Qigong (pronounced Chi-Kung) is an ancient Chinese art for the promotion of health and, when written in Chinese, the word Qigong is comprised of two characters: Qi (anima, vital energy) and Gong (work, cultivation)…………… Qigong literally means energy work, or energy cultivation. Before this work can be carried out effectively, the Qigong basics must be understood.
There are four main divisions of Qigong, and two methods.
Firstly, let us deal with the divisions of Qigong
The choice of which method that is used is dependent on the goal of the practitioner. However, there is some overlap between the each of the methods.
Secondly, the two methods
- Active qigong – Where physical movement is used to help the practitioner to guide the Qi.
- Passive Qigong – Where there is no physical movement and it is purely the Yi (cognitive mind) that is used to guide the Qi.
The division of Qigong that we are dealing with here is Medical Qigong. This is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and according to TCM, Qi is life energy and the health of the body is reliant upon smooth, harmonious, flow of Qi within the body and disease is the result of poor Qi circulation and through Qigong it is possible to balance the flow of Qi allowing the body to heal itself.
The Qi is the intrinsic energy, the life force that we share with the rest of the natural world. Qi also refers to energy in the largest sense, it is the stuff of the universe, it is both matter and energy and link that bonds them together. Qi transcends and is not bounded by time or space.
Qigong works by using specific postures and movements of the body whilst combining them with focus (using directed breath) and intention. Through the use of these exercises, the Qi can be cultivated and replenished.
As previously stated, in the precept of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that all diseases are a result of blockage in the meridians (energy channels), causing obstructions and sluggishness in the flow of Qi. A person is healthy only when the Qi freely circulates through the meridians, nourishing all vital organs and tissues. The “Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine” (circa 250BC) states: “When the Qi is blocked, there is sickness. No blockage – no sickness”.
Literally thousands of styles of Qi Gong exist so it is a matter of finding the one that is suitable for your needs. Some styles are designed for general health and wellbeing and require daily practice. Other styles/exercises have specific therapeutic qualities and have been developed to treat specific ailments.
Qi Gong can be practiced by just about anyone, whether they are young or old, active, sedentary, or disabled.
Although there are many styles, they are founded on similar principles
- A relaxed, grounded posture
- A straight, supple spine
- Breathing that uses the diaphragm
- Fluid movement
- Tranquil awareness
The quality of the Qi Gong practice is far more important than how often the practice is undertaken. Any aerobic exercise can be slowed down to the point where it appears, superficially, to resemble Qigong but as there is no intent, no focus and no guidance of the Qi, it is NOT Qigong.
It is far more beneficial to concentrate one or two styles, learning through experiential awareness than to learn many exercises superficially. It is vitally important to find a good Qigong teacher who has experience of Qi rather than experience of books.
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Healing Qigong at Pro Holistic, Lanarkshire
San Bao Martial Arts School
Further information on Qigong including case studies, etc.
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