and twist at the waist to the left while tossing the energy of stress/anxiety/anger/worry or whatever you would like to rid yourself of to the sides of the body. See the right hand tossing energy to the left in front of the body and the left hand tossing energy towards the right behind the body. Inhale and come back to the centre facing forward and then exhale and turn at the waist to the right. This time see the left hand tossing energy in front of the body towards the right and the right hand tossing energy behind the body towards the left.
Continue doing this tossing from side to side both in front of and behind the body for up to 30 times each direction. Invite in the intention of letting go through this exercise (and all of them for that matter) to help maximize your healing potential.
If you are a visual person, please feel free to check out my Youtube channel - Medical Qigong Healing Tips for short videos all of these exercises as well as other exercises and meditations to help you along your healing journey.
Here’s to moving forward with awareness and tools to shift the stress and anxiety in your life before it becomes a serious health issue.
Blessings to all,