How to be a crane (and what to eat)
Our internal energy changes in rhythm with the seasons and as always what we do with our bodies and what we put into them can improve the circulation of seasonal energy.
Eating the food in season is the easiest way to bring seasonal energy to your body. Autumn is the time of gathering yin and downward energy, so we want to be eating yin foods that grow downwards. Root vegetables are a great example and hey, guess what? Autumn is the season when potatoes, carrots, beetroot, parsnips, onions, turnips, swede etc. are readily available. A good soup containing these vegetables will soup-up your Autumn qi. For drinks try white tea without milk.
Any qigong you practise in Autumn should concentrate on expanding the rib-cage and allowing the lungs to fill fully in all four directions: upwards, outwards, downwards, inwards. Practice your movements paying attention to the combination of mind, body and breath, particularly the breath.
Boost your Autumn qi further by practising The Crane from the Five Animal set. There are many versions and variations of The Crane so have a look around and choose one that you like. Here are three of my favourites...
A traditional, simple Crane:
This is the loveliest version of the Crane that I know, pure and simple. Probably closest to the original move (if anyone knows what that is),this is the version that the British Health Qigong Association teach.
The Crane from our Wednesday Wellbeing class:
You’ll notice that the performer does ‘Cranes Squat’ move and the ‘Crane Opening his Wings’ with a much bigger movement than we normally do in class. Both are correct one is just a bigger version of the other. The size of the move depends on the performer and how long they have been practising. A bigger move takes many years to develop.
A flowing qigong Crane:
This lovely form is what we would expect to see in a martial art form of tai chi chuan where one move flows into the next. It’s also interesting to see two people performing together.