Discover Clarity and Purpose

Here is a simple qigong movement that may help you take a break and invoke your creative imagination. Practice it with sincerity and focus. It is from the Jin Jing Gong school of qigong and is called “Raising the Yin and Descending the Yang.” Read more to discover how you can use it to increase clarity and a sense of purpose.

How many times have you asked yourself “what do I want to do?” or some version of it like, what job feels right for me?,  or what’s my next project?, or what can I do to make a difference? Even the question “what do I want do today” helps us key into the part of ourselves that has a short or a long-range idea of what seems important and what we want to accomplish. Without this inner clarity, we can feel at loose ends and even depressed. We may start things but not finish them. Or we can lose the big picture and fret over the small stuff. Conversely, those who are very clear on their path and goals may miss the best of life because they keep themselves tied to their to-do list, or rigidly pursue their own agenda without warmth or partnership.

Either way we are out of balance with ourselves and our creative empowerment. The tendency is to react from conditioned behaviors and expectations rather than respond from an innate sense of purpose and choice. We can recognize these inner messages more easily when we take a break, quiet our thinking minds and call on our deeper intelligence. I love to use meditative movement to do this.

Raising the yin and descending the yang is very appropriate for the season because in the spring nature is clear about its purpose and is fresh with new life. The seeds that were planted last year and have patiently labored underground during the winter are finally able to burst forth with renewed vigor. Ah, the fresh breath of spring. It comes with the warmth of sunlight and the caress of new colors and smells. The chance to begin again brings a sense of hope.

When I practice this qigong movement, I like to imagine the feeling of spring and a plant or tree growing and spreading. Spring has Wood element energy according to classical Taoist thought. It is symbolized by a tree which is well routed in the soil and reaches upwards towards the sky. The tree is strong yet flexible and stays aligned with the earth below and the heavens above.

If you want to strengthen your clarity and sense of purpose, you can emphasize the upward movements of this posture, or “raising the yin,” with the intention of asking for inner guidance.  Yin here refers to the earth or ocean and can also be that which is below the horizon of our awareness. If you want to relax tension and the irritation and even anger that can emerge when things don’t go the way you want, emphasize “descending the yang.” This may also help lower your blood pressure. Yang refers to the light, warmth and wisdom that symbolically illuminates us from above. Do it with the intention of quieting your mind and opening to the situation with new eyes.

Practice this movement several times in succession until you feel an inner change in your mood and/or an energized relaxation in your body. The movements will help to slow and deepen your breath which helps you relax and feel centered. Even a few breaths make a big difference and help you see things from a different perspective.  Enjoy the movements and rest for a moment when you finish and before you begin a new activity to let your body and mind absorb the new energy. Practice daily for best results, and especially when you need it the most. Remember to be patient and give the timing of things and the results of your actions to the universe.

Feel Confident and Connected

Want to feel more confident and connected?

Our bodies are an amazing reflection of how we feel in any given moment. Chances are that when you feel unsure, awkward or uncomfortable in a situation your body will let you know. If you notice your shoulders, your may find they are hunching slightly forward or moving up towards your ears. Your teeth may be clenched, or your jaw may feel tight or determined. Eyes can be tense as they look for information or cues about what to do next. Your breath may be shallow or your chest tight and drawing slightly inward or pushing a little outward. Perhaps you are just tired, and your torso is slumping a little in your chair, or as you stand in line.

By changing one aspect of a habitual pattern, it is no longer the same pattern. Your brain and feeling state will respond differently. Try this simple exercise.

Calm Your Nervous System

Our bodies are also resources for transforming our state in an instant. Try making a few simple adjustments and notice how it changes your inner environment. First, take a slow and deeper breath and tell yourself that you are okay, and you belong right where you are. This accomplishes two things. One is you connect with yourself in a conscious way which starts to gather your resources. The second is you calm the mounting stress response with a little reassurance and a slow and deeper breath which calms your nervous system.

Change Your Posture Mindfully

Next adjust your upper body slightly by moving your shoulders in the opposite direction. If they are rounding forward, try raising your breastbone in the front up towards your chin and dropping your shoulder blades in back.  Do that slowly and consciously and see what happens. Just that little adjustment can help your confidence level a lot. You are starting to summon your “upright qi”, and your heart center is looking up. You probably feel lighter and even from the outside you look more resourceful. Turn the corners of your mouth upwards into the hint of a smile to add icing to the cake.

If your shoulders are moving up towards your ears, drop them down a bit and squeeze your shoulder blades together in the back. This will also help your heart center wake up in a positive way. Take a few moments now to close and relax your eyes and very slowly go back and forth between your original, habitual posture and the new one. By slowing the process down and noticing the change in your experience you will reinforce the effects of this simple exercise in your brain, body and mind.

Practice

If you like how you feel, consider joining one of our qigong classes to learn how to train your mind and body to access your inner confidence when you need it the most. The next class begins February 18, 2019. We will use body, breath and mind to boost trust in our inner selves and to flow with change by attuning to the inherent cycles of nature. 

Contact Kamala: kquale at moonandlotus dot com

Vulnerability with Safety

In October, temperatures get cooler and leaves fall from the trees. Nature is shedding her lush summer display and is looking more vulnerable on the outside. Vital essence is moving internally now and will store in roots through winter, so the display can sprout externally again in the spring.

October is also the month of the Heart Protector meridian, also called the Pericardium. Key words for the Pericardium are vulnerability with safety, intimacy, authenticity, and staying in contact with our inner light and passion. We use our heart protector energy to show our naked vulnerability with our intimate other and turn on the hormones that give us the feeling of being in love. Like the trees, we must shed some layers to open in this way.

Opening to our heartfelt realities is a special space and deserves protection. Just like the weather outside, the heart protector wants to be a little cool on the outside yet warm and passionate on the inside. This coolness on the outside is accomplished with health boundaries and discernment. We want the heart protector to say no to people or energies that take us away from what feels right for our inner brightness, well-being and peace of mind. That is often hard to do given the cultural influences and peer pressure we experience every day. Continue reading “Vulnerability with Safety”