Qigong ('chee-kung') is slowly but steadily taking the health and fitness world by storm, one gentle graceful move at a time. Just like its eastern practice counterpart, yoga, Qigong encourages mental focus and self-awareness. In fact, it is yoga that has paved the way for mind-body exercises and eastern practices like Qigong to be embraced in the western world. While some forms of yoga can be strenuous, the gentle flowing and easy-to-learn nature of Qigong makes it accessible to all age groups regardless of fitness level. In fact, children, people recovering from injury and those suffering from Alzheimer's disease can benefit from qigong as well. Qigong requires no exercise apparatus, not even a mat. It is estimated that millions in the world today (besides in China where it originated) practise Qigong on a regular basis.
Even so, you may still wondering what exactly Qigong is, and how it can benefit you? Qigong has been around for thousands of years and is a part of the system of traditional Chinese medicine. In the Chinese language, Qi means breath or gas, and breath is regarded to be the vital energy flowing through the human body. Gong refers to work or technique. So Qigong is basically the art or technique of managing one's breathing. Coupled with the coordination of different postures and body movements, Qigong can provide many health benefits such as relieving stress, increasing one's energy and stamina, healing injuries, improving bone joints and creating harmony between mind and body. Qigong has also been said to be able to improve one's self-confidence, sex hormone levels, immune system, internal organs, as well as detoxify the body.
There are four major areas of Qigong. Healing Qigong (Yi Gong) teaches one how to manage stress. External Qi Healing (Wai Qi Zhi Liao) enables one to tap into his or her 'energy fields' to increase the body's wellness and ability to heal. It includes exercises, meditation, acupuncture and massage. , Sports Qigong (Wu Gong) or martial arts Qigong includes kungfu and taijiquan ("tai-chi-chuan'). It cultivates the body's strength, stamina, speed, balance, flexibility, and injury resistance. Finally Spiritual Qigong (Fo Gong, Tao Gong), evolving from Buddhism and Taoism, is a discipline in spirituality that teaches one to be more self-aware and create a peaceful and harmonious relationship with nature.
Sure, Qigong can't really give you a perfect physique, but with the highly stressful environment we live in today, it provides a welcoming respite for the weary soul. Its gaining popularity is evident of the shift in focus from being merely health-conscious to seeking a more holistic mind-body-spirit rejuvenation. Experts are predicting that qigong may one day supercede yoga in popularity. Already, more and more former yoga practitioners are switching over to Qigong due to "mat fatigue" (read: too much hype and overcrowded studios with too little mat space).
Qigong can be learnt on your own or through attending a course. But as there's no specific training required to be a qigong "master", make sure you do your research well before signing up for any classes or buying random Qigong tapes. A good source where you can learn Qigong on your own would be QigongWeb. The guy behind this website is a long-time practitioner of Qigong and he provides a comprehensive and easy-to-follow guide for the different Qigong exercises.
As per usual, before you start on any exercise program, make sure you consult a doctor before starting on Qigong. Finally, breathe, relax, and embark on your journey to total wellness.
3 years ago,Estevan was a frail and sickly person who visited the doctor almost once a month for various ailments.One day she discovered ) and became a practitioner.Today,she's the healthiest person in her workplace,going more than 468 days without sick leave.