Since doing Taiji I have been feeling increasingly healthier, more stable and have much greater flexibility. I do put the hours into daily practice and learning my routine , but I always begin my day with some Qigong wake up exercises. These are very simple and can be done in about 15 minutes.
Many of the Taiji routines need a Shifu (Master) to keep an eye on your posture etc but these exercises are very simple and can be done at home by yourself, and they will have noticable effects. I have been asked by a few people to share some of what I am learning. If you want to start your day energized and refreshed you can try these 7 easy qigong moves.
Taiji is not strenuous. All the exercises are non impact and all are good for stretching your joints, tendons and fascia network.
Even if you don’t do anything else, I recommend that you try this one. It wakes up ALL the meridians and should be done first thing in the morning when you get out of bed.
Bend your knees and tilt your thighs inwards slightly and tuck your tailbone in. Then place your hands palm down at hip height. Push upwards until your palms are facing the sky. Keep the stretch then relax and flop forwards letting your hands, head and arms hang down. Repeat six times.
This is quite a powerful exercise and can also be done any time in the day if you are feeling sluggish. It will help you re-energize.
This is a nice neck stretch when you lift your head upwards and drop it to your left shoulder. But the main purpose of the exercise is to then drop your left shoulder and relax it. Let your arm hang loose. Then gently twist your shoulder, elbow and wrist very slightly. You will be releasing the energy down your arm and getting your Qi (chi) flowing. You may experience some tingling sensations, that is your Qi (chi) moving. Just enjoy it. Don’t worry if you don’t feel any tingling, it doesn’t always happen in the beginning.
Now bring your head slowly back to the centre. repeat with the right side. You can do this as many times as you have time for. I usually do 2 or 3 per side.
The next exercise is for your heart so this is an important one to do regularly. Part of Taiji is self-massage and this is one of my favourite exercises.
Use the heel of your hand and place it in the centre of your sternum just below the neck. Then gently but firmly massage in a smooth sweep down the centre of your body 10 times, alternating the hands.
Use the heel of your hand again but this time start in the centre of your chest and sweep up to your shoulder, over and down the outside of your arm. Repeat with the other hand on the other arm. Do this 10 times. This also massages the heart meridians.
Repeat, but this time massage down the inside of your arm. This feels just incredible! Do 10 strokes of your inner arms.
The next exercise is to wake up and support your kidneys. Do have a bottle of water handy for this one as you will be thirsty afterwards. Not iced water though as this is quite bad for you. Your blood vessels contract making it impossible for your energy to flow. The best temperature water to drink is 40 degrees. So not as hot as a cup of coffee.
We often take our kidneys for granted but they perform such vital functions for us of eliminating toxins. Be kind to your kidneys and do this exercise daily.
Bend at the waist and place both hands on your lower back. Rub up and down 100 times. This can actually make your shoulders feel tired at first but it it ok to have a rest and then carry on. At the end hold your hands in position on your back for a minute, then sweep them downwards.
Now place the left hand on your lower back left side and do 50 rotations anticlockwise then 50 rotations clockwise. Repeat with the right side. Your kidneys will LOVE you.
Standing straight with your knees slightly bent again, now bring your palms face up to the centre of your chest. Push your hands together so that your fingers interlock. Then rotate down and out so that your palms are facing skywards. This is a smooth movement. Continue pushing upwards until your arms are stretched then pull apart and slowly lower your arms, keeping your wrist at a right angle.
Do this three times.
I love this exercise because it is one of the ones where I can feel the Qi (chi) quite strongly in my palms. If your palms are tingling then that is a sign that your Qi is flowing.
The final exercise is very good for your brain and an excellent one to do if you need to improve your memory as meridians in your feet connect to your brain.
Stand on one leg and rotate the foot at the ankle 9 times in an outwards direction, then 9 times inwards. Repeat with the other foot.
If anyone does try these please let me know how you get on. I would be interested to hear.