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How to Stay Merry and Mindful This Holiday Season

Remember what Ram Dass said about spiritual progress? If you think you’re enlightened, go spend time with your family!

The holidays are in full swing and so are our triggers, blind spots and shadow selves.

As the year winds down, so do our spiritual reserves but the holiday spirit is within you, kind heart.

The secret to leading a positive, happy life (translation: perfect well-being and joy) is to balance your energy, or Qi (pronounced “chi”), with what and whom you value.

Are you living an authentic life? Do you feel comfortable in your own skin? What makes you happiest and most filled with joy?

The reason I love Qigong and Chinese Medicine so much is because by practicing these traditions every day, no matter how busy I am, I balance and bless my mind, body and spirit.

Like the weather, Qigong does not hold back; what this moving meditation has offered me is available to you too. There is always enough sunshine for everyone!

Here are three of my favorite Qigong practices. They’re perfect for this time of year, since these exercises strengthen and balance energy when we’re busy, bloated and/or bustling with holiday cheer.

Take a conscious breath. When you direct your attention to your breath, your focus is clutter-free and calm. When we don’t think, we’re peaceful. Take a long, slow inhale through your nose. Pause. Now exhale slowly through your mouth. Pause. Feel better already? Good. In that moment of peace, you are enlightened. Wow.  Click here <> to see a short clip on conscious breathing.

Open your energy centers. In Chinese Medicine, there are three major energy centers called Tan Tiens (pronounced “dahn tee-ehn”). Your upper energy center is in-between the eyebrows. Your middle energetic center is in the middle of your chest. And your lower energy center is just below your navel. A blockage in one or all of these energy centers causes varying levels of imbalances Click here to see the Qigong practice, “Opening the Three Tan Tiens.”

Shake it off. Just like Taylor Swift suggests in her catchy, sexy song, when something is bothering you – shake it off! As humans, we are one of the only animals on the planet that doesn’t shake the body after we experience fear or trauma. Click here to see the Qigong practice, “Shaking the Tree.”

I wish you energy and balance this season and always.

May you forever remember that the secret to a happy, positive and joyful life is within you. To bring peace to the world, we must first strive to make our inner world peaceful.

Now, go get enlightened by enjoying time with your family!

To joy in the season and peace in our world.

Love & gratitude,

—Chris Shelton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Whether working with superheroes as a clinical director for the Special Olympics’ “Strong Minds” program or chasing after his favorite herd of turtles (one wife, four kids, one grandbaby, three fur balls), Chris attributes his joyful life to his love of people, learning, and the healing effects of Qigong. He is founder of Morning Crane Healing Arts Center in San Jose and Los Angeles.