What Is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong, pronounced as chee-gung, is an ancient Chinese technique that focuses on mastering your inner energy. Similar to yoga, it uses proper breathing techniques, postures, and movement to target your chee (qi). However, there is no such thing as yoga qi gong.
Chee means energy, and gong means regular practice.
It’s based upon the age-old concept that human body, actually the whole universe, is made-up of subtle energies that make-up everything, including solid matter, as well as consciousness. So, physical world, life, and reality as we know it, is nothing but different forms of energy.
It is these energies which make it possible for us to exist in the first place. Hence, the name life-force, or prana in Hinduism.
According to Chinese medicine and acupuncture, these energies run in 12 specific pathways in our bodies called “meridians” that are further connected to all our vital organs. The slow and steady movement in Qigong exercises allow these meridians or energy channels to open-up and align thus offering many health benefits.
So, yes! Just like you can train your body and meditate your mind, there are exercises for inner energy, known as Qi Gong.
Just for clarity, you may find the name of this practice written as chi kung, chi cong, chi gong, ki gong and the closest one, qigong.
Qi Gong is a centuries old Chinese practice that focuses on inner energy.
History of Qi Gong
Qi Gong has existed for more than 4000 years with about 1200 distinct systems at present. These systems come from various lineages and target specific areas of body, mind, and spirit.
Some focus on spiritual uplifting and meditation. While others emphasize on concentration or visualization. There are also many Qi Gong styles that pay extra attention to bodily postures and movement, thus proving extremely therapeutic in nature. Then there are certain systems that can be traced to the world of martial arts.
Some Qi Gong systems also use external agents such as herbs and living organisms for the purpose of healing. But that’s in the styles rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
While the styles are too many, Qigong can be easily classified into two general categories- active and passive. Active Qigong is all about movement; whereas, the passive system revolves around static positions and meditation.
But regardless of the method, there are five simple principles that you must follow at all times during any qigong exercise.
Principles of Qi Gong
- Concentration/ Visualization
Each Qi Gong system emphasizes different principles.
While all of them must remain active throughout any Qi gong practice, one particular principle or more may be given greater or lesser importance. For instance, the Taoist Elixir system emphasizes on breath and relaxation, while giving less importance to visualization.
The rule is to involve all the elements to some or other degree though, while focusing on the ones inspired by the style and your personal goals.
On top of that, there is the core principle of Qi Gong that you must be mindful at all times. That is, coordinating the movement of your eyes with that of your body. Let’s take a closer look.
Eye Movement in Qi Gong
Eyes have a very special place in Qigong. That’s because many cultures around the world, including Taoism, consider eyes to be the gateway to one’s soul.
It is believed that eyes can guide and direct one’s spirit or soul- the main active force that drives all other energies.
Referred to as Shen in Chinese philosophy, the spirit or mind is the main energy that gives you the physical form and consciousness. It is followed by Qi, the energy that animates the physical body and its functions. And lastly, there is Jing, the physical essence which follows our “chee”.
Together these three energies- Shen, Qi, and Jing form the basis of life including physical, emotional, and spiritual. Shen leads and controls the Qi, and Qi directs the Jing.
Qi Gong’s philosophy consideres the eyes as the gates to one’s soul.
By matching the movement of your eyes with that of your body and limbs, you can learn to control and channel your life-force the way you want to. And that’s where concentration or imagination comes into picture as energy is something you can’t really see. So, when you focus and concentrate inwards, you are using the power of your imagination to direct and improve the flow of your inner energy to your own will.
Another great advantage here is the slow fluid movement, which is way easier to carry out than other therapeutic exercises such as yoga and tai chi.
Luckily, with regular practice of Qi Gong, you can take care of a lot of those issues. Let’s take a quick peek before we conclude.
Benefits of Qi Gong
- Warms-up the tendons, ligaments and muscles
- Tones vital organs and connective tissues aka fascia
- Promotes the circulation of body fluids such as blood, synovial, and lymph
- Reduces high blood pressure and chronic fatigue or illness
- Helps manage stress and mood disorders
- Boosts immunity
- Lifts your spirits in times of spiritual crisis
Clearly, Qi Gong is a promising fitness module that does not demand too much effort but offers a lot of benefits.
A freelance writer, a poet and an avid reader. He’s a passionate wordsmith who believes in writing content which is simple, beautiful and informative. He’s a practised communicator coached by British Academy.
Apart from being a playful scribbler, he’s a hardcore music fan and loves exploring space and science. He is also a spiritual soul and fitness enthusiast. Yoga, meditation and workout are some of his favourite health activities.