As I was exploring the opportunities within my yoga practice early in my teacher's training, I was introduced to #Qigong, a mind-body exercise that uses meditation, breathing, and movement to increase energy and enable the body to heal itself. These are ancient China and Tibet practices composed of light exercise with repeated movements, practiced breathwork, stretching, and increasing fluid movement within the body. The idea is that qigong restores the flow of energy in the body and helps us become aware of the flow of our own life force, or our chi.
The power of qigong has been demonstrated in China over thousands of years and has been recognized for its tremendous health benefits for millions of people across the globe. Developing the life force energy, the chi, is the main focus of #Taoism.
The main benefits of qigong comes from the relief it offers those with multiple chronic health issues and concerns like diabetes, poor circulation, back pain, and even cancer.
The practice of Qigong is rooted in an understanding of yin and yang, slow and fast, and the five elements. Qi is said to be vital energy; it builds up and circulates through the body, distributing nutrients. The practice of Qigong seeks to adjust the body, breath, and mind into balance by releasing blockages in the energy flow. A variety of techniques are used to achieve this through various forms of Qigong each of which appreciate #posture, focused concentration, relaxation, breathwork, movements of the limbs, and self-massage.
Many find that practicing qigong helps calm their inner-self, reducing stress and ultimately improving health through reducing anger, stress, anxiety, #depression, and negative thoughts.
Qigong is also a spiritual practice. The goal is the complete change of mind, body, and spirit. Feeling and understanding the energy produced by our bodies makes it easier to better understand our thoughts and emotions. Based on Taoist practices, every person holds the "three treasures" which refers to jing, chi, and shen. This life fluid, energy, and spiritual power helps the practitioner become one with the Tao, cultivating the ultimate understanding.
Our current lifestyle trends and the consequences of this suggests qigong as the perfect antidote. Countless studies demonstrate the fast-paced, stress filled, diet of fast food, and lack of sleep to be devastating to our health, leading to a plethora of chronic illnesses and mental health struggles. Practices such as qigong which allows the body to truly relax can increase strength, stamina, range of motion, and flexibility. It also improves the function of the immune system, digestive system, and enhances healthy sleeping patterns. Mentally, qigong hones the ability to concentrate which is vital for effectiveness in our productive-driven society.
Classes are available in many communities and YouTube offers many free videos for which to practice. I find men in particular appreciate this method of practice.