What inspired you to first start practicing Qigong?
I went to one of my daughter’s Qigong workshops at the Epic Hotel in downtown Miami in 2010. I found it to be challenging to do because I had back surgery in 1993 and since then my flexibility and strength had declined. I also gained weight and my eating habits were off balance, not healthy. When my daughter dragged me to a 4 day long Qigong conference, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know what to expect. I was just going with the flow.
From day one of the conference, the entire atmosphere was different, I was inspired to see so many different types of people, of all ages, ethnicities and religious backgrounds. I was drawn to the music. I found it to be spiritually inspiring, yet I had a sense of relaxation, peace and calm. I knew that it would be beneficial for me. By the end of the conference I felt like a new person – like I had been on a spiritual retreat. It opened my mind to a whole new way of living through breathing, exercise and nutrition. Qigong taught me how to breathe. I’m still learning. It’s funny, it’s almost like I was afraid of breathing. I used to fake it with yoga, because I was afraid of the breathing. Something about being immersed in Qigong for a few days helped me conquer my fear of breathing.
How do you incorporate Qigong into your everyday life?
Once again, my daughter who is very passionate about Qigong challenged me to do Qigong everyday. At first I wasn’t consistent at all. But now, I’m all fired up! It feels like a must for me. It’s part of my daily routine. Before I get out of bed, I’m stretching and breathing. I am meditating a lot more. So far, I’ve lost 20 pounds and I’m feeling and looking better. My energy level, my mobility and stamina has increased. Right now, I’m doing a combination of Qigong Strength Training and yoga every other day. On rest days, I try to walk 2-4 miles.
My daughter also challenged me to not eat meat for 3 weeks in a row! Whew!!! That was hard the first time around. But by the second week into my challenge, I didn’t even think about the meat. I was drinking smoothies and eating such delicious healthy foods (salads, brown rice, quinoa, curried veggies, fruits, drank lots of water, etc.) I didn’t miss it. However, at the end of the 3 weeks I was craving chicken big time LOL! I had some chicken and then realized that I could have done with out it.
So now, I’ve decided to go 3 weeks without meat and then take a break and eat meat if I want to, and then repeat the process. So far, people have been telling me how good I look – especially the weight loss which inspires me to keep going. My goal is to lose 40 pounds and learn more about eating and cooking healthy foods as a way of life. I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in years.
Tell us about your latest project (or a project that you are really passionate about).
I want to write a children’s book and a book about my life. The children’s book was inspired by my granddaughter who is an AfroCuban. The purpose of the book is to inspire and empower biracial children to accept and love themselves as they are. The book about my life is a way for me to work through my own past traumas and life experiences.
I also love to travel, and I’ve always had a passion for dancing and hope to incorporate Qigong into ethnic dancing for women/men over 60.
What do you hope people will learn from your projects?
That it’s never too late to start anything in life. Age is not a factor. I’ve been wanting to do these things all of my life. Now that I’m retired (so to speak), I finally feel like I have the time to follow my passions. From dancing, I hope to work with women who have been hurt, abused or stuck in the role of wife, mother or grandmother as their entire identity. You can be loving in all of these roles as I am, but there is a passion in us all to do more. I hope to inspire these women to find and express their true passions – to learn to love themselves first.
What is the best way for people to contact you (purchase your books, etc.)?
I’m still writing so I don’t know when I’ll finish the books, but people can contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, call 786-663-6167 or friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.vernon.52?fref=ts.