Qigong, The Ancient Chinese Flow Yoga
Qigong (pronounced Chi Gong or Chee Gung) is an ancient Chinese exercise that means to cultivate energy. Qi means life force or vital energy and Gong means activity, or to practice a skill. Qigong is sometimes called Chinese Yoga. It is the integration of breathing techniques with body movements, and it has been used for thousands of years as a healing and energizing practice. Practitioners develop an awareness of the energy in the body and the ability to utilize the mind to move and balance this energy throughout the body. By concentrating the mind on the movement of the body, the spirit is enhanced through qigong as well.
Why practice qigong:
helps control and neutralize stress by calming the mind.
improves strength, stamina, coordination, speed, and balance.
nourishes spirituality by focusing the mind and connecting you to the present moment.
builds healing energy that can be harnessed and transferred to others.
Qigong is considered the parent to tai chi but is not a martial art. It is used primarily for healing and increasing and opening the life force or energy residing in the body. When our energy force becomes congested it will display as disease. The movements coordinated with breath will help release this energy blockage to allow the healing process to begin. Many of the movements in qigong are flowing and rhythmic as is the energy force within the healthy body. This healing energy also helps to balance the body with the release of stress. When you relieve the stress in the body you will relieve the stress in the mind. With gentle and deliberate mind focused exercises you will strengthen your ability to remain calm under stressful conditions.
Benefits from a qigong practice can be experienced with as little as 30 minutes a session 3 times a week. It is not necessary to have your first experience with qigong in a class setting. I was not able to locate a class in the small town that I live in so I have learned by watching dozens of online videos. However, I have been told that the energy flow created is enhanced in a group setting.
Here are instructions for a basic qigong exercise that you can begin with:stand with feet parallel and hip width apart.let your arms hang down to your sides and place your hands palms up with your fingertips barely touching.if available, come up onto your toes.as you inhale slowly lift your hands up and apart as if you are embracing a large beach ball.interlace your fingers and raise your arms up over your head while turning your palms up towards the sky.as you exhale slowly lower your arms to yours sides and come down off of your toes.come back onto your toes repeat several times.
Different styles of qigong will better treat certain illnesses. Exercises coordinate with specific organ systems, so if you have a specific condition you are looking to treat it is best to seek out a master instructor. For general improvement of health all types of qigong may be practiced. I will continue learning this beautiful physical art of healing and I encourage you to try qigong.