Gathering the Stars

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It has been nearly three weeks since the end of my mind/body class, so I thought I would touch base with those of you who have shown interest and let you know what I’ve been up to since then.

One of the things that the facilitators recommended was that we should each develop a habit of regular meditation or relaxation coupled with some sort of movement routine.   Therefore,  I designed my own daily practice which includes not only physical and mental components, but a creative one as well.   I do my practice in the morning since I am much more disciplined at this time and tend to become less so as the day progresses.  This morning routine works well with  The Artist’s Way and The Creative Call programs which both require journal writing first thing upon waking up.

After writing for about 20 minutes, I then roll out my mat and do about 15 or 20 minutes of yoga.  After this, I select one of the several guided meditations that I’ve downloaded from iTunes and veg-out for another 15 minutes or so.   By this time, I am both mentally and physically alert and finish up my routine by getting cleaned up and dressed for work .  I read a bit or watch the news as I eat breakfast before heading out for the day.  All this takes about two and a half hours.  Yes, this means I do have to get up early.   This routine stretches to three hours on the weekends when I add a 30 minute cardio-walk around the neighborhood after the meditation.

Yes, it is hard work, but I’m worth it.

The mind/body facilitators also recommended that we explore some mindful movement practices such as yoga, tai chi, drumming, or qigong.  When I received an e-mail a couple of weeks ago from a local  university of traditional Chinese medicine advertising a qigong class, I decided to go in that direction.  I had my first class today.

Qigong (also spelled “chi kung”) is a series of slow, graceful exercises designed to cultivate and circulate vital energy in and through the body with the goal of optimizing one’s health.   The picture above is from the promotional e-mail I received about the class and shows the studio where I am studying.  Today we learned some movements with very cool names like “Gathering the Stars” and “Turning the Big Dipper.”

My aim is to interchange yoga and qigong in my daily practice, and I will report more on this as I progress in the class.

Until then….

Lori G.

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14 responses »

  1. Wow, I am impressed by your discipline. I have been doing morning pages for ever it feels like, but had not thought to add meditation or exercise to this routine. It is a really good idea and must set you up for the day wonderfully. Am off to browse itunes for some guided meditations. Nice one Lori – good on you!

    • Jill, my favorites are at Meditation Oasis. Go to your iTunes store and type “Meditation Oasis Podcasts” in the search box. Then click the link to Meditation Oasis (should be the first choice). There are several dozen free guided meditations. Thanks for dropping in.

  2. Lori, you are such an inspiration. I wish I could be more disciplined. I do love Thai Chi. And for a while they had a group here in our park (I live in a gated resort community where many such activities are available to the residents). Thai Chi though is no longer offered. The powers that be substituted it with Yoga, a discipline I have not been motivated to try. I feel Yoga is beyond my physical abilities. Hearing about your routine though makes me ashamed of my lack of motivation. Perhaps that is good. Thank you for sharing your routine.

    Vi

    • Vi, there is no need to feel that way. Even if you just walk down to the end of your street once a day, then that is a discipline. It’s whatever works for you.

  3. Qigong—Chinese mind/body exercises–helped me immensely in my successful battles with four bouts of supposedly terminal bone lymphoma cancer in the early nineties. I practiced standing post meditation, one of the most powerful forms of qigong–as an adjunct to chemotherapy, which is how it should always be used.

    Qigong kept me strong in many ways: it calmed my mind–taking me out of the fight-or-flight syndrome, which pumps adrenal hormones into the system that could interfere with healing. The deep abdominal breathing pumped my lymphatic system—a vital component of the immune system. In addition, qigong energized and strengthened my body at a time when I couldn’t do Western exercise such as weight-lifting or jogging–the chemo was too fatiguing. And it empowered my will and reinforced it every day with regular practice. In other words, I contributed to the healing process, instead of just depending solely on the chemo and the doctors. Clear 14 years and still practicing!

    Bob Ellal

  4. I admire your dedication to doing a couple of hours physical and mental warming up every day. I go to a class of yoga/pilates once a week but there is no meditation included in the class so that’s something I will have to sort out for myself. I will check out the guided meditations you mention – thank you

  5. I have been well out of the loop for awhile but want to say that I am so impressed with the direction you have taken. I think I might seek out something like this. It is just what I need as I search for a new and fresh direction for myself. Bravo Lori.

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