BY SOPHIE MEI LAN https://mamamei.co.uk @mamameiblog 

Fear-inducing fitness ads and diet fads are proven to increase our stress levels and produce unhealthy effects on our mind and body, not to mention rob us of our personal power to get fit in mind and body for life. 

Ironically such scare mongering can hamper our sleep, cause us to over and under eat and for sensitive souls like I was, it can confuse our minds as to what to do to achieve our health and fitness goals. 

Building personal power is much more than pumping iron in the gym it’s about having the core strength to prioritise your own deep health and well-being. 

I’m not just saying this because right now I can’t physically power lift a pebble let alone dumb-bells after a lengthy stint in hospital. But the internal strength I’ve been practicing on my inner physical inner healing or ‘body building’ and better still to help me gain even more mental strength has been through the power of mental rehearsals to help prepare my mind, as many athletes do, before competing in the Olympics, or for me it has been restoring my health and optimising my healing so that I can return recover my physical strength. I have also been trialling slower workouts which incorporate the mind and body such as Qi Gong which is an ancient Chinese martial art form that “benefits our health through meditation, physical exercises and energy practices,” explains my Upton based instructor Mark A Whitmore as he explained over Skype the correct stances, breathing techniques, internal alchemy and movements to reduce stress levels, increase mobility and enhance personal energy levels. 

Initially in Lockdown I had struggled to focus my mind into being conscious in the moment but as I had my mum by my side, Mark’s down-to-earth Yorkshire accent instructions and a higher energy style of Qi Gong to match my flow called Ba Duan Jin qigong – I found myself immersed in this magic. It felt like a mixture of a self massage for my gut, combined with powerful flow stretches and powerful martial arts style dance. I felt truly connected even with my two young daughters squabbling over a doll’s house in the background. 

I was so grateful for the mental rehearsal in hospital that I had practiced and even the fact that for the first time in my life I had been ‘forced’ yet grateful for still meditation and mindfulness.

Not only that I had received distant Reiki (energy healing) in my hospital bed from Mark’s partner Pris as well as a Vegan hamper delivery to nourish my body with plant-based food. 

Even in the midst of any stressful and noisy environment whether it be in a hospital bed, from our personal lives to the workplace, we can discover our personal power whatever our physical situation by taking control through such exercises. Even just starting with the breath is a simple yet transformational practice as it can help us to become mindful about what we consume, how we need to move our body that day and build our strength. 

Only we know what our mind and body needs and better still such stillness has been proven to boost many health and fitness goals which is why I myself have have gone from a world of the harsh diet and fitness industry which clutters our minds and bodies with mixed messages and fads stopping us from taking action and removing our personal power  to experimenting with the roots of more Eastern based workouts from training as a Face Yoga and Yoga teacher as well as joining a Reiki instructor course with Beyond Healing so that I can share such benefits combined with my experience as a dancer and wellbeing journalist. 

Whatever your goals, go slow and breathe to achieve more and speed up long term results. 

Whilst I personally prefer to continue learning from 

I discovered that I could adopt this inner power 

“Qi” = Energy

“Gong” = Work or skill

What is Qi Gong? 

Qigong is a healing art that benefits mind, body and spirit through meditation, physical exercises and energy practises. 

During a class you will learn the correct stances, breathing techniques, internal alchemy and movements to reduce stress levels, increase mobility and enhance personal energy levels. 

As mentioned in my article, I have discovered through Yorkshire-based Holistic therapies centre Beyond Healing, a hybrid of high energy Qi Gong which helps someone like me but is still healing and nurturing when it comes to building your personal power. 

What is Ba Duan Jin qigong?

The 8 treasures or 8 brocades is an ancient qigong form that has been used as a set of health boosting movements for over 1,000 years. This medical qigong set has many health boosting properties and those who stick with it will see an increase in energy, strength and flexibility, as well as encouraging healing on emotional and spiritual levels.

Qi Gong ‘Workout’: 

Ba Duan Jin Poem(八段锦歌诀)

Concentration for the mind and stillness for the heart

Push palms outwards to repair the liver and lungs

Both hands push to the sky to regulate the Qi in your back

Draw the bow ready to shoot

Pick the star which helps to regulate the stomach and spleen

Look Backwards to remove exhaustion of the 5 internal organs and injuries caused by the 7 human emotions

Oxen Turns Head to rebalance the excess internal fire energy

Two Hands Hold the Feet to strengthen the kidneys and the waist

Clench fists and glare with eyes wide to increase physical strength

Bouncing on the toes to eliminate all kinds of sickness

Circular massage of the stomach in both directions to return the energy to the Dan Tien

Preserve the Qi and return it to the Dan Tien to increase health and wisdom
Mind Challenge It can be hard to go from being passive to assertive overnight. But through the power of the breath we can breathe into our ‘personal power’ in the solar plexus which in the Chakra System is the ‘seat’ of such positive innate power. Where your ‘will’ is aka the mani pura. You can create or destroy this power in the 3rd chakra. 
Life Hack We don’t always need healers to help heal ourselves. Yes they can help, but we need to take small steps to building our own self control for long lasting results – they are there to guide and assist us not ‘to do it all’ for us. Start today by taking back control of small areas of our life that don’t serve us, such as removing a toxin at a time from our bodies or a reducing time with a toxic person “vampire” from our lives.
Did You Know 
The word power tends to have negative connotations such as asserting our will over others. When actually personal power is about having strength within, asserting our boundaries and  â€œis what permits us to work on behalf of our dreams and desires. It allows us to realise that we are worthy and deserve to be heard. Our personal power lets us extend the respect we know that we deserve to the people around us. There is no reason to be afraid or ashamed of fully owning your power.” Daily Om. 
Quote of the Day: 
People’s minds are like map makers made up our own personal map ‘our world’ not the real world. All our thoughts, feelings and memories. Our feelings change when our maps do as these maps are the key to change our awareness. We can always change our internal maps. Phew! Body workouts: 
Breathing and Chakra Healing workout: 

In the chakra system, the solar plexus is the seat of personal power. One way to evaluate your sense of power is to breathe into this part of the body. If it feels tight or nervous, it is an indication that you may not be fully expressing your power. You can heal this imbalance by expanding the area of the solar plexus with your breath. You can also visualize a bright yellow sun in this part of your body. Allow its heat to melt any tension, and let its light dissolve any darkness or heaviness. Repeating this exercise on a regular basis can restore and rejuvenate your sense of power. “ Daily Om

Full body workout:

1.) Walking lunges x10 (each leg)2.) Hand walkouts / press ups x53.)  Knee to outside elbow climbers x10 (each side)
.Repeat 3-4 sets , Rest 60-90 seconds between each round.

Lower body workout:

1.) Back foot elevated split squats x10 (each leg)2.) Single leg curl  x10 (each leg)3.)Single leg RDL x10 (each side)
.Repeat 3-4 sets , Rest 60-90 seconds between each round.

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