In our modern world, when people say, “I’m worn out” or “I need a break,” they usually mean something different than our ancestors meant by those words a hundred or more years ago. Back then, people’s bodies got tired from hours of physical labor. Now, people’s bodies may feel weak or achy, but their exhaustion is not from lifting heavy loads or from bending over to plant crops. Rather, this tiredness is the result of an overworked brain, a brain that is constantly processing a complex, stressful world of information
That’s why, if you truly want to revitalize yourself, it is not enough to get a massage or to take a long soak in the tub. Those things can offer relief for a moment, but if you really want to relax and refresh yourself, you must do something to rejuvenate your brain
Simmer Down Your Energy
If you feel tired, tense, or lethargic, you are experiencing an upside-down energy state. If energy is circulating properly, it follows a “Water Up, Fire Down
” pattern: cool water energy circulates to the head, and hot fire energy goes to the lower abdomen. Unfortunately, people are often in the opposite, upside-down state: the belly is cold and hot fire energy has gathered in the head. Fortunately, two simple exercises—Dahnjon Tapping
and Intestinal Exercises
—can help to reestablish proper energy circulation.
- 1. Stand with your feet parted shoulder width. Relax your shoulders and bend your knees slightly.
2. With open and slightly cupped palms, gently but firmly pat on your lower abdomen below your belly button.
3. After tapping about 100 times, shake out your arms and legs.
- 1. After you have finished your tapping exercise, place your hands on your lower abdomen below your belly button, the location of your lower dahnjon or energy center.
2. Relax your shoulders, chest, and abdomen.
3. Now, as you breathe in, expand your abdomen as though it were blowing up like a balloon.
4. As you exhale, draw your belly in, as though you were trying to touch your belly button to your spine.
5. Continue to repeat this process—slowly pulling in and pushing out your abdomen—approximately 100 times.
These two exercises are wonderful for drawing fire energy down
away from the brain and back into the lower abdomen. Even if you only do these two simple exercises, you’ll be surprised to find how much calmer and more energetic you feel.
Calm Your Mind
To go a step further toward relaxing your mind, I recommend belly breathing
. In this exercise, you try to breathe fully and deeply, all the way into the lower abdomen. Here’s how you do it:
- 1. Lie down on a stable, comfortable surface, such as on the floor on a yoga mat or carpet.
2. Please your arms out to the side about 45 degrees from the body with your palms facing the sky.
3. At first, just relax your whole body—your arms, legs, and back—as much as possible.
4. Then begin breathing deeply and naturally into your abdomen, allowing your abdomen to rise and fall with each breath.
5. Repeat about 100 times.
Like the two exercises above, this will help bring energy to the lower abdomen while also allowing your thinking to calm down and relax.
Breathe into Your Brain
Now that you have relaxed your mind and have brought fire energy back down into your dahnjon, you can bring cool energy back to your brain through a meditation and visualization exercise called Brain Breathing. It uses an important energy point at the top of your head called the baekhwe
- 1. Sit on the floor in the traditional half-lotus meditation posture. (If this is not comfortable, you may sit in a chair with your back straight.)
2. Place your hands, palms facing upward, on your knees. Close your eyes, keeping your back straight and your shoulders relaxed.
3. Breathe into your abdomen, inhaling and exhaling until your body is completely relaxed.
4. Now, concentrate on the point at the very top of your head, the part that is soft on an infant. This is your baekhwe.
5. In your mind’s eye, imagine bright golden light coming in to your baekhwe as you inhale, bathing your brain in fresh energy.
6. As you exhale, visualize all dark, old, or stagnant energy being washed away from your brain.
7. Continue to repeat this meditation and visualization for 3–5 minutes, and then slowly return to waking awareness.
Give Your Brain a Break
I feel that exercises like the ones I have shared above are a necessity, not just something to be done as an occasional “spa day” treat. Our world is set up to overstimulate us mentally, so we need to do what we can to release the negative information that comes in and out of our brain. It’s no different than taking the time to brush our teeth or take a shower, so please make brain refreshing
a normal part of your healthcare routine.