Aging? We all are; everyone alive today will be older tomorrow. But as these yearly turns round the sun add up, so does the astonishing fact that I’ve got years of experience in my memories and on my face with an active body that’s flexible and healthy. My brain is active too, ever ready to imprint more adventures into its matrix.
As our bodies grow older, our brain continues growing too; this is neuroplasticity. The large numbers of practitioners doing Qigong and Tai Chi in their 100’s certainly affirms why Qigong is called the longevity exercise. I recently watched a video of a graceful 104 year old master at a Tai Chi competition. Qigong uses metaphors and imagery. A favorite is to be like bamboo, flexible -willing to bend with movement and strong. I can attest that these movements help keep me agile, energized and relaxed, helps me sleep well too.
It’s motivating to read articles about active nonagenarians too. Recently the WSJ did a story about two Elders, 102 and 95 years young, stimulated and engaged by auditing university classes. Late Style may define an emerging phenomena of elder artists, authors, poets creating works on the questions and experiences of aging.
I’m constantly inspired by several spry 90+ year olds at my gym who’ve been consistently working out for years. Their energy, optimism and dedication keeps my mind-body embers glowing. It’s a passion for living well and learning more! It’s like a Qi state of mind that allows vital energy to flow and feed new connections within our brains and minds – at any age.
A dear family friend celebrated his 100th birthday this January. About two hundred friends of all ages gathered to honor this centenarian. He is exceptional in many ways, including the fact that only 3 men in 100,000 are 100 or older. Out of our population of approximately 324 million people a mere 9359 men are 100 or older! 83% of those who reach 100 in the USA are women. Those stats may be changing a bit but it emphasizes the importance of maintaining a sound mind in a sound body at every age.
Another trait these elders, like my 100 year old friend, seem to share is kindness and humor. This thoughtful man still makes time to actively engage others. If he is out walking he will stop and talk, always interested in the conversation. He rode his fat tire bike on the beach until about 2 years ago, but he’s still dancing, sometimes just with his cane or a partner.
His son shared a few sayings with me that describe his actions, values, and approach to others: “Always be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” “I can’t change the the direction of the wind but I can adjust my sails to reach my destination.”
Norman Cousins (1915 – 1990) wrote about the importance of laughing to cure his 1964 bout with cancer. Did laughing add 26 years to his life with cancer and other subsequent challenges? This cannot be proved, but it’s a great example of a man who didn’t give in, give up or depend on someone else to heal him. He found a way to heal that worked for him! Today there are numerous studies about the positive benefits of laughter. Perhaps there are giggle genes that ignite a cascade of feel-good effects which affect longevity.
Partially because of Cousin’s insights, UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology is an interdisciplinary center looking at how the brain and body work to influence the immune system. They are doing trial studies with Tai Chi and Qigong to reduce inflammatory signals. An increasing number of studies are finding multiple healing benefits with Qigong and Tai Chi.
Norman Doidge, M.D. in “The Brain’s Way of Healing” includes inspiring stories of people with devastating health challenges like chronic pain, Parkinsons Disease and Traumatic Brain Injury who find ways to live with, and sometimes cure, the incurable. I highly recommend this engaging, readable book.
The American Heart Association sites hypertension (high blood pressure) as one of the most common health problems in the USA. Qigong may be an effective method for treating hypertension as an alternative, or supplement, to prescription drugs. An NIH-sponsored study has found that Tai Chi and Qigong boost immunity to shingles in older adults.
Here’s a link to more research by respected Medical Organizations helping to merge conventional medicine with this ancient healing system of Qigong to improve the quality of health and life. Qigong stimulates the relaxation response and thus encourages the body’s ability to heal itself by strengthening the immune system. Read the whole article: http://nqa.org/wp-content/uploads/Respected-Medical-Organizations-endorse-Qigong-Final-2016.pdf
Need more energy? Get a Qi infusion: come to a class in person or online, or try learning with one of my DVD’s. Do subscribe to this Blog, share it and/or comment how Qigong has sparked your passion for living a healthy long life.
Live in splendid moments, laugh with all your heart and feel deeply- for your self and for others.
PS: Young people don’t have wrinkles yet because life hasn’t given them too many details yet : – )