Dusk or Dawn: The Best Time for Exercise
DUSK OR DAWN: THE BEST TIME FOR EXERCISE
Sunrise is a busy time, when many converge at the parks in pursuit of health. Joggers , aerobic exercises, and tai chi and chi gong practitioners meet at the turf, practicing their rituals.
What was intrigued the intellectual mind is which of there is the best in restoring health, not just for the body but for the mind and spirit as well. A friend who is into esoteric philosophy gives this answer: “There is no right or better. It depends on the specific need of a person at this particular stage of evolution”. Perhaps there is some truth to that.
Exercise patterns must be suited to a person's comfort level. But those exposed to different forms of exercise attest to the healing discipline which chi gong or tai chi brings. Chi gong seeks harmony inside and outside the body, and between yourself and nature. When and where you practice affects the effectiveness of chi gong techniques. Experts says that even good chi gong techniques become less effective when done at the wrong time of the day or in uncomfortable surroundings.
In the morning, stillness progresses to movement. You can start your workout with relaxation and meditation. Then you can practice more active forms of chi gong.
Save jogging and aerobic activity for the last phase of your morning workout. In the evening, progress to the slower and gentle techniques and finish with silent meditation. This makes your day harmonize with the yin and yang cycles of the day.
Actually, western medicine knows that the strength of the immune system fluctuates though each 24-hour period. It is strongest at about 7 am and weakest at about 1 am. This is an interesting parallel to the Chinese thought of "living and dead breath". The period between 12 midnight and 12 noon is called sheng chi, “the time of the living breath”. The middle of this sheng chi is at 6 am, the time most conducive for chi gong or any other exercise to be done. The early morning is known as the the day, as the “springtime” of the day. The winter portion of the the day, which is from noon to mid-night, is called the si-chi, “the time of the dead breath”.
Seeds planted in the healthy spring bear the healthiest fruit; those planted during the winter are less hardly. The living breath peaks at sunrise, the ideal time for chi gong exercise. The effects of morning practice are long-lasting and cumulative. You are likely to still feel pleasantly energized in the afternoon. As each day passes, your supply of chi increases.
As you analyze the peak hours of the day you can gain better understanding off when to do your aerobics or jogging at a more effective time. If you have to go to work or run some errands in the morning, just get up an hour earlier. You can't be effective with other things if you are not taking care of yourself. Breakfast taste better with a happy cook, doesn't? Or, your office can have the radiating aura of someone with a brightened, more relaxed disposition, all simply due to chi gong or other exercise techniques.
Don't get depressed though, if your schedule doesn't allow you to do the early morning chi gong, you can try and make up for it at sunset. The energetic and beautiful exercise feels completely natural these times of the day.
No matter what time of the day you practice, always wait at least two hours after eating a meal.
There is a saying, “ If the belly is filled with food, there is no room for chi”. A full belly interferes with breathing and movements. Digestion uses chi, making less available for any tai chi or chi gong exercises.
If you eat after practice, wait at least a half hour after your session to allow time for residual effects of chi gong practice. After the half hour “cooling down” time, your chi will be settled and you will be ready for normal activities.