Qi Gong is an ancient practice that can be practiced by anyone and has a huge amount of health benefits. Read on to find out more.
What is Qi Gong?
There are four main divisions of Qi Gong, depending on the goal of the practitioner – spiritual, medical, martial, and athletic. However, there is some overlap between the branches. Medical Qi Gong is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Qi is life energy and TCM says that the health of the body relies upon a smooth flow of Qi within the body. Disease is the result of poor Qi circulation. Balancing the flow of Qi allows the body to heal itself. Gong means work or hard task, and it is the task of learning how to control the flow of Qi through the body using breath, movement, and meditation.
Finding the Right Qi Gong for you
Literally thousands of styles of Qi Gong exist – it is a matter of the student finding the one that is right for them. Some styles are designed for general health and wellbeing and need to be practiced everyday. Others have therapeutic purposes and are designed to treat specific issues. Qi Gong can be practiced by just about anyone, whether they are young or old, active or sedentary. Even disabled people are able to practice it. While there are many styles, they are all based on similar principles: a relaxed, grounded posture; a straight, supple spine; breathing from the diaphragm; fluid movement without excess effort; and tranquil awareness. The quality of the Qi Gong practice is far more important than how often the practice is undertaken. It is far more beneficial to learn one or two styles well than to learn many superficially. It is also important to find a good Qi Gong teacher, or lao-shi. This is because the Qi Gong training is not standardised, and as such the quality of the teachings as well as the qualifications will vary from teacher to teacher.
Benefits of Qi Gong
Qi Gong, as a health practice, has numerous benefits. These include:
cardiovascular benefits such as a lower resting heart rate, improved blood pressure, and improved cholesterol levels
respiratory benefits such as a slower rate of breathing, and improvements in asthma and bronchitis
a stronger immune system
improved circulation and microcirculation
improved blood flow to the brain
lower incidence of stroke
a reduction in the frequency and intensity of seizures
improved posture, balance, strength, endurance, and flexibility