A Two-Minute Exercise for Lifting Depression


Making one simple healthy change in our daily routine can have a powerful positive effect.

When you feel depressed, changes need to be bite-sized because energy and motivation are low. Thirty to 120 seconds of effort would be about right. That is why the qigong exercise called "Lifting the Sky" might be the perfect addition to your day.

Qigong is a preventive and self-healing dimension of Chinese medicine. It is both the art and science of using breathing techniques, meditation and gentle movement to cleanse, circulate and strengthen our body’s “qi,” or energy. Practicing qigong helps people to maintain vitality and live with tranquility.

Lifting the Sky

The qigong technique of Lifting the Sky is an excellent antidote to a depressive mood and only requires that you spend two-minutes worth of energy per day. If two minutes is too much, start with 30 seconds, or about three repetitions. The rewards are worth it.

Step 1

  1. Stand with your feet close together, nose and toes pointing forward, arms and hands relaxed at your side.
  2. Relax your jaw, shoulders and chest.

Step 2

  1. Bring your hands in front of your hips/thighs, palms down (turned toward the ground), fingers of each hand pointing toward the fingers of the other hand.
  2. Arms should be comfortably straight, keep a little space between the fingers.
  3. While your body remains upright, your neck/head tips down so your nose points at your hands.

Step 3

Breathe in through your nose as you:

  1. Lift your straight arms forward and up until your hands are above your head, palms facing the sky.
  2. Follow the movement of your hands with your nose (your head will be tilting comfortably back when hands are overhead).
  3. Stretch gently from the heels through your hands (lift the sky).

Step 4

Breathe gently out through your mouth as you:

  1. Relax your wrists and let your arms drop gently to each side, as a bird lowering its wings.
  2. Your neck returns to its starting position with nose facing forward, arms and hands relaxed at your side. Repeat the cycle.

There should be no more than a slight pause between the four steps. Do this everyday for 30 days and see if it makes a difference for you.

Source: Flowing Zen


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