Qi power, the product of cultivating internal energy, is the stuff of martial arts fantasy films. Flying onto and across rooftops, walking up walls and performing endless miraculous feats are as normal as a stroll down the road. It could be fun, couldn’t it? As wildly imaginative as such stories may be, tales of fiction are often inspired by something that has its basis in reality. Qi power is one such example, or rather catalogue of examples, of the extraordinary having its roots in truth. Sadly, it is extremely unlikely that we will fly through the air without props of some kind. However, we can learn to harness this amazing energy to better our health.
Qi power for health – it’s free!
Qi is vital energy. It pervades the universe, our bodies and the environment. Qi power is what comes from optimising the flow of qi. Just as diffused light can be focused, and water can be channelled or allowed to dissipate, it is possible to cultivate this marvellous energy for our own health. Wonderfully, it costs nothing, just a little time. There are three key things to its cultivation: posture, breath and, most importantly, mental focus. There are many qigong practices – sets of exercises (or stances) with co-ordinated breathing to develop qi power – but we may not be able or willing to commit to those. Even so, we can do something that is quite simple and very effective.
Standing like a mountain
With just a little practice, this simple exercise can build up a feeling of both inner and outer strength. Qi or vital energy becomes more stable and stronger in the lower part of the body. It connects us mentally and energetically to the Earth and our surroundings, calming the mind and pacifying the nervous system. This is the amazing effect of qi power.
- Stand with the feet shoulder width apart or even a couple of inches wider. Adjust the feet so that the toes point straight ahead of you and the feet are parallel to each other. Relax the knees so they are not “locked” straight. The weight should be evenly balanced.
- Straighten the back and then relax the shoulders so that they drop. Tuck the chin in a little so that the neck is straight and feel as though you are suspended by a thread from the top of the head. Turn the hands so that the palms face backwards and are slightly out from the side of the body. Bring them forwards an inch or two.
- Now for the inner position. Place the tip of the tongue just behind the front teeth. Relax the abdomen. The gaze should be horizontal, as if you were looking out to a distant horizon.
- Breathe so that as you inhale the diaphragm comes down and pushes the abdomen out slightly and when you exhale the abdomen relaxes inwards a little.
- Allow the energy in the body to settle, rooting you to the Earth. Let the mind empty.
- Sometimes feel the feet or the hands, but always come back to the lower abdomen as it moves with the breath.
- Feel as though you are very tall, very strong, and unshakeable. Remain standing in this way for 2, 3 or even 4 minutes.
You can find more on this in The Great Little Book of Happiness, available in paperback and ebook.