Balancing The Mind, Body And Soul The Qigong Way
Qigong comes from the Chinese words ‘Qi’ meaning energy, and ‘Gong’ meaning work or practice. It is a term that describes a Chinese exercise system that focuses on cultivating and attracting ‘Qi’ or life force energies. This includes regulating the body through posture, regulating the mind through quiet, relaxation and concentration of one’s mental activity, regulating the breath, self massage and movement of the limbs.
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When we practice Qigong, we enhance our blood flow, electro-magnetic flow, chemical flow (hormone production), heat flow and vibratory flow.
Unlike conventional aerobic exercises that emphasize on strenuous body movement, Qigong on the contrary places more emphasis on the movement of joints. Thus, instead of muscular tensions, Qigong enhances ones coordination level and promotes calmness.
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- Qigong harnesses the power of the universe, earth and human and helps spiritual growth, regardless of faith or beliefs.
- Qigong stimulates the appetite, sexual function, assimilation of nutrients and digestion.
- Qigong improves the motion of blood, warms the blood and enhances the whole body circulation.
- Qigong bolsters the immune system by reducing cortisol, a known inhibitor of cytokine production.
- Qigong accelerates metabolism and weight loss.
- Qigong opens arteries allowing greater brain based microcirculation to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- Qigong improves dexterity and reflexes.
- Qigong helps us to calm down, relax and become more peaceful.
- Qigong enhances mental acuity, focus and concentration.
- Qigong can help heal digestive problems, poor blood circulation, endocrine and thyroid disorders, migraines, asthma, allergies and high blood pressure.
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The term Qigong usually refers to an exercise in regulating the mind and deepening the respiration. Qigong is divided into martial and medical, and it is categorized depending on the purpose of the practice.
Medical Qigong is generally practiced in 2 major categories, still and moving. In medical Qigong, a healthy body must have a balance on yin and yang energy. Sickness occurs if there is a depletion of ‘Qi’ or blockage of the ‘Qi’ flow in the meridian of one’s body.
Still Qigong emphasizes on a quiet, motionless meditation, generally employing methods of internal concentration and regulation of breathing. This is known as internal Qigong. However, moving Qigong involves movement of the limbs and body under the conscious direction of the mind, and since the movement is expressed externally, it is also known as external Qigong.
Another basic skill in Qigong is how to concentrate and regulate one’s mental activity so as to enter a serene and calm mind. By practicing Qigong, one is able to attain a level of peacefulness and quietness, and this quiet state is referred to as a settled and peaceful state of mind without any disturbance extraneous thoughts as the mind is concentrated on one point. The external stimuli thereby reduce, until one reaches a state in which they enter a quiescent state. Most people find it difficult to enter such a state. However, with great patience, commitment and endurance, it can be gradually attained.
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Most of us take breathing for granted. We all know how to do it and because we are doing it all the time, we tend to forget about it. However, if you truly want to improve your health, there is no escaping the need for good breathing. Even if you do nothing else for your health, simply taking time and trouble to learn how to breathe in the optimum way can deliver truly amazing benefits to you and your body, mind and spirit.
Breathing is the way we pull in oxygen and circulate it around the body to ‘feed’ each and every cell. This has been proved to be an important aspect in Qigong therapy. One aims, through practice, to change from breathing in the chest to abdominal breathing, thus developing one’s breathing technique to a deeper one. This deepening of the breathing has the effect of expanding lung capacity, promoting the circulation of oxygen in the blood, massaging the internal abdominal organs, and helping digestion and assimilation of food.
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- Natural breathing – a normal respiration without any interference or control by the mind. Although it may well be soft and even, it has the disadvantage of not being very deep.
- Complementary breathing – in this form, one expands the abdomen outwards as one inhales and contracts it as one exhales. As the movement of the abdomen develops, one gradually achieves abdominal breathing.
- Reversed breathing – this is the opposite of complementary breathing. As one inhales the abdomen is contracted, and as one exhales it is expanded. This method gives greater scope and intensity to the use of muscles in breathing.
- Stopping the breathing – here, during or after inhalation or exhalation the practitioner stops the passage of air for a short while and then continues. This method helps focus the mind on the action of the control of breath.
Feeling At Peace With Yourself
By practicing Qigong, one will attain relaxation, quietness and naturalness. Both body and mind are relaxed, peaceful and at peace. The unity of breath and mind is critical in Qigong. Some forms of Qigong combine both stillness and movement into one style and some put stress on stillness. It is vital to realize that one must practice according to the body’s ability and strength, allowing it to develop and progress naturally at its own pace, never forcing it or striving anxiously for quick results. Qigong is not like a quick-acting medicine, but the longer one can preserve, the more great result one feels.