What’s Qigong? It’s Good for Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Awareness
Question: How intentional was your day today?
Do you feel tense? Are you angry and don’t know why?
Cultivating and directing the energy inherent within us can be a vital tool for reducing stress in our busy day-in and day-out schedules. When you coordinate your breath, intention, and physical movements throughout your day, you can find relaxing pockets of positivity wherever you are!
That’s why I’d like to introduce you to Qigong, explain some of the health benefits of qigong, and what you can do as a qigong beginner to develop your life force and reduce anxiety.
What is Qigong?
Qigong (pronounced “chee-gong”) is an ancient Chinese health and wellness practice that combines controlled breathing, movement, and meditation to improve physical and mental health and stamina. ‘Qi’ can be translated to mean life energy, and ‘gong’ generally means work or cultivation of some act. So, ‘Qigong’ can be translated together to mean the cultivation of life energy.
Developed thousands of years ago, qigong is a Chinese practice that began within the Taoist religion/philosophy. It was created alongside other health and wellness practices and beliefs such as acupuncture, the yin-yang philosophy, and Chinese herbal medicine. Many people like to integrate all of these together in their health practices.
Don’t worry, though. No matter what religion you practice, qigong can be integrated without having to switch your faith!
The Difference Between Qigong and Tai Chi
Qigong is not really a martial arts form. But, those studying Chinese martial arts may run across styles like Tai Chi where practicing one of the many qigong versions is encouraged for training. It strengthens posture-breath coordination and helps harness and direct the energy force present in all of us.
So what are the benefits of Qigong and how can you incorporate it into your health routine?
The Benefits of Qigong
Whether you want spiritual enlightenment or just a gentle physical practice, qigong can be a comprehensive program with many health benefits.
Qigong Mental Benefits
Do you feel anxious a lot? Are you jumping from task to task with no clear focus?
Stress is common in today’s busy world. That’s where qigong comes in to help. While regular physical activity can relieve stress, qigong helps you focus on the emotions behind the stress, giving you the power to work through the negativity and shake off the anxiety present in everyday life.
Qigong is known for both its meditation exercises and its ability to improve focus. One of the main goals of qigong is to develop mental acuity so that you are more aware of your internal state. Focus comes from learning to coordinate your breath and thoughts with the prescribed movements of qigong practice.
Qigong Physical Benefits
Energy flow is what qigong is all about. Typically, Western exercise focuses on flexibility and strength, whereas qigong uses relaxed movements to help fortify and control life force energy.
Yes, aerobics and strength training are good for your body, and so is focused, intentional relaxation and awareness of the body.
Do you sit at a desk all day? If you begin practicing qigong, you’ll start to notice how your energy levels balance out more consistently and discover the stretches that relieve the strain from sitting in an office chair all day.
Like yoga, qigong can be practiced using specific moves or postures that can work for general health or focus on a specific area of concern. So, if you are recovering from a lung or heart issue, there are qigong movements that can help push your chi, or life force, into the lungs or heart for healing.
Do you want more balance in your life? Qigong is perfect for increasing balancing. You’ll learn to avoid strain and pick up some tips on how to better protect yourself during a fall.
One main way chi flows through the body, is through the nervous system. You’ll increase your awareness of the nerves throughout your body in order to learn how to direct chi where it can benefit you the most.
Qigong also helps strengthen martial arts skills and can push you to reach your other physical fitness goals.
Qigong Spiritual Benefits
No matter your religion, qigong can enable spiritual awakening or simply help one connect more with the spiritual and godly realm. One of the primary goals of qigong is to reach spiritual enlightenment or one with God.
The use of meditation and awareness not only increases your mental acuity, but it can also help you transcend the physical realm to follow your faith path and feel more in touch with the Higher domain.
Christian, Taoist, Buddhist? Remember that, like many health and wellness practices, qigong is modular and can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle and faith.
Qigong for Beginners
If you are just beginning, type in “qigong near me” into your favorite search engine to pull up a relevant list of qigong practitioners and teachers in your area. While qigong is a gentle type of exercise, it is still important to learn how to properly do qigong from experienced teachers to reduce your chances of injury.
Feeling pressed for time and hungry? Grab your favorite water bottle and a Just Add Water packet so you can get your nutrients naturally on-the-go.
Remember, you can always stop if you begin to experience discomfort or modify a move to reduce any forceful impact. And, be sure to check in with your doctor before you begin any physical exercise so you can make the best of your workouts and health practices.
Before you go, watch my conversation with Qigong certified practitioner Chris Shelton as he explains how qigong transformed his life as well as his students’ lives.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with qigong!