In Qigong, an ancient Chinese mindful movement practice, there is a foundational principle of active relaxation (versus slouching and lazy relaxing 😊), called Fang Song Gong. There are a number of components to the Fang Song Gong Qigong practice. At the heart of it, of course, is a mindful awareness, without which one would not know where they are carrying unwanted and unneeded tension. Ever notice how you scrunch up your face when you’re pushing something heavy or opening a tight lid or holding on tightly to the steering wheel? I do. Pretty sure the scrunched up face and tight grip aren’t adding a thing.
The relaxation response we often get from a mindfulness practice is not the ultimate point of mindfulness. Putting aside the physical benefits, this active relaxation allows us to stay alert without obsessing and to open up so we can see more clearly, for example, where we are expending more energy or effort than we need, where we are holding on too tightly to rigid beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world around us, where we are being insensitive to ourselves and others.
Qigong is just one of many ways you can explore and engage in a mindfulness practice. Learn more in my free guide, 23 Ways to Integrate Mindfulness into Your Life.