I think if I were to take a stress poll, the results would be completely off the charts. Do we agree when I say we all have stress in our lives, to some degree? Some more than others, but it’s always there and if when we don’t know how to manage our stress level, it begins to wear us down.
In my last post, Peace Begins With You, I mentioned how nice it would be if we spent our days meditating at the top of a beautiful mountain: true to a monk’s life. Unfortunately, most of us can’t. We all have jobs, families and umpteen things to attend to each day. The big question, how do we manage our stress levels, which in turn will keep us healthy, sound of mind, body and spirit?
I’m always looking for the answer to this question and one of the reasons I started this blog was to share some of my ideas with my readers. My greatest hope, a smidgen of what you read, will resonate with you and if it helps in some way, then wonderful! That’s what it’s all about, sharing with each other.
Something new has come to Rancho La Bellota. Normally, I would never have considered this but the opportunity presented itself and because it revolves around balance, and managing stress, I was immediately intrigued. Raul and I are planning on offering this concept, a practice which dates back 3,000 years.
QiGong (pronounced “chee gong” and alternatively spelled as “qigong) is referred to as “the new yoga”, but the practice dates back thousands of years to ancient China. The word “qi” (or “chi”) means “life force” or “vital energy of the body,” and “gong” means accomplishment or skill, cultivated through steady practice. Qi gong is specifically designed to cultivate the body’s vital energy, using it to heal and strengthen every system throughout the body. Thus, qi gong means “cultivating energy,” and it involves working with energy to strengthen and cleanse the body.
QiGong’s gentle, rhythmic exercises mirror the movements of nature, especially the fluidity of water. Combined with simple breathing techniques, Qi Gong is uniquely suited to relieving stress, boosting the immune system, and increasing the body’s innate healing abilities.
What are the benefits of Qi Gong?
1. Well-being and improved health. Qigong emphasizes whole body, whole system health.
2. Clear and tranquil mind. When the mind is at peace, the universe seems at peace. World peace begins with you; it is your responsibility to find a peaceful heart and mind.
3. Deeper, more restorative sleep. Qigong will help you find the deep relaxation and mental quiet necessary for sleep.
4. Bright eyes. The qigong master’s eyes seem to glow in the dark, like a cat’s. The eyes also appear bright because the spirit and soul are luminous and the heart is open.
5. Intuition and creativity. Intuition and creativity generate each other and come from the same source, an awakened brain and being, an ability to think with the gut, to feel with the mind.
6. Greater physiological control. This means that aspects of the body that are imbalanced or out of control, begin to normalize, such as, breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, hormone levels, and states of chronic inflammation or depletion.
Similar to Tai Chi, Qi Gong is best practiced outdoors, preferably in a peaceful setting where there is good energy flow. I can’t think of a better place than underneath the quiet, oak groves or in the nearby wooded canyons to practice this concept, as we di-stress, find balance and cultivate our body’s energy with that of everything around us.
Our Qi Gong instructor
Pau Castaño Ruiz, a Spaniard, with 22 years practicing/teaching Tai Chi and Qi Gong, along with his wife, visited us at the ranch last week, where we talked about the possibitlity of holding classes and workshops at the ranch. He received his certifications in Spain and is truly dedicated to the art he practices.
In the beginning, when Raul and I first bought La Bellota, my original idea was for the ranch to become a place where people could disconnect from their busy schedules, the city and routine. Besides horseback riding, and the beautiful outdoors, if Qi Gong is something else we can offer that will help everyone relieve the stress and tensions from daily life, then I’m all for it.