Nancy Horenburg © 2014 - All rights reserved - Disclosures & Disclaimer
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The joy of animals
Being with animals is a joy in itself; the moments of connection, of understanding, of joy and play.
The wind in your hair as you ride your horse through an open field. The soft lick
of your dog as he greets you in the morning. The chirp in your ear as your bird talks
to you. The tickling whiskers close to your neck of your hamster.
But there can also be moments of frustration, misunderstanding and imbalance. Moments when it seems like you are losing your seat and your connection with your horse when asking for a canter. Frustration as your dogs seems to ignore you when you call. Misunderstanding as your cat refuses to sit in your lap. Impatience as yet another thing seems to go wrong.
What can we do to help ourselves and our animals in moments such as these?
Having a practice that benefits our balance, our clarity, our emotional balance and our focus, our agility and flexibility, is immeasurably important if we want to get the most of our work and our time with our animals.
Having a practice that not only benefits our relationship and work with animals, but also our everyday lives, bringing peace, balance, health and vitality is a wonderful way to spend part of our day.
But what practice can bring these benefits?
Tai chi and Chi kung (Taiji and Qigong)
Enter Tai chi and Chi kung. These ancient practices have proven themselves over thousands of year and have been practiced and developed as a method for increasing health and strengthening the body. Tai chi and Chi kung's main therapeutic properties lie in their regulation of the activity of our brain, the central nervous system and the cardio-vascular system, and their effect in increasing the health and normal reactions of our body. They create a space of peace, relaxation and balance, and create an environment in which the body can heal itself, and a place where one can reach greater vitality, unity and harmony.
Tai Chi principles follow the path of focus, awareness, balance, flow and harmony, and emphasise avoiding or neutralising conflict.
By increasing our balance, our health, our coordination and awareness, by releasing our tensions, our stuck emotions, and our stress, we automatically create a better environment for ourselves and for the animals that we have in our space, and those that we are working with.
On this page, you are going to learn a couple of techniques and movements that will begin your journey on the path of practicing elements of Tai chi and Chi kung in your everyday life.
These Tai chi and chi kung principles and movements are not practices that you do at the moment of need. These are practices that you practice regularly in order to gain the benefits that will then help you in times of need.
Our very first step will be to breath properly. Abdominal breathing is one of the most important aspects of anything that is meant to bring a state of relaxation, clarity, and balance. It is vital to the rediscovery of your original, natural energy; the connection of your body and mind, and the condition of your mental and nervous system.
Move from Your Center
We all know the feeling of walking along with your dog on a leash, or even a horse, and suddenly something is either very interesting or very scary. Having our arm almost pulled out of our socket is not a good feeling, and neither is the feeling of being unbalanced and taken by surprise.
This exercise will help you to lower your center of gravity and move with a sense of rootedness and balance.
When we lower our center of gravity, we gain a deeper sense of balance and groundedness.
When leading animals, or just being around animals, we keep ourselves connected to the ground, thus bringing a sense of security, balance and stability to ourselves and the animal. In addition, it helps us stay strong and balanced in case the animal suddenly pulls or pushes us. Keeping ourselves vertical to the ground allows us to better stay in a position of influence and not let the animal move in a direction that is not appropriate at that moment.
Keeping our emotional stability is also of great importance. We need to remain detached to outcomes, to the very process of working with an animal, to the behaviour of the owner, and to our own connection to the event.
We also need to release any stuck past emotions that influence our choices and our perspective, whether we realize it or not.
When we are in a state of emotional balance, we can see the situation objectively, and have access to a greater range of choices and decisions that enable us to influence the current situation and move to a better result.
The ancient healing sounds are meant to clean out the negative energy of emotions that reside in certain organs of the body. Science has found that all our experiences and memories reside in the cells of our bodies. If the memory or energy of a certain experience is traumatic, it continues to influence our everyday lives, even if we are consciously unaware of it. By releasing stuck emotions from our cells, we allow ourselves to have a clearer space from which to then make better and clearer decisions.
When we are faced with an event with an animal or person that tries our patience, fuels our anger, or brings our sadness, that whole energy permeates our self and our environment, influencing the space and choices in a negative way.
By having this tool of calming and balancing our emotions, we can move in a state of balance, being with our animals, the people and the environment, in a positive and more harmonious way.
This exercise can help to bring your body into a calm and peaceful state, which in turn helps to calm your mind and emotions, and release any stuck emotional feelings. Using your mind and your breath helps to relax the nerves of your body and to release tension and stress from your muscular system.
Remember one thing, in order to gain from these exercises, practice them on a regular basis. The effect builds up over time, until it is ingrained in your body, and you will automatically breathe deeply into your lower body, you will straighten and align your body and lower your center of gravity, moving with intention and focus, and you will not have any residual anger to affect your thoughts, actions, and words.
That does not meant to say you will never get angry again, or lose your balance or breathe from your chest. No, it just means that you will have great tools to improve your wellbeing, to help you in trying situations, and be of benefit throughout your life.
If you are interested in learning more, please join one of my workshops
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