Welcome to my blog and Part II of my Five Part Series on Acupressure and Qigong! Today we're going to explore the power of intention and how it can be used to direct and cultivate energy for good health. Let’s get started.
The Importance of Intention
Intention is one of the most fundamental elements of human health, and the beautiful thing about it is that it’s free! The problem is, most of us go most of our lives without any real idea how best to apply it. Sure, we understand to some degree what the word intention means, but very few of us have been taught how to practice intention.
You see, intention is about more than just intending to do something: intention is also about where you place your awareness. Let’s use an example. Right now, as you’re reading this, I want you to take note of your posture. Are you slouching? Leaning to one side? Sitting very straight? How does the surface you’re sitting on affect your posture?
As you become aware of your posture, you are now able to make intentional adjustments to that posture. So: at its core, intention is the purposeful direction of thought to achieve a specific effect.
The Power of Intention
So what does this mean in real life? What it means is that, by practicing intention, you and I get to take a much more active role in our own development - not just physically but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Within the context of acupressure, for instance, we learn to couple our intention with basic exercises (that anyone can do regardless of age) in order to relieve pain. In qigong, we use intention to direct and cultivate energy within the body.
As a result of practicing intention, we learn to become more and more aware of our bodies, more and more aware of the needs of our bodies, and more and more aware of how to address those needs, too.
Directing Energy - An Experiment
Let’s try an experiment together. Hold your hands out in front of you, or else place them gently in your lap, palms up. Now put your awareness into your hands. In other words, focus on them: really try and FEEL your hands.
This might take a few minutes but: what do you feel? Do you feel warmth in your hands? Can you feel your pulse? Perhaps a slight buzzing? Continue to focus on your hands. Try and feel each individual finger, the center of your palms…
Continue this exercise until your hands feel quite warm. Now, look closely at your palms. Do you happen to see red and white “specks” all over them? If you do, those are visual indicators of extra blood flowing to your hands.
What this means is that you have succeeded in drawing energy (and blood) to your hands simply by directing your attention to them - by practicing a rudimentary form of intention. How amazing is that?
The Importance of Breath & Breathing
One of the most important areas that we learn early on to practice intention is with our breath. In fact, many of you may already be quite familiar with this application of intention through your exposure to practices like yoga, meditation, religion, or even psychology!
Breathing is one of those subconscious activities that “just happens”, whether we pay attention to it or not. But by choosing to “follow” our breath - by making an intentional act of breathing - we can learn to achieve a whole plethora of benefits including release of tension, a quieter mind, purification of the blood stream through improved oxygenation, and more.
Other Little Tricks
As we learn to become more intentional about our own health, there are some very foundational practices that we can implement right away to support our efforts. Some of these you may have already established as habits. Others may be new. Here are three very important steps you can take to begin practicing intention right now:
- Drink plenty of water. Appropriate quantities differ based on body type, size, and gender but getting enough water into your system every day is perhaps the most important thing you can do to support an ongoing state of health in the body (and mind).
- Get enough (good) sleep. This is another one that we tend to get all wrong as a result of our high stress levels and busy schedules. It doesn’t take much of “burning the candle at both ends” before the body begins to shut down. Establishing smart sleep routines is imperative to supporting good health.
- Relax your shoulders. It may seem silly, but many of us (especially Westerners) have learned to carry a vast majority of our stress in the neck and shoulders. Set a new intention to pay very close attention to your shoulders. When you feel them tightening, make an effort to relax them. Do this as often as you need to throughout the day.
Evaluating Your Health
Believe it or not, there are many common health issues that can be addressed using even the most basic of intention practices (like breathing exercises). To learn more about this, book an appointment by clicking the button below to come and see me.
We’ll work together to evaluate your current state of health and build a plan for moving forward into ever-greater health and happiness!