Have you ever watched someone silently perform the prolonged, deliberate movements of Qigong and wondered what on earth they were doing? Who knew that striking poses reminiscent of water birds in super slow motion can actually rejuvenate and strengthen the body, while simultaneously healing injury and illness? Turns out a lot of cultures throughout history have known it, and Americans are finally starting to get on the Qigong bandwagon. In8Love’s own Denise DuRoss is here to explain why you should too.
So What Exactly is Qigong?
Qigong (pronounced CHEE-GONG) is a form of gentle exercise composed of repetitive movements, often stretching the body, increasing fluid movement and building awareness of how the body moves through space. Qigong is one of the five main branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and was primarily developed as an exercise to keep people healthy and reduce tension.
It turns out, directing qi not a mysterious or elusive process, but rather one that can be acquired with time and patience.
Qigong can be traced back 4,000 years to ancient China. “Qi” is simply the Chinese word for energy, and “gong” means skill that is cultivated through steady practice. So, put together, “Qi gong” means “cultivating the body’s vital energy,” and then using it to heal and strengthen every system throughout the body.
Historically speaking, qigong is classified into five major traditions; Confucian, Buddhist, Taoist, medical and martial arts. Each tradition has its own purpose and different methods of training and practice; nevertheless, there is no necessity to learn or believe a particular religious philosophy in order to practice.
Why You Should Try It
Medical qigong emphasizes the free flow and balance of energy in the body. The biggest advantage for most people then, is the relief or prevention of chronic health problems. The range of disorders shown to benefit from the practice includes cancer, internal organ ailments, poor circulation, nerve pain, back and joint problems and general physical disease. In addition, qigong supports the body in the following ways:
1. Gentle movements help to increase range of movement and are especially beneficial for the joints.
2. The practice improves physical balance, coordination and flexibility.
3. Performing qigong softens the muscles and improves blood circulation.
Even a few minutes of daily practice will invigorate you. Regular practice creates a strengthening effect for the whole body and its various systems (nervous, digestive, respiratory, skeletonmuscular, hormonal, gynecological, etc.). One of China’s legendary founding emperors, Huang Di—the Yellow Emperor—is said to have practiced Qigong on a daily basis. As a result, he lived in superior health for well over 100 years.
How Do I Do It?
1. Slow, fluid movements that stretch and strengthen.
2. Deep breathing.
3. A meditative state of mind.
Because qigong is so gentle and relies on flowing movements, form and technique are less important than in other exercise practices. This means that new students who aren’t familiar with the correct postures will still receive benefits after just one class—namely increasing blood flow and clarity of mind, and reducing stress and tension.
For videos that you can do at home, TaiChiHealthProducts.org is a great resource. Better yet, come learn in person on January 22nd at the In8Love offices, beginning at 6:30 pm. I will be leading a 45 minute class, and will be available to answer any questions you may have about adding this practice to your daily routine. Call 310-477-3335 to reserve your spot today!