Anxiety. Anxiety. Anxiety. I don’t think any of us can turn a blind eye to the reality that we have seen anxiety become magnified exponentially with this pandemic. All of us are trying to make sense of a world that seemed to have turned upside down overnight creating financial worry, fear of death, fear of illness, fear of getting vaccinated, fear of not getting vaccinated, fear for how the pandemic is affecting our children, fear of being isolated, fear it will never end. The list of fears extends itself for far too long.
How have you been dealing with all of this? What have you been doing to stay afloat amidst the ocean of anxiety we are living in? Life is busy enough, right? Sometimes it doesn’t seem like we have enough time to think about managing our anxiety which in many ways is exacerbated by the mountain of external anxieties we bear witness to every day.
Many of us have probably experienced the unfortunate irony that we tend to take care of ourselves less when life is incredibly busy and when the presence of stress is higher. When we need to nurture ourselves more, some of us nurture ourselves less because life seems too busy to fit deep self-care in. For those of you who are reading this, I hope to inspire you to put self-care at the top of your list versus at the bottom or even at the middle of your list of priorities. Now, more than ever, it is essential to stay healthy and strong and to do that self-care is the key to maintaining our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
One of the most important ways of taking care of ourselves is managing our stress and anxiety with skill. Have you taken the time to learn and integrate practical tools into your life to reduce stress and access the relaxation response in your body to stay calm in the center of this storm we are all living through? For me, Yoga and Qigong have been incredibly powerful and effective allies in keeping me calm, healthy, self-loving and strong throughout a very difficult couple of years where life is feeling more uncertain and unpredictable.
There are an endless amount of breathing, meditation, self-massage and movement exercises from both Qigong and Yoga that are both healing and fun to integrate in to our everyday life whether we are at work, home, in the car, at the super-market, in a crowd and even in bed.
Try this breathing exercise right now. It’s called Xi Xi Hu Breath (Xi Xi pronounced she-she) (Hu pronounced hoo). This exercise is simple, easy to learn and you can do this any time without anyone knowing. You will very quickly lower cortisol levels in your body and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to induce the relaxation response in the body. There is a visceral and profound physiological shift that occurs in the body when we use exercises from Qigong and Yoga to manage and reduce our anxiety by turning on the parasympathetic nervous system. Xi Xi Hu Breath is one of many exercises from Qigong to help you relax almost immediately.
Xi Xi Hu Breath:
Hold the palms of your hands together about 6 inches apart as if you are holding a small beach ball. As you move the palms of your hands away from each other, take 2 in-breaths through the nose. As you draw the palms of the hands back in together, breathe out through the mouth while softly making an extended HU sound that sounds like a soft sigh. See how long you can make the exhalation. Repeat multiple times until you feel a deep sense of calm and presence. See if you can make the exhalation longer than the two breaths in to help induce the relaxation response in the body. As an option to induce the sleep response, hold the breath for 5 seconds in between the 2 in breaths and out-breath to stimulate the production of acetylcholine in your body.
Qigong and Yoga offer a variety of methods to manage anxiety naturally without equipment and for FREE. We can think of doing Qigong and Yoga as free medicine. We are maximizing the body’s capacity to regulate stress and transforming our stress into vital energy. We are helping to prevent disease. When we do nothing to manage stress, that’s when we begin to experience chronic pain, depression, distressing emotions, the beginnings of disease, physical symptoms that seem to arise out of nowhere, etc.
As people who are in a helping profession caring for others in various capacities, you can become a wellness role model for clients to also take care of their stress and anxiety. The more you care for your self and listen to your body when it needs to relax, the more you are better able to inform clients of ways that they too can access physical, mental and emotional relaxation as well. Ultimately, this contributes to a happier life and improved well-being, something I believe all of us want and need more than ever.
I am passionately committed to both mind/body practices, Qigong and Yoga. I see them as complimentary allies to help all of us manage this life with an empowered mind-set. Not only are we benefiting our body but we are also helping our mind and our emotions to come into a place of balance and ease. No matter what happens to us or around us, we will be equipped and offer those we work with to be better equipped to manage the complexities and hardships that life presents.
Qigong and Yoga have helped to heal my nervous system from early trauma. I have been able to transform anxiety and pain into energy that I can use to feel more productive and relaxed. I struggled with depression and anxiety for several years and have genuinely shifted and changed my feeling states to a place where I feel more alive, hopeful, accepting and self-loving. I hear countless testimonials of how much Qigong helps people with their anxiety. I am here to support you in your personal journey to heal your own anxiety and to support your professional growth in helping clients manage their anxiety with skill and personal empowerment. Please reach out to me any time if you are interested in learning more about the complimentary fusion of Qigong and Yoga and the ways these mind/body practices will work as a TEAM to help you and the people in your life.
-Lynne Nicole Smith
Lynne Nicole Smith(Founder of Qigong Infused Yoga™ and Creator of the Qigong Infused Yoga DVD/Streamable Video) runs 10 week Online Qigong Infused Yoga Teacher Training Programs every January, October and September. The next one begins October 3rd, 2021. If you would like to learn breathing, movement, meditation and self-massage techniques that will help both you and those you serve manage anxiety effectively, please reach out to Lynne Nicole any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.qigonginfusedyoga.com