What is Qi Gong?

Qi (pronounced “chee”) Gong is a practice for less stress and more energy.

Qi Gong was developed by Taoist sages in ancient China over 4,000 years ago. Since that time, it has been an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, offering numerous benefits for physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.

On my first day at med school, when I began my BSc in Physiology and Neuroscience, the very first thing they taught us was how the body makes its own electricity. Each cell in our bodies has to generate electricity for each of the processes in our bodies to work. Without this we don’t have life! We can’t breathe, think, eat, digest, move, sleep, manufacture hormones or neurotransmitters etc.. It is this electricity, bio-electricity that in the East is translated into the word Qi!

“Qi” means “life-force energy.” Everything that takes place within the body is a reflection of this mysterious energy. Your thoughts, feelings, and physical experiences are all manifestations of Qi within you.

“Gong” means “to work with.” Therefore, Qi Gong means “to work with life-force energy.”

In Qi Gong, working with life-force energy often focuses on letting go of stress, cultivating joy, and boosting physical vitality and health. However, there are limitless ways to apply the principles of Qi Gong to help you live your best life.

First, since Qi Gong is a movement practice, it has many of the same benefits as other forms of exercise. It improves circulation, strengthens the muscles, and increases cardiovascular health. Since there are so many different types of Qi Gong exercises, everyone can find practices to suit their level of physical fitness.

If someone recognizes the importance of going on hikes or working out at the gym, it shouldn’t be difficult for them to understand the value of Qi Gong when it comes to physical fitness.

Second, Qi Gong focuses on gentle stretching exercises that can increase flexibility. Just as people do yoga or stretch their bodies, Qi Gong is another practice that offers the wonderful benefits associated with stretching and flexibility.

Focusing on flexibility is an important part of staying mobile and preventing injury. This is especially true as people grow older. Tao Yin is a form of Qi Gong that emphasizes stretching exercises.

Third, Qi Gong is a form of meditation. Just like physical exercise and stretching, most people recognize the value of meditation. By practicing Qi Gong, it’s easy to experience many of the same benefits of meditation —calming the mind, letting go of stress, and cultivating emotional balance.

In other words, Qi Gong combines the benefits of physical exercise, stretching, and meditation in one practice!

Because Qi Gong offers all three of these positive qualities, it’s a great practice for those who don’t have a lot of time in their schedule for self-care. Instead of meditating, going to the gym, and doing a yoga class, many practitioners feel that many of their needs are still met just by practicing Qi Gong.

Qi Gong is also beneficial to the immune system, the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It benefits the digestive and endocrine systems assisting with weight loss. It balances the reproductive system and is beneficial during fertility treatments. It corrects the nervous system assisting with neurological and emotional issues. Qi Gong can be used to aid the body in so many ways, I look forward to sharing all of these with you!

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