Lee Holden jumped into the air to smash a soccer ball with his head.
Before the young varsity athlete from UC Berkeley could make contact, another player swept his legs out from under him. Lee missed the ball and crashed down painfully on his tailbone.
For a week, he could hardly walk, stand, sit, or lie down without horrible pain. His doctor said he was done playing for the season, and Lee refused to give up. He remembered an old martial arts teacher, a man who once broke through 15 stacked bricks in one mighty blow, and suffered no injury.
If there was some ancient healing wisdom from the East that could prevent this master’s hand from becoming injured, maybe it could cure his lower back, he thought.
Desperate to get back on the field, Lee tried Qi Gong, a series of breathing and movement exercises. His injury healed quickly, he made it back into the season, and he was so impressed with the results that he continued studying Qi Gong for the rest of his life. Now he teaches it to others, on PBS specials, on DVDs, and through online video courses.
“There is a lot more to Qi Gong than meets the eye. Like an iceberg, what you can see and witness in a Qi Gong practice is only the surface of a much deeper and potent internal power. Qi Gong is simple: it requires no equipment, little space, and can be practiced in a short amount of time. Yet simple as it seems, Qi Gong brings an incredible amount of healing power to the practitioner.
– Lee Holden
Qi Gong is the best exercise for busy Dads.
Every year, our joints become more delicate, our bodies don’t heal as fast, and the sports of our youth may not even be good for us anymore.
I’m a good case in point: Parkour is a young man’s sport. I discovered Parkour when I was nearly 30, and today, I’m often twice the age of the kids I run with. They can do tricks easily that require my full dedication and training – I’ve got to work really hard just to match an 18-year-old PK rookie.
As much as I love Parkour, I know that I have to retire soon. My joints need to last for decades, so I can hike into the hills with my progeny. I owe it to them to take good care of my body. I owe it to them to stay fit.
When I first tried one of Lee Holden’s videos, I was surprised at how much clearer I felt in my own body. The tension that I always carried in my neck and shoulders was gone. I felt more centered and balanced throughout the day, especially at bedtime – the kids would be exhausted and grumpy, and I could stay calm and even because I felt relaxed in my body and calm in my mind.
Qi Gong has been called “the Art of Effortless Power.” I think that’s one of the reasons I like it so much; as an athlete, I’m so used to pushing, straining, and exerting effort in order to get results. Qi Gong is a wonderful counterpoint to this, because the more you relax, the more energy and vitality you get from the practice.
The slower you move your body, the more you can relax.
Best of all, the exercises were so simple and easy to learn, it was as easy as pushing play and standing up.
Parents Don’t Learn Very Well
Right now, Dads, you’ve got more obligations than at any other point in your life. Time is your most expensive commodity. If it takes time to learn something, it’s easier to do without it.
Learning new things sucks when you’re a parent, because you don’t have any free time. The learning curve is much too scenic for the get-there-now-before-somebody-cries speed of parenting. Learning a new type of exercise now, at a time when it’s really hard to prioritize our bodies or education, means it’s got to be super easy.
Qi Gong Is Easy To Learn Online
Thirty years ago, if you wanted to learn Qi Gong, you had to go find a teacher and study with them in person to learn the practice. Three hundred years ago, you may have had to journey across a significant portion of the globe (which was not very easy at the time) just to find someone who could teach this to you.
Today, in the Internet age, you can learn Qi Gong at your desk. Type in a few keywords and you can get a world-renowned master teaching you whenever you like.
The practice of Qi Gong isn’t very difficult – it’s just a series of simple movements and patterns that anyone with even modest mobility can follow.
It’s easy to learn, and doesn’t require much time or equipment or exertion. You can learn this online just by watching a video, standing up and moving around.
Some things you have to do every day. Eating seven apples on Saturday night instead of one a day just isn’t going to get the job done.
Qi Gong Benefits
- Lower stress in your daily life
- Deeper breathing helps you relax
- Reduced tension in your neck and shoulder muscles
- Ease of pain in joints and lower back
- Greater stamina at the end of the day
- Enters you into a state of flow
- Clarity of mind
- Deeper sleep
The benefits of doing this practice become more apparent over time. Like acupuncture, a related form of Chinese medical wisdom, greater benefits can be seen with regular, ongoing treatment.
I was shocked at how well Qi Gong worked for my aging dad body – but only after I dedicated a few weeks of short, regular practices every day.
Spending 7 minutes doing Qi Gong every day for a month has a much greater effect than taking a weekend workshop intensive for six hours. Or, as Warren Buffet says, “No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”
Try Qi Gong and see what it does for you
Like pickles, cayenne pepper, or My Little Pony, you’ll never really know if you like Qi Gong until you try it.
I recommend trying it for 30 days, and see for yourself if you experience any of the benefits.
When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot become manifest, strength cannot be exerted, wealth is useless, and reason is powerless.
How To Start A Qi Gong Practice
- Sign up for the Free 5-Day Mini-Course
- Decide on a time where you can devote 10 minutes to moving every day (is it at your desk? after you get out of the shower? before you go to bed? decide when and where)
- When that time comes up, don’t do anything else but Qi Gong for 10 minutes
- If you like the first 5 days, sign up for the full 30 Day Qi Gong Challenge
- If that works, get Qi Gong AM/PM and practice once a day for 45 minutes.
You will know if this is right for you. Your body will tell you.
Practicing 30 days of Qi Gong AM/PM transformed my life. It was just 2 DVDs, one for AM, and one for PM. They are both about 45 minutes long, which is a big commitment for a dad; but since I was able to be completely flexible on when I devoted these 45 minutes to Qi Gong, I would simply watch for the opportunity, and pounce whenever it arrived.
For 30 days, I tried to do one of the routines every day. If I missed the morning workout, I tried extra hard to make time for an evening workout. I think I probably got to 27 or 28 of those 30 days . It’s not important to practice every. single. day. Because, seriously, there’s no gold stars over here. Instead of aiming for perfect attendance, I just practiced regularly for a month, and found that I handled stressful situations much better, felt more relaxed throughout the day, and was generally calm and happy most of the time.
We do not stop exercising because we grow old – we grow old because we stop exercising.
Physical stress relief and Mental clarity
This is a type of exercise that works exceptionally well for dads, because we’re getting older, our bodies are deteriorating, and we don’t have a lot of extra time. The reason you see so many old dudes doing Qi Gong is because it becomes more valuable to your creaky joints as you age.
Start now, and by the time you’re a grandfather, you’ll be that cool old dude that gets all mystical with his body every day.
Qi means “life force” and Gong means “practice,” as in a daily practice. By working with Qi Gong you are mastering your own life force energy.