I had wanted to try qigong (pronounced chee-gong) for many years and kept putting it off. Every time I saw people practicing the gentle, fluid, dancelike movements I thought to myself, “That looks so calming, soothing and empowering.” I found a YouTube channel that provides free classes and started learning recently. I wish I had began sooner and now I want to share what I’ve learned so far and encourage you to try it.
Just about anyone can do the easy movements and they don’t just promote calmness within you, there are specific movements for physiological health, such as for improving digestion. I highly recommend picking up qigong as a daily practice and getting your family members and friends to join you.
Here are just some of the many possible health benefits: boosts your immune system, promotes optimal digestion, improves balance, increases resilience, lowers heart rate, strengthens organs, improves bone density, eases stress & anxiety, improves circulation, promotes a healthy central nervous system, improves posture & flexibility, reduces pain, can increase recovery from injury, balances your emotions, strengthens ligaments, helps with getting a better night’s sleep, helps joints stay flexible & strong, builds personal power, prevents muscle spasms, promotes deep breathing, loosens muscles, helps relieve migraines, helps alleviate asthma symptoms, improves memory, reduces risk of stroke and improves kidney function.
Tai chi (pronounced tie-chee) is another discipline similar to qigong and is also a practice in traditional Chinese medicine. I plan to do a separate column on that in the future, as well as yoga. You’ve most likely seen groups of people practicing tai chi or qigong together, especially in Asian countries, and in parks all over the world. These practices are not just for physical exercise, but like yoga, are meditative in nature because they combine simple physical movements with deep breathing. When you are laser focused on the precise movements and the breath, it can really help quiet the mind and stop over thinking.
Tai chi, qigong and yoga are all practices that combine body, mind and spirit and create a balancing for overall improved health. Qigong is a combination of 2 Chinese characters – qi and gong, which translates to ‘energy work.’ The goal is to strengthen and circulate the energy, or “qi” in the body and also clear blockages and release what no longer serves you.
It isn’t necessary to apply any particular philosophy or religion to these practices. If you choose to pair qigong with a spiritual aspect, you are free to assign your own meaning to it. The intention you set is what you will infuse into your daily practice.
Qigong movements are much simpler than yoga and tai chi movements. They are easy to learn and then just repeated with the deep breathing. That is why it is perfect for those who cannot do strenuous exercise.
This would be such a great activity for seniors and children because of the slow, gentle movements. It is also a great activity to start doing as a family. If several of your friends wanted to learn with you, you could meet-up and learn together. You can teach yourself for free at home with videos such as on https://m.youtube.com/@MimiKuoDeemer. If you learn, then you can share it with others such as by volunteering to teach classes at the senior centers or at the schools.
Be Well and God Bless You.