Incorporating Qigong for weight loss-Prevention and lifestyle changes
Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Now, step onto the scale to see how many pounds you have lost from the week before. What?! That can’t be right. The number you see staring back at you cannot be right. But… it is. Alas, that number is an indicator of just how many more sit-ups, push-ups, miles of running, and leg lifts you have to do before you see any changes in that number, or any decrease in the width of your thighs, that is. Looking at a transparent scale and extensive measuring tape may seem daunting, and it is. Why is weight loss so difficult?
And the answer is that it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Most of us are approaching weight loss from the same way that we approach eating our favorite foods-instant gratification. Even before we put the food into our mouth, we are salivating from the aroma that seduces our olfactory senses. Our brain releases chemicals that trigger our feelings akin to peace, love and ecstasy. We then take countless bites of the food to satisfy the demand of our senses. It is an almost whole body experience and pleasure. So, if we are guided with our senses and brain as we eat and gain weight, why don’t we also use our senses and brain to guide us in loosing weight? That is the key and the secret to making weight loss easier. The methods and practices of Qigong encourage lifestyle changes that help one to maintain a healthy body weight and prevent an increase in weight gain.
How Qigong helps in loosing weight
First and foremost, Qigong is simply the coordination of movement, breath, and a focused mind on your inner and outer body. As was stated, the way to make weight loss and weight maintenance easy is to incorporate the senses and the whole body into the experience. Have fun and make it a daily part of your life.
Qigong is gentle, therefore it doesn’t harm the body, as many contact sports and vigorous exercises can. The focus on breath, touch, and extensions of the body work to release stored excess waste from the body. Imagine that! Just breathing and moving is what can help to eliminate waste from the body, which in turn produces a loss of weight, or water and fat. That’s why when we are younger and have more energy to run and jump, twist and turn, we seldom see ourselves as gaining excess weight. It’s as we become more sedentary and move less that we begin to gain weight and then need to find creative ways to loose that weight. In truth, we need to return to what came naturally to us as children: breathing, being focused in what we were doing, and moving.
Many of us are also shallow breathing, or taking slight breaths of air from the upper chest area. We are not breathing deep from the base of our spine, which is truly deep breathing. The breath is fundamental to Qigong and eliminating waste from the body. As you continue to do these exercises over time, the body is conditioned to not store excess water and fat. The metabolism speeds up and the senses of the body are engaged to produce elimination rather than storage. Through breath-work and gentle movements, Qigong retrains the body to function in its optimal state. Qigong regulates the inner balance of the body’s energy systems in order to restore the outer body to natural, healthy weight.
Qigong exercises for stimulating weight loss
In addition to the beginning Qigong steps that can be followed from this previous post, there are plenty of exercises that can be used in accordance with the Qigong practice to not only prevent weight gain, but aide in weight loss. There is a well-known collection of Qigong exercises called Shaolin 18 Lohan Hands exercises. I will introduce a few of them here. These exercises can be done in the morning and in the evening. They are the following:
- Lifting the Sky
Before you begin, remember to breath deeply for three or four reps. Then, with your arms at your side, turn your hands inward and allow both of your middle fingers to touch. As you inhale, raise your arms up to the sky, turning your hands over to the opposite side as your arms are fully extended upwards. Look up to the sky; look at your hands. On the exhale, lower your arms and cascade your hands outward back down to your sides. This exercise stimulates energy throughout your whole body. Here is a video that you can also watch to see the movements in progress.
- Shooting Arrows
In this exercise, start first with feet together and arms at the side. Next, take the arms and cross them in front of each other. The index finger and the thumb should be loosely pointed forward, and the other three fingers should be curled inward, as though you are holding an arrow on the chord of an archery bow. While you step both feet apart, separate the two arms by pulling one back and pushing the other forward. You should bend your knees slightly as you lower your stance into this position. Here is a video that demonstrates the actions to perform Shooting Arrows.
You can start this with your feet slightly spread apart. Let your both hands take the form as though you are holding a beach ball; they should be separated from one another. With a slight push up of the top hand, send that hand up above the head, while fully extending the opposite hand downward. Turn your head to the side. Then, turn your head to center it. While turning your head to center it, lower your top hand down to the center of your chest and exchange positions with your other hand. Allow your head to turn to the other side as you exchange hand and arm directions. Here is a video with a clear demonstration of Plucking the Stars.
These are just three of the hundreds of Qigong exercises that promote a healthier you. One of the best ways to start learning these exercises is to practice with a Qigong instructor first, and then practice daily at home or anywhere comfortable. I will be posting more content as to how you can contact qigong instructors as well as more resources to learn about the Qigong practice. If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the comments section and I will be happy to respond. Please check back for more content.
~Stay in love and in light~