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What is Qigong?

Qigong is an ancient Chinese exercise and healing technique that coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing and meditation. People practice qigong throughout China and worldwide for recreation, exercise, relaxation, preventive medicine, self-healing, alternative medicine, meditation, self-cultivation and training for martial arts.

Introduction

Qigong literally means “life energy work” -- a way of working with the life energy. It is a healing art, a way of cultivating physical, spiritual, emotional and psychical health, that originated in China about seven thousand years ago, widely practised by the shaman priests during that primitive era. Qigong is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and was first detailed in an ancient Chinese medical text book -- the Huang Di Nei Jing or Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon - that has been regarded as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for well over two millennia and is still in use today. Subsequent Chinese medical books published in antiquity also reveal detailed theory and the clinical practice of Qigong procedures for treating disease and enhancing health. The art of Qigong can be practised as physical movement that incorporates breathing exercises, or as stationary meditation.

Qigong Categories

The art of Qigong has three categories which are medical (or healing) Qigong, meditation Qigong and martial Qigong. There are more than two thousand Qigong exercises that comprise of hundreds of different styles, engaged in moving, standing, lying or sitting. Some styles of Qigong foster Qi better than others because of their superior moves and applications -- those that are simple are typically more effective and can be excellent for the central nervous system, the chronically ill, and for general health

Medical Qigong

Medical Qigong can refer to a healer using the palms to transmit Qi into a patient’s body. It more commonly refers to medical Qigong kinetics -- movement exercises practised by the general public all over the world, and by chronically ill patients in many Chinese hospitals. Medical Qigong exercise is a slow, relaxed and gentle physical work-out with each move repeated in coordination with the breath so as to nourish the Qi and improve health and well-being. The movements are designed primarily to nurture the Qi, enhance its flow and massage the internal organs of the body.

Meditation Qigong

Meditation Qigong is carried out either sitting, standing or lying for the purpose of mind-body integration, emotional and spiritual fulfilment, Qi cultivation and healing. It is also an effective way to relax the mind and the body. There are different types of meditation Qigong, each with their own methods, techniques and objectives. Most meditation Qigong entails visualization, focusing the Qi to move to a specific part of the body, or focusing on breathing patterns, sounds, specific ideas, images and concepts. Meditation Qigong is commonly applied in Chinese martial arts, while one type of meditation Qigong centres on healing power to be used for oneself or others by projecting Qi from the palms with the hands touching or positioned very close to the body.

Martial Qigong

Martial Qigong is dynamic and strenuous, and is used by martial artists to supplement their power by way of encouraging Qi in the body. The Qigong training typically involves repeatedly tensing and then loosening the muscles, combined with deep, long breaths often incorporating reversed abdominal breathing. A static standing posture, sometimes on one leg, is held by the martial artist for a period lasting three, five, ten minutes or even longer. Martial Qigong has a few healing benefits, primarily by strengthening the internal organs of the body and developing stronger muscles, tendons and ligaments. One has to be reasonably fit before beginning such training because otherwise it can damage the body’s systems.

Types of Qigong

Ba Duan Jin

Yi Jin Jing

Dragon and Tiger

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