Relieve Stress with Qigong: A Story and a Practice

Relieve Stress with Qigong: A Story and a Practice

Have you ever felt like you were so focused on Getting-Things-Done that you forgot you were in a body? You know, those times when you’re pushing like crazy or succumbing to the temptation of “one-more-thing-itis”?

Too often, the consequence of my brain speeding ahead of my physical body is that something’s gonna take a bite “out of my hide.” That’s sure what happened to me last night. Literally.

I was speeding along, in a pretty good mood, getting ready to walk my dog before running over to pick up one of my sister cast members, to go to the theater in Berkeley where we were performing a show with our theater company, Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble. I was Jazzed— freshly showered, make up on, hair gelled (Yes, sisters, that is a Big Deal for someone who is essentially kind of a nature-grrl who loves soft comfortable clothes and is not real big on mirrors).

Anyway, I was getting something out of my car and being careful not to hit my little dog’s head with the car door and, instead, slammed it right on my thumb. The next 2 seconds took about 3 hours, where my head said, “err, why can’t you move your hand…OMG…it’s jammed in the car door! (And Finally) OPEN THE D**N DOOR!”

What happened after is kind of a blur as I went into major coping mode. I gotta say that I received enormous support from my Playback Theater family (heart-filled shout outs especially to Allison, Roni, Merry, Gina, and John) including love, sympathy and even some Reiki, I also managed to bring my portable BEMER—(a pulsed bio-electro-magnetic energy regulator that is an Awesome healing device) So I got through the show and even had serious fun making people laugh or cry with the stories we enacted.

Today, as I type through the throb, I’m remembering that if, instead of saying “yeah yeah yeah later” when my body is yelling “slow down Just a little—take a moment, Vicki,” I could actually take a moment to breathe and open some inner space, it might help when I am feeling running late, over-extended or just plain crazed. I might not only avoid this kind of accident, I might even discover that I can slow time down.

So in the spirit of opening space in time, I would like to share this “Space Shake” Way of Joy practice. Shaking is a common Qigong exercise that spans many different styles. The benefits are enormous including increasing your blood flow, supporting your joints, building cartilage, and relaxing your brain.

Shake loose tension and open space in your body, heart, mind, and spirit. Brush away any energy or thoughts that interrupt your well-being. You can even place your hands on your belly and give those inner organs a little shake to stimulate their functionality.

One of my teachers, Daisy Lee, once told me that she knows a 100 year old woman qigong practitioner in China, who attributes her health and longevity to shaking for 20 minutes a day. So would you be willing to try this “space shake” with me for just 1 minute? Just stand up, or even do it as you sit at your computer? You don’t need to follow my timing, just shake it awake!

(Music: Shake It Awake: Mambo by Sherry Mouser)

When you’re done, place your hands on your belly for a moment and notice whatever you might notice…

Vicki Dello Joio, founder of The Way of Joy: A Spiritual Fitness Program, is a teacher, speaker and performing artist. Integrating over 40 years of Chi Kung practice with other martial arts as well as her work in Yoga, Feldenkreis, physical fitness and theater, Vicki has developed a dynamic set of tools to increase awareness, transform obstacles into opportunities and enhance creative potential. Book: The Way of Joy: An Evolutionary Process to Awaken Inspiration, Focus Intention and Manifest Fulfillment, CD: Short Meditations for a Busy Life.

One Strategy for Running a Successful Home Business: Take Time for Not Doing

One Strategy for Running a Successful Home Business: Take Time for Not Doing

As I’ve devoted energy into my own business over this last week, I’ve noticed that I’ve been living under the specter of “one more thing-itis.” It feels like I’ve been running and running yet somehow still staying in the same place. One part of me is pleased by the illusion of perpetual productivity, while another voice inside insists that it’s important to balance doing the work I love with some time for reflection and replenishment, a “space in-between,” where I might balance the expansion of my outward energy (or yang state of activity) with times of internal focus (or yin state of receptivity).

Yet I resist. Too often in that space of non-doing, I end up feeling guilty or, god forbid, non-productive. Then, because my brain has hit a wall and I just have to do something, I find myself sitting in front of the tube watching instant play reruns of old tv shows. While this choice may succeed in silencing the “do-do” (doodoo?) mutter in my brain, it still doesn’t feel very good nor do I end up getting recharged.

In a chapter of my book The Way of Joy, I write about a principle I call Balance Brings Harmony and how often I’ve been struck by how many students and friends have said they feel ashamed to admit they have taken time during the day to read a novel, do a crossword puzzle, or take a nap. For most people, even vacation time is barely long enough to stop the internal buzz before picking up their “real life” once again.

By contrast, Wayne Dyer, author and inspirational speaker, has said, “It is the silence between the notes that makes the music. It is out of the silence, the gap, or that space between our thoughts that everything is created, including our own bliss.” Opening internal space, then, actually gives birth to our inspiration.

I remember hearing a story by the brilliant, heart-filled Jungian storyteller, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, about Picasso in his garden…

Want to have some fun telling stories? Interested in getting up on stage and performing? Join Vicki in her Playback Theater Improvisation class beginning Jan. 28 (with final class performance May 20)

Vicki Dello Joio, founder of The Way of Joy: A Spiritual Fitness program, is a teacher, speaker and performing artist. Book: The Way of Joy: An Evolutionary Process to Awaken Inspiration, Focus Intention and Manifest Fulfillment, CD: Short Meditations for a Busy Life.