Believe it or not, Qigong is not limited to standing up and doing various arm movements, nor is it limited to sitting meditations and visualizations. There are in fact a number of exercises you can do with your own hands that revolve around tapping and massaging the body’s energy points in order to stimulate energy and get the blood flowing.
Students often ask Qigong masters if there are any tips to stay awake throughout the day and whether there are any morning “tricks” to get up. Most teachers respond by stating the first thing you need to when you wake up is think of the most inspiring thing in your life or a goal that you want to achieve that day or week. This will active the heart’s energy and tell your brain that you have a reason for wanting to get up as opposed to being forced up in order to simply fulfill a task such as driving to a job that you don’t like because you need to pay bills. Regardless of where your life is at or what kind of goal it is, keep them simple and practical because they will allow you to work towards something and see practical results along the way.
The body responds well to this and will feel a jolt of excitement. But do not get too excited, as if you spring out of bed too fast the brain in fact can experience damage, especially during the later years of life, as a rampant increase in blood to the head can cause stroke and heart problems. Get inspired, but let it sink in slowly while you take your time to get up.
As you are getting up, a good way to start increasing throughout the energy and to spark its overall awareness that you are coming out of a sleeping state is to tense the body. Tensing the muscles throughout the day will also wake up the body and mind from their tired and relaxed state and bring it back to a state where it needs to retune and wake up again. There is no need to do this to the point where you give yourself cramps, but enough that your body will transform its lethargic condition.
When you initially get up, a great exercise is to rub the hands together as warm as you can get them and rub your face several times. There are many energy points in the face that connect to the brain, and stimulating this area is also good for the skin. Repeat this throughout the day if you feel sleepy and it is a good replacement/healthy option rather than pouring cold water over your face. Also, rub your hands and massage your kidneys by going in circles 36 times each direction. The kidneys are important for one’s overall vitality and will stimulate your energy instantly. If you have time, rub your hands again and simply massage the rest of your body with the warmness, especially at the knees and thigh areas.
If these exercises are repeated you will find the body responding in a very positive way, which will likely even cause you to be less reliant on caffeinated drinks such as coffee. In fact, most Qigong teacher do not drink any caffeine other than the limited amount found in tea as they are not reliant on it for energy and yet, can even reduce the number of hours they sleep more compared to others. Simply put, the body likes to feel energized and refreshed so using natural methods can be highly effective.
We mentioned rubbing the body with heat over as many places as you can. Another great method to add is to add tapping into the mix by cupping one arm at a time with the other starting from the shoulder area all the way down to the wrist for about a total of 9 taps. Repeat this on both the top and bottom areas of the arm for 2 times and then switch arms. Following this, tap the side of the torso from top to bottom on both sides to activate the lungs and then tap the tailbone area followed by the legs, starting from the thighs working down. Essentially, you are tapping the body’s main energy centers and getting the blood flowing to all parts of the body.
Lastly, we should add that once you have done all of this doing some deep breathing when you wake up or whenever you feel tired is a great way to restore energy in the body, as deep breathing helps circulate energy and blood flow. Also, slowing the breathing down to about 10 second inhales and exhales is a great way to enhance this exercise as well as regulate one’s breathing to a softer and more calm state, bringing about increased awareness and balanced state of thinking.