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07.27.23 | Sage Advice

The Art of Slow Living: Embracing Mindfulness and Minimalism This Summer

As we bask in the long summer days, there’s a growing awareness of the need for slower, more intentional living. Building on our previous discussions about mindfulness, let’s explore how to harness the power of mindfulness and minimalism to experience a truly transformative summer. This season, we encourage you to embrace the ‘Art of Slow Living.’ Just as the sun takes its time to set, painting the sky, we too can bask in the moment, savoring the world around us. But how do we do this? Let’s delve into the practices of mindfulness and minimalism.

Mindfulness

We’ve previously touched on the importance of mindful movement practices like Tai Chi, Yoga, and Qigong in fostering vibrant living. This summer, we encourage you to take this concept of mindfulness a step further. Beyond just movement, try to infuse mindfulness throughout your day. Feel the warm breeze on your skin, taste the sweet fruits of the season and listen to the sounds of the outdoors. Each moment presents an opportunity to be fully present, and there is no better time than a summer day to cultivate this habit.

Practices like Yoga and Qigong allow for a deeper connection with oneself and the world around us. These spiritual practices can be incredibly potent when taken outdoors during summer. Perhaps a gentle yoga sequence by the beach or a quiet Qigong session in a blooming park? Take this summer as an opportunity to deepen these practices, fostering a larger appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you.

Minimalism

Alongside mindfulness, we invite you to explore minimalism this summer. Contrary to popular belief, minimalism is not about denying ourselves pleasures or living a bare-bones lifestyle. It’s about making conscious choices about what we allow into our lives, focusing more on experiences and relationships than on possessions.

How can you embrace minimalism this summer? Try decluttering your home, simplifying your diet to include more fresh, local produce, or choosing experiences over material possessions. After all, a hike with loved ones or a day spent exploring a new town leaves a longer-lasting impression than the newest gadget.

By merging mindfulness and minimalism, you create space for meaningful connections – with others, with the natural world, and, most importantly, with yourself. Slow down and savor the summer in all its glory, embracing the art of living more with less. Embrace this season of warmth and growth, knowing that the journey to vibrant living is one step at a time, one mindful moment at a time. Summer is your canvas – paint it with mindfulness and minimalism, and see the masterpiece that unfolds.

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05.11.23 | Sage Advice

Mindful Movement: Exploring Tai Chi, Yoga and Qigong as Spiritual Practices

As we age, the importance of mindfulness becomes increasingly evident in fostering a vibrant and fulfilling life. By engaging in mindful movement practices like Tai Chi, Yoga, and Qigong, older adults can unlock numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. These spiritual practices not only empower individuals to lead healthier and more connected lives but also serve as valuable resources for personal growth and self-discovery. Join us as we delve into the world of Tai Chi, Yoga, and Qigong to explore how these practices promote a life of wellness, empowerment, and personal growth for anyone practicing them: 

Tai Chi

Often referred to as “meditation in motion,” Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that combines slow, deliberate movements with deep, focused breathing. This practice is an excellent option for older adults seeking a vibrant lifestyle, as it promotes flexibility, balance, and strength while reducing stress and anxiety. By engaging in Tai Chi, individuals can improve their overall well-being and connect with others in a supportive, communal environment. Furthermore, the emphasis on mindful movement and inner tranquility makes Tai Chi a powerful spiritual practice, fostering a deeper understanding of oneself and the world.

Yoga

Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that harmonizes the mind, body, and spirit through a combination of physical postures, breath control, and meditation. For older adults looking to enhance their vibrant living experience, yoga offers numerous benefits, including increased flexibility, strength, balance, and relaxation. Yoga also fosters mental and emotional well-being by promoting mindfulness and stress reduction. By offering various styles and modifications, individuals can tailor their yoga practice to their needs and abilities, empowering them to explore their personal growth journey. Through this exploration, Yoga becomes not just a physical exercise, but a spiritual practice that allows older adults to connect with their inner selves and the world around them.

Qigong

Qigong is a Chinese healing art that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques, and focused intention to cultivate and balance the body’s vital energy, or “qi.” This gentle practice can greatly benefit older adults by enhancing overall health, reducing stress, and improving balance and coordination, all of which contribute to a more vibrant lifestyle. Additionally, Qigong promotes mental clarity and emotional stability, providing a sense of harmony and interconnectedness with the self and the world. As a spiritual practice, Qigong offers a holistic approach to wellness, empowering older adults to lead more fulfilling and purposeful lives.

Local community centers, gyms, and studios often provide tailored classes for older adults to learn and practice mindful movement disciplines. For those who prefer learning at home, numerous online resources, such as instructional videos and virtual classes, are available on platforms like YouTube and Google. Public libraries and bookstores also offer books and DVDs for various skill levels and abilities. By exploring these resources, older adults can seamlessly incorporate mindful movement into their vibrant daily lives.

Embracing mindful movement practices like Tai Chi, Yoga, and Qigong offers older adults a wealth of physical, mental, and emotional benefits, contributing to a vibrant and fulfilling life. With numerous resources available, there’s no better time to explore these spiritual practices and enhance wellness, empowerment, and personal growth. 

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02.25.21 | Sage Advice

The Health Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai chi is an internal Chinese martial art, practiced for defense training, health benefits and mediation. As one of the most gentle martial art forms, tai chi is a great exercise option for older adults across the health and mobility spectrum — bringing with it a slew of benefits, healthful and otherwise. Let’s take a closer look:

Tai chi

Tai chi, short for T’ai chi ch’üan or Tàijí quán (太極拳), is an ancient Chinese martial arts practice, rooted in a deep history and philosophy. (You can read more about that on CultureTrip, here.) According to MayoClinic, tai chi “is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.” The movements emphasize deep breathing, encouraging participants to slow down and get in touch with their body and feelings.

Because tai chi is low-impact, slow-motion and emphasizes the mind-body connection, it’s become a popular practice globally, attracting a broad spectrum of participants. And thanks to its wide array of health benefits, it’s since been adopted as a common practice at hospitals, community centers, older adult facilities and the like.

Health Benefits

Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but because its health benefits are so great, Harvard Women’s Health Watch jokingly calls it medication in motion.”

The low-impact exercise boasts physical health benefits such as improved lower- and upper-body strength, improved flexibility, improved balance (and possibly even decreased risk of falling), improved joint pain, enhanced immune system, enhanced quality of sleep, lowered blood pressure and healthy aerobic conditioning (where heart and lungs are trained to pump blood more efficiently, allowing more oxygen to be delivered to muscles and organs). All of the listed benefits are crucial to older adults seeking to maintain or better their health. 

In addition to its physical health benefits, the meditative aspect of tai chi brings with it an array of mental health benefits. These benefits include decreased stress, anxiety and depression; improved mood, energy and stamina and a general boost to wellness overall. 

Part of the appeal is that tai chi can be practiced independently or within a group setting, and it doesn’t require any equipment. If a low-impact, slow-motion and mindful form of exercise sounds like a good fit for you, then tai chi might just become part of your next fitness regimen routine.

Two people practice tai chi, silhouetted against a night sky and the moon
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