Since I’ve taken up the practice of Qigong, I’m eager to share my learning experiences and the various health benefits I’ve gained from this ancient meditative Chinese exercise.
The official definition of Qigong according to the National Qigong Association is a mind-body-spirit practice that improves one’s mental and physical health by integrating posture, movement, breathing technique, self-massage, sound, and focused intent. Qi (Chi) means “life energy” and gong means “cultivation and its benefits.
This holistic approach to overall health and vitality has been adapted by Eastern practitioners for centuries and has been used to maintain health, manage illnesses and increase longevity. It encourages self-awareness, focus, concentration and intent. A daily routine of these gentle movements helps cultivate the flow of energy in our bodies. Harmonizing the breath, body, mind and spirit allows you to tap into an abundance of chi to promote physical and emotional health.
I practice Qigong for at least an hour a day and found many helpful videos online to refer to. There are many Qigong centers you can locate in your community. These exercises can be done sitting, standing or even laying down and is customizable depending on your health needs. For me, it all begins by letting go of my surroundings, and becoming more aware on the unconscious level to unleash the flow of energy. My body is straight, my feet stay grounded to the earth, but my knees slightly bent. My shoulders and arms are relaxed and my neck is delicate and straight.
Keeping the appropriate posture in Qigong promotes free flow and circulation of energizing chi without restrictions. My breathing is slow and calm and I’m observant of every deep breath I take. The goal is to release the negative energies and take in the refreshing, positive energies.
This is just my routine. I encourage you to find your own process of building awareness and infusing the body with chi. Some experts believe that there are more than 3,000 different styles of qigong in existence today and there are many diverse approaches. Once you discover how to integrate your mind, body and spirit, the sensations that you experience during Qigong, will become more natural and the benefits will become more noticeable.
I’ve seen many enhancements in my overall life by practicing Qigong such as increased energy, better sleeping habits, more flexibility, increased motivation to accomplish goals and more. Various studies find there are many more health benefits including:
- Balanced emotions
- Increased focus
- Improved memory
- Improved quality of life for cancer patients
- Increased Energy and Vitality
- Aids in digestion
- Builds bone density
- Builds the immune system
- Lowers blood pressure
- Decreases stroke risk
- Improves asthma
- Improves circulation
- Improves flexibility
- Improves kidney function
- Improves posture
- Increases balance
- Speeds recovery
The benefits are endless. Find a routine that works for you and begin slowly. You’ll be happy you invested the time.