Natural Ways to Rejuvenate Yourself
by Minke de Vos
Where is the fountain of youth? What are the secrets of long life? We have asked these questions for centuries. The ancient Taoists encouraged us to look within to discover the power of life force energy. When I meet old friends who I hadn’t seen me for years, they often say, “You look the same or even younger!” This I call an ageless glow that is generated from within through self-cultivation. Remember Bob Dylan’s song “Forever Young?” This points to an ageless youthful attitude to life.
Many elders have been asked what their secrets are; some are unique, but there are similar trends. The basics of course are good air, food, exercise, loving friendships, and fulfilling service.
Our heart beats its wings throughout our lifetime. When your heart feels love, joy, happiness, and gratitude, living what makes your heart happy makes your life happier. An essential gesture of Qigong is the “Inner Smile,” to smile with unconditional love into your heart, body, and life. To wake up with a smile rather than a worry! Worries will tend to drain and block your life-force and thereby diminish the quality of your life.
“Tao Te Ching” means “the way of virtue.” When we cultivate virtue through meditation and Qigong, dedicating our practice to the well-being of all beings, we are supported by the Divine. Movement forms like “Compassionate Heart Qigong” transform suffering through our heart and radiate it back as healing light.
Movement is life and the breath is the root of life. When we move energy with whole body breathing, we increase our blood circulation and keep the body functioning well. When energy and emotions stagnate, conditions like cancer can develop. Qigong uses sound and colour to transform emotions so negativity doesn’t get trapped in the body. Anger is like a fist ready to punch, but through loving awareness we can softly melt this contraction into a caring and giving hand. Kindness and generosity emerges.
A rigid branch breaks in the wind. Flexible bamboo waves in the wind and does not break. Tao Yoga is a form of Qigong which develops inner and outer flexibility. “You are as young as your spine is” is a measuring stick of how well your energy flows between heaven and earth. The spine is the super highway of our energy system.
Openness to try something new is a youthful attitude. Research says learning new dance steps could prevent dementia. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to adapt. It occurs when the brain and body learn new things. Following verbal instructions while moving and memorizing movement patterns is one of the best ways to build the brain!
Loss of brain cells is primarily due to decreased oxygen and glucose metabolism due to slow moving blood associated with sedentary lifestyles. Body and mind activities stimulate new cell growth. Qigong integrates our mind’s intention with our body and energy. To keep the brain and body young, we need to stimulate and challenge ourselves!
Living in harmony involves a balance of rest and activity, meditation and exercise, stillness and movement. The “Yin” phase of practice involves deep relaxation and emptying the mind of busyness. This helps us to reset and refresh ourselves.
The “Tao” is the way of living in harmony with the universe and our true nature. Adjust your practice to build up your vital organs in accordance with the seasons. Spring is a particularly youthful season when new life springs out of the earth: exercises engaging the wood element, the liver, are emphasized.
Our basic, creative vitality is our sexual energy which lives in our sexual organs, kidneys, brain, and bone marrow. Breathing and channelling this potent essence is tapping into your fountain of youth. Sexual Vitality Qigong is fun and energizing!
I would like to see people gather together more to practice Qigong in nature. You must have seen scenes of people of all ages in China practicing Tai Chi together. Good to have community support to keep up the spirit! Open body, open mind. Through the free flow of energy, we invite change and evolution that benefits all beings to live to their highest potential.
Minke de Vos, Senior Universal Tao Instructor, draws from her extensive background in energy arts and her own soul journey. She has dedicated over 30 years to spiritual embodiment, teaching, and healing work. She co-founded Silent Ground Retreats, for long-term, life-transforming programs. She has worked and co-taught with Taoist Grandmaster Mantak Chia for over 30 years and is part of the core faculty of the Universal Healing Tao System. She also teaches at the Healing Tao University each summer. She is a certified Medical Qigong Master therapist by the International Institute of Medical Qigong and has assisted in the three-year training. She teaches teacher trainings and gives private sessions internationally. She is the author of “Tao Tantric Arts for Women” and “Heart Qigong.” (silentground.com) Minke and her partner, David Gyurkovics, will be teaching Forever-Young Qigong April 14-16 at Ancient Spirals, Saskatoon. Please visit silentground.com and see the colour display ad on page 14, as well as the ad in the Calendar of Events on page 5 of the 22.6 March/April issue of the WHOLifE Journal.