Chinese yoga or qi gong (pronounced chi kung), is a powerful way to release the dampness and heat that summer time brings.
Dampness and heat are states that can lead to health issues such as excessive weight, chronic fatigue, aggravation of inflammatory conditions, depression, anxiety, and digestive challenges.
What causes dampness and heat?
Cold and iced beverages stagnates the energy of the spleen, creating dampness.
Prolonged exposure to high temperatures causes the body to want to put out the fire by producing dampness, mucus or phlegm. Thus, on very hot days, we may feel sluggish, heavy and uninspired to move our bodies.
Antibiotics and steroidal medications can create heat and dampness as well.
Chinese yoga or qi gong can help to release damp stagnation of the spleen, improve metabolism and clear heat.
Exhale deeply and take a deep breath in, filling in through the lower abdomen.
Visualize the energy of the spleen, residing under the left rib cage.
Feel into the areas that are gray and heavy with your mind. Notice the areas that are light and dry also.
Lightly slap the area under the left rib cage with the open palm of your right hand, and brush any stagnant energy down the body, legs and out the feet. This helps to release stuck energy and improve blood flow to the spleen.
Perform this movement 9 times several times during the day.
In Chinese medicine, the spleen is said to be the transformer of not only foods, but also life experience. Thus, when we are “stuck” in our lives, often times there is dampness in the spleen holding patterns and creating a challenge with letting go of harmful habits.
From a soul perspective, we may carry also old injuries and emotional wounds from early childhood or prenatal (past life) experiences in our energy bodies. Thus, by working with the spleen, we empower ourselves to transform those wounds and heal deeply so that we can create new experiences from a healed space.
Spleen is also related to our ability to ground and center our energies, something that can be challenging to do when we are busy.
Yet, if we take just a few moments to perform Chinese yoga with the intention of empowering our spleens to root our energy, it can help us to be more productive and focused with the tasks at hand.
Last, dampness and heat sometimes relates to mental states such as anxiety and struggle. Thus, when we feel these emotional states, the energy of our spleens can become taxed.
Thus, our minds can influence the physical state of our spleen–as well, our physical state can influence our minds.
For example, if we eat heavy, oily foods, cold and raw foods, and drink cold beverages, this can create a stagnation in the spleen that may manifest as dampness, resulting in stuck thoughts that are obsessive in nature or the feeling of struggling with all that we have on our plates (i.e. heat).
Qi Gong Breathwork
Breath work can also help invigorate and liberate the spleen.
Exhale fully and deeply, deliberately contracting the low belly to expel all the air from your lungs.
Inhale deeply, allowing air to fill into the middle dan tien (the area under your rib cage) to flood the spleen with oxygen. As you do so, imagine yellow light filling the spleen.
Repeat the pattern of exhalation and inhalation nine times, consciously making each deeper fuller and longer.
When finished, sit for a moment and reflect. Be open to the insights that may come about where you may be holding patterns in your life, body and mind, and understand that with a constant practice of Chinese yoga and breathwork, you are empowered to liberate those patterns.
Kay Hutchinson is a certified advanced instructor of medical qi gong, and has a clinical practice of acupressure, qi gong and herbal medicine. She offers life coaching from a Taoist perspective integrating movement and meditation to help people fulfill their potential. Visit her virtual qi gong studio at http://www.aikihealing.com/qigongstudio.php