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Shake Off the Stress: The Qigong Way to Cultivate Calm

by | Mindfulness, Qi Gong, Stress Relief

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, stress has become our unwelcome companion. It creeps in stealthily, tightening its grip on our wellbeing, and before we know it, we’re caught in a whirlwind of tension and anxiety.

One of my go-to Qigong practices to do in stressful situations is simple and easy: shaking.

Qigong (pronounced “chee-gong”) is a holistic system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial arts training. Among its many techniques, the practice of shaking is a powerful method to release stress and cultivate a deep sense of calm.

The Shaking Technique: Your Vibrational Reset Button

Think of shaking as hitting the reset button on your body’s stress levels. It’s a natural response you’ve probably witnessed in animals; watch a dog shake off water after a bath, and you’re seeing this principle in action. When we apply this to Qigong, we’re using intentional vibration to release tension from our muscles and mind.

Here’s How You Do It:


1. Stand Up: Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. This stance provides a stable base for your shaking.

2. Relax: Take a few deep breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Let your body relax and your mind clear.

3. Start Shaking: Start by gently bouncing on your knees. Allow the movement to travel up through your body. Your arms, shoulders, and hips should all become involved in the motion. Keep it loose and easy. There’s no right or wrong way to shake—just let your body move as it wants to.

4. Focus on Release: As you shake, visualize the stress and tension melting away from your body. Imagine each shake is flinging away the worries and tightness that have built up in your muscles.

5. Increase Intensity: If it feels right, gradually increase the intensity of your shaking. Remember to breathe deeply and maintain a rhythm that feels natural to you.

6. Slow Down: After a few minutes, start to slow the shaking. Gradually bring your body to a still standstill.

7. Breathe and Feel: Stand still for a moment. Breathe deeply and pay attention to the sensations in your body. You might feel tingling, warmth, or a sense of lightness. These are signs of the energy, or “Qi,” moving more freely through your body.

8. Close Your Session: Finish your shaking session with a few moments of quiet standing or sitting, observing the newfound sense of calm and presence within you.


The Science Behind the Shake

This practice is more than just an ancient tradition; there’s a scientific basis to the benefits of shaking. When we engage in this activity, we activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system—the “rest and digest” state—which counteracts the fight-or-flight response associated with stress. Additionally, shaking helps to loosen the fascia, the connective tissue surrounding our muscles, which can become stiff and restrictive when we’re under pressure.


Integrating Shaking into Your Daily Routine

Incorporating shaking into your daily life is simple and requires no special equipment or attire. You can shake first thing in the morning to wake up your body, during a work break to release tension, or in the evening to unwind from the day. It’s a versatile technique that can be done almost anywhere and at any time.

Shaking is a Qigong technique that offers a dynamic way to release stress and embrace calm. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the best solution is to return to the basics of movement and breath. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed, stand up, shake it out, and let the rhythmic pulse of your own body guide you back to tranquility.

What’s more, if you have kids, shaking can be a delightful and beneficial activity to share with your children. Not only does it help them to burn off excess energy and learn stress management from a young age, but it also adds an element of playfulness and joy to the practice. Watching kids giggle and wiggle as they shake can amplify the light-heartedness of the session, making it a fun and bonding family activity.

Remember, the path to serenity is not always still and silent; sometimes, it’s about finding the courage to shake things up and let go.

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