Athletic Stretching Exercises
Paradoxically, many people associate stretching with greater flexibility. There are various popular methods and programs promising improvement of flexibility through stretching. First of all, when exploring your flexibility, bear in mind that Qi Dao does not teach you to stretch your muscles or other tissues. When temporarily stretched, the muscles will act almost like rubber bands, tightening up as soon as they are allowed to. This is called stretch reflex. It challenges many athletes, martial artists and Yoga enthusiasts puzzled by the inadequate results of their stretching exercises despite their formidable efforts to improve flexibility. Instead of stretching, Qi Dao suggests lengthening your muscles. Literally opposite to the way stretching works, lengthening involves shortening the muscle and making it tired of being short before allowing it to lengthen thereby expanding the range of motion and flexibility.
I spent at least six months in physical therapy, which gave me a sense of reduced pain, lasting, if I was lucky, about thirty minutes after each session. I was given a bottle of something that I could literally freeze my neck with to numb the pain as I did stretching exercises. Unfortunately, my headache continued.
Now place your right fingers beneath the left fingers, and press the left hand backward, as if trying to touch the back of your left forearm. Press only enough to get a good stretch there should be no pain encountered when you perform this movement. Hold for five seconds, and then release. Repeat five times.
Be sure to keep both feet flat on the floor throughout. This is essential to help draw the energy of the earth in through your feet as you do this exercise. Many of the vital energy meridians in your body stretch to your feet or have their origins there and it is essential to keep the contact from the soles of your feet and the ends of your toes right up through your back, neck, palms, and fingers.
If the shoulders are strained in this position, hold the towel lower to decrease the shoulder stretch. If necessary the elbows may be only shoulder height or even lower. If a towel is not long enough for this, use a thick rope. Gradually you will be able to hold the towel higher as your shoulder joints become more flexible. The first position of backbend exercise will help limber your shoulder joints.
Shen means spirit and it also means great, marvelous, or elegant. Shen represents the spiritual energy of the Heart. In oracle bone style writing, Shen is the pattern of lightning. Breaking the darkness with thunder, a pattern of lightning, was considered an omen from Heaven in ancient Chinese shamanism. The ancient Wu understood the Universal Way through observing and studying the patterns in nature. The ancient Wu used Shen as a symbol for spirit, divinity, deity, infinite, omniscience, and Enlightenment. Shen also means stretch because natural lightning stretches between Heaven and Earth. In spiritual cultivation, we use many physical stretching techniques to open our spiritual gates to connect with our own spirits and with high-level spiritual energy. The shaman sees that each part of the body has its own spirit residing in each physical part. In spiritual cultivation, the important processing step is to call the spiritual body back to the physical body. This is the reuniting of...
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