Exercise & Meditation
Chinese medicine practitioners often recommend medical Qi Gong, a form of Chinese healing exercises. At Quan Yin Healing Arts Center in San Francisco, Qi Gong masters Larry Wong, Matthew Blazion Yee and others have been teaching classes for people with hepatitis C, AIDS, and cancer for many years.
The energy conserving, Qi -channeling, practice of Qi Gong is perfectly designed to keep you in shape without causing stress and exhaustion.
Chronic illness can make you feel like you body is beyond your control: appropriate exercise and meditation can help you reassert your ability to shape the quality of your life and the vitality of your mind/body/spirit. The specific benefits include:
- Control cholesterol levels and reduce fat in body
- Keep blood pressure low
- Strengthen cardiovascular system
- Reduce stress
- Reduce depression
- Maintain muscle mass
- Reinforce abstinence/decreasing use from alcohol and drugs
Qi Gong is the traditional Chinese discipline that focuses on breathing and movement of Qi to increase physical harmony and strength and establish spiritual/emotional peace. There are hundreds of different schools of practice, some can be very vigorous — the martial arts are forms of Qi Gong — others are extremely gentle.
Larry Wong has designed a series of Qi Gong exercises that are laid out in The Chinese Way to Healing, The HIV Wellness Sourcebook, and The Hepatitis C Help Book. He recommends the following simple exercise for However, the best way to learn Qi Gong is to find a teacher in your area whenever possible, you may also want to check out videos and other books that focus on medical Qi Gong.
“Careful, relaxed breathing in the foundation of all Qi Gong movements. For your breath carries with it the healing powers of well-harmonized Qi and Xue.”
— Larry Wong
The Circle of Qi
This exercise is part of a routine to help circulate Qi throughout the body, replenish depleted Qi and calm the Shen.
- Sit on the floor with legs crossed in lotus or cross-legged style. This is important so that Qi does not stagnate in the lower body, but follows the breathing path through the torso and the head.
- Inhale to a count of four to eight, depending on what you are comfortable with.
- For Buddha’s Breath, inhale, extending your belly as you fill it up with air from the bottom of your lungs upward; exhale by pushing the air out from the bottom of your lungs first, contracting the lower rib cage and abdominal muscles, then the upper torso.
- For Taoist’s Breath, inhale, contracting your abdomen, exhale letting your abdomen relax outward. You may practice these breathing techniques on alternate days.
- As you inhale imagine the air — and your Qi — flowing evenly along the pathways of the Channels.
- Become aware of the air as it enters through your nostrils and moves down the center of your chest to a spot in your abdomen about 1 to 2 inches below the navel. This is the dan-tien. (Women should not concentrate on it during their periods. Concentrate on the solar plexus, instead.)
- Now breath out slowly and evenly, releasing the breath from the abdomen, up through the lungs and out your slightly open mouth.
- As you exhale image that the Qi which was at the dan-tien is moving down through your pelvis, through your crotch and then up your tailbone to your lower back.
- Keep your exhaling breath in a slow, steady, smooth stream passing gently over your lips.
- Now as you inhale again, follow the Qi as it moves up along your back to your shoulders.
- Exhale and move the Qi up the back of the head, over the top of your head, down your forehead, returning to the nose.
- At first it may be difficult to follow the flow of Qi through its cycle. Be patient and keep your breathing calm and your mind relaxed while focusing on your inhale and exhale.