The word Qigong (Chi Kung) means ‘cultivating life energy’ and refers to a set of practices meant to maintain health, heal the body and increase vitality. The exercises in Qigong range from simple and internal, as in Tai Chi, to complex and challenging external styles, as found in Kung Fu.
What is Qigong?
The philosophies behind Qigong, say it allows practitioners to access higher realms of awareness, awakens their “true nature”, and supports the development of human potential. Qigong encompasses styles that fit into any of three categories, namely martial, healing, or spiritual. Each style is a combination of coordinated physical postures (both dynamic and stationary), learnt breathing techniques, and focused intentions.
The different Qigong practices are meant to stimulate a person’s Qi (or life energy) so as to increase it; circulate it; or use it to purify and repair the body. The Qi may also be stored or emitted to help heal others.
Health Benefits of Qigong
It also emphasizes the value of conscious awareness and the advantages of incorporating specific breathing techniques to complement the physical movements. These aspects of Qigong are thought to be behind its superiority over regular exercise at providing additional health benefits to those who practice it.
While no health care regime can claim to be a cure-all, some are decidedly better than others. Likewise different people will take interest in and derive benefits from different health systems. In deciding to try Qigong, it is advised to stick with a chosen style for at least 100 days. This allows you to determine if it is suited to you, before switching to another style. With consistent practice the postures and techniques become more comfortable and rewarding.
Qigong’s slow paced and flowing movements are thought to
- boost immunity and speed recovery from illness
- improve functions of the cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive systems
- minimize stress by calming and focusing the mind
- increase energy levels and build stamina
- enhance vitality
- reduce hypertension
- lessen the incidence of falling among the elderly
Qigong is also believed to restore the connection of mind, body and soul. This leads to a more positive outlook on life, and a reduction in harmful attitudes and behaviors. The overall effect is the development of general wellness and improved quality of life.
The Qigong system can be beneficial to anyone regardless of age and fitness level. There is no special equipment, clothing or health club membership to consider, so Qigong may conveniently be practiced at anytime and anywhere.