Embodied Intelligence With Qi Gong

Text from the video: Energize, with Lee Holden (10 minutes) 

When your body relaxes, your mind relaxes.
When the body is open, the mind is open.

Welcome to awakening whole body intelligence through Qi Gong.
This routine is about energy.
Now, energy is that vital substance we are all seeking.
We can all use a quick energy boost at the start of the day or even in the middle of the day.

So take a stance that is about shoulder width, and bring your hands up around the head.
Open the chest and then round the back and tuck your tailbone under.
This is called spinal cord breathing, and it clears tension and tightness out of the back of the body.
It’s also a great way to energize the nervous system.
It works with breath, the first place where we bring energy into the system.
So inhale as you open, and then exhale and round your back and tuck your tailbone under.
Bring some mindfulness into the movement by feeling the way your spine moves.

Now from studying, sitting at a desk or at a computer, often the back holds a lot of stress and tension.
Spinal cord breathing is a great way to release that tension or tightness and energize the back.
Synchronize the breath with the movement: Exhale and round, inhale and open.
So now we’re going just a little bit quicker: pump some energy and circulation into the spine.
Exhale as you round the back, inhale as you open the chest.

We optimize the circulation and the access to internal energy through flexibility, movement, and breath.
The mind and body are intimately connected.
When you do movements and pay attention to the body, your mind drops into the present moment.
Automatically the thoughts clear, the worries release, and we feel more connected and centered.
Relax your arms down to your sides; take a nice deep breath.


And now let’s begin a movement called shaking.
Shaking is a wonderful way to release old energy; a wonderful way to transform stress back into vitality.
You see athletes and children doing a lot of shaking in their lives.
Right before an event, an athlete will shake the body loose, as a way to access peak performance.
Now, as students, as faculty, we need peak performance to get access to our best energy for the day.

So do a little shaking here; bounce into your heels.
Relax your upper back, your neck and shoulders—anywhere you are holding tension—shake into those areas.
Feel a release in the neck, in the upper back.
Shake the back of the head.

Take a nice deep breath in through the nose; exhale out through the mouth with a long sigh.
And let go of any stress, any worries, anything weighing heavy in the shoulders or mind.
Let it all go.

Relax your wrists and your arms.
Often through a lot of studying, or a lot of bookwork, the neck and shoulders get tight, and the mind can get a little foggy.
Shaking helps to release that and give us access to our creativity and our inner potential.

Now just relax.
Bring your hands down to your sides, and see if you can feel a lightness, an electricity, a buzzing, and a tingling going down the arms to the hands.
Hands at the sides, nice and relaxed.
Notice how your body feels.


And now we’re going to do something called Qi massage.
Awaken the energy in the body by knocking on your chest.
Come up and down on your sternum. Knock with firm pressure.
This is a good way to wake up the energy in the body and clear emotional stress.

Take a nice deep breath in through the nose.
Knock up and down on the sternum.
Energize your lungs; energize the heart.
This is great for the circulatory system—the way blood flows in the body.
So come down the inside of the arm now, and then come up the outside of the arm to the neck and shoulders.

Let’s awaken the intelligence, the wisdom within our bodies.
Knock at the neck and shoulders. And one more time, down the inside of the arm, and up the outside of the arm.
Take a nice deep breath, and then go over to the other side.
Slap down the inside of the arm and up the outside.

Do that again. Activate your body’s internal energy.
We all need energy, for focus, creativity, for learning, for energy in the body.
And you have a tremendous amount of energy in the body and in the mind; we just need to access it.

Knock up and down the chest again.
Take a deep breath.
Slow it down. Hands come down to the sides, and feel, again, the energy open, circulating, and flowing through the body.


Now, we’ll knock at the low back. We’ll wake up the energy through the lower body.
Tap and knock on the lower back, the kidneys, the tailbone area.
This area gets tight or blocked when we sit too long, from lots of hours of studying or lots of hours at the computer.
Now slap this area. Get some circulation to come down the legs by slapping down the back of the legs, then up the inside of the legs to the hips.

And again, down the back of the legs; come up the inside of the legs.
And what we are doing in terms of Qi Gong, is we’re following the meridian lines, the rivers of energy that circulate through the body.
To wake up the Qi means to wake up the body’s internal power and strength.

Now knock with a light, loose fist at the front of the hips.
Then slow it down, bring your hands down to your sides, take a deep breath,
And feel the energy awakening inside you.

Now, float your arms up. Inhale, and exhale as you come down.
This is called opening the flow.
Qi Gong mirrors the movement of water as a way to access relaxation, inner peace, and creativity.
When your body relaxes, your mind relaxes.
When the body is open, the mind is open.

Your mind and body are intimately connected. When the body is healthy and energized, your mind is strong, focused, clear.

In this one, breathe the arms up to the shoulders; now push forward, pull back, and drop down.
Again, this is called opening the flow.
Now flow signifies water.
Let your body mirror the movements of water.
Relax, let go, and flow.

Inhale, now float your arms up, exhale push forward, inhale come back.
Now open your arms to the sides. Expand your horizons. Open your mind.
And bring that perspective back down into your center.

Inhale—draw your arms up; exhale—push forward.
Just relax, relax into that flow.
Now open your arms to the sides. Let your mind expand. And then bring it back into the center.
Expanding the horizons opens and awakens our consciousness for new potential, for creativity, and energy.
Expand your horizons.
Sometimes in life we get so focused on what we are doing, that we can then expand into some unlimited potential, into our creativity, into new ideas, new ways of looking at life.

Slow movements really help to open the mind.
Hold your arms out, and then bring it in. Connect to your center.
Keep your mind open. Keep your body relaxed.
Push forward, pull back, and then expand.
Draw the energy back, and down to the center.
Hands down to the sides.
Feel that relaxation permeating through your whole body.

You’ve just energized and awakened full body intelligence.
Take that feeling with you into the rest of your day.


The Embodied Intelligence project sponsoring these videos is made possible by the Ron and Jessica Liebowitz Fund for Innovation (FFI) at Middlebury College, hosted by Professors Andrea Olsen and Nükhet Kardam on the Middlebury, Vermont and Monterey, California campuses.

Sites DOT MiddleburyThe Middlebury site network.