Qi Relaxation Exercise 7
As stated earlier, it is not easy to relax fully, even when lying down. We do not even relax when we sleep, not completely. Nor is sleep an even and steady state of mind all through the night. There are periods of higher and lower activity for the brain, as well as for the body. No wonder that relaxation is so hard to accomplish.
Sleep is a bit devious. Although it is our primary method of rest, there are many situations when it is not the most successful at it. When you are strained or under pressure, it can be difficult to fall asleep, or to sleep long and deep enough to recuperate. If you have no other method at your disposal, you are caught in a trap that might by time become a vicious spiral.
But sleep has no exclusive right to rest – far from it. It has other functions as well, about which we only know parts. Therefore it does not always make the priorities we might wish for. If you want to rest, it is important to focus on this task, even if it means setting sleep aside for a while. To accomplish a really effective rest you need to be awake – wide-awake.
In the following exercise it is not exactly qi that has the main role. This is more of a process that can be compared to hypnosis, or in any case self-suggestion. Still, the method is closely related to the qi exercises that follow later on in this book: You have to take control of yourself with the powers of thought, will, and fantasy. Thereby it is an excellent exercise of these powers.
- Lie down on the floor, flat on your back. Not on a bed, where you are likely to doze off, on the other hand not so uncomfortably that your concentration is disturbed. Lie on a blanket or a carpet, and you should be fine. Keep your arms along the sides of your body, and your feet at shoulder distance. Wear as few and loose clothes as possible. Close your eyes.
- Take a few deep breaths. When you are familiar with correct breathing, which is presented later on in this book, you should use such breathing. Keep a slow beat, where you allow a few seconds of stillness between inhalations and exhalations. In particular, extend your exhalations and wait a little before inhaling again.
- In your mind, focus on how heavily your body rests on the floor, and feel this heaviness increase by time. Accept and enjoy gravity. That universal force keeps you down, without you having to do anything at all. Let your body experience this.
- The contrast between fighting and accepting gravity is evident if you lift one of your hands from the floor. It takes an effort, although a small one. Then let it fall back to the floor, and the strain of keeping it up is gone. Do not lift it very high at all, because then you will be reluctant to let it fall freely to the floor. Your muscles slow the fall down in order to protect the hand, whether you are conscious of it or not. The hand should fall without any interference, simply by giving in to gravity. Five to ten inches are enough.
- You can repeat this lifting and letting go of your hand. You can also do it with a foot, or with the feet and hands at once. The important thing is that you notice the contrast between tension and relaxation, like in the previous exercises. You should also be increasingly aware of how gravity presses you to the floor. When you feel this very clearly, just lie still and accept it.
- The more you accept gravity, the more you feel how heavy your body is. Do not reject this feeling, but encourage it as much as you can. By each breath, especially in the exhalations, you should feel heavier and heavier. Lightness is for the body connected to movement, whereas the feeling of heaviness is connected to rest. The heavier you feel, the more your body rests.
- This self-suggestion can be enhanced if you imagine to be sinking deeper, as if through the floor, because of your increasing heaviness and your acceptance of gravity. Then there is a risk that you doze off. Try it anyway. It does not hurt to fall asleep in this way. It increases the chance of particularly restful sleep. It will probably not be that long, but can prove to be quite invigorating.
The most important lesson in this exercise is that you relate to both rest and sleep with an active mind.
Passively awaiting a restful state of mind and body is usually insufficient. Sometimes you cannot even fall asleep by simply lying in your bed and waiting for it. Then some initiative of yours is needed. You have to actively get involved in this or another exercise, to change your state of mind.
When you train your mind for it, rest is much easier – also in stressful situations. Even if you do not fall asleep, the time you spend on this kind of training is advantageous. And that confidence will make you fall asleep more easily.
Qi Relaxation Exercises
Here is a set of simple exercises by which to make your body relax. That's important to release your body enough to increase your qi energy flow. I recommend you to follow the order given below, at least in the beginning, when you familiarize yourself with the exercises and what they do to you. After that, you can choose according to your own needs.
© Stefan Stenudd
This is a chapter from my book Qi: Increase your Life energy.
Qi energy is the essence in acupuncture, qigong, taiji, reiki, martial arts, and many other traditions of China and Japan. Here it is explained.
A sort of poetic fictional account of qi at work, in an effort to make it easier to grasp.
, the Chinese word for life energy, is also spelled chi
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Qi Energy Exercises
A number of very simple exercises to awaken and enhance your qi energy, divided into groups that deal with the basic prerequisites to get your qi flowing.
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I'm a Swedish author and aikido instructor. I've written several books about aikido, qi energy and other life force concepts. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching the thought patterns in creation myths. Click the image to get to my personal website.