YMAA – Lee Holden – Qi Gong for Better Health and Wellness
If you are not familiar with Qi Gong, now is the perfect time to become acquainted with an exercise that won’t leave you winded after practice and that doesn’t require expensive equipment or specific clothing. It’s also a wellness option that can improve your health after the most basic practice, and is accessible no matter your age or body type. The practice of Qi Gong, time-tested over thousands of years, has the potential to improve your physical fitness, free your mind, and energize your life with renewed vitality.
Taught by Master Instructor Lee Holden, the 12 lessons of Qi Gong for Better Health and Wellness will show you why Qi Gong is the art of effortless power, mirroring the movements of nature. By following Master Holden’s peaceful movements and his soothing, supportive direction, you’ll find yourself breathing more deeply and finding a new sense of peace. Filmed against a background of rivers and mountains, these lessons will help you relax from the moment they begin, as you learn to become open and receptive to the natural energy of the world.
Qi Gong—sometimes called the grandmother of tai chi—is the basic exercise system within Chinese medicine. It focuses on opening the places in your body where your circulating energy is blocked, allowing your life force, known as “qi”, to flow freely. Many ancient and modern practitioners believe that, when your qi is flowing properly, your body and mind are balanced and able to help you enjoy your most healthy existence. But whether your concern is your qi or just basic health, Qi Gong can have amazing benefits for your fitness and mental well-being.
The Health Benefits of Qi Gong
Qi Gong has been used as a tool of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, both as a preventive practice and as a treatment for chronic illness. Consequently, it’s easy to find anecdotal evidence of Qi Gong’s health benefits in disease prevention, stress reduction, and healthy aging. But because there were no formal medical studies to back up that evidence until recently, Western medicine tended to look down on the practice as unimportant at best and fraudulent at worst.
That paradigm has changed. As soon as Western scientists began a rigorous study of Qi Gong, they couldn’t overlook its positive health effects. While the research is still relatively new, scientific studies published in reputable medical journals have identified dozens of physiological and psychological benefits of Qi Gong, including:
- Anxiety. Studies have shown positive effects of Qi Gong in anxiety reduction, improved balance in the autonomic nervous system (our fight, flight, or freeze response), and in the body overall.
- Bone Mineral Density. Studies of women have shown increased bone mineral following Qi Gong exercises.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Studies suggest that regular practice can reduce pain and improve sleep, vitality, and physical functioning in patients with chronic fatigue.
- Disordered Eating. Studies have shown Qi Gong to be a positive therapeutic tool in conjunction with psychotherapy for the recovery of patients with anorexia.
- Immune System. Studies have reported improvement in numerous immune-related blood markers, including a decrease in markers related to inflammation.
- Parkinson’s Disease. Studies have shown that Qi Gong exercises can improve body functions in patients with early or middle stages of Parkinson’s disease.
Who Can Practice Qi Gong?
As a slow-moving, peaceful, meditative form of exercise, Qi Gong can be practiced by people of all ages and abilities. The movements in this course are slow and simple, and always carefully modeled and explained. Qi Gong will “meet you where you are,” allowing you to begin a practice no matter your age or fitness level, and help you feel more relaxed and energized. With no sequences to memorize, you will feel confident every step of the way as you follow Master Holden’s guidance into a more peaceful and energized life. Even if you’ve been sitting on the couch for years and know better than to jump into a neighborhood basketball game, you should have no problem starting Qi Gong.
The Beauty of the Basic Movements
There is no one single “right” way to do Qi Gong. In fact, there are hundreds of different types and thousands of exercise variations. In this course, Master Holden has brought together 12 distinct groups of movements—each group formulated to address a particular health issue—with a total of more than 50 different exercises. Throughout all 12 lessons, you’ll find the constant themes of calm mind; deep breath; and slow, steady movements.
With easy-to-follow directions, you will learn some the most basic and calming Qi Gong exercises including:
- Knocking on the Door of Life. This exercise cultivates high-quality energy flow in your body by stimulating the acupressure points for vitality. The easy, twisting movements will help bring suppleness to your spine. And at the end of this one exercise, you’ll already be able to feel the tingling sensation of the qi moving through your body.
- Opening the Flow. This soft, gentle exercise will calm the mind and relax the body, while also increasing your energy flow. As you follow along with the soft, smooth movements—allowing your arms to float up and then float down—you’re training your body to move with relaxation, flowing effortlessly, like water. While on the outside, this exercise looks and feels very soft and relaxing, on the inside you’re increasing the unrestricted movement of your qi, increasing your vitality. This is your own personal flow.
- Embracing the Tree. The physical movement in this posture is so simple, it doesn’t even look like an exercise—the work is all on the inside. As Master Holden demonstrates, you’re standing in an erect and relaxed position, with your rounded arms in front of you at a comfortable height as if you were embracing a beautiful, thick tree. With a slow, calm breath, you take in cool, peaceful energy through your rooted legs up into the rest of your body, aware that you are also absorbing the beautiful energy from above, just as a tree does. This posture will allow you to mindfully access the natural energy all around you, increasing your powerful vitality.
The beauty of these Qi Gong exercises is that you can benefit even if you just listen! Master Holden’s calming voice and detailed description of breath work could form the basis for a beautiful practice of mindful meditation. Even if you’re not yet ready to “exercise,” you can join the millions around the world who benefit from the beautiful, ancient practice of Qi Gong with Qi Gong for Better Health and Wellness.