Q: How many of those “energy” supplements actually energize you? –Jennifer Wiley, 45, Oreland, PA
A: In Eastern medicine, fatigue is the result of blocked energy centers—called chakras in Ayurveda and meridians in Chinese medicine—within the body. Traditionally, mind-body modalities such as meditation, yoga, and qigong are used to rebalance energy and improve overall health. Whether your fatigue is physical in origin or the result of brain drain or stress, these techniques can revive you.
The 10-minute meditation: One of the oldest forms of mind-body medicine, meditation helps build energy, ease anxiety, and improve health. Don’t think you have to twist yourself into Lotus Pose for hours on end to get results. Meditation can be as simple as sitting quietly for 10 minutes and focusing on your breath. When you’re fatigued and frazzled, it will refresh you in the short term, but meditating regularly—10 minutes in the morning and again in the evening—builds overall energy. Bothered by too much mind chatter when you try to meditate? It’s a myth that to meditate, you have to stop thinking. You can’t turn off your thoughts, but instead of fixating on them, try to let them gently breeze through your mind.
The moving meditation: Sometimes movement, not rest, is just the thing to give you a jolt. Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice designed to enhance the flow of qi, or energy. It involves a series of gentle movements that are synchronized with your breathing. There are many styles and routines, but one quick qigong energy exercise is Flying Like an Eagle: Stand with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms at sides, and fingers slightly apart and curved. Breathe in and rise up on toes, bringing arms up and out until hands are at ear height. Breathe out, and slowly lower heels and bring arms down to thighs. Do in one fluid motion for 10 reps. (Not sure you’re meditation material? Try these meditation techniques that match your personality.)