In various traditions, energy is called qi, prana, chi, life force, Spirit, and others terms. Pure energy is the essence of who you are. There are as many ways to replenish your energy as there are ways to spend it. Listed below are four suggestions to benefit your body, mind and spirit, inspired by different traditions and disciplines. Try working one or more into your daily routine. Think of it not as first-aid for the weary, but as a holistic strategy for creating long-term balance and vitality in your life.
1. Hot-cold hydrotherapy – practiced by the Finns for the past 2,000 years, is believed to strengthen immunity, increase circulation, and have a stimulating effect on the body. Traditionally, a sauna and a snowbank are used, but our modern shower works well. After showering, turn the knob to as cold as you can stand it for 30 seconds, switch back to warm, and end on cold. Get your nape, back, and chest. Repeat 2-3 times.
2. Pummel yourself – borrow this gentle, invigorating exercise from the energy-cultivating practice of qigong. Gently “drum” the insides and outsides of your arms and down your sides and legs with a loosely closed fist; then drum up the insides of your legs, your abdomen and solar plexus, neck, and lower back. This pummeling, or thumping, can stimulate the flow of qi and increase circulation – plus, it just feels really good.
3. Stretch – taking a moment to stretch each hour or so throughout the day goes a long way toward preventing stiffness, increasing blood circulation, and giving you a shot of energy. Try this right now: Stand up, and taking a deep breath, raise your arms and reach for the sky; hold. Then release the stretch, exhaling and dropping your arms. Beginning with the crown of your head, roll down, vertebrae by vertebrae, until you’re hanging forward. Let your arms dangle. Shake and nod your head very gently to loosen the neck. Without locking your knees, feel the stretch in the back of your thighs. Then, slowly begin to come back up, rolling up from the bottom of your spine, vertebrae by vertebrae, with neck, shoulders and head coming up last, slowly raising your arms at the same time as you’re come up, so that when you’re standing straight, your arms are above your head. Then, take a full inhalation, and release the arms down quickly with the sound of “HA”!
4. Give everything you do a personal touch – you don’t have to be a gifted artist to live a creative and inspired life. True creativity reflects your uniqueness, something only you can put into the world. Considered the “Mother of all energies,” creativity is a blend of intuitive imagination, heart, and intellect that arises from your life force. Start simply: Buy a blank card – and write from the “Heart; give a homemade gift; cook without a recipe; be inventive.