Qi Gong for Better Health and Wellness
Lee Holden first discovered the power of qi at the early age of 10 from his parents’ meditation lessons. He studied a variety of martial arts including Karate, Kung Fu, and Capoeira and had an early interest in Taoism, Qi Gong, and Chinese medicine. After college, he set out on a path of self-discovery in Asia, visiting China, Japan, and Indonesia to study with master teachers, and Thailand, where he was hired to write books for Qi Gong Master Mantak Chia.
Master Holden then opened his own healing arts clinic in California and produced and created a series of educational Qi Gong DVDs. Those DVDs were picked up by American public television and have been shown in more than 50 million households on more than 105 PBS stations throughout the United States and Canada. He is currently working with WW, Inc. (formerly Weight Watchers) as a way to bring healthy movement and flowing practice to millions of members worldwide.
Master Holden is the founder of Holden QiGong and holds teacher trainings in his accessible style of practice and training. His expertise, experience, and down-to-earth approach have made him a popular workshop facilitator, keynote speaker, and trainer.
01: Introduction to Qi Gong
In this lesson, you will be introduced to the flowing movements of Qi Gong, and the deep, slow breath that powers those movements. Qi is the life force that circulates through the body, bringing vitality to every organ and structure. When qi is blocked, the bodily systems can’t perform at their peak, and ill health can result. The breathing, stretching, and strengthening techniques in this lesson will help ensure a fresh supply of energy to all parts of your body. You’ll learn a variety of simple movements including Shaking, Spreading the Feathers, Opening the Flow, and Centering.
02: Qi Gong for Better Breathing
When we spend our whole day sitting down, slightly slumped over the desk, our life force energy can become pretty low. But when we stand up, pull our shoulders back, open our heart, and breathe deeply with awareness and purpose, we elevate the life force within us. With that goal in mind, this lesson includes the movements of Wave Breathing, Holding Up the Sky, Rooster Spreads His Feathers, Soaring Crane, and Great Bear Swims in the Ocean. At the end of this lesson, you will feel both more relaxed and more energized—almost as if the air were breathing you.
03: Qi Gong Mindfulness in Motion
Mindfulness is the simple-sounding act of being aware of the present moment, and recent research has shown it to have a strong positive effect on both mental and physical health. But for most of us—whose minds tend to wander here and there, over and over—mindfulness can be a challenge. In this series of Qi Gong movements, we use the power of breath and energy circulation to bring our thoughts back to the present, again and again. Movements such as Waterways, Clearing, Tiger Claw, Fireflies in the Lantern, and Lotus help us experience the present moment, exactly as it is.
04: Qi Gong for the Upper Back and Neck
We live in an age of inactivity and repetitive motion, with many of us spending hours every day hunched over our computers and smartphones—all of which causes strain in the upper back and neck. But even if we had proper support, posture, and movement throughout the day, our neck muscles must support and balance our head during every waking moment. In this lesson, you’ll use deep abdominal breathing and strong but gentle movements to help clear tension from the neck, upper back, and shoulders. Movements include Silk Reelings, Water Waves, Clearing, Spreading the Feathers, and Bear Swimming in the Ocean.
05: Qi Gong for Healthy Joints
When we think of our joints, most of us think of the large joints: shoulders, hips, knees, and maybe elbows. But we actually have hundreds of joints in the body, although not all are movable (like those in the skull). The energy in our moveable joints can become stagnant over time through repetitive motion, improper posture, and stress. The simple but effective movements of Qi Gong, combined with deep breathing techniques, can bring energy and suppleness back to all our joints. In this lesson, movements include Spinal Cord Breathing, Turtle Neck, Silk Reelings, and Opening the Flow.
06: Qi Gong for Arms, Wrists, and Hands
This lesson is about opening energy throughout the tendons, muscles, ligaments, and joints of the lower arms, allowing for a greater range of motion and better qi circulation down through the fingers. Although arthritis symptoms often begin in the hands, many types of exercise and movement practices ignore the need to increase strength and flexibility in the hands. In this lesson, you’re encouraged to listen to the needs of your body, giving yourself as much or as little stretch as you want. Movements include Silk Reelings, White Crane Soaring, Opening the Flow, and Baby Bird Learning to Fly.
07: Qi Gong for Headaches
Almost everyone has experienced headache pain at one time or another, and many of us experience headaches frequently. The most common type of headache, the tension headache, can be caused by tightened muscles in the back of the neck and the scalp. Qi Gong relieves that tension, increases circulation, and calms the mind—all working together to ease the pain, and leave you feeling refreshed and energized. The movements in this lesson include Wave Breathing, Clearing, Spreading the Feathers, Waterfall, and Pulling Down the Sky to the Six Directions.
08: Qi Gong for Strong Bones
In Chinese medicine, bones are considered to be the energy storage areas of the body, representing deep vitality. They are also the source of our red blood cells, made in the bone marrow. We know that if weight-bearing exercises aren’t used to stimulate the bones, our bones can become more porous as we age. This Qi Gong routine uses the force of your own body weight to strengthen your bones. In addition, these exercises will help increase the flow of your qi and your overall vitality. You’ll learn movements including Knocking on the Door of Life, Shaking, The Fountain, Opening the Flow, Flying, and Bone Breathing.
09: Qi Gong for High Blood Pressure
When your blood pressure is consistently too high, the heart has to work harder than normal and the vessels can become damaged, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. A recent meta-analysis of studies of more than 2,000 patients concluded that Qi Gong is an effective therapy for hypertension. By using Qi Gong to relieve stress, relax your mind and body, and relieve stagnation to increase the free flow of energy, the risk of high blood pressure can be reduced. In this lesson, you will learn the movements of Water Waves, The Boa, Swimming Dragon, Repulse the Monkey, and Embracing the Tree, among others.
10: Qi Gong for Energy and Vitality
Holding tension in the body—whether or not we’re aware of it—can restrict the flow of qi and dampen our sense of vitality. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to activate your own qi and how to move with strength, flexibility, and intentionality. These slow, meditative movements will strengthen the energy system of the entire body. You’ll learn movements including Knocking on the Door of Life, Chi Massage, Turning a Water Wheel, Between Heaven and Earth, Embracing the Tree, Monk Holding the Pearl, and Bamboo in the Wind.
11: Qi Gong for Anxiety
While occasional anxiety is a normal and expected part of life, anxiety disorders significantly affect the lives of 40 million adults in the United States each year. The opposite of anxiety is flow, a feeling of internal peace and relaxation you can discover through the practice of Qi Gong. This lesson will help you find that equanimity, where the body is relaxed, the mind is at peace, and anxiety is held at bay. This routine is like a mini vacation from all the things in life that pull you off your center. You’ll learn movements including Wave Breathing, Cleansing Breath, Drop and Shake, Qi Massage, and Cloudy Hands.
12: Qi Gong Five Elements Energy Balance
There are five elements that represent the energy in nature and in each of us—water, wood, fire, earth, and metal—one energy differentiated into many forms. We ourselves are an extension of the Earth, always lifting up to the sun and the universe. The human body is a powerful conductor of electricity and qi, and when the elements and energy are balanced inside of us, we feel happy, healthy, and at peace. In this lesson, you’ll learn a variety of postures to help balance your energy, including Sword Hand, Snake Spits Out the Tongue, and Embracing the Tree.