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Wellness Guide

Qigong Exercises to Relieve Stress

Qigong Exercises to Relieve Stress
Do you feel tense and stressed out almost every day? Our full work days or otherwise hectic schedules can add up tension and deal a lot of damage to the mind and body. Ancient Chinese practice believes the cause of these symptoms are due to your qi energy being blocked. How can we unblock the qi energy flow and get rid of these annoying problems?

Thousands of years ago, qigong was developed as a healing method involving natural movements and stances which open your muscles and joints to renew your body’s energy flow. It started when Chinese peasants tried imitating animal movements to battle the wet, freezing climate they were living in. They continued to practice it over the years and it became ingrained in healing practices around the world. The meditation-like poses still hold relevance today with our busy lifestyles as the perfect stress reliever.

Qigong has three main bases: Body, breath and mind. The three connect together and sync up while performing the qigong poses, creating an environment of peace, relaxation and healed qi energy. A relaxed body creates slow breath, and slow breath steadies and centers the mind.

One of the best parts about qigong exercises is that they’re easy to do, and can be done just about anywhere to cultivate vital qi energy.

Here’s a 10-minute routine you can try that requires no equipment whatsoever:

Make sure that the following qigong movements are performed while standing with relaxed/soft knees and your feet are about shoulder-width apart.

Neck Circles

Hold your hands together behind your back and point your fingers toward the ground. Start to gently rotate your head in a circular motion clockwise. Do this by leaning your right ear to your right shoulder, chin to chest, and continue in that direction in a circle. Repeat the circle five to ten times and then reverse the motion for the same amount of repetitions. Make sure to keep your head from leaning too far back while doing the rotations to prevent any compression to your spine. As you rotate, your neck will loosen up, your shoulders should release stress, and your head will clear.

Lower Back Stretch

Hold either your pointer finger knuckles or thumbs against your lower back muscles straddling your spine. Breathe in and press with your fingers as you shift your hips straight ahead. Then, breathe out and recenter your hips again. Move your fingers/thumbs up and down the lower back for five to ten repetitions, or until you feel you’ve stretched your whole lower back area. This stretch will open your shoulders and break up all built up tension in the lower back area so that you can move again with ease and without pain.

Shaking Exercise

Start to shake your hands, then shake your shoulders, then start shaking your whole body, bouncing up and down in the process. Act like you are trying to shake loose bad energy and get it out. Shake gently, but with light force. Stay relaxed and try not to tense up so that the movement can travel through your whole body.

Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth and try to imagine all of your blockages clearing. After a couple minutes, hold yourself still and take note of how your body is feeling. Is it more loose than before? Do you feel lighter? The shaking can improve your circulation and rid the body of all stress. Your joints and muscles should feel much more open now too.

Wave Breathing

Put a hand on your stomach and a hand on your chest, breathing in through the abdomen, up into your chest. Follow that by breathing out in reverse fashion, from chest down to lower abdomen. Feel your breath passing through your body. When you’ve finished breathing out, try to push the rest of the air out of your body completely. Repeat this breathing cycle for a couple minutes, or until your body feels much lighter. Your breathing as a result should feel easier and your lungs should feel stronger with each breath you take.

Hold Up the Earth Motion

Hold your hands out slightly away from your stomach with your palms up. Breathe in and bring your hands from the stomach slowly up to hovering right above your head. Make sure your arms are loose and not rigid, keeping your hands upward to the sky. Afterward, breathe out and let your hands gently make their way to the spot where you began, just in front of your stomach. Play this motion out for a couple minutes in repeat. Notice the relaxation and synchronicity you are feeling with all of your body and mind together. Your lungs will feel like they are expanding more and more, opening up. Any feelings of stress that limited your breathing should melt away and pass on from your body.
Written by Austin Adams
Austin is a writer and creative mind who loves movies, books and anything artistic. Video games are one of his favorite pastimes, along with working out and staying active. He likes to try and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but also loves the experience of trying new food and drink. He's sort of a walking contradiction.
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