Two-Minute Chi Kung
Running on empty? Here's one easy thing you can do to get back in sync fast.
Posted December 13, 2019
The other day, a member of my family told me she is preparing for her three children, their spouses, seven grandchildren and father in-law to take up residence in her house en masse, for a week between the holidays. At least two of the adults will sleep in a camper in the driveway, in order to make enough room! So she’s, they are all, scrambling. Tis the season. For many of us, December chores are certainly different, but the holiday season is still loaded with one version or another of an end-of-the-year blitz. It’s easy to be as the Jackson Browne song says, Running on Empty. One reason for this feeling is that our world of responsibilities doesn’t have any intention of laying back on its demands just because we feel like loosening up. Some of our responsibilities are self-induced, as we add more to our to-do list at home, the workplace, and social reach-out. You may feel like you are often looking in two directions, laying down plans to launch new 2020 projects and simultaneously strategizing how to finish what you wanted to accomplish for this season – and year. It’s no wonder we are left prone to attentional fatigue and slip-ups that go along with it – interpersonal, mechanical, technical, organizational – well of any type. I don’t recommend energy drinks and relying on caffeine drinks all day long can leave you in a worse place than you started: crashing into afternoon projects.
At times the culprit is taking on too much all at once and overloading yourself with information vying for your attention. Remember the iconic “Energizer” advertisement, “It just keeps on going and going and going.” Some individuals kid around about being able to muscle through life this way, but it won’t always work for the rest of us mortals. Your attentional machinery, for one, won’t do that for you. The pipeline only has so much energy. You, me… we all need a certain amount of energy to just get off the ground with a strong enough attentional beam to navigate us through daily tasks. And for those especially important points in the day, you want to be sure to meet them with better quality energy. A colleague of mine kids around that it’s a shame you can’t just replace your batteries. But perhaps there are a few ways that you can recharge your mind.
I’d like to take a look at a few natural ways that can help enhance your energy and give you a peaceful sense of physical and mental flow. Over the next few posts, I am going to present one simple thing you can do to cultivate more mental and physical energy especially for this part of the seasonal cycle. Each post will present one easy activity you may like to consider adding to your daily armamentarium. So let’s give it a whirl. We’ll call our first activity, Two-Minute Chi Kung.
To get started, find a quiet spot and relax. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly raise both hands loose, in front of you, palms out, and also shoulder-width. Your left hand should be at a 9 o’clock position and your right hand at 3 o’clock.
In summary: You will be moving your hands as if “palm-painting” a circle in mid-air, in front of you, as you walk forward.
Here’s all you have to do:
- Keeping your hands locked in the 9 o’clock (left hand) – 3 o’clock (right) position, palms out, move your arms clock-wise, hands locked in position, as though you are “palm-painting” a circle – until your palms are back in their original position.
- Then without stopping your movement, palms still pointed out, draw your hands back toward your face slowly as you take a cool relaxed in-breath and in one continuous movement,
- Step forward with your left foot leading, slowly, slowly pushing your hands (still palms out) forward back to their position where you started in the 9 o’clock, 3 o’clock posture. Your left foot should be out.
- From that position palm-paint the circle counter-clockwise and walking forward this time with your right foot leading, completing the routine. This time your right foot should be out. Then start over and repeat the whole activity.
- Be mindful. Shut everything else out of your mind and concentrate on your movement as though it is the only thing that matters in your world, at the moment.
Keep up the exercise for two to three minutes. You can turn around and walk in opposite directions each time you reverse if you are in a restricted space. Or you can walk the exercise in a straight line across a wider room, turn around and do it again. It’s okay to get creative.
Importantly: as you learn and commit the movement to memory, you’ll want to perform the individual sections separately and stop at certain points. But later, to get the most benefit, try to perform the whole sequence slowly without any stops – as though the entire piece is one single movement. Your most comfortable and energizing breathing mode will emerge naturally with practice.
Keep your focus beam bright and energized. This practice works well before and after energy-consuming daily tasks.
Note: As always, consult your physician before taking on this or any new exercise program.