Ki Development: A Natural Way to Health and Well Being
by Ursula Monn
Somebody once said: "Relaxation is the elixir of life". But how can we find relaxation living in todays society? It seems as though we are all in a continuous race to catch up with ourselves - and stress takes a heavy toll on our health and well being.
Some of us may find ways of reducing stress levels: getting more sleep, more exercise, treating ourselves to a massage or a nurturing class. Have you ever driven back from a relaxing weekend in nature only to find that during the car journey, your neck stiffened and you felt anxious and tense? It seems as though we can never eliminate stress - only find temporary relief. And while these "stress free zones" are very helpful in reminding us of our desire to lead a more balanced life, we may need yet another approach which is not so much about reducing the amount of stress and finding temporary relief, but has to do with changing our inner response to stress.
In Ki Development and Ki Aikido, we learn the tools to bring relaxation into our daily lives. In a supportive environment, we have the opportunity to examine the way we do simple daily activities such as standing, sitting, walking, etc.. We may find that we hold ourselves too tightly and loose a lot of energy through tension. Or we may discover that we are fairly relaxed but we loose all our power. Once we are aware of our habits, we can choose to learn new ways: How does it feel to stand in a relaxed but centered posture? We learn this new way with both our bodies and our minds, and these experiences add up to a new way of standing in our world; both centered and relaxed, strong and yielding.
If we cultivate this new feeling in both body and mind through continuous awareness and conscious choice, it becomes available to us as a way of life. We can then bring a quality of relaxation to everything we do and are, instead of searching for temporary relief from stress and tension.