Qigong is an energy system developed in China between 4000 and 8000 years ago for strengthening and directing life force energy through the body.
Ancient Chinese sages and healers observed the natural world, its cycles and seasons, the movements and habits of animals, and the elemental forces of sun, moon, stars, water, mountains, sky, earth and trees. They developed a system for moving energy in a synergistic flow with the rhythms of nature that proved to be an effective method of self-healing.
In Chinese, Qigong is represented by an ideagram that combines two ideas – the concept of energy or breath, and the concept of skill or work. So, Qigong refers to skilful means of working with life-force energy, the energy in all living things.
Working with our body’s meridians or energy lines, Qigong increases the healthy flow and distribution of life-force energy, thereby strengthening our vitality, boosting our immune system, calming our mind, and healing difficult states that arise from imbalances of energy.
Practising Qigong regularly helps us to feel alive, calm, alert, focused, relaxed and grounded. Through Qigong practice we cultivate and balance our life force energy for enhanced health, vitality and wellbeing.
Qigong uses flowing gentle movements to nourish and support the flow of energy through our body. Combining body, breath and mind within each movement, Qigong can be considered a form of moving meditation, combining all the benefits of a physical workout, cardiovascular exercise and meditation in one practice.
As a result, Qigong may relieve or reduce stress, tension and pain. As the greater flow of qi balances our emotions we may feel a deep inner peace and relaxation. Integrating mind, breath and body in Qigong nourishes all our cells with vital life energies, clearing blockages or stagnation, strengthening weaknesses and reducing overstimulation or excess of energy. This has the effect of balancing our internal states naturally over time.
- Quieting and focusing the mind
Aligned posture for free movement of energy
Breath regulation to increase energy and enhance cell function
Awareness of energy
There are three main paths of Qigong training: the healing path, the warrior path and the sage path.
- The healing path applies Qigong practices for self-healing and wellbeing.
The warrior path focuses on practices for developing strength and endurance and is the basis of many martial arts.
The sage path offers practices for self-cultivation, wisdom and spiritual progress.
While each path has its own focus, all Qigong paths enhance self-healing, and all free our life force to help us maximise our potential and grow both personally and spiritually.
Qigong is based on a practical application of Chinese Five Element theory, which draws on the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each element corresponds with one of the five major organ systems of the body and integrates them with the natural cycles and seasons of life as well as corresponding with each life stage in human development. Each element has a corresponding organ, season, time of day, life stage, and difficult emotional state that can be transmuted into its natural positive state. Five Element theory is fundamental to to traditional Chinese medicine, which includes Qigong and acupuncture as well as the use of herbs and other practices that balance the elements and flow of energy through the body.
In practising Five Element Qigong we learn to recognise, accept and balance the emotional states that correspond to each element and organ system. We discover that we are able to resolve old beliefs and feeling states naturally, and, over time, to free ourselves from states that limit our capacities or wellbeing. We return to our natural authenticity.
We will explore Five Element theory in Qigong in more depth in my next blog.
Original artwork by Dyana Wells © 2020