It was a pleasant surprise that I received a complementary copy of “Qi Gong for Healthy Joints” authored by Lee Holden and published by the YMAA Publication Center to review when I got home from a recent trip.
During a recent trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, I experienced my very first Segway tour to explore the beautiful nature preserve. It was pleasurable until the Personal Transportation threw me off due to my own carelessness. My tailbone hurt for days. When it got better, I decided to review the video. The best way to judge any exercise teaching DVD is to follow the instruction so I popped the videodisc in the video player.
Qi Gong or Qigong is an ancient Chinese healing art through gentle movements with a relaxed but focused mind. It is best exercised in sync with breathing. Qigong combines strengthening, stretching, and flowing movements to build a stronger and healthier mind, body, and even spirit. The motto of the western exercise is “no pain, no gain”. But Qigong is “no pain, all gain”.
Having studied with Qigong Grandmaster Mantak Chia of Thailand and other masters in Indonesia, Moscow, Japan, and China, Master Lee Holden has a profound knowledge of the art and is an internationally known instructor in Qigong, meditation, and Tai Chi. Lee collaborated with Chia on many projects to introduce Qigong and Taoism (or Daoism) to the U.S. Through his effort in authoring books and videos including TV programs broadcasted on American Public Television stations, and hosting classes and workshops, Qigong is no longer a foreign name to millions in the U.S.
Some say that the human body has 360 joints. Some argue the numbers of joints various from people to people. Some claim that we have more joints than our ancestors. But it is safe to conclude that we have between 200 to 400 joints throughout the body and they play an essential role in our daily life. Joints are at places where a bone meets another one with tendons and muscles attaching to them. According to Lee Holden, who is also a licensed acupuncturist, repetitive motion, stress, and improper posture over time deplete the life energy or Qi in our bones and joints. Once the energy gets diminished or stale at the joints, pain and stiffness follow.
Qigong has been proven scientifically to be effective to treat arthritis and osteoporosis. Lee mentioned that Qigong practice could also relieve common problems of overuse and stiffness of the joints.
In “Qi Gong for Healthy Joints”, Lee includes multiple joint exercises targeting individually at the fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, rib cage, vertebrates, hips, legs, knees, and ankles. Once I went through those exercises, my entire body was warm, flexible, and relaxed. Then I followed his instructions for a whole body regimen that is called the teacup exercise. The requirement was to keep the palm up the entire time as if I was holding a teacup in my hand when I whirled the arm. Unless I glued the cup to my palm, the cup would fall out of the hand as I turned my arm up and down in 360 degrees. The secret to keep the cup in the palm constantly is by moving the entire body while whirling the arm and bent my elbow. Therefore, my neck, back, torso, hips, knees, legs, and ankles had to turn as my wrists, elbows, and shoulders were spinning. He starts the rotations small and makes them bigger as one gets used to the movements. I got a great workout and felt the energy was swirling through my entire body. I enjoyed the video very much. Afterwards, the pain in my tailbone was gone.
Like his other instructional DVDs, “Qi Gong for Healthy Joints” contains three versions of the exercises: extended (54 minutes), long (46 minutes), and short (21 minutes). You can choose which one to follow based on your time availability. An additional bonus is that when you purchase his DVDs, you will get a key to register online and have the access to the lesson wherever you go.