What is Waking Energy?
Waking Energy™ is the all new, powerful mind, body spirit workout that combines 5,000 years of ancient longevity and health secrets. It is a magical combination of the quiet focused, energetic heaven and earth practice of Qigong (Chi-Gong), the allure and mystique of the Five Tibetans, elemental movements that mimic the rotation of the earth, stirring and opening the major energy vortexes of the body, activating the chakra system and the nourishing, activating and rejuvenating beauty and simplicity of meridian stretches or Yin Yoga.
When you practice waking and collecting energy exercises, you will actually feel energy awakening within your own body! You will bring energy toward yourself as you harvest and gather chi, your life force— from the earth, from the trees, the flower, the plants and everything that grows and breathes upon it. You will learn to “harness” the energy of the universe and literally “funnel” it into your own body to activate your body’s natural capabilities and reserves to promote healing and balance.
How do you harness the energy of the universe? How can you bring energy toward yourself from earth and the sky? I have learned, and I will teach you how you can become the fountain and the ultimate source of all of the boundless energy you will ever need to live healthfully and longer, more instinctively and naturally, with less stress and more vitality … all of the energy you will ever need walk, think, work, run, reach, bend, garden, make love, play. You will boost your metabolism and super-charge your immune system. The glow of good health and energy will grow beyond your Waking Energy workouts and continue to grow exponentially.
Enough for you to look hot and incredibly fit to feel cool and confident to empower your body, energize and enliven your mind.
The Tao is about Change. Taoist self-cultivation studies nature because it teaches us how to change gracefully. The Tao teaches us how to dance with the all-pervading life force as we move through our personal life cycles. Sometimes change happens quickly like a spring thunderstorm.
The Magical Elixir and Antidote
Waking Energy will be your tonic, the magical elixir, the antidote to today’s stressful, cell-phoning, multi-tasking “modern” world.
Aside from making you feel great and more enlivened, Waking Energy literally teaches you to tap into the energy that exists in our own bodies and to “harness” the Chi that exists around us, called “universal chi,” to boost your immunity and cultivate the inner “power” to feel better, look better and to protect ourselves from the many stressors we have to cope with in our daily lives.
In today’s world, with industrial toxins, genetically engineered foods, reduced ozone and mineral depletion in our soils, the surplus of electromagnetic radiation with cell phones, blackberries, and new adjuncts to our ever-expanding technologically dominated world, there are myriad sources of distraction and a real cause for concern. Our excessive multi-tasking, ingestion of caffeine, alcohol and fast foods, and sedentary lifestyles lead to a condition in Chinese medicine called “excess heat,” which leads to indigestion, heartburn, headaches and chronic joint conditions such as arthritis and early on-set osteoporosis, heart disease, and the list sadly goes on and on.
What we need is “cool.” We need modalities that literally help us to leave the world of intense distraction and multi-tasking, stress and heat-producing activities behind. We need to engage in mind-body movement that both heats the body and then cools it. We need balance. We need to learn to live defensively and to find modalities that increase our ability to cultivate a new kind of consciousness and enable us to live more holistically.
This synergistic blend of elements in my new Hot Body Cool Mind and Jennifer Kries DVD series, combines both yang (hot) and yin (cool) segments with workouts that balance and harmonize the body’s energy systems, creating strong chi which provides a powerful antidote to the stressful aspects of today’s modern world.
How Waking Energy Works
The meridians, like rivers of energy, ensure proper nurturing of chi or life force throughout your whole being. When you are healthy, the flow of chi proceeds unimpeded, like the water in a free-running river, and energy is well distributed throughout the meridian pathways. When the river, or meridian, is blocked for some reason, the chi is prevented from reaching the specific area it is supposed to nurture. The result is that the cells, tissue or organs in the affected area will suffer. Waking Energy teaches us to tap into the energy that naturally exists in our own bodies and to “harness” the Chi that exists around us, called “universal chi,” to literally get the “rivers” flowing again—so that we can strengthen our internal system to fend off the negative, deleterious energies that swirl around us in our environment. In so doing, we cultivate a deepening respect for ourselves and our bodies and learn to live more in tune with nature, raising our consciousness about the world around us and how it deserves our respect and gratitude for sustaining us. In the process of learning to heal ourselves and the incredible life-changing benefits it affords us, we are moved to heal the world around us.
Welcome to Waking Energy!
Your journey to the fountain of youth, and boundless energy, reduced stress and peace of mind begins here …
Qigong (Chi-Gong also spelled Chi Kung) Teacher
QI(CHI) = ENERGY + GONG(KUNG) = SKILL
QIGONG = THE SKILL OF ATTRACTING VITAL ENERGY
The word Qigong (pronounced “chee gong”) is a combination of two ideas: “Qi” means air, breath of life, or vital energy of the body, and “gong” means the skill of working with, or cultivating, self-discipline and achievement. The art of Qigong consists primarily of meditation, relaxation, physical movement, mind-body integration, and breathing exercises. Teachers of Qigong develop an awareness of chi sensations (energy) in their body and use their mind to guide the energy. When the teachers achieve a high skill level (master), they can direct or emit external chi for the purpose of healing others. For thousands of years, people have benefited from Qigong practices, knowing that by improving the function of chi in their bodies, they could maintain their health and prevent disease. In traditional Chinese medicine, good health is a result of a free flowing, well-balanced energy system. It is believed that regular practice of Qigong helps to cleanse the body of toxins, restore energy, reduce stress and anxiety, and help maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. It has been said that Qigong is one of the most powerful healing traditions ever developed in human history. It is literally a health wonder of the world.
How does Qigong (Chi-Gong) work
Qigong creates an awareness of and influences dimensions of our being that are not part of traditional exercise programs. Most exercises do not involve the meridian system used in acupuncture nor do they emphasize the importance of adding mental intention and breathing techniques to physical movements. When these dimensions are added, the benefits of exercise increase exponentially. The gentle, rhythmic movements of Qigong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality, and enhance the immune system. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions. Those who maintain a consistent Qigong practice find it helps to regain a youthful vitality and maintain this vigor and good health into old age. Unlike most sports, you don’t have to be in shape to start learning Qigong. Qigong exercises, such as Dragon and Tiger Chi Gung, are taught to patients in Chinese hospitals to heal chronic degenerative diseases such as chronic fatigue and high blood pressure. In fact, these gentle, health-promoting exercises can be practiced by bedridden patients, while seated in a chair. China has a long tradition of preventative health care. Self-care exercises, like Qigong, enable people to heal illnesses, injuries, back problems, relieve stress and general malaise as well as prevent disease for very low cost in the comfort of their own home.
Qigong (Chi-Gong) and the Soul Connection
One of the more important long-term effects of Qigong is the benefit that comes from deepening the body-mind-soul connection. People do Qigong for the more obvious physical benefits—to maintain health, and heal their bodies, but while they engage in this practice, they also calm their minds, and reconnect with their spirit. When these three aspects of our being are integrated—the body, mind and soul, it encourages a positive outlook on life and helps eliminate harmful attitudes and behaviors. It also creates a balanced life style, which brings greater harmony, stability, and enjoyment. In Qigong, we seek to move from a core energy that is naturally occurring—one that already flows within us and around us in nature. It is almost as if we no longer have muscles or bones and we learn to mimic the way trees sway in the wind and the way animals move— effortlessly. Rather than intentionally moving an arm, for example, we find that tapping our inner energy allows the arm to move almost without effort. This requires less “intentional” energy and less physical effort, which can make movement easier, especially for those with inflamed muscles. How much vitality a person has is directly related to how healthy he or she is. Just like a car won’t run unless we put gas in the car; our body won’t run as well with less energy. Qigong increases the vital energy in the body and restores the flow of energy in pathways, called meridians, to all the organs and tissues in the body so that they can function better and simultaneously helps us to reconnect to the world around us, to the naturally occurring abundance of chi in the air, in the grass, in the trees and flowers that we channel into our bodies. Qigong exercises open and strengthen the meridian pathways, enabling them to carry more vital energy to areas such as the heart, liver and lower back. Having more energy — charging the body with energy — allows organs that are sick or weak to get stronger and clears tension out of areas that are stressed. Having more energy and knowing where it comes from—that it is self-generated and “borrowed from nature” inspires respect for nature and ourselves and enables us to handle stress better, have sharp minds and live longer, happier lives.
When we are more grounded in the body, the mind and the spirit can be set free. By finding the courage to let go, to surrender to the universe, we discover the unexplored territories of our own interior landscapes, and while what we find may feel new, these treasures, our body-mind potential and capabilities have actually been there all along.
Although the name Waking Energy suggests a rising or yang quality, because of its quiet focused introspective aspects and because it draws upon the energetic character of heaven and earth and their natural cycles and rhythms, it can also be practiced as a yin, or more quiet and internal workout. The Yin yoga component of Waking Energy can be practiced at any time of the day or night when you need to slow down and cool your body-mind and allow the breath the time and space to move through your being in a more gentle way. Yin yoga is a cooling and gathering “un-workout,” one that will calm and ground your energies whether at the beginning of your day if you feel stressed and get you off to a steady start, or at the end of a long day to better prepare you for a good night’s rest.
There are currents flowing through the connective tissues of the body, which when flowing smoothly create the environment for optimal health. As modern life is not exactly conducive to fostering the time and place for establishing the “smooth flow” of currents through the body, one must take matters into his/her own hands. Yin yoga is one of the most effective ways to gain access to the realm of autonomously inspired health resulting in overall balance, health and well-being. Yin yoga, like acupuncture addresses the tissues of the body which conduct the movement of bio-electric currents of the body, resulting in enhanced range of motion, a regulated nervous system and a clear mind.
Whereas the yoga most people are familiar with appropriates the yang tissues of the body, yin yoga centers around the more interior supportive structures of the body, down to the bone marrow. Yin is every bit as vital as the “yang vinyasa,” the yoga that most people are more familiar with—the “power yoga” where one flows from pose to pose, concentrating on building stamina and muscular strength. Yin yoga postures are designed to stretch and revitalize the connective tissue in order to open up energetic passageways throughout the body and restore physical and emotional balance. Since our culture is geared toward “working out” and immediate gratification, there is a strong emphasis on yang practices, but yin yoga is equally as important and literally balances the yang, addressing an entirely different, more subtle body that lies beneath. So, while it is essential to keep the yang tissues of the body conditioned and supple, it is of tantamount importance to nourish the yin. The practitioner holds poses anywhere from ten breaths to ten minutes and in either case, as long as she is focused on the area being stretched, benefit is derived. The mind becomes more integrated with the body as it relinquishes control and the practitioner starts to experience a more significant awareness of the body and moves even deeper into the psycho-emotional realms observing from more of a distance (so while she goes deeper, she finds a sense of calm that allows her to separate herself from a “self”) the vicissitudes of the wandering, emotional mind. Yin yoga encourages us to move from the outside in—to investigate the exploration of an internal landscape.
Time records itself in the deeper connective tissue of the body, where traumatic emotional and physically based experiences find a “home.” When engaging in a yin practice, it is not at all uncommon to release held emotions that accompanied the original trauma and practitioners can become angry, anxious and start to express their powerful emotions either through laughter or tears. This can be both remarkably cathartic and very therapeutic physically—yet another benefit of the yin practice.
“A grub in filth is dirty, but it changes into a cicada and sips dew in the autumn breeze. Rotting plants have no luster, but they turn into foxfire and glow in the summer moonlight. So we know that purity emerges from impurity, and light is born from darkness.”
~Hong Ying – Ming
Waking Energy Elements
Waking Energy Standing
A flowing heaven and earth Chi-Gong and “Makko-Ho” (meridian stretch) dance that teaches you to integrate breath and movement and harness the energy around you. Learn to draw energy up from the earth through the “bubbling spring” points in your feet and pull energy down from the skies above through your crown and lao-gung points in your hands. Enhance your body’s natural energy potential by supercharging it with universal chi—the energy that surrounds you as you awaken and channel the energy within your own body to create a powerful internal awareness, balance and peace of mind.
The Five Tibetans
Also called the “Rites of Rejuvenation,” the ancient secret of Tibetan Monks who retained their youthful vigor well into their old age. The potent time-saving series that stimulates the “chakra system” for total body balancing, strengthening, awakening, age-defying, revitalizing and super-immune boosting.
Yin Yoga and Meditation
Long held, deeply relaxing “stretching” poses that target the deeper connective tissue of the body, the fasciae, stimulating and opening the meridians, or energy pathways in your body, restoring youthful joint mobility as you quietly harmonize your body and mind, restoring and recharging your batteries. Go deeper into your “inner world” and explore your internal topography, liberating chronic holding patterns in the body and repressed emotions for an incredible catharsis and an unparalleled feeling calm.
“Do you have the patience to wait till the mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself? The master doesn’t seek fulfilment. Not seeking, not expecting, she is present, and can welcome all things.”
The Five Tibetans
Discovered in the late thirties by a retired British naval officer named Peter Kelder who had learned the exercises from some Tibetan lamas in a monastery in the Himalayas, the 5 Tibetans are so powerful that they are purported to hold the secret to the fountain of youth. By virtue of their effects in opening “stagnant” or dormant centers of energy in the body, Kelder said “everything starts to flow in the most beneficial way, joints become more mobile, the skin glows, the hair thickens and returns to its lustrous youthful color and the spirit rises.”
This small community of Tibetans Monks who never seemed to grow old and who until the end of the days retained their youthful vigor, practiced their “Rites of Rejuvenation” daily, learning energy cultivation and refinement and reaped significant rewards as a result of their dedication and practice. Because I am privileged to have learned their secrets, I will teach and you will learn, how to wake up the energy within you!
The power of the 5 Tibetans, their rigorous system of exercise takes you beyond toning and conditioning the body, though it does so in an extraordinarily efficient and time-saving way. While you’re practicing the exercises, and growing stronger and more flexible, more alert and more alive, the body’s energy vortexes or chakras are being stimulated or opened, as are all of the organ systems that correspond to them. In turn, the seven chakras or spinning wheels of energy, each represented by a different color stimulate the body’s endocrine system, the governing master control panel for the functioning of the entire body, influencing not only how well and how long we live, but every aspect of who we are and how we experience life. Just as a massage can soothe an aching muscle, or the right nutrient can stimulate a gland to function well, so practicing the 5 Tibetans balances and stimulates the chakras and encourages them to function at peak activity.
The idea of chakra balancing is not a diversion into some celestial or esoteric realm of vague mystical mumbo-jumbo. When the human energy system is working well, the body and mind are healthy, vital and balanced. As you practice the 5 Tibetans, you can actually feel the silent pulse of perfect rhythm that connects us to all of life, energy and nature. You feel like a child again, spinning, spinning color wheels of energy in harmony with one another– in harmony with the breathing, circulating flowing energy body. A microcosm of the universe, at one with the universe and forever young.
The chakras, or spinning wheels of energy run along the spinal column, the central channel of the body through which energy flows from the base of the spine to the top of the head and out to our organ systems and our limbs. Ideally all the chakras should be open and spinning at a similar rate to one another in order to establish true balance in the physical, emotional and energetic realms of the body. The more open, clear and balanced the chakras, the more vital energy can flow through your system promoting total health, and continued growth on all levels.
The first chakra, or the “root” in Sanskrit Muladhara is located at the base of the spine at the perineum. It is related to survival, power, trust and letting go and the organs and glands associated with it are the large intestine and the adrenals. It rules over the skeleton, the lymph system and elimination and is characterized by the color red.
The second chakra, or Svadhisthana is located below the navel and above the pubic bone. It is related to creativity, procreation, sexual function and vitality and rules over the bladder, kidneys and sexual organs, and is responsible for reproduction and assimilation. It is represented by the color orange.
The third chakra, or Manipura is located between the navel and the base of the rib cage. It is about will, personal power, fame, freedom, intellect and is associated with the liver, spleen, stomach, small intestine and pancreas—the digestive system and muscles of the body and is represented by the color yellow.
The fourth chakra, Anahata, is located at the breast bone in the middle of the chest. The Anahata is about love, compassion, faith, devotion, and rules over the heart and lungs and thymus gland. It is associated with respiration, circulation, and the immune system and is represented by the color green.
The fifth chakra, or Visuddha is it is located in the throat below the Adams apple. It is related to higher creativity, communication and knowledge. It is associated with the vocal chords and the thyroid, responsible for growth and metabolism and its color is blue.
The sixth chakra or Ajna (the third eye) is it is located one finger width above the bridge of the nose at the center of the forehead. It is associated with higher intelligence, clairvoyance, and insight. It appropriates refined hearing, and rules over the brain and pituitary, the endocrine system and its color is purple.
The seventh chakra or Sahasrara is the crown chakra. It is located in the center of the skull on the top of head and speaks to cosmic or God consciousness and enlightenment. It is connected to the nervous system, and its color is white.
The planet isn’t the only thing that’s overheating …
Many of the big problems in health, psychology and relationships can be said to originate in an excess of yang energy, or excess heat. Not just the excesses of aggression, winning, and dominating, but the whole frenetic race toward ever more energy draining and attention-demanding multi-tasking. Our society is becoming progressively more hypomanic and it sometimes seems that it is only a matter of time before everyone will start to show symptoms of attention deficit disorder! Some of the illnesses that are becoming more prevalent, including some of the disorders of immune function, digestion and thermoregulation, can also be thought of as consequences of a rampant and unbalanced yang force. It is of vital importance for us to try and balance those excesses in our own lives, and it is a tough call with so many demands on us. The exercises in the yin practice are all designed to balance the Yin and Yang energies of our bodies, to provide the stillness, cool and calm that we all need so badly in the rush of our daily lives. Cultivating Yin energy is an essential balancing tool for us in today’s world given the overwhelming nature of the demands our technological advances have placed upon us.
What a gift really, to be able to sit still, stop time and return to the breath, to the pulse of perfect rhythm that exists in each one of us, the pulse that mimics nature’s own heartbeat, the beating of the rain on the roof, the whistle of the wind through the trees, the gentle breeze that ripples over the water’s surface, the sunlight that shines on us and warms our every cell. This is the breath, this is the gift of perfect balance and harmony we can give ourselves when we return to our inner voice that can only be heard when we create the stillness that quiets the mind.