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Qi Gong promotes health benefits

Julia Wheeler, director of development, started a moving meditation called Qi Gong. Wheeler, who has been practicing moving meditation for more than two years, said she wanted to share the benefits of this practice with others. For the month of October she will lead sessions from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Sneaky Park for anyone who wants to participate. / photo by Brittney Slater-Shew

Karlie Bettencourt
Staff Writer

Participants slowly stretch one arm to the Heavens while pushing the other straight down toward the Earth, until arms can be seen shaking from the tension; this movement is called Heaven and Earth.

A new Qi Gong group has started on campus, which promotes peace, relaxation and improves physical movement.

The Qi Gong group was started by director of development, Julie Wheeler, as a pilot for October to see if it catches on and should be continued.

Wheeler said Qi Gong is a mind, body, soul activity and a physical exercise in China to regulate fat, hormones, energy levels and an overall outlook on life.

“This is Chinese health care,” Wheeler said. “80 million people do this for exercise every morning.”

“I have some physical problems and traditional workouts are difficult for me to do,” said Rita Thakur, associate dean for the College of Business and Public Management.

“This is something I can do and it is really beneficial.”

The exercise consists of a warm-up and eight different individual exercises.

The Heavenly stretch creates tension throughout the entire body when participants entwine their fingers, push them up above their heads and then go onto their toes while inhaling.

They then slowly bring their arms down and release their breath.

“This raises your energy tremendously,” Wheeler said. “This is teaching your body what tight feels like and what relaxation feels like.”

The bow and arrow stretch allows participants to stretch with their arms looking like they are shooting a bow and arrow.

The participants hold the pose really tightly by pushing forward with their front arm and pulling back with the other. They then “release the arrow” and release their breath.

Heaven and Earth is a stretch specifically for the arms.

Participants push one arm straight up to the sky while extending the other arm straight down to the ground.

The last move, which is a total body stretch, requires the participant to bring their arms up parallel and bend over at the waist while letting their arms come behind them.

The participants then let go of their arms and drop their breath. They then slowly roll up and bend their backs with their hands on their lower back.

“The last stretch we do is hard but it is the most beneficial,” said Ruth Lindhorst, academic adviser for liberal studies. “I had knee pain before, and it is easier for me to walk up stairs now that I do this, and this is only my third time.”

At the end of the exercise participants take a bow to show gratitude for the time of quiet meditation.

“Give thanks to the universe and to your body for allowing you to do this,” Wheeler said.

Anyone is welcome to participate in Qi Gong from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Sneaky Park.

Karlie Bettencourt can be reached at karlie.bettencourt@laverne.edu.

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