What is Qigong?
Qigong (aka Ch'i Kung or Chi Gung) is a practice of cultivating Qi (Chi) life force energy and expanding our own awareness. There are many thousands of schools of Qigong and many different techniques depending on what you're trying to accomplish: good health, physical and martial prowess, medical applications, or spiritual enlightenment, where the spiritual aspect requires the most skill and internal development.
Qigong is the Ancient Chinese Art of using breath, movement, and meditation, to cleanse, build up, refine, and transform Qi, the life energy. Qigong practice has proven itself throughout its history to lead to better health and vitality, and a tranquil state of mind. In the past, qigong was also called Nei Gong (inner practice) and Dao Yin (guiding and leading energy).
Qigong is a comprehensive system of mental and physical development, as much as it is a spiritual practice originating from shamanistic and Taoist traditions. It is a method of self-healing, self-development, and can be used in every aspect of our life, beginning from the most mundane, like a warm-up routine for any sport or to simply get you started in the morning, to the spiritual, as a means of quest towards enlightenment. It includes both physical movement in the form of dynamic and static postures, and meditation.
Qigong is not only good for preventing or combating illness, but also benefits those struggling with life. On the surface, it may look just like an exercise, but underneath all the physical movement, it is also a work in healing, mindfulness and reducing stress in your life at the very least. It is often called a "moving meditation" for that very reason. The movement may be viewed as a way to make the body more limber and use it in ways that we don't normally do every day, which leads to greater health and immunity and may bring benefits for those with weight issues. While the meditative aspect, attends to our mental and emotional needs as well. Improved balance, posture, breath control and relaxation are just a few the benefits of Qigong.
Qigong has been used effectively in Chinese medicine as the preventive and self-healing aspect, to teach patients how to improve their own health. While some exercises were designed to support general health and well-being and are considered lifetime practices and are encouraged to be practiced every day, there are also specific qigong postures, movements, or meditations that ancient Chinese doctors would prescribe to cure specific ailments. For example, there are specific exercises to strengthen the main organs: lungs, spleen, stomach, kidneys, heart, or exercises to help release pent up emotions, such as anger.
Just like fish in water are presumably unaware of its surroundings, we too are mostly unaware the wonders of Qi. Through this ancient Chinese art of Qigong, we are able to awaken and heighten up our sensitivity to this life force energy. We learn how sense it and how to control its flow. Keep in mind that this is not the destination, but rather the first step in this never-ending quest for expanded potential and deeper understanding of the true self.