qigong basics

Approximately 4,000 years ago, the Chinese developed a system of healing called Qigong to promote healing of the body through the combination of physical movement, breathing exercises, visualization, meditation, self-massage, and vocalization of sounds. Qigong is translated as “cultivation of Qi” which is the vital energy that flows through every living being. The effectiveness of Qigong practices stems from working the mind, body and breath as a unified whole.

qigong

Practicing the ancient art of Qigong opens the flow of Qi to balance and strengthen the entire body. It is an exercise that stimulates the both the physical and energetic aspects of the body. It is a form of mind body hygiene. It keeps the physical body fit and healthy, while maintaining a peaceful, clear mind throughout life. It is also really good for stress relief and relaxation.

Qigong is a set of graceful movements and postures that are like a simple dance. Regular practice enhances quality of fitness, health and longevity. The experience is subtle yet powerful – with accompanying astounding results. Through proper body alignment, Qigong helps the internal organs to function better and helps energy to move more easily through the neck - which increases mental clarity. For most, the first and foremost benefit of Qigong lies in helping to relieve or prevent chronic health problems. It has shown healing promise for a variety of disorders and health concerns. 

Scientists have only recently begun to study the effects of Qigong.  Initial studies have shown that regular practice is extremely beneficial to health at any age. For thousands of years, people around the world, have benefited from Qigong practices. It is the art of cultivating your Qi (vital energy) through gentle movements and techniques that incorporate breath, sound, visualization, and self massage.

Qigong restores energy, reduces anxiety & stress, maintains health, cleanses toxins, integrates the body, mind and spirit, as well as helps individuals maintain a healthy and dynamic lifestyle. Qigong is said to be one of the most powerful healing traditions ever developed in human history.

The Qigong for Staying Young Program Taught at Red Bank Acupuncture

QSY

Shoshanna teaches a combination of various techniques and styles derived from both Buddhist and Taoist lineages.  Her workout begins with a warm-up to get Kidney Qi moving, followed by tapping exercises to open circulation of energy within the meridians. Five healing sounds are next for detoxification and strengthening of the vital organs through releasing of excessive emotions. This is following with exercises designed to play and feel Qi. Next, the practice includes Yi Chuan exercises which incorporate standing and walking to develop internal strength and promote movement within stillness. Working to strengthen the bones and hormonal functions is the focus of the next two sets.  The last set before the warm-down and closing exercises is a set to nourish the Three Treasures of Jing (essence), Qi (energy), and Shen (spirit) to further promote healthful longevity.

Of the four major branches of Chinese medicine, Qigong is the easiest to practice as a self-healing technique. Studies and experience show qigong to be beneficial in the following ways:

Daily Practice of Qigong…

  • lowers blood pressure
  • improves heart functioning
  • eases addictions
  • significantly reduces falls and fractures in the elderly
  • reduces fatigue, anxiety, tension, depression, and mental confusion
  • slows and reverses the degeneration of aging
  • prevents and improves healing of illnesses and injuries
  • boosts athletic and intellectual performance
  • deeply relaxes the body and mind
  • improves sexual functioning
  • aids the internal organs in maintaining health
  • increases energy, enhances healing and increases longevity
  • relieves a range of maladies such as: diabetes, asthma, cancer, poor circulation, internal organ issues, arthritis, nerve pain, bad backs, joint problems, hypertension, autoimmune disorders and general physical disease
Qi behaves like water and can be led, but not pushed - otherwise it becomes flooded into the wrong pathways...

An in-depth description of set 4: "Qi Mind, Qi Body"

With the daily stresses of our modern society it is common to feel exhausted, stressed and “all over the place” during much of the day. There is a way to live each day with vibrant energy, clear intention and overall calm regardless of the pressures of life. Engaging in daily practice of Qigong exercise is an effective way to become more centered and balanced as an improved level of functioning becomes the new normal. This is accomplished through cultivation and circulation of Qi (vital energy) leading to increased harmony of mind, body and spirit.

During Qigong exercise, one practices how to focus the mind, orientate the body, concentrate the spirit, and express the breath in a manner that enhances stabilization in all aspects of life. Yi Chuan is a form of Qigong designed for these exact purposes – one that is simple to perform, yielding powerful outcomes. Health benefits are achieved through following precise physical movements combined with cultivation and consolidation of Qi. Its goal is to hone mental concentration to create energetic and physical balance and stability - traditionally known as “mind-intent”. During practice, Qi is led from patient mind-intent in order that it flows smoothly and without stagnation.  

Comprised of both standing and walking exercises, the goal of these movements is a combination of healing, self-defense and energetic awakening. The main function of the standing exercise is to promote ‘movement within stillness’; and the walking exercise to promote ‘stillness within movement’. Yi Chuan is not only a Qigong practice, but also said to be the original basis of T’ai Chi.

The ancient Qigong proverb "where the mind goes, the Qi will follow" is at the root of the Yi Chuan

Yi translates as mind and Chuan as fist. Therefore, Yi Chuan practice creates a “mind fist” – the cultivation of mental focus to direct Qi and manifest goals. When Yi is strong, Qi will be strong as well. The first sign of a strong mind is the feeling of inner calm, clear mind and minimal distraction. A tremendous amount of focus and concentration exists not only during practice, but also in daily life. In practical life terms, it fosters the ability to respond naturally to life challenges through improved awareness combined with a peaked instinctive ability. Furthermore, it leads to enhanced self-healing and more harmonious interaction and behavior with self and others. Through daily Yi Chuan practice one’s actions stem from inaction with stillness as the base of behavior - approached from a turtle’s place of deep calm and balance.

Please note: Any of these recommendations are not to be done in place of allopathic care. It is important to always discuss holistic options such as these with your physician.