What is Qigong?
Qi (Chi) is a Chinese term used to refer to all types of energy. Gong refers to the power to produce an effect, an attainment of, or a steady practice. Loosely, Qigong can be translated as the study or attainment of Qi. Literally translated as ‘energy exercise’, Qigong is perhaps more accurately described as the ‘art of energy’.Today, Qigong most often refers to the art and science of using mind, body, breath, movement, and sound to cleanse, refine, accumulate and circulate Qi in the body.
Qigong has been an integral part of Chinese culture since ancient times. Over thousands of years, a system of gentle exercise has developed which combines breath with internal and external movements. Qigong is fundamentally concerned with developing energy, but there are many levels to this development. Qigong deals with the development of our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Drawing on Taoist and Buddhist philosophies from China, Qigong conforms to the basic principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which in fact sprung from Qigong concepts that go back 5,000 years. Through Qigong practice, the enhanced movement of Qi (life force, bioelectric vitality) is promoted throughout the body as well as the storing and strengthening of Qi for good health.
Of all these practices, the training of the mind is of the highest importance. Proven useful for healing many diseases and reducing stress, Qigong can be an individual practice for daily health maintenance, others use qigong to attain a higher consciousness. Practicing qigong can help give a deeper sense of inner peace and harmony.
Qigong combines techniques of respiration and visualization to circulate the Qi (vital energy). Relaxation and quietness, in association with deep breathing promotes a natural state of easing the nervous system and stimulating the immune system.
Benefits of regular practice:
• Aids relaxation
• Increases vital energy
• Increases agility and flexibility
• Stimulates blood & oxygen circulation
• Strengthens muscles, tendons, joints and bones
• Improves co-ordination
• Enhances mental freshness and perception
• Balances energy levels in the body
• Builds up the body’s immune system
Four basic approaches:
Moving or still; moving Qigong training is easier to comprehend as each movement is designed to directly or indirectly stimulate certain areas of the body.
Some qigong practices include specific breathing patterns, such as reverse breathing or slow, deep breathing.
In Qigong training specific sounds are used for specific purposes.
The mind is the most important part of Qigong training. In the training of the body, breathing and sound, the mind is the director.
Qigong as a Lifestyle
Like any other system of health care, Qigong is not a panacea, but it is certainly a highly effective health care practice. Many health care professionals recommend Qigong as an important form of alternative complementary medicine. When all aspects of our life are embraced and brought into balance – from our diet to our daily activities – Qigong’s true benefits can emerge.