Updated: Mar 5
Qigong (气功) is a traditional Chinese system of postures, movements, and breath control. It is said to improve one's health by promoting the circulation of qi, or life energy. Qigong is similar to t'ai chi ch'uan (太极拳), another Chinese exercise system that uses gentle movements and breath control. However, whereas t'ai chi emphasizes martial arts applications, qigong is focused on achieving a state of tranquility and cultivating inner peace. For this reason, qigong is often described as a "meditation in motion." Practicing qigong can be an excellent way to reduce stress and promote relaxation. In addition, research suggests that qigong may have various health benefits, such as reducing pain and improving heart health. If you're interested in trying qigong, check out some basic exercises below. Remember to listen to your body and move at a pace that feels comfortable for you.
Why is it practiced today?
Today, many individuals around the world practice Qigong to take advantage of its numerous beneficial effects. This ancient Chinese exercise helps both the body and mind become more vigorous and coordinated, while also providing emotional and spiritual balance. Practicing Qigong can improve overall health by reducing tension, augmenting flexibility, strengthening muscles, stimulating circulation, aiding digestion, and calming the nervous system. Additionally, it is a great way to de-stress after a long day as it focuses on gentle movements combined with mindful breathing techniques which help bring mental clarity. Qigong helps cultivate and maintain strong chi energies that ultimately produce self-healing effects on all aspects of life. Hence, there are countless reasons why this traditional practice is still relevant today.
At-Home Qigong exercises
One great thing about Qigong is that it can be done virtually anywhere - in the park, at the gym, or even just in the living room!
To get you started at home, why not try the Lifting The Sky exercise? This simple movement involves standing with your arms outstretched and palms facing up as you lift your hands to eye level then slowly lower them back down.
Another common Qigong exercise for at-home practice is the Embracing The Tree: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and bent slightly forward at the waist and stretch your arms out to shoulder height as though you are literally embracing a tree. For increased focus and relaxation, add deep breathing as you do each movement.
After doing these exercises regularly, you will start to notice improved energy levels, better moods, and a more relaxed outlook on life. As you become more comfortable with the movements and form, begin incorporating visualization into your practice; start small by imagining energy flows or blood circulation while executing the exercise, then move on to longer visualizations that help increase the effectiveness of the techniques. Finally, make sure to dedicate some time each day to practice – even if it’s only five minutes – as this creates consistency which enhances learning over time. With these tips in hand, you are now well-equipped to incorporate qigong into your life in a meaningful way!