Some simple exercises that help clear and refresh mind and body.
Shake it off
Sometimes referred to as spontaneous qigong, this brief exercise helps shake off the energetic cobwebs that we accumulate during the day. This exercise is particularly helpful for bodyworkers.
Stand with your feet a little less than shoulder width apart
Very gradually begin shaking your body
Start with your hands, then your feet, just shake and wiggle them
Now include your shoulders, then your hips,
Your arms, legs, your head (very gently!)
Eventually you are shaking your whole body in a non-rhythmic fashion.
Continue for a few minutes, when you feel like you've had enough, slowly wind down
Stand quietly for a bit and notice the feeling of calm that pervades your entire body and energy field
Staring at a computer screen all day is exactly what the doctor didn't order. Take a few minutes and release the tension in your eyes, especially if you think you don't have any.
For all of these exercises, do not move your head, just your eyes.
Start with horizontal figure eight movements. This movement is like the infinity sign. Start in one direction for 10 times or so, then switch directions.
Now do normal figure eight movements.10 one direction, then 10 in the other.
Now make big circles with your eyes. 10 one way, 10 the other
If you would like to give your eyes a little more love, warm your hands by vigorously rubbing them together for a minute. Then place the palms of your hands over your eyes for a minute or two. Blink, blink, blink.
The ears are a great way to clear and energize your brain and your entire body.
Place your index fingers and thumbs on your ears - you're going to rub your ear lobes. Most people find that they do it the right way automatically; your index finger should be on the outside of your ear lobe, your thumb on the inside.
Make circles with your finger and thumb. The first circle should rotate forward. Make eight circles and inhale while doing so.
The second circle should rotate backward. Make eight circles here too and exhale while doing so.
With your fingers and thumbs on your ear lobes, make a circle with your ear lob. Move your lobes forward and backward in a circular motion. Eight times each way, inhale while circling forward, exhale while circling backward.
Now, place your index finger and thumb at the top of your ear - along the ridge. In a downward motion, rub along the ridge and when you get to the lobes, let your thumb and forefinger sweep away from the lobes. Inhale while moving from the top of the ridge to the lobe, exhale from the lobe outwards. Do this eight times.
Now, place your index fingers where the top of your ear joins your head. Rub downwards to the bottom of the ear. Breath just like step four; inhale from the top of the ear to about the lobe and exhale at the bottom and as your fingers sweep away.
Relax and enjoy the pleasant warmth that flows throughout your body and mind.
Just like the ears, the fingers and hands are a great way to clear and energize the whole body. Start with your hands in your lap. Move smoothly and gently, speed does not count.
With your hands facing up, make a relaxed fist with both hands. Now, 'count' with your fingers and thumbs. Start with your thumbs, then index fingers, then middle etc. When you get to the pinkies, make a fist again and start over.
When you're finished with step one, turn your hands over, so your palms are facing downwards. Fold your fingers as if you were going to make a fist, but instead of placing the thumbs across the middle of your fingers, place your thumbs across your fingernails. Extend your pinky finger in a flicking fashion. Do the same for each finger. When you reach your index finger, start over again.
Now, turn your hands over again, so your palms are facing up. Touch your thumbs to the pad of your pinkies, then the ring fingers, middle and index. After touching your index fingers, fold your fingers in slightly and brush along your fingernails with your thumbs. Repeat.
Turn your hands palms facing down. Place your fingertips on a table or other flat surface as if you are going to play a piano. Starting with the pinky finger of your left hand and the thumb of your right, touch down with each, at the same time, as if you were playing the piano. Continue with your left ring finger and your right index, your left middle and your right middle, etc. When you reach your left thumb and right pinky, reverse the motion. Move smoothly.
The next three movements can be done seated or standing:
Place your hands on your lap. Raise them slightly and turn your hands so that they are facing one and other. Shake them vigorously but gently from side to side. Your hands stay in the same plane as you do this - horizontally.
With your hands off your lap, turn them face down. Shake them vigorously but gently up and down in the vertical plane.
If you are seated, lean forward slightly so that your arms can freely hand downwards. With your hands hanging downwards, twist your hands back and forth. Move them as if they had no bones. Just let them flop around.
Raise your lower arms so that they are parallel to the ground out in front of you. Turn your hands so that they are facing each other - as if you are holding a large ball. Notice the energy that is flowing throughout your body and between your hands.
This exercise is great after working on a computer, before and after bodywork, or when you just need to brush off stuck energy. It's also a great way to get an immediate sensation of chi flow, particularly in your hands, but also throughout your body. Great intro for chi 'beginners'.
Tickle your Amygdala
Here's something we came across listening to the always interesting Coast-to-Coast radio show. It's a very simple exercise that will benefit everyone. It comes from Neil Slade.
First we need to identify the amygdala:
It's located about an inch behind the eyes and there is one on each side of the brain at the level of the eyes. Think about then as if they were two small buttons on each side of your brain.
Now imagine reaching into the brain, just above your eyes, with a feather and tickling the amygdala. Start with the left side, then do the right. The feather can be any color, but be sure to try your favorite color and a rainbow colored feather at some point. Neil recommends trying this the next time you're in line somewhere.
This little exercise is great for inducing calm when wound up, providing a bit of stimulation when you're bored, or you just want to give your brain a boost. Want to know more?