By Jane Barthelemy
Would you like to bring more energy into your body? Feel more alive? Heal more quickly? Walking is powerful medicine that activates your deepest meridians and energies. In fact, waking is essential for health, and it can be used to heal serious internal diseases. Walking just 30 to 60 minutes a day can dissolve stress and improve brain function. Walking tones your muscles, boosts metabolism, builds bone density, lowers blood pressure, helps circulation, improves lymphatic function, builds the immune system, stimulates intestinal health and lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s. Walking also renews the spirit. How does it do all that?
Walking stimulates the Qi, or vital Energy in the body.
Just like Qigong builds Qi and dissolves stress, walking stimulates health and eradicates disease because of its ability to move Qi and build a store of Qi in the body. There are two very important walking techniques that build Qi in the body I would like to discuss here. The first is Mindful Walking, which is simple walking meditation. The other technique is called Guolin Qigong, or Xi Xi Hu, developed by Gou Lin, the most famous Qigong Master of the 20th century.
Earthing is Critical for Your Health
What’s Earthing? The Earth beneath your feet outdoors is not just a mere patch of grass, dirt, sand, or concrete. It is an omnipresent source of natural healing energy. The premise of Earthing is that our planet is a big, huge battery. We humans, and all living beings, are electrical creatures on an electrical planet, and the ground beneath us is more than something we just walk on, play and build on.
When we connect our bodies directly to the Earth, we tap into its vast healing energies, restoring our natural electrical state. We lose this ability to recharge ourselves when we are distracted and when we wear insulating-soled shoes – a challenge to all of us in our modern society. Physical disconnection from the Earth creates abnormal physiology and contributes to inflammation, pain, fatigue, stress, and poor sleep.
Did you know that the soles of your feet have more nerve endings than any other part of your body? Yes. Our bodies are 75 – 90% water. As we walk, the water in our body conducts electrons from the ground up into our cells. Walking on the ground stimulates KI-1 Kidney point on the bottom of the feet, shooting energy up the legs, which is metabolized by Spleen Meridian and taken by Bladder Meridian into the nervous system.
Walking is the best exercise for moving the food along the digestive tract and improving absorption. The energetic meridians of the digestive organs run along the large muscles of the legs, so walking stimulates energy flow within these channels and promotes digestion.
How Do I Connect to the Earth?
Just walk barefoot, sit, practice Qigong, Taiji, Yoga, or lie directly on the ground. That’s it! There are many grounding products you can buy as well, to help stay connected when sitting and sleeping. By re-connecting to the Earth, disease symptoms can be rapidly relieved and even eliminated. When you’re connected to the Earth energy, recovery from injury, surgery, or exertion is faster. For more information: Clinton Ober’s book Earthing or www.earthing.com.
Mindful Walking Meditation
Movement is essential for health. According to ancient Chinese medicine, walking is the best exercise to activate and stimulate the meridians. Walking outside in the morning light jump-starts your metabolism, moves toxins and lymph, stimulates the meridians, especially the Yang Qiao Mai and Yin Qiao Mai meridians which vitalize the inner body clock, and bring Earth Qi up to stimulate healthy brain function. Below are general instructions for Mindful Walking from John Pepper, a South African man who eliminated his Parkinson’s symptoms by this simple walking regime.
“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.” Ursula K. LeGuin
Simple walking outside for 15 minutes brings Earth Energy up through the meridians in the legs, up through the body and into the brain. It vitalizes and relaxes every organ and body function as it goes. When you walk in the morning, the daylight enters your eyes, setting your body clock for the day. You won’t even need coffee!
Walking speeds metabolism and burns calories even after you stop. Just two miles can increase your calorie consumption for up to 12 hours afterwards, says Dr. Eherenfried Pfeiffer, nutritionist and biochemist. Dr. John Jonides, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan conducted experiments to test brain function and metabolism before and after a walk. Volunteers walked in the city or through a nearby arboretum. His findings:
“When participants returned from a nature walk, they showed a 20% overall improvement in brain function, memory and attention, but after urban walks showed no improvement at all.”
How to Practice Mindful Walking:
Focus on being in your body. That’s quite different from thinking about where you’re going or your next project. If you walk with a friend, do it in silence, thinking about Nature, your breath and your dantien. Walk with your back straight, your head facing forward, your eyes looking far into the distance. Hands swing naturally at your sides, not in pockets or holding anything. Walk barefoot or wear leather or cloth bottom shoes that can be penetrated by the earth’s energy. These are preferable to rubber-soled shoes. Use your judgment and walk gently without hammering your heels into the ground.
Mindful Walking is about non-doing. Do nothing, have nothing in mind – just walk and be peaceful. Peace and joy will only come when you have nothing to trouble the mind. To empty the mind, bring your awareness under your feet. Walk at a medium brisk pace, without exerting yourself, loosening the arms and hands to swing normally without effort, eyes gently open straight ahead into the distance. Feel your contact with the ground. Feel softness, peace and purity springing from each step.
Zen Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh instructs, “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
What is Guolin Qigong?
(Gwo LIN Chi GONG) is also called Qigong Walking, Wind Healing Walk or Xi Xi Hu.
Guolin Qigong creates a powerful force-field of Qi wherever you walk. It imparts wisdom of coordinating breath and movement to regulate the five organ spirits. Guo Lin Qigong has been used as an effective treatment for cancer, and it can also be used to heal many other diseases.
Guolin Qigong was named after its developer Grand Master Guo Lin. Guo Lin (郭林) was born in 1909, the daughter of a Qigong Grand Master. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1949 and healed herself with her walking program. In the 1960’s she helped heal millions of others with her Qigong Walking Protocol, and became the most famous Qigong Master of the 20th century. She named the practice Xi Xi Hu, meaning Inhale, Inhale, Exhale. Xi means Inhale. It is also the sacred sound of the Triple burner in Chinese medicine. Hu means Exhale. It is also the sacred sound of the Spleen/Pancreas organ.
Grand Master Guo Lin, was the Founder of Guo Lin Qigong
Unique Benefits of Guo Lin Qigong
Special breathing called “breathing like the wind” is an ancient Qigong practice that powerfully brings Qi into the body. Guo Lin introduced the concept of focusing the mind on things outside the body rather than within the body, an approach often used in Qigong. She then tailored the style to suit each person’s health needs and condition. For example, men begin walking on the left, while the women begin on the right. There are specific instructions for different types of ailments. Movements from left to right stimulate specific meridian critical in many modern chronic diseases.
One of Guo Lin’s American students was a Ph. D. of Physics from Texas’ Cancer Research Institute who documented his findings. He noted that disease is often a lack of oxygen in the cells. Walking Qigong’s breathing technique brings in huge quantities of oxygen, supporting healing. As the emotional state of a patient improves, healing can happen faster. Walking Qigong promotes necessary calmness, spiritual wholeness, relaxation, and other emotional benefits.
Guo Lin Qigong and the Meridians
The Yang Heel Vessel (Yang Qiao Mai) regulates the Yang channels, such as the Bladder, Gall Bladder, Small Intestine and Large Intestine. It is also connected with the Governing Vessel. Walking fills the Yang Heel Vessel with Qi, which is led upward through the legs to nourish the other channels. Qigong wisdom holds that since this vessel also connects into your brain, certain leg exercises can be used to cure brain imbalances. And many cases too much Qi in the head can be cured by walking.
Guo Lin Qigong emphasized hand movements that bring energy to the Dantien and GB-30. The Dantien is the main energy reservoir of the body located roughly 2 fingers below the navel. GB-30 point on the hip is also called Huan Tiao 環跳. It is an important meeting point of the Gallbladder and Bladder Channels. GB-30 is considered a warehouse storage point for anger in the body, hence moving this point dissipates anger as a root of disease. GB-30 also happens to be one Of Ma Danyang’s Twelve Acupoints, known as the 12 most important points in the body for acupuncture. Ma Danyang was a famous Daoist born around 1123 A.D.
Gou Lin Qigong brings Qi strongly to GB29 and GB30 points near the hip joint. GB 30 is a meeting point of Gall Bladder and Bladder. GB 29 is a point on the Yang Qiao Mai Meridian.
In addition, acupuncture point K1 (Kidney 1 or Bubbling Spring) on the soles of the feet connects to all points of the body via the energy vessels. The Bubbling Spring point is said to open the sensory orifices and calm the Spirit. This point plays a significant role in walking meditation and in all of Qigong by grounding us to Earth energy. Walking activates these meridians, dissolves stress, bringing Qi up to the brain. This re-sets your biorhythms, boost metabolism, and promotes every aspect of your health.
How to do Guo Lin Qigong Walking? There are Three Preparation Steps
- Stand in relaxed stance, hands relaxed. If you like, count silently to 64, about one minute. Remove thoughts from your mind. Look far away horizontally. The direction of your stance depends on your disease. For specific instructions, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRAuzeVEwns
- Take three cycles of Qi breathing evenly. This means inhaling though the nose and then exhaling out through the mouth, followed with normal breathing. Do this 3 times. Finish with hands folded over each other at Dantien. Men: left hand on the body, right hand on top. Ladies: right hand on the body, left hand on top. For more specific instructions for various areas of disease, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRAuzeVEwns
- Do 3 repetitions of Qigong form Spreading the Waters (Also called Dantien Opening and Closing). Start with hands near the center at dantien level. Open the hands with palms facing the earth as you exhale. Gather in (close) with hands facing each other as you exhale. Keep eyes gently closed, tip of tongue against top palate lightly. Keep shoulders down, not raised. Make elbows and hands round. For more specific instructions for various areas of disease, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRAuzeVEwns
- Walk at a medium pace, doing the wind breathing. On the first step, take two short inhales (Xi Xi) as if sniffing a flower. Then step with the other foot as you exhale (Hu).
- The inhale comes into the center of your nose as if you were smelling in a beautiful flower.
- Women begin step with right hands to the right, stepping right. Men begin with hands to the left, stepping left. Step with the heel first to activate the Kidney meridian.
- Every 4 breaths, turn your head toward your open arms. Women: head turns to the left. Men: head turns to the right.
- Engage the core of the abdomen. Keep the tongue resting on the upper palate.
- Think of a green forest and the graceful movements of a panda bear. The panda is a symbol of tranquil strength, ease, and determination. While soft and fuzzy, it is always strong and grounded.
- If saliva comes, stop walking, swallow it down to Dantien in 3 gulps. Then continue walking.
“Good walking leaves no track behind it.” Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
For more information and visual demonstrations, visit: