Theres a certain time of day I like to call the "Afternoon Ughs" when all of a sudden your energy plummets and your feel almost too sleepy to keep your eyes open. This quick and easy energizer comes from the Chinese physical practice of qigong (pronounced "chee gung," meaning "energy work"), and can help keep the Afternoon Ughs at bay.
The basic precept of qigong is that by moving the body in unison with the breath, you can flush out stale energy and invite fresh new energy in to your body for greater health and well-being. What I love most about qigong is that it is very gentle. It's a great example of an exercise that does something good for your body and your mind without leaving you red in the face and drenched in sweat.
This exercise is called "Ringing the Gong." It's a simple standing twist that, once you've built up some momentum, gets your arms swinging to the point that your hands will gently slap your body, making you "the gong" in this scenario.
Why would you want to turn yourself into a human gong? Because a gong being rung is sign that it's time to wake up and get moving. And it's a heck of a lot better for you and more effective than reaching for the caffeine or the sugar. (Or both.)Ringing the Gong
- Stand with your feet about 12 inches apart, arms relaxed at your sides. Make sure you have about a two-foot radius of empty space around you.
- Starting slowly, begin to turn your body gently to the right and left. The movement should involve your whole body your hips, your waist, your chest, your arms, even your head.
- As you continue the exercise, allow momentum to make your movements bigger. Your arms will begin to swing out as you move, and may even start gently hitting your ribs.
- As you keep twisting from side to side, keep breathing.
- At the end of each twist, consciously look back as far over your shoulder as you can, so that your head stays involved in the action.
- After 20 or so rounds, begin to slow your movements down. You won't twist as far and your arms won't move as high.
- Gradually come back to a standstill. Notice how you feel compared to how you felt before you began.