Keep things flowing; Right now in these difficult times it is important to bring body and mind into harmony.
So far, yoga, tai-chi and qi-gong have not necessarily been my world, but of course I want to keep myself fit and mentally agile on various levels. Certainly for individual activities, but even better through regular training. It is not important to strive for maximum body performance on single occasions, but rather to create a good basic constitution or condition on which you can build on.
I always keep in mind those impressions from Asia, where early in the morning dozens of people of all ages meet in a park or on a public square to slowly follow an imaginary sequence of movements with their hands and feet (with or without music). In Europe this practising is also referred to as “shadow boxing“. In terms of execution, there is often an invisible power behind the seemingly smooth movements. In addition, some exercises appear to be real balancing acts, i.e. when the practitioner stands on one leg for several seconds or pauses intentionally during the gymnastic process in a certain pose.
As the two terms Tai-Chi and Qi Gong clearly indicate, both forms of movements and meditation come originally from China, while India is the country of origin of yoga. It may sound somehow strange, but it is precisely the alternation of tension and relaxation that creates inner peace, more serenity and ultimately energy.
Tai-Chi has its origins in the Chinese martial art and is mainly used for defense. In a figurative sense, “defense” may also apply to diseases. Qi Gong is more closely related to medicine and can be practiced in different positions, including sitting or lying down. Even hand gymnastics with Qi Gong balls can be helpful in case of neurologic deficiencies or to keep calmer. By definition, Qi Gong promotes well-being, supports other therapies, can prevent diseases and strengthens the immune system. It is best to do these exercises daily or several times a week for at least 30 minutes a day.
Both approaches relieve tension, which has a positive effect on the entire nervous system. For me, it primarily helps against my tension in the cervical spine, which often causes tension headache and as a strengthening of the lower back muscles. In my case, this training doesn’t permanently lower the stress level or the blood pressure (mine is too low anyway), but it helps clearing my brain in these moments by concentration.
Corresponding courses are offered at many places, from clubs to adult education centers. There are also various videos, youtube clips and tutorials available in the internet.
The same applies to yoga in the broadest sense. Among other things, yoga has positive effects on the mobility and strengthening of the supporting muscles. Combined with meditation and relaxation, yoga also has a positive effect on stress-related symptoms, obesity or pain attacks such as back problems or migraines. It is not necessary to dislocate yourself painfully for hours like a yogi; on the contrary – please be careful – everybody should act according to his/ her possibilities! Especially when sitting cross-legged – at least without a mat – my tailbone often hurts after a short time. Then there is no longer any talk of relaxed sitting. When I visited South Korea many years ago, I was invited to a temple ceremony at dawn. As fascinating as the rising fog around the half-open temple hall located in an exotic wooded landscape has been, the more unpleasant is my memory of the 1.5 hours in the lotus position on a thin bast mat. Ommm …
In Korea, the homeland of Tae-Kwon-Do (which means „the way of foot and hand fighting“), various techniques of this martial art were completed after the ceremony. Also in Germany there are quite some buddhist cloisters and centres where you may experience much more about these asiatic movement- and meditation techniques: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_buddhistischer_Tempel_und_Kl%C3%B6ster_in_Deutschland
But what women are probably particularly interested in: Yoga not only makes the body more flexible, it also tightens it and strengthens the pelvic floor. Many of the “asanas” stretch the muscles. In yoga, everything should be done as gently as possible. Best in connection with deep breathing and preferably with Far Eastern singing bowl rhythms. Yoga is also suitable for losing weight, because you use a lot of energy in every position. Depending on the type of exercise, this can be between 180 to 600 calories per hour.
Namasté – I’am greeting all divine qualities of you! For Ghandi, this greeting is/ was a sign of deepest respect: “I honor the place in you in which the entire universe resides”. There is no way of saying it more beautiful.