Understanding What It Is and How To Maintain A Strong and Healthy Reservoir of Energy

The Wikipedia defines Qi (also Ki, chi or ch'i) as an active principle forming part of any living thing. Qi is frequently translated as "life force" or "energy flow"... Qi is the central underlying principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine... The literal translation of "Qi" is air, breath, or gas.

From time to time, I lament the Qi or Ki, etc. I make reference to this universal energy or constitution as it relates to a person (e.g. the kidney (constitution) or spleen (blood) Qi is low or something like that). There are many reasons why someone's "universal energy" or constitution may be low or deficient. It is the general belief that your kidney Qi, your constitution, has much to do with your foundation... how you began. Your parents, the date, season and circumstances of conception, the health of both parents, culture, circumstances through gestation and birth and then the nurturing/nutrition through the first stages of childhood have much to do with the "strength of your constitution". In other words, all of these things must be factored in to determine how strong you are throughout life and where or whether there are possibilities for adjustments to be made in your health and spirit.

For a woman, especially one in the bodywork and/or other service-like business, the constant "giving of energy" coupled with the body's preparation for each new menstrual cycle, could be reasons for Qi depletion. This is usually relative to the spleen Qi which nourishes the body. You may feel tired, unmotivated, empty, sometimes a little emotional (not angry, maybe depressed, irritable, or very, very quiet, serious and/or tearful i.e. PMS... LOL), can't eat enough, can't sleep enough, pensive, and because you have slept all day, you are up all night. Maybe your Qi is low because you are anemic or because you have some other "dis-ease" which limits your energy source. Your body will "speak"' as it attempts to readjust and compensate where necessary. Some people get migraines or facial tension all of which are stress related, but the way your body responds has much to do with your "constitution". The way you respond to your body's demands has much to do with your education, understanding of your body, your culture, and belief systems.

You must determine what the body needs, whether it's rest, massages, increase of pungent/green food intake, vitamins, et al supplements (doubling up if necessary to boost your body during this stressful time or in general until you feel better), exercise, sex, dance, detox, meditation, etc. These are all habits that work to bring you back to your normal balance. If you are anemic, you might even get a little nervous, irritable, jumpy (scare easily), clumsy (I drop things. Seriously, not by accident... just my hands decide not to hold the thing anymore! LOL), dizzy, etc. You may need to see a doctor, but especially pump up your spirulina, chlorella, arugula, spinach, dandelion, onions, kale, and whatever other "pungent" and green foods, even if you don't like them, and put in lots of healthy fluids, like water. Protein drinks, algae, Kombucha, juice blends, etc., are accessible on the shelves of your local health food stores and will increase your B and K vitamins and calcium/magnesium intake. Some are said to detox your liver and kidneys all while nourishing them so read the labels and do what you can to treat your body with all-natural means.

If you are exercising, you need to double your fluid intake, especially if your cycle is about to start or is in progress. Remember that you are losing a great percentage of electrolytes and nutrition in general, but especially when you exercise and when your cycle is on. Check in with your body and ask whether you are putting in enough of what's needed to feel and look your best. It will answer you and you need to be aware and listen. Maybe you are simply doing too much, as in the case where the menstrual cycle has nothing to do with how you are feeling. Your over-indulgence in any activity will deplete your Qi. We usually know what it is we are over doing and that which needs work so "man up" and address these issues. It probably means your sanity to do so. An insane person has lost all control of Qi and sometimes will need stronger resources to regain balance. Work so as to stay sane and exercise control over your consciousness.

Take time outs. Not the ones where you put yourself on punishment, but the ones where you stop tending to everyone and everything else and tend to yourself. Give yourself permission to be selfish occasionally... well regularly. You could sit or stand in front a mirror and observe yourself and get to know the person looking back. It could also mean sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing, becoming aware of how much oxygen you take in and how much is needed to slow down your racing heart and mind. This is meditation. If you don't know how to do it, go to the library or any book store and read up on it. Grab a couple videos and watch them to get educated about this need that the body has.

This, in itself, the ability to focus on just one thing, is meditative. If you are lacking time for that, just sit quietly for 3 to 15 minutes and literally focus on your breathing. Force your mind to hear yourself breathe, watch for fluctuations in your breathing, listen to the sound, feel the air through your nostrils, lips, down your respiratory tract and feel your abdomen expand and contract to facilitate this amazing act. Realize all that's necessary to keep you alive and feel grateful for this ability. Take the time to be and feel grateful for that ability and for the sustenance brought to your body, deep to your cells. Value every inhale and every exhale, knowing what each does for you. Focus on the pace with which you do it and how that affects your mind and heart.

Close your eyes and focus on these things, noticing how at peace you feel half way through. If it's a struggle to focus because of all the thoughts flowing in to your mind and maybe the activity around you, just close your eyes. Each time a new thought, a different and unrelated thought gets in, acknowledge it; say thank you for that, then go back to your focus. Maybe your focus was not on your breath, but it was on the wind on your skin, that favorite place, or the sun on your skin; playfully chasing a bird on a trail, or the loving hands of your therapist as they smooth away your stress... Wherever you started to go, following your breath in your mind, go back to it. If the intruding thoughts persist, address them promptly again and simply ask, do I need to know something about this now? Please show me how to use this to calm myself. If not, please go away until I can use you positively. Yes, this is a conversation with self, but you are not crazy. You are just being connected with your own consciousness and exercising a measure of control over such.

The point is to slow your mind down and teach yourself to align your body with your breathing. With each acknowledgement of each breath, your heart slows down and anxiety begins to leave. Hence the idea of inhaling while counting to three and exhaling while counting to six and so on. The longer you can extend your exhale, the more used energy you exit and the more room you have for oxygen, the good stuff. This exercises the lymphatic and circulatory system, balances the nervous system and gets you "on even keel with the universe".

After your 3-15 minute "escape", you will feel rejuvenated and are able to return with a clearer head to whatever it is you were doing, having a stronger Chi/Qi/Ki to give you support. This is a great exercise to get you to go to sleep when you can't or to wake up with peace to start your day. Reconnecting yourself to your own energy and realizing your place in the movement of gravity and universal energy is not spiritism. It is actually spiritually healthy to stay grounded in thoughts actions and life and with things moving as fast as they are around us in these testy times, you need to breathe and have a strong personal resilience (Chi/Qi/Ki) in order to get through with all your faculties.

Writing this was very meditative for me. Maybe addressing the woman's need for Qi/renewed energy is one way you too can get your Ki on! Write, play music, whatever brings your heart peace and/or keep you connected with your consciousness and your positive world. Do that. Do not neglect your life force and the nutrition your body needs to function optimally in this habitat called earth. Namaste.