Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Learning to "Breathe Walk" - Qigong

Upon returning from Mexico, I met with a Dr. here in the USA.  He took 20+ blood samples and did all sorts of testing. One of the concerns the Dr. had was how slow the transfer of oxygen was between cells in my body.  He told me the normal oxygen exchange rate for cells takes 3/4 of a second but the oxygen exchange rate between the cells in my body took between 3 and 4 seconds.  He explained how this would make me feel like I had emphysema when merely walking because it was so difficult for oxygen to be absorbed.

Fast forward...

I am in Florida teaching a couple of weeks ago. Due to an unexpected change in my schedule I was able to meet an incredible Chinese Medicine Dr. who also operates a Martial Arts and Massage School. I had gone into my appointment to get a massage, but ended up leaving with a tremendous sense of gratitude for this man's knowledge as well as reverence for a loving God who knew that I needed to learn from this particular healer.

He kept stopping the massage to talk to me.  It was a tad bit annoying but I respected the individual and paid attention to what he was telling me.  I know with my knowledge of the body, I can tell by texture and color of the skin and face what organs are having particular issues.  I trusted that the advise he gave me was something I needed to really pay attention to.  He was able to identify in the first few minutes exactly what the stress was in my life. He would teach me many things, but the thing that I feel the most gratitude for is how he taught me to "breathe walk" which I now know is Qigong in Chinese Medicine.

After the massage ended (that hour always feels like 20 minutes), I got dressed and met the Chinese Dr. out in the parking lot.  It was comical, exhilarating and entertaining as this amazing man who learned Chinese Medicine in China, walked me around and around the parking lot while breathing in and out.

As we walked he would say breathe in and out through the nose only...

In 1, 2, 3
Out 1, 2, 3(each count matched one step forward with one foot)

We would repeat this sequence for several minutes and then move on to the next sequence...

In 1, 2, 3
Out 1, 2

Repeat, repeat, repeat.... and then...

And then...

In 1, 2, 3
Out 1  (Several times I felt like I was going to pass out, but kept on marching and breathing - hoping snot wouldn't come out on my shirt as I walked and struggled to breathe.)

Then we would try...

In 1, 2, 3, 4
Out 1

In 1, 2, 3, 4
Out 1.

He showed me how I could pick up the pace or slow it down.

The homework he wrote down was 20 minutes / 2 x's a day - at the very least.  He encouraged me to keep increasing the time each day until I was walking for 1 hour a day / 2 x's a day.

This incredible Chinese Medical Dr. told me about the amazing woman who invented this technique. The story goes that her condition was dire and incurable.  She prayed to God for an answer, and the breathing technique was an answer to her prayer that healed her and is now commonly used in Chinese Medicine.

This incredible Dr. taught me how the oxygen will cleanse out the mucus from the lungs.  He put out his hand in front of him and asked what would happen if there was water on his hand and he blew on it?  He blew out and explained how the water would leave his hand. This is what happens in our lungs when there is mucus present.  The oxygen blows the mucus out. He explained how after doing this technique, the influx of oxygen in my body would turn my skin from being dull color in the morning to a more pink color.  The oxygen would help support healing and vitality.

I committed to doing the exercises.

I was told that soldiers in the military, from China, would march all day and use these breathing techniques so that they would feel stronger when they finished the march than when they started.

For the past year, I have been unable to run at all.  The first time I attempted it (I think I had been home from Mexico only a few months), I literally collapsed to the ground and almost called 911.  It was insane to try gasping for air, to be able to breathe in but to feel like I was suffocating because the oxygen was not getting to my cells. (Imagine a fish out of water - that is what it felt like) It was taking too long and I literally looked at my phone and made the quick decision not to call 911 but to just keep trying to breathe.  Time passed and slowly my heart stopped pounding with such force and I was able to take somewhat normal breaths in as I walked slowly home, pausing every now and then to take some deep breaths in and to steady myself.

I have tried to run several times over the past year without success.  It has now been about a year since that time I almost called 911.  I have been faithfully doing the breathing exercises that I learned while in FL while driving, while walking, while going about the house doing chores etc. for the past few weeks.  This morning was super exciting.  Yesterday I was able to run/walk about 1 mile without too much issue.  Today I was able to sprint a minute and walk 2-3 minutes (while doing the breathing exercises) for about 45 minutes.  The last 10 minutes were at a slower cool down pace but I was SO excited.  My body is healing and I feel so much stronger!

For any of you wanting more information about this breathing technique, here is an article I found talking about Qigong and its history. I hope that this technique is beneficial to you also.

http://www.qigongchinesehealth.com/walking_qigong

With much love,

Steffi

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