A drawing on silk dated 168B.C. of women and men, young and old doing various types of Qigong.
The inner world of your body calls.
Qigong is a form of exercise that promotes the flow of Qi (vital energy) throughout the body. It translates as "energy training" in English and includes a wide variety of gentle exercises that open and stretch the body, mobilize the joints, cleanse the body, and increase vital energy. Exercises include breathing techniques, slow movements, static postures, movements involving walking, meditation and visualizations. All qigong exercises involve elements of proper postural alignment, breathing, and mental focus.
The practice of Qigong aims to cleanse the body of tension, blockages and toxins, increase the circulation of Qi as well as store and balance the Qi throughout the whole body, thereby creating vibrant health.
Derived from China’s 5000 year old medical tradition this art is now being scientifically researched in and out of China with some very positive results. Qigong has been used to great effect to support other forms of treatment, on its own as a preventive medium and to enhance health and general vitality. Like any other system of health care, Qigong is not a panacea, but is certainly a highly effective health care practice. A growing number of health care professionals recommend Qigong as an important form of adjunct therapy.
In doing the exercises one learns balance, alignment, motor control, and how to move gracefully form one’s center, thereby improving one’s posture. By mindfully focusing on the execution of the exercise the practitioner’s mind is calmed. One usually feels relaxed yet energized after a session. The slow movements open energy pathways (meridians) and regulate blood pressure. The deep breathing engendered by Qigong increases the availability of oxygen in the blood, which nourishes cells, tissues, muscles and organs. Reduced stress and anxiety as well as improved brain function in the form of improved cognition and mental clarity are also results of Qigong practice.
Research suggests that Qigong may be beneficial for Asthma, Arthritis, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Stress,Anxiety,High Blood Pressure and a wide variety of common ailments such as headaches,and muscle pain.
Most importantly Qigong is enjoyable and fun! The exercises are easily learnt and can be practiced standing or seated. It requires no special equipment and can be done in a small space.
How are Tai Chi and Qigong different?
People often ask “What is the difference between Tai Chi and Qigong?” The most important difference between these two arts is that Tai Chi movements have self-defense applications in addition to very positive health effects. In contrast, Qigong was primarily designed to be an aid in health and longevity. With Qigong one can do specific exercises to strengthen or heal specific parts of the body. In contrast Tai Chi gives the whole body a boost which can result in ameliorating discrete illnesses. Tai Chi then, is a form of Qigong that can also be used as self-defense (if one trains that aspect of it).