Intentionally nourishing the mind-body connection on a daily basis can help improve health and well-being, reduce stress, keep the brain agile and the body responsive. When body, mind, spirit and emotions are in balance, health and well-being follow. Below are three different forms of gentle exercise in which you can engage to achieve this balance:
Qigong (pronounced: chi gong) is an ancient practice of mindful exercise. Research suggests that Qigong was practiced and recorded 7 000 years ago. To the western eye, Qigong may look like Tai Chi, in fact, they are related and have shown to have the same benefits. Qigong as a form of exercise is light and gentle on the joints whilst still providing a gentle cardiovascular workout. The mindful and meditative aspects focus on health by gaining an understanding of the movement of the whole body from the inside.
From the Chinese perspective, Qigong practice helps to correct energy imbalance (Qi) in the body.
The Gong in Qigong can be translated as “practice” or “work”. Good Qi is encouraged through the practice and bad or trapped Qi (toxic energy) is mobilised to be expelled. In Qigong practice emphasis is placed on Dantian (elixir field or energy centre) breathing. The Dantian is located in the middle of the body, below the navel. Mental focus is directed to the Dantian whilst breathing lightly and slowly without force.
Scientific research has shown that Qigong has a positive effect on bone health, favourable cardiovascular and/or pulmonary outcomes, balance and fall prevention, immune function and inflammation and many more. However, Qigong is not without its detractors and like most forms of exercise should be approached gradually.
To practise Yoga is to take responsibility for our lives with a healthy mind, a flexible body and correct breathing; to recognise that we are a magnificent creation, living in harmonious balance with calm and clarity, in partnership with our Creator.
The inward direction of Yoga is created by stillness and sincerity, developing a natural composure. Through the physical asanas we learn about our anatomy and how muscles, ligaments and tendons of the body lengthen comfortably without stress. Joints are lubricated and all nine body systems function optimally. Chemical changes happen because of Yoga’s effect on the endocrine system. Our organs and glands are bathed and irrigated internally by natural fluids. Trapped energy is freed, and tension dams broken. Yoga is not a religion, but will supplement your religion because of its own moral disciplines.
AGELESS GRACE® BRAIN HEALTH
Ageless Grace® Brain Health: 21 Simple Tools for Lifelong Comfort & Ease, is a fitness and wellness program for the body and brain, created by Denise Medved. The program consists of 21 fun and easy exercise tools designed for all ages and abilities.
The tools or exercises are practiced seated in order to engage the brain, strengthen the core, the spine, the internal organs and the energy systems of the body. The tools activate all five functions of the brain and address the 21 physical skills necessary to maintain lifelong youthful function.
Qigong (Alisa Farr), Yoga (Gill Dugmore) and Ageless Grace (Annlerie van Rooyen)