This 10-minute meditation is something I’ve been doing at the end of my Qi Gong classes; it brings much calm to the nervous system and peace to the heart and mind, in only 10 minutes. I invite you to get curious, try it, and see what it might do for you!
Balancing the Heart Video
This Qi Gong exercise is called “Balancing the Heart.” It helps us root ourselves in the Earth and recharge our battery with energy;
at the same time, it nourishes the heart with fresh qi, and has calming effect, balancing the mind, the heart, and the physical body.
Travelling along my path as a healing arts practitioner and coach, I’ve come to realize how many of us arrived at our calling through our own challenges - physical, emotional and spiritual.
My journey back to my body, my self, and eventually to my true calling, began at one of the lowest points of my life.
I had reached a level of un-wellness that essentially paralyzed me.
How did I get there?!
How could I have collapsed into a complete burnout? I, who had always been so physically strong and active, who was a ballerina as a child and danced my way through my arts high school in a gruelling Fame-like dance program?
I was in my late 20s, juggling a full-time job in one city, and doctoral studies in another; travelling back-and-forth several times a week, not feeding myself properly, not getting enough sleep, not cultivating social relationships, neglecting my basic survival needs. . .
Until my body just quit on me.
It was giving me signs all along, but I was too driven and stubborn to listen.
I rejected anyone who tried to tell me that I needed to slow down and take care of myself and, eventually, that I needed to quit my job if I wanted to give myself a chance to recover. (“Oh yeah?! And who’s going to pay my rent!? “)
As I continued to endure many months of sleepless nights and a chronic cycle of fatigue and lethargy, with barely enough energy for simple daily tasks, Western medicine had nothing to offer except drugs that treat symptoms rather than underlying causes. The shame was intense; very few people knew what I was really going through, or how horribly I was suffering, and that exacerbated my predicament, as I continued to suffer in relative isolation.
One day, I noticed a tiny ad in the paper: a support group for people suffering through burnout, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Dreading a group setting, and knowing that I would likely have to share my story, and what I was experiencing, in a public and vulnerable way, I also sensed that this was potentially a life-changing moment; that I had been offered an opportunity to possibly emerge from this dark place, and heal.
I had a big choice to make. Though I didn’t really know what to expect, I said Yes. I signed up. I took a concrete step in my journey towards healing, not realizing what a far-reaching step it was, and how it would continue to ripple, impacting my life’s course.
I could barely make it to the space where the meetings took place, but I pushed myself to go, week after week. And that was the beginning of my way out of crisis, allowing me to tune back into my body’s natural capacity for healing and my soul’s true path.
The two-hour meetings began with a group discussion in a big circle, the facilitator encouraging us to share our experiences — what worked, and what sabotaged us. It felt good to be in the presence of people who knew my struggle, who understood and resonated with what I was going through. And because it felt like a safe space, eventually I opened up and offered what I could, feeling a sense of relief as I unburdened myself, and hoping that what I shared might help others.
The second hour was a gentle Tai Chi class. I remember being utterly devastated during the first few weeks, unable to even get up off the floor and do the smallest movements.
What had my life come to?! How could I have let myself come to this??
But I kept showing up, and gradually, I managed to get up on my feet and do a few movements; when my energy ran low, I sat back down. The next week, I was able to do a little bit more. And then a little bit more.
Some of the people in the group continued to sit as we practiced; some continued to drink their afternoon Coca-Cola, the artificial pick-me-upper that was a go-to for many of us, even though some of us knew it would lead to an even bigger energy crash.
Eventually, when the support group meetings ended, I joined my teacher’s school, and began training regularly in Tai Chi, gaining more and more strength, rediscovering my agility and joy in movement.
Luckily, I was able to apply the drive and discipline I had cultivated as a child, and later invested into my work and my studies, into my health and well-being. Dedicated to my recovery, I found a healing arts practitioner who specialized in kinesiology, nutrition and osteopathy, and through dedicated work with her, I began emerging from my chronic state of un-wellness.
I continued practicing Tai Chi, watching the following class — a Kung Fu practice taught by the same teacher — with fascination and envy. I remember asking my teacher to please let me know when he felt I was ready for a more demanding martial arts practice. Months later, his long awaited confirmation arrived: “You are ready.” I was ecstatic.
Following years of dedicated practice, I achieved what had once seemed like a completely unattainable goal: I passed my black belt exam at Kudoki, my kung fu school, where I have been training since 2012.
Firstly, because of the extreme amount of work — study and physical effort — that was required over years & years of practice; and secondly, because of the limiting belief I picked up from the practitioner I had worked with.
Though she meant well, trying to encourage me to be conscious of my energy level and find the right balance for me, she planted in my consciousness the idea that my “gas tank” was now and forever going to be smaller than everybody else’s; that I would always have a limited amount of energy, and would never be able to get back to the levels of vitality and energy I once had.
That thought was extremely depressing, and debilitating, on so many levels.
For years I lived with this belief deeply engrained in me, filling me with fear, and taking over some of the decisions I made about what I could and couldn’t do.
My experience taught me just how wrong this practitioner was, not only in her erroneous assumption about my body’s capabilities, but in her emphatic, almost prophetic forewarning that it would be so – that I would be stuck with this debilitated body for the rest of my life; and this inspired me to dedicate myself to the study and practice of healing arts. I wanted to help others return to themselves, to their innate wellness, vitality, creativity, internal balance and harmony, letting go of old stories, “programs” or “operating systems” that run our lives, sometimes unconsciously, limiting what we think, believe and tell ourselves we can do.
Sharing this story with you has required a great deal of vulnerability; it has not been an easy journey, or an easy one to recount. I’ve shared it with the hope that it will offer a ray of hope for those of you struggling with physical challenges that seem to have no solution; who have limiting beliefs or “operating systems” that are running your lives, dictating what you think you can and cannot do; or who are seeking greater balance, fulfillment, harmony and joy.
I am here to help you find your path - back to wellness, back to your self.
I am here to tell you it is possible.
If you are struggling, and unsure how to make a change, get over the hump, and overcome your challenge,
I invite you to a free 30-minute Clarity Call so that we can begin to figure it out together.
Click here to schedule a free 30-minute Clarity Call
Pangu Shengong (aka Pan Gu Mystical Qigong), developed by Master Ou Wen Wei, is a form I have been practicing diligently since 2010. Its philosophy and practice are rooted in kindness and benevolence; it is designed to absorb the beneficial energy of the sun and moon, and the essence of the Qi (vital energy) that permeates the universe, regulating our own Life Force and immune system. Simple to learn, its benefits to health and well-being can be experienced immediately. The positive effects from regular practice include:
* Balance, harmony, peace of mind
* Strengthening the immune system
* Increased well-being, happiness & vitality
Curious about this powerful, magical form? Click here for a broader overview, and here to learn about my experience practicing the form for the past 10+ years.
I am also a certified instructor of this form; Let me know if you'd like to learn it!
If only it were easy to let go, just like the trees...
The trees have all shed their leaves as I write these lines… The brilliant, breathtaking colors have been replaced by bare branches. And though there can be a certain sadness in this, the trees can also show us how beautiful letting go can be.
Interestingly, in Chinese medicine the emotion linked to autumn is grief or sadness; tuning into its wisdom can help us let go, and create space for the new. Autumn can also bring greater clarity of vision, helping us discern which good things we choose to nourish, and giving us the opportunity to decide which habits of the body, mind and spirit we'd like to shed, which “baggage” we’d like to let go of before winter, so that we're not weighed down, not bringing it with us into springtime, instead making space for newness — new energy, inspiration and opportunities.
Letting go also helps us receive; think of your own lungs, and how it would be impossible to take in new, life-giving oxygen (and Divine inspiration) if we didn’t first exhale. I am continuously amazed by the wisdom of the ancient eastern medicine, pairing the organ of inspiration (the lung) with the organ of elimination (the large intestine)—both, how perfect!—associated with autumn.
Clearing away clutter and pain, and letting go, can be really tough, though it seems effortless when we look at nature, and the trees. How, then, do we do this shedding, making space for all that is in store for us? It’s been interesting to go deeper into these themes in my weekly Qi Gong class, and through bodywork, energy medicine, coaching, EFT – often within the same session. I’m finding more and more that this integrative approach is what best serves you, my dear clients.
Is there something old, or painfully persistent, that you are ready to let go of, but feel stuck, not quite sure how, or where to begin? Ready to make space for the new?
It’s easy to say “Just practice Letting Go”… And so much harder to do.
Sometimes we need to give space for our stuck-ness. To give it permission to be, before we can release and move on.
And sometimes, with curiosity as a doorway, all we need is some guidance, a few simple tools, and a coach to keep us on track, to finally make a shift.
It's finally here! With its special energy. The seeds are finally sprouting, everything is coming alive, abundant, bursting with vitality, bright colors, intoxicating fragrances.
Tuning into the energy of the season and harnessing its gifts can contribute to our personal empowerment, helping us realize our visions, passions and goals through positive, creative action. The most Yang time of year, associated with the Fire element and with the Heart, Summer can also help us connect with the fire in our hearts, and with our innate joy, allowing us to experience greater love and a deeper sense of connection.
These are some of the positive aspects of Summer and the Fire element… But what happens if we are out of balance? Action can also be taken from a less-than-positive place – from old sadness, grief or pain. This is a good time to tend to the equilibrium of the heart, "composting" old emotions. On a physical level, we tend to be much more active during this season; but excess Yang — too much busyness — can also lead to stress and depletion. It is important to nurture our Yin aspects as well, finding balance and harmony so that we can embrace the energy of Summer in health and happiness.
Summer Qi Gong
Practicing Qi Gong through the summer months is an extremely effective way to
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