What is qigong?
Qigong is a system of energetic and meditative practises originating in China thousands of years ago. It works with the flow of life force energy (qi) to improve and maintain physical and spiritual vitality. All beings and life on earth and in the cosmos are connected together through a web of qi that keeps everything in balance (yin and yang) and blockages or obstructions be it an illness, an emotional disruption or a past trauma can cause the qi to stop flowing at its most free. The simple movements and sitting practices in qigong enable the qi, with intention from the practitioner to restore to its optimum balance and flow.
There are many forms of qigong practised and taught throughout the world; some with a martial-like quality, others with an emphasis on health and wellbeing, and internal qigong that may be used by a practitioner to reach spiritual enlightenment. All have subtle different qualities and all have elements of each other. There is also a saying in China that there are a thousand different forms of qigong. This is from a time when a thousand was a really big number, and the meaning of it is that there is as many forms of qigong are there are people; everyone’s practice is unique, making that today to be a potential of over 7 billion different forms of qigong! This is a beautifully important part of the practice as it really honours everyone’s individual needs. Through right intention the practitioner is guided to deeply feel into there own being and connecting with their source. This is both empowering to the individual to be able to nurture and care for themselves, and if all individuals are able to listen deeply to what they need it serves the community as a whole.
Why practice qigong?
Qi loosely translates as ‘energy’, and gong as ‘work’ or exercise. So quite simply qigong is energy work. Having a simple daily practice, or going to a class, is a way of working with the energy in and around your body. Modern day gymnastics was developed out of qigong exercise brought to the West, and this is where school physical education came from (but don’t let that put you off!). The art of qigong recognises that daily cleansing of the energy in the body by working with it, keeps the body in balance and removes stagnant energy; it can be thought of in the same way that you wash or shower to clean the physical body, qigong cleans out the energetic body.
With a qigong practice you can:
- Strengthen and tone muscles and overall subtly in the body
- Relax the mind and calm thoughts
- Help the body to heal from injury
- Support the body to fight off pathogens such as seasonal colds
- Help the body to recover from and support long term or chronic illness
Really, the list is endless as the key function of qigong is, by tuning in you discover what your body needs, and the movements and meditations aid the body to flow in the way it needs to. In today’s busy modern world the benefits are endless, to just take time to slow down, move in your being and listen to what is there.