Cleanse the Qi is an ancient qigong exercise currently used in modern Chinese hospitals to lower blood pressure and reduce stress and tension. Stress and anxiety have an upward-moving energetic quality, something like a feeling of butterflies that begins in the stomach and works its way up to the heart and mind. This exercise will get your energy flowing, ground and root your emotions, and send your stress and tension down into the ground. It is called Cleanse the Qi because you will gather the calm energy around you, wash it through your entire body, and then send it down and out through your feet, taking your stress and tension with it!
In Qigong, wuji posture is the foundation for all dynamic (moving) and quiescent (static) standing exercises. This posture maximizes relaxation and the flow of qi. You begin by standing with your feet flat, with your weight distributed evenly through your feet. Your legs are separated as wide as your shoulders' distance apart and your toes should point forward. Your toes should softly grasp the ground to keep your body firmly rooted yet relaxed. Rigid or tense feet disrupt the flow of qi from the earth into the body. Your knees should be slightly bent and facing the same direction as your feet. Never bend your knees past your toes. Try to align the knees directly over your feet, if possible and comfortable. Relaxing the knee joints increases the qi and blood flow through the legs. We will begin the following exercise in wuji posture.
- Begin wuji posture by standing with your feet apart just about the width of your shoulders. Keep your knees facing forward. Tuck your tailbone under to minimize the curve in your lower back. Tuck your chin in slightly and line up your head over your torso by standing straight. Relax your eyes with a soft gaze. Allow your hands to hang naturally by your sides, with the palms facing the outside of your thighs.
- Once you are standing comfortably, being qigong breathibg. Push out your abdomen on your inhale and pull it back in on the exhale. Take a few deep, slow breaths to ready yourself.
- On an inhale, raise your arms out to your sides with your palms facing the earth until your arms are at your shoulders' height. Visualize gathering the energy around you as if you were gathering a bright white light.
- White still inhaling, turn your palms up to face the sky and continue to raise your arms over your head. Continue to visualize gathering the energy around you like a bright white light.
- Exhale slowly once your arms are almost straight up with the palms facing each other, and then slowly bring your hands down the front of your body, with your palms facing the earth and your fingertips pointing toward each other. Visualize the bright, white light energy flowing through your entire body, cleansing all the stress and tension as you send the energy down, deep into the earth.
- Repeat by inhaling and bringing your arms out to the sides and over your head. Then exhale as you bring your arms down the front of your body with your palms facing the earth.
Cleanse the Qi is one slow, fluid movement that follows the breath. There is no stopping during or between repetitions. The combination of breath, movement, and visualization is what makes this a potent qigong exercise, so it is important that you use the visualization of gathering energy and sending it down through your body as you practice. Begin with two minutes and work up to five minute twice a day.