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Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year, New Breath

by Martha Everett
Link to original article from Desert Exposure

Breathing techniques from the ancient Chinese system of Qigong can boost your oxygen and sense of peace.

Qigong is an ancient Chinese system that uses movement, breath and mindfulness to gather intrinsic life force energy, or Qi, for healing, meditation and exercise. Qigong is said to be over 4,000 years old. Over those thousands of years, many varieties of Qigong were formed, using Chinese medicine for curing and preventing disease, using philosophy for reaching enlightenment, developing longevity and meditative practices.

Contemporary Qigong blends these principles together, using physical training in either static postures or dynamic movement. It engages mental training, using visualization and focusing on the movement of Qi and practicing slow, rhythmic breathing or other Qigong breath exercises. Qigong is also supported by the ingestion of medicinal herbs, foods with high Qi content or those that interact with the elemental forces.

Qi travels within the blood, true to the adage, "Where the blood flows, the Qi goes." Qi does not flow as well through areas of tension, tightness, injury and restriction, as the blood is not able to penetrate these areas as deeply. This creates an area of stagnation, which Chinese medicine believes is the root of disease.

Qigong can be a great way for people of all ages to increase blood flow and circulation, because the practitioner is using breath, movement and visualization to increase the flow of Qi. Breath work can be especially beneficial to bring more Qi and oxygen to the blood, as well as aiding in the shifting of the emotional composition in the areas of tension or tightness.

Qigong breathing brings a lot more oxygen into the lungs than normal respiration. This oxygen is for both the respiration process of breathing and for fueling all metabolic processes of the body. The oxygen is shared through the process of diffusion from the lungs to the blood. Transfer to the blood allows the hemoglobin protein in the blood to distribute the oxygen throughout the body. Qigong breathing will greatly amplify the amount of oxygen coming into the body, thereby oxygenating every cell. With this breath, as it increases more blood flow in the body, Qi is simultaneously increased. The Qi can be felt in the body as heat, pulsing, or a sense of inflation to the limbs. The Qi and breath can help move through emotional blocks, as the emotions and the breath are so closely related. The oxygenation of the cells that occurs during Qigong is very important for the health and wellbeing of the physical body.  

Martha K. Everett, certified Qigong facilitator, will be holding a three- hour breath workshop Saturday, Jan. 19, from 1-4 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 3845 N. Swan in Silver City. The price is $35, $25 if you've attended a previous Breath Empowerment with Martha, and advanced registration is required. For information, call (575) 388-2098 or (575) 574-7268 or email martha@abundancetherapeutics.com.