Monthly Moves

Everybody Wu Chi Tonight!

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Here in Pennsylvania, the almost unbearable heat finally broke this past weekend with a startling rainy cold front.

Talk about seasonal transitions!

I'm sure it will warm up again before we're fully committed to autumn, but for the moment, we've dug out the long sleeves, and tested the furnace in the old house we'll be spending our first winter in. (Works great! Phew!)

Speaking of seasonal transitions, in Traditional Chinese Medicine - the philosophy that underpins my (Gina's) bodywork practice - late summer, and particularly, the nine days before and after a seasonal change, is associated with the element of Earth.

Earth (or, doyo) represents the center, the home, the body. Where we go to feel stable when times they are a-changin' - or, more importantly, to where we can best direct our energies until the dust settles.

Self-care is most important (and probably the hardest) during times of change - even basic stuff: eating well, getting enough sleep, and moving the body.

Far be it from us to offer any simple solutions for what would be right for your life, other than, sometimes just choosing one healthy habit can be a good start, and even make a huge difference.

Here's one practice that you can start where you are:

In qigong (pronounced 'chee-kung' - a Chinese style of gentle exercise), we begin our routines with a posture called wu chi.

Wu chi loosely translates as 'no-action energy'. It's a relaxed, yet 'ready' posture, in which 'nothing is happening, but everything is happening'.

Outwardly, one appears still. Internally, there's a potential for activity - a readiness to move that is not in a state of tension per se, or contraction. (If you understand anything about 'muscle tonus' and innervation you'll know what I mean).

Bill and I once defined three parts of posture: grounding, centering and alignment.

Grounding, literally means, "firmly connected to a base".

When we stand in wu chi, we imagine roots, which begin, really, within the pelvis, continuing in the legs and delving deep and wide through the earth below our feet.

As we visualize* this root system, as well as an imaginary string gently lifting the top of the head up toward the heavens, we can cultivate a sense of stability, strength and presence within the body.

It's a highly effective and mindful posture to move from, as well as embody as we're dealing with whatever mayhem may be happening around us.

(*In qigong practice, visualization and imagination play a very important role in how they affect our fascia. More on that to come.)

Experience this beautiful, simple practice below!

We believe that the more technologically-plugged in we become, the more input comes through only two of our senses: sight and sound. As we reinforce our experience of the world through such limited doors, we risk becoming more reactionary, disconnected and well, ungrounded.

We invite you to try this wu chi posture - today, if possible. (It's one of September's Movement Challenges, by the way!)

It can take just three to five minutes... the hardest part is giving it your full attention, so, try to approach it without distractions at first. When you've practiced it for a bit, you can 'drop into it' in almost any situation.

Questions? Comments? Just hit 'reply', or come on over to our Facebook page.

New routine? Just keep moving!

I guess when the school busses start appearing on the roadways, we know the end of summer is near. (Insert heavy sigh.)

New routines can be inspiring or disruptive, but are usually a little of both.

We've established an impressive routine here at P4H of airing three Facebook Live videos a week since February (yay, us!).

I think we've done around 83 so far, and as we near our 100th episode, we've been pondering how to engage our readers and office visitors even more - to encourage more movement, and to remember our relationship in the natural order of things, for better health, and less stress.

Soooo..

Coming soon (...like next week!): 

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Posturing for Your Month - Moving Through the Seasons!

As the calendar and the seasons change, so do our external and internal rhythms. Different routines, schedules and levels of energy can threaten to sabotage even our best healthy intentions.

Drawing from the Traditional Chinese Medicine seasonal associations (see here and here for an overview), from qigong, from restorative exercise, and with an eye on how crazy-busy most of us seem to be, we will present a package of 'posturing' resources every month to help you stay balanced and healthy, no matter what the calendar (and Mother Nature) is throwing at you.

What's included in this package?

All this... but not limited to...

~ Inspirational quotes about each season (because who doesn't like quotes?)

~ A short summary of the season according to Chinese Medicine

~ A list of suggestions for seasonally-relevant lifestyle tweaks

~ A monthly book review

~ And ... a list of movement challenges for the month...some with accompanying, helpful videos! 

Best part? No charge! 

Everything will be posted in the office, as well as here on the site, including downloads, in case you want a paper list handy. And, we want to you invite YOU, our readers and clients to post your photos and comments to our Facebook page, and/or our brand new Instagram account

Check back here next week, or subscribe to our newsletter, so you won't miss the first installment of Posturing for Your Month!

Let's move into a new season together!