BELOW ARE EXCERPTS FROM TEXTBOOKS USED IN A NUTRITION/WEIGHTLOSS CLASS (Thanks to Tai Chi & Qigong teacher, Tina Webb, for contributing this below information):
“As we age and exercise less, we lose muscle tone and balance. This is significant, as a loss of the ability to balance can predispose you to falls, which can be a life-threatening event, especially if you have osteoporosis.
One of the best ways to maintain balance is with yoga, stretching, tai chi, or qi gong. These gentle exercises have their roots in Asian medicine and can have a positive impact not only on your balance but even on your strength.”
-- Sinatra, S.T., Sinatra J., & Lieberman, R. (2000). Heart Sense for Women, Washington DC, Lifeline Press, Page 124
“Tips for Cleansing
Start the day with a deep breath and an energy warmup (stretches, yoga, or qigong), and then hydrate with your seeds formula followed by two glasses of water.
During breaks or at lunchtime, stretch, take a walk, or use some movements that incorporate conscious breathing. Gentle exercise will help your body eliminate wastes. To boost your metabolism, as well as your immune system, do not eat food for one hour after any exercise.”
-- Gaemi, S., ED.D., RD (2004). Eating wisely for hormonal balance, Oakland, CA, New Harbinger Publications, Inc., Page 71
“Start each day with a morning stretch. Use tai chi temple exercises, yoga sun salutation, dance warmup routines, runner’s stretches, or qigong movements to start your day. All of these are simple to learn, and you can find instructions in many books or through community classes. Qigong and tai chi are now offered in many outdoor parks throughout the United States, and videotapes are available for practice at home.
At work, relieve stress with a five-minute break: stretch your neck and shoulder muscles by slowly making circles with your head; visualize a peaceful scene; or practive progressive muscle relaxation. You can do any of these things right at your desk, or anywhere else you find yourself in need of stress relief.
-- Lifestyle suggestion for the morning, Page 92
You can combine tea and meditation in one or more ways. Here are some suggestions:
Tate a meditation walk or do a qigong warm-up, then refresh yourself with tea.
Write about your life in your journal between tea snacks.
Read a little about another country to transport yourself.
Share poems of thoughts from faraway places or cultural wisdom
Read a poem from a poet you enjoy.
Welcome a guest and serve tea.
Cultural wisdom about every breath you take
Many ancient spiritual and physical practices incorporate breathing exercises. Yoga combines prana or pranayama (moving life force or breath) with asanas, or postures. The union of the physical and spiritual culminates in meditation, which is the reason to achieve physical stamina and flexibility and breath control. Qigong, brought to the West from China uses breath to move the qi, or life force, energy throughtout the body. Movements are designed to move breath and energy into certain organs and along meridians, healing and toning. Ayurvedic health practices include cleansing breaths.
Breathing has been used as part of psychotherapy in the west because practitioners believe breath has the power to reach into the subconscious and heal emotional trauma (Ley 1999). It has also been used to enhance healing from cancer and other life-threatening diseases (Manon et al. 2003). You can use breath in stressful situations to calm and nurture yourself.
Breath and life force remain woven together in most cultural traditions, and Western women are awakening to the power of this natural process. Breathing consciously should be part of each day, and finding time to practice the breathing exercises later in this chapter will reward any health or movement program you follow. Combine conscious breathing with an appreciation of the atmosphere around you, welcoming the freshness of spring or the astringent fall air as you awaken to the beauty of nature and your body’s power to heal.
-- Teatime meditation, Page 101-102
Movement stimulates our muscles, organs, cells, neurotransmitters, and hormones and keeps us youthful. Stretching, weight lifting, walking, running, dancing, or practicing qigong: each builds strength, stamina, and flexibility and keeps our muscles doing what they were meant to do. Movement practices are designed to increase our respiration and heart rate, and serve to strengthen our cardiovascular and muscular systems. You can use exercise to increase brain power, elevate moods, increase sex drive, keep flexible, and stimulate your organs to heal. Meditation and visualization begin with concentrating on our own breathing cycles, lengthening and deepening the breath, bringing the life-force energy into each cell.
the author goes on from here explaining breathing techniques for
Breath of life
Breathing for healthy lungs
Breathing for concentration, energy and to massage organs
Breathing exercise for the gastrointestinal tract
Breathing exercise for nerves and hormones
Combining breathing and movement, Page 102
Your fitness and movement should include stretching for flexibility (such as yoga) weight-bearing for strong bones and to prevent osteoporosis, and aerobic exercise and deep breathing for circulation and heart strengthening. Many types of exercise incorporate one or more of these.
In addition, qigong, yoga, tai chi, and other movement practices improve circulation, flexibility, and stamina as well as boost your respiratory system.
* NOTE: World Tai Chi & Qigong Day advises consulting your physician before beginning any new exercise, herbal, diet, or health program. The research listed here is meant to stimulate a discussion between you and your physician, health insurance carrier, etc., not as medical advise. Research and comments provided here are hoped to stimulate a more robust discussion of powerful natural mind/body health tools. Popular media, health media, and government must increase attention to stunning emerging research, including the UCLA study indicating Tai Chi participants enjoyed a 50% increase in immune system resistance to viral infection.