Friday, February 3, 2012

Tai Chi from Wudang mountain !! (a must see) Ba Duan Jin

Madam Li (103 years old) from Wudang mountain
(National Geographic)

Fast fitness: A Buddhist’s way of the side bend

I don’t know about you, but I only have so much time in the day to accomplish anything, and that includes my daily tai chi and qigong practice. Case in point: Today I have a 4 private lessons, preparing for interviews for my IT career, administrative work, and only one of me.

Yet I want, as we all do, to sneak some type of physical stimulation so I feel my best, even when life becomes hectic. In our era of quadrupling up on how much work we can tackle (As I type this, I’m checking e-mail on my smartphone, monitor content on my iPad, and celebrating Chinese New Year!), our workouts have to keep up. If they don’t, stress, tension, and possibility of catching the cold may build up as our immune system declines. This isn’t to say you should work out more… just smarter.

Qigong on the run

When I can only get in about 20 minutes of tai chi or qigong, I try to take the individual postures and modify them so that it’s giving me benefits in multiple areas of my body.

Today I’ll offer you one of my favorite qigong exercises – a modified version of the traditional side bend exercise that you may be familiar with. This exercise is one out of 8 exercises called the Ba Duan Jin (8 pieces of brocade or “8 Silk Treasures”).

At first glance, you will see that externally, this exercise will stretch and strengthen your oblique muscles and tone your leg muscles from holding a wide stance.

When you synchronize your breath, you start to increase your oxygen intake, and will help open up the energy channels associated with the heart, lungs, spleen, and gall bladder. This helps optimize your cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive system.

Follow these simple steps below and do it with me via the video below.

1. Stand upright with your feet together, and extend your arms out in front of you and palm facing the floor.

2. Clench your fists and turn the palms that they are facing the ceiling.

3. Slowly bring both arms back to your sides feeling a stretch in the chest muscles

4. Bend slightly, with your center of gravity on the right leg, swing out your left leg in a semi circular motion.

5. Center your left leg and swing out your right leg in a semi circular motion.

6. Open up both hands, turn palms so that they are facing floor

7. Push down with both palms and have your trunk rise up.

8. Take left arm and raise it up from 6 o’clock position to 12 o’clock while inhaling through your noise

9.  At the 12 o’ clock mark, exhale slowly and slowly bend to the right as far as you can

10. Once finished exhaling, slowly inhale and do the same things as in steps 8 & 9 for the right hand.

Repeat this as many times as time permits. I typically do 8 on each side.

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