Digestive issues affect millions of people around the world. In fact, it’s estimated that between 60 and 70 million people suffer from digestive diseases in the United States alone.
For many who are not diagnosed with a specific digestive issue, pain and discomfort are still commonplace. If you’ve ever had an upset stomach after a meal, you know that it doesn’t feel good.
There are numerous specific digestive issues that people experience, as well as remedies. Often, diet is one of the first areas that people look at, and for good reason. By paying close attention to how various foods affect you, you can understand what works and doesn’t work for your body.
However, in addition to what you eat, it’s also important to focus on how you eat…
In Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong, eating is seen as an important process that deserves careful attention. In fact, the experience of eating begins before you actually put the first bite of food into your mouth.
Below, is a video routine that includes three easy yet powerful Qi Gong exercises to help you get maximum nourishment from your food, as well as to avoid pain and discomfort.
We’ve also included written instructions for these three exercises.
Deep Abdominal Breathing
Start by standing in a comfortable position with your feet shoulder-width apart. If you are unable to stand, you can sit comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Put your hands over your lower abdomen and start to take slow, deep breaths.
On your inhale, allow the air to fill your lower abdomen. As you do this, you should feel your hands move slightly. Once your lower abdomen is full, allow the air to fill the rest of your lungs.
At the top of your inhale, pause for just a moment, then slowly release the air from your lungs. On your exhale, let your chest and abdomen relax as the air leaves your body. At the bottom of your exhale, pause for a moment and start your next inhale.
Each inhale and exhale should be very slow and graceful.
In Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong, breathing stokes the digestive fires in the lower abdomen. With each breath, try to imagine energy flowing and gathering within your digestive organs.
Tapping Below The Navel
After a few minutes of deep abdominal breathing, let your hands return to the side of your body. Then, make light fists with each hand and begin tapping right below your navel.
Alternate between tapping with your right and left fist. In other words, each quick tap should be with the opposite hand used for the previous tap. Continue breathing into your lower abdomen as you do this exercise.
As you tap, feel the energy waking up within your lower abdomen. This exercise should feel slightly invigorating, although you don’t want to cause pain or discomfort.
After a few minutes, stop tapping and let your arms extend downward at your side. Close your eyes and pay attention to how you feel. You may experience a slight buzzing or tingling sensation in your body.
This exercise is great for waking up the energy in your lower abdomen in preparation for digestion.
Pebble In The Pond
The previous two exercises focused on activating the energy within the lower abdomen. Now, it’s time to center that energy.
This exercise is slightly more involved so we’ll break it down into simple steps.
With your feet still shoulder-width apart, bring your arms in front of you and position your hands so the backsides of your hands are facing each other. Your arms should still be pointed downward so your thumbs touch the front of your thighs.
On your exhale, let your hands move forward away from your body as each of them makes a large circle in front of you. When your hands are fully extended, start to inhale as your hands return to your lower abdomen.
This exercise is called ‘Pebble in the Pond’ because the circular motion of your hands should resemble the circular ripples caused by a pebble dropping into a calm pond.
As you circle your hands outward, imagine that you’re gathering an abundance of energy from the world around you. As you inhale and bring your hands back toward your body, imagine that you’re taking that energy and directing it into your lower abdomen. Each circle and breath is another opportunity to absorb the nourishing Qi that constantly surrounds you.
After a few minutes of Pebble in the Pond, bring both of your hands back to your lower abdomen and bring your feet together. Take a couple of deep breaths and imagine your energy centered in your digestive organs, ready to absorb nourishment from the food you’re about to consume. If you’d like, you can smile to yourself and send some loving energy to your organs.
When you’re ready, relax your posture, sit down, and enjoy your meal.
If you like this brief routine and want to learn more Qi Gong practices to improve digestion, be sure to check out our pre-recorded Qi Gong for Healthy Digestion Workshop.
Pre-Recorded Qi Gong for Healthy Digestion Workshop
Our pre-recorded Qi Gong for Healthy Digestion workshop teaches powerful practices for overcoming the root causes of many digestive issues. Like all of Lee’s workshops, this one provides both theoretical and experiential lessons, so students can walk away with a holistic understanding of Lee’s teaching.
In addition to focusing on physical digestion, Lee also teaches how these principles can be applied to deepen your connections with others.
Healthy relationships are based on empathy and understanding. Just as the Earth Element helps you to digest food, it also empowers you to digest the words of those around you. In other words, when the Earth Element is balanced within you, it’s easy to listen and understand what others have to share.
Learn more about how Qi Gong for Healthy Digestion can help you experience greater health, enrichment, and connection.