Traditional Chinese Exercises for Body-Mind-Soul

~ Guest Article by Matthew Scott

Traditional chinese exercises are a great way for healing your body-mind-soul.

'Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded.' ~ Goethe

Traditional Chinese exercises are a simple, effective way to improve physical, mental and emotional health. Chinese people have done holistic exercises for at least 2000 years. Walk through virtually any park or garden in China in the morning and you will still see them exercising this way. And not just young people – people right up to their 80s and 90s doing their daily workouts.

For physical strength and toning there are body weight exercises like squats and back bows. For mental and emotional health there are deep breathing exercises and self-massage techniques. For suppleness there are stretching exercises.

All you need is somewhere to do them - no equipment, classes or partners required.

Chinese exercises are very easy to learn and are suitable for most people, especially over 40s. Why? As we age our joints and muscles stiffen and tighten which impedes blood flow. According to traditional Chinese medical wisdom one of the best ways to encourage blood flow is through gentle, free-flowing exercises.

Penstemon, Wildflower

Colorado Penstemon Wildflower

On the other hand, the hard, physical exercises many of us did in our 20s tend to impede blood flow because they tighten and stiffen your joints and muscles. This is why hard style martial artists often switch to softer forms like Tai Qi as they get older. Once again, gentle, free-flowing exercises encourage blood flow. In traditional Chinese medicine, smooth, even blood flow is essential for optimum physical, mental and emotional health.

Many Chinese exercises can be done individually according to your specific needs. For example, if you have back pain there are stretching exercises and self-massage techniques. If you have anxiety and stress there are breathing techniques. If you have a weakness somewhere there are strengthening exercises.

Traditional Chinese exercises can also form a complete, holistic exercise program, for instance an exercise program for seniors, or an exercise program for women. Just like you would follow a weights program or a swimming program, a program is the best way to do Chinese exercises.

You can even add Chinese style exercises to other forms of exercise. Some of them can be done as a warm up before sports and a cool down afterwards. Or you can do traditional Chinese exercises in the morning to wake you up and get you going and then go to the gym or play sport in the afternoon. It’s up to you, whatever your body-mind-soul desires.

For more on the traditional Chinese way of exercising for holistic health see Matthew Scott's website The site offers scores of individual Chinese exercises and 5 holistic health and exercise programs on video.

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