Qigong is a centuries-old health and wellness modality that creates harmony in a person’s movements, breathing, and spiritual energies to achieve good health and wellness. Accordingly, it includes a series of poses, breathing techniques, and concentration. By using this system, people can synchronize the “qi” or life energy that flows in the body. The simplicity and ease with which Qigong can be practiced makes it possible for any person, young or old, to follow it. You can adopt it in your life and reap its many benefits by performing the exercises in the comfort of your home.
What is Qigong?
The word Qigong is created by combining the two Chinese words, “qi” and “gong.” “Qi” represents the life energy or life force that flows through all entities in the universe, and “gong” is the word for the skill or ability that you develop by regularly practicing the art. Together the two words denote the skill you learn that helps promote healing, and keeps you healthy and energetic. Qigong integrates breathing systems, focused thinking, and slow, controlled physical postures that may be moving or still poses.
Qigong is based on the premise that physical illnesses occur, in part, because of emotional and mental anxiety and stress. By performing the motions and exercises, you can restore inner tranquility and bring back harmony into your body, mind, and soul. By developing mental strength, you can balance the life energy of your physical systems and restore health and well being. Use Qigong to train your mind to attune itself with the functioning of the world and universe, and form a special connection with it to understand its complexities better.
Applications of Qigong
Interestingly, different forms of Qigong can be used for various purposes. For instance, some forms are adopted to increase life energy while others are aimed at its better circulation. Some other kinds of the system can be used to cleanse the body of toxins and illnesses and promote healing or even to store the energy. The more advanced forms of Qigong can project life energy to heal other people.
While practitioners of alternative forms of healing such as acupuncture and cupping work use the meridians to guide their techniques, they do not teach awareness to the patients. Qigong trains users to be aware of the life force pulsating through the meridians in their body and harmonizing it with the universe. Users can thus, remain healthy, full of energy, and also stay calm and stress-free. Conventional medicine practitioners are now adopting this technique as a complement to medicines and other recommendations. However, it must be remembered that Qigong cannot be used as a substitute for medications, and any other treatment prescribed by the medical practitioner should be carefully followed.
History of Qigong
The earliest records that talk about the practice of Qigong date back to around 2,500 years. However, historians and archaeologists have found traces of a similar technique used by people from relics that are at least 5,000 years old. The ancient terms for this healing modality were “dao yin” which means guiding energy and “nei gong” that denotes inner work. Perhaps, the most apt term is “yang sheng” that is being brought back into usage. The word “yang” means nurturing while “sheng” means life. Thus, the term, “yang sheng” means the the art of healing movements combined with breathing that lead to a healthy balance in the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of a person’s being.
Benefits of Qigong
By using Qigong, you can heal your body and maintain health and wellness, lower stress levels and calm the mind, and reconnect with the inner spirit. Here are some of the physical and mental benefits:
- Boost in immunity levels
- Enhancing stamina and energy levels
- Eliminating stress
- Improving respiratory, lymphatic, circulatory, cardiovascular, and digestive systems in the body
- Reducing hypertension levels
- Improving balance so seniors have lower incidence of accidents and falls
- Boost in healing from injuries and recovery from illnesses
- Encouraging positive thinking
- Improvement of posture
- Better concentration levels
- Helping relieve medical conditions like pain and headaches, fibromyalgia, asthma, fatigue, arthritis, and cancer among others
- Assists in emotional disturbances like anger, depression, loss of interest in life, and mental confusion
Why Qigong is Good for You
The art of Qigong is highly beneficial because of many factors.
- It can be performed by people of any age or status.
- You can perform the movements at any location without the need to join special classes or a fitness center.
- Even people who have disabilities and cannot move freely can adopt the rhythms that they can perform easily since Qigong includes motions like standing, sitting, and laying down.
- You only need to wear comfortable clothing.
- Choose from complex external or simple internal styles depending on your endurance levels.
- Your instructor can modify the exercises to suit your individual needs and the objectives for which you have taken up Qigong such as recovering from an illness or injury.
- Children learn to concentrate and thus, study better. They also learn to focus their energies.
- People holding regular desk jobs can learn to let go of stress and raise productivity levels.
- Senior citizens can learn balance, ease of movement, and general wellness to improve the quality of their life.
- Healers, aides, and other caregivers learn to better help the people in their charge.
- Prisons hold Qigong workshops to help inmates better integrate into society when they are released.
- Midwives can help expectant mothers through labor with Qigong exercises.
Learning to Perform Qigong
If you would like to learn the art of Qigong, you can look for a workshop close to your home. Check for information under the headings for Tai Chi academies, martial art schools, or TCM centers. Learn from an experienced instructor, preferably someone who has lots of positive testimonials. You can also take a couple of trial classes and sign up for the one that teaches styles you’re most comfortable with. Do keep in mind that Qigong is a modality that takes years to practice and to get the best results, you need to be consistent in doing the exercises. If you cannot find an instructor close to you, you always have the option of looking for online classes, videos, and e-books that can help you learn the technique.
Having learned to perform the Qigong exercises and by doing them regularly, you will soon sense the many positives it has on your physical well being, mental stress levels, and general happiness. Qigong has the effect of aligning your mind, body, and soul with the your environment so you are more tranquil, relaxed, and healthy.
- “What is Qigong?” NQA. n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2016.
- “What is Qigong” Qigong Research and Practice Center. n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2016.
- “Fundamentals of Practicing Qi Gong.” Qigong Institute. n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2016.