How To Relax And Enjoy Spring
Spring is the busiest time of year. We want to get outdoors and do stuff, yet stormy weather often interferes with our desires. Or we have so many projects on our to do list that we don’t know where to start. Plants pop up from the ground with surprising speed, the sun comes up earlier, and the whole world has shifted into a higher gear.
We would like to relax and enjoy the warmer weather as we unwind from a winter indoors. Yet some people find it hard to relax when there is so much to do. Spring is notorious for being a time when we get tense, a little irritable, perhaps downright cantankerous. The remedy is to relax. We know that of course. We hear it all the time, “just relax”.
And yet it often seems nearly impossible. It’s as if we actually don’t know how to relax the body and turn off the chatter of the mind. Getting into a state of quiet relaxation seems beyond our understanding and ability. So I want to share a simple and effective technique from Daoist Qigong practice to help you enter a state of deep quiet.
Why is this important?
The Qi – the vital energy that keeps us alive – can only circulate with maximum benefit when the organs, the surrounding muscles, the web of connective tissue, and the intrinsic vessels and nerves are calmly relaxed. This state of physiological peace is unique to Qigong. It’s a kind of alert relaxation that melds the body and mind into a complete whole.
Dr. Jiao Guorui, a well-respected contemporary Qigong practitioner in China, calls this state “entering quiescence.” He describes it in his book Qigong Essentials For Health Promotion:
Entering quiescence is a major requirement of qigong exercise. But how to achieve this is a common problem for beginners. We must understand the quiescent state correctly. Life is movement and the quiescent state is actually stillness in movement. It is not motionless. When we enter the quiescent state of qigong we are entering a special state of movement within the body.
What then is quiescence? In this state the brain eliminates interferences from both inside and outside the body, providing favorable conditions for the central nervous system to carry out the active, natural regulation of body functions and mental abilities. Some people, after entering quiescence during qigong, feel like a frozen river that is melting during the springtime…their whole body is completely relaxed and comfortable.
Being “completely relaxed” is especially important for the liver. This amazing visceral structure has more functions that any other single organ. During the process of filtering and detoxifying the blood, producing hundreds of enzymes and hormones, and regulating the volume of circulating blood, the liver tends to become congested. For it to work properly it must be decongested and supple. The Chinese say that a healthy liver is like “a free and easy wanderer,” responsible for the smooth and harmonious flow of blood and Qi throughout the body and mind.
It is possible to release tension and stress.
Inner Nourishing is a special meditation that helps you enter quiescence:
This may be done sitting or lying down. Rest and be comfortable but alert.Microcosmic Circulation
When you inhale think of bringing the qi up the back, over the head and to the mouth. While inhaling gently place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and silently say, “I am calm.”
Then start to exhale and bring the qi down the front of your body to the lower dan tian. While exhaling let the tongue rest gently on the floor of your mouth and silently say, “and relaxed.” Do this for awhile.
This simple yet profound meditation will enhance the flow of energy through two major pathways: up the Governing vessel and down the Conception vessel. This “microcosmic orbit” is the reservoir for all the energy that flows through the acupuncture channels and into every cell of your body.
“Inner Nourishing”, Nei Yang Gong, was a secret Daoist healing method of the Ming dynasty that was transmitted by qigong masters to only one select student. In 1947 Dr. Liu Guizhen began to teach this powerful qigong exercise to the public for the greater good of society. He knew that one of the greatest benefits of Qigong is the internal relaxation of the body.