Qi Gong and Other Forms of Physical Fitness for
Belvedere- Tiburon Residents

The Key to Physical Fitness

Most of the illnesses we suffer from come from our sedentary lifestyles. To correct that, we need to move. We need to make physical fitness our priority.

The issue of physical fitness is really easy to figure out. All you need to do is find an exercise program that balances out all of the things that you do (and don't do!) with the rest of your time. You need to harmonize your lifestyle.

In general, I advocate getting outside and breathing as much fresh air as possible. Go out for a hike or a run. Go outside whenever you can. The feng shui of our natural environment here in Belvedere-Tiburon is unsurpassed. The Tiburon bike path and Ring Mountain Preserve are calling to you. Slap on that pedometer, calculate your running map and go jogging. Do it now.

Exercise Programs Need to be Different for Everybody

Beyond getting outside and moving as often as you can, exercise programs need to be different for everybody. Whatever stage you're at in life, there's an exercise program that can balance your lifestyle and your health. The trick is finding just the right one for you. These are my recommendations.

Desk Job? In Your Head All the Time?

If you have a desk job, are at a computer or are in your head all the time, you'll want to do some kind of exercise that really works out your body. You'll need to have a lot of physical activity to balance your lack of motion during the day. Although I recommend that you get outside, a weight-training/conditioning program is an excellent antidote for chronic thinking.

Stay at Home Mom? Caregiver?

Are you around the house and running errands all day and/or taking care of other people's needs? Then an exercise program that demands precise control of your body and breathing will balance you. Pilates would be ideal.

Tension? Overwhelm?

If you live in a constant state of tension and overwhelming demands, yoga is your ticket. Don't go generic. Make sure that you get the individual attention you need. Get a specific asana that's just right for you. Feedback and corrections from a qualified teacher are a must.

Are You Into Meditation and the Esoteric?

If you're a crystal-gazing new ager, try putting yourself on the edge by learning a martial art. If you really want to get serious about balancing your life, get in the ocean and go surfing . With typical surf conditions in the San Francisco Bay Area, you'll meet God in about three minutes once you're in the water.

Are You too Weak, Compromised or Ill to Exercise?

What if you're too weak, compromised or ill to do any of these exercise programs? Then you'll want to consider doing Tai Qi or qi gong.

If you can get around and want to improve your health, Tai Qi is the way to go. It's also perfect if you're showing signs of aging. Tai Qi was meticulously designed to address and correct each of the symptoms of aging.

Tai Qi is a very complicated and comprehensive form of qi gong. Qi gong just means working with energy. It builds your energy in a systematic way. There are many systems of qi gong out there.

Much like yoga, I advocate doing a qi gong practice that is designed for your specific needs. I design practices for my patients based on what's going on with them. I've found that this works out much better than taking on a whole system, getting lost in it and gaining little or nothing in the process.

Is Medical Qi Gong the Answer for You?

Medical qi gong is focused on healing. It comes in two forms:

1) Active. This is where a medical qi gong teacher gives you exercises to practice on your own to help your condition. I do this with my acupuncture patients all the time.

2) Passive. This is where a medical qi gong master uses her or his qi directly to influence your qi. I do this with my acupuncture patients most of the time, but not always.

If you really lack energy or have serious health issues, you'll want to keep it simple. Stick to a very basic qi gong routine. It's best if you do qi gong that is specifically designed for you by someone who:

- knows what s/he is talking about

- has the ability to transmit that knowledge to you.

Do your practice until you begin to get better. Then slowly add new elements to your routine as you gain strength and appetite for it.

What if You're too Weak to do Qi Gong?

If you don't have enough energy to do qi gong exercises, then find a form of meditation that's well suited for your condition. Sitting meditation is good if you can do it. If you can't sit, then do your meditation lying down.

Sleep is the Foundation of Your Fitness Program

If you don't have enough energy to do lying down meditation, then you should sleep. Sleep is the undervalued foundation of all your physical fitness. It's when you rest and regenerate. If your sleep is inadequate, none of the other fitness systems you do will go anywhere. You'll just tear yourself down until you can rest.

Remember, whatever stage you're at in life, there's an exercise program that can balance your lifestyle and your health. You just need to find the right one for you. If you can adapt your exercise program as your life and circumstances change over time, you'll always have a point of balance that will bring you health and happiness.

I hope the guidance, resources and recommendations on this page help you find the best state of balance for your lifestyle.

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John Mini Medical Qi Gong

John Mini, M.S.C.M./L.Ac.

Belvedere-Tiburon's Elixir