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Observing and Your Heart

Aug 24, 2019

Years ago I was visiting a working historical farm in Ohio. Roosters and hens were running around everywhere and a little boy was watching them with his mom.

"Look at all those chickens! How many colors do you see on them?" The mom asked.

"Those are roosters," her son corrected.

"Well, no honey, not really," the mom countered. "All of them are chickens. The girls are hens and the boys are roosters."

"Well, that's a rooster. And that's a rooster." The little boy pointed directly at the roosters.

"Yes! You're right! Now, how many different colors are on the rooster?"

This questions and answers continued. The "corrects" and "incorrects" were dispersed. 

This experience stuck with me. It reminded me of how much of our lives are spent analyzing, comparing, evaluating. So many of our conversations and experiences are seen through our ability to analyze. Many of us have jobs that support our lives that are rooted in being able to examine and label what is around us.

It is important. Labeling what is safe and what isn't. That's a good thing.

But it limits us. It's a very left hemisphere dominant way of living. Separating everything and giving it a description: right, wrong; good, bad; stem, seed, leaf. When we continuously live in this analytical world we sometimes overlook the importance of the coherent whole because we're so distracted by all of the parts.

That's why I love the practice of observing. As I moved through this historic farm, I noticed the aliveness and the spirit of everything.

We can tap into that aliveness and into the spirit of things when we're quiet enough to simply be with it.

That's what practices like taiji and qigong do for us. They teach us to give the left hemisphere of the brain a break. We don't have to be "on" all the time. We don't have to have an answer. We don't have to fix anything. 

In taiji and qigong, we drop into observing. Sensing. Connecting to what is alive around us, rather than separating out the pieces.

So, here's a little practice I began long ago. Before I began my daily practice, I spent one hour studying whatever I was focused on at the time: TCM, Qigong, Anatomy, etc.

I had to really use my left hemisphere to retain, understand, memorize, decipher what I was studying. I was doing.

I took my blood pressure and heart rate. 

After one hour, I began practicing taiji and qigong. Intentionally dropping into being.

I took my blood pressure and heart rate.

My heart rate dropped drastically. From the upper 60s down to the lower 50s. My blood pressure - here's one example: 127/68 to 118/65.

It was fascinating to see this over and over again! When I needed the energy to absorb and"digest" what I was studying, my heart rate was a little higher, getting the energy to the parts of me that needed it.  That certainly would shift my blood pressure numbers. 

And when I dropped away from that heightened thinking and focus, and created a space for breathing, ease, gentle movements, quieting - my body responded to that. No need for elevated anything.

This was important for me to observe and taught me that both are needed. It drew me right back to the basic philosophy of taiji: Balance. 

Yin and Yang are essential. One isn't bad, one isn't good. They simply are definitions we put on two parts of a whole. Important parts to notice. But the whole is what is essential.


Join me for my upcoming in-person workshops in Columbus Ohio:

Qigong: Build Energy, Clarity, Strength and Ease
Saturday, October 5 

Taiji For Balance: An Introduction

beYoga & Wellness
1840 Zollinger Road, Columbus, Ohio 43221


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