What is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong is one of the oldest branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which has been in practice for more than 5,000 years. The term is a combination of two words; Qi means the vital energy that circulates in the body, as well as the universe, and Gong stands for the way you practise or work. When they're put together, they form a word that means working with your vital energy.
Qi Gong is as much an exercise for the physical body as it is for the spirit. It replenishes the vital energy and stimulates its healthy flow to promote good health. Grounded in the principle that the body continues to evolve and the life force residing within it gradually depletes with every activity, emotion and thought, Qi Gong works on balancing the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of health to ensure longevity.
How Does Qi Gong Work?
Qi Gong comes in hundreds of styles, but they are all grouped into three categories, namely Medical Qi Gong, Martial Qi Gong and Spiritual Qi Gong. The first is the oldest form of Qi Gong which combines controlled movements, breathwork and meditation. It can be done by oneself or carried out by a trained practitioner to manipulate the energy in somebody else's body and facilitate their healing.
As a personal exercise, Qi Gong mimics animal movements to address the different meridian systems in the body. Wild Goose Qigong, for instance, connects you with the energy of the universe and releases the unhealthy energy from your body, while strengthening the spine, muscles and joints.
Regardless of the style, you have to start with the proper posture and breathe through your nose as you carry out each movement to ensure the healthy cultivation of your Qi. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart once you're about to begin.
Keep both hands open and spread your fingers to allow the vital energy to flow without any obstructions down to the fingertips. You must empty your mind of any mundane concerns and keep it attuned with your body movements to harness the benefits of this holistic practice.
What Are the Benefits of Qi Gong?
Practising Qi Gong regularly not only strengthens the body's internal organs and their functions but also leads to peace of mind. Scientific studies show that Wu Qin Xi, or the 5 Animals Play Qi Gong, is extremely beneficial for treating a variety of acute and chronic conditions, including:
- Heart Disease
- High blood pressure
- Chronic pain
What Can You Expect From Qi Gong?
Wearing the right pair of shoes is crucial when practising Qi Gong. You definitely wouldn't want to be moving about in a pair of leather loafers or sandals. Your footwear should be comfortable and allow you to move with ease. Think of kung fu shoes with soft soles as opposed to leather or rubber.
Your clothing has to be light and comfortable as well, to allow the vital energy within you and in your surroundings to flow freely. Qi Gong is ideally performed outdoors so that the mind and body can connect with nature.
Considering its gentle movements, Qi Gong can be practised daily. You can start with 15 minutes a day and then progress to 30 minutes or an hour. For maximum results, you can even go on for two hours.
Is Qi Gong Safe?
Qi Gong is known to be a safe mind-body exercise which does not lead to any adverse outcomes. Anybody, regardless of age, can practise it, but it would be best to seek guidance from a trained Qi Gong practitioner if you're new to this holistic practice.