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It may not seem like science, but the way we breathe has an impact on the way our bodies function. The increased flow of oxygen to our brain and cells can stimulate the autonomic nervous system, the part of our nervous systems that acts “subconsciously” to maintain processes in our circulatory or respiratory systems, among others. Also, studies have suggested that exercises like Qigong can help treat the symptoms and behaviors of trauma. 

During times of uncertainty like a pandemic, it may be hard to find ways to cope with issues stemming from trauma or substance abuse. Qigong is simple and can be practiced at home without guidance. It is also helpful because it can strengthen the body and help fight against illnesses.

What is Conscious Connected Breathing?

We may not be conscious of our breathing at all times, but it is one of the most important processes our body uses to sustain itself. The oxygen our lungs absorb from breathing is the driving force for our systems and cells to do what they are meant to do. While breathing seems like a standard, one-size-fits-all practice, it is far from that. There are different breathing techniques you can use to increase the amount of oxygen your body is absorbing. A few of those techniques are:

  1. Chest Breathing- This is the way we breathe naturally. While chest breathing is adequate for sustaining life, it provides suboptimal oxygen absorption. As we get older, our diaphragms and lungs weaken and so do their abilities to sustain oxygen absorption. Chest breathing uses a small capacity of our breathing abilities
  2. Buddhist Breathing- Buddhist breathing utilizes more of your body and reaches full breathing capacity. It is characterized by allowing your chest and abdomen to expand more than they would with chest breathing but keeping the same natural rhythm of the breath.
  3. Daoist Reverse Breathing – This type of breathing is more advanced, but is meant to intensify the flow of energy through your body. Daoist breathing is characterized by the motions of the abdomen and chest during inhales and exhales; the chest expands outwards while the abdomen draws inwards, mimicking a scooping motion. This is believed to allow energy to move along your spine

Qigong at Home: A Simple Beginning

Qigong has been shown to help deal with issues arising from various trauma disorders. It does this in the same way that other mindfulness-based therapies work; practices like body works (massage therapy and acupuncture) help with relief of muscle tension, constricted breathing, and reduced body awareness and sensation. While the schools of thought on how to deal with trauma-based psychological disturbances seem very different, they can be connected to each other; our body’s dysfunctional responses to stimuli can be translated into a block that impedes energy flow. 

The flow of life (Qi), or the energy of life, is paramount to the foundations of Eastern philosophies. When our channels are open, energy can flow freely, bringing us good physical health, emotional balance, mental clarity, and a sense of calm. This is why conscious-connected breathing is helpful for releasing this energy; it helps with the natural energy flow throughout our body. What is especially helpful about Qigong is that the movements are simple, and it can be practiced anywhere, which is perfect when you are eager to find ways to cope in the middle of a lockdown.

The easiest form of Qigong is Flowing Motion, which is simply allowing your arms to move up and down with your natural pattern of breathing. Hold your arms out to your sides or in front of you, whichever feels more natural. Allow your arms to move up upon inhale and down upon exhale. Practice these movements for at least nine inhales and exhales. 

Very similar to Flowing Motion is the Rolling Ball exercise which meant to simulate a ball of energy in your hands. As you inhale and exhale, imagine the ball is moving back and forth. The goal is to keep your movements fluid and allow the ball to remain in your hands without them going through the imaginary ball. Focusing on your breathing during these exercises without it distracting you from the true benefits of Qigong is important.

Inner Flowing Rivers is another simple Qigong exercise. While focusing on your natural breath pattern, begin with your hands at your foot, as you inhale, bring your arms up as if you’re pulling your energy to your chest; when you reach your chest, push your arms outwards from your chest. Upon exhale, bring your arms back to your chest and then back down to your foot. This is known as a high energy movement as it is meant to help the flow of energy throughout the whole body.

Many therapy models have begun incorporating these types of exercises because they are proven to work. It’s that simple. The mind-body connection is incredibly important to all aspects of our life, even more so when we are struggling with the effects of trauma or substance abuse.  The best way to start healing is to become aware of what your mind and body needs most and begin supplying them with solutions. We understand that during a pandemic, it may be harder to find ways to cope, which makes things much more stressful. We feel tremendously lucky here at The Guest House Ocala to have a dedicated staff that takes pride in supporting your needs while keeping your health and safety as a top priority. We are fully functioning at this time, so don’t hesitate to call and find out more about our conscious connected breathwork models at (855) 483-7800. We are here to help you live your best life.