Qi means energy or breath. Gong means work. Put together, Qigong means energy work. Qigong teaches us simple movements that we learn to coordinate with our breathing. When these movements are practised with mindfulness, we can activate our body’s natural healing systems and increase the flow of energy in our bodies.
Qigong is physical exercise as well as a meditation practice. A Qigong practice can increase energy, reduce stress, and strengthen muscles and joints.
It originated several thousand years ago in China, and has many forms. T’ai Chi is one of more than 200 forms of Qigong. Some forms have no movement at all. Sometimes only one movement is practised and sometimes a practice is made up of a few simple movements.
Practising Qigong can increase energy, reduce stress, and strengthen muscles and joints
Traditional Chinese medicine teaches us that there are meridians in our body. Your Qi or life energy flows through these meridians. This energy flow is like water flowing in a river or stream, or possibly like the traffic flow on a highway. We are born with a certain amount of Qi. Different life experiences add to, or subtract from, this Qi. It is almost like depositing and withdrawing money from a bank account. If we’re not conscious about it, we are likely to withdraw more from our Qi account than add to it. This could result in poor health or lack of energy.
Our energy becoming blocked or sluggish is much like a tree falling over and blocking a river—or like a traffic jam. These blockages will keep energy from reaching parts of our body, causing a depletion of Qi, or will overflow into other areas, resulting in too much Qi.
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A version of this was first published in the April 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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