What is Qigong Anyway?

 

“One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.”

-Lao Tzu

 

My elevator pitch? “Teaching people to cope with stress and anxiety through qigong, meditation, and energy healing.” Most people know what meditation is and they have a guarded curiosity about energy healing. However, their biggest question is, “What is qigong anyway?” 

 

A Very Brief History Lesson

 

Let’s get the hard part out of the way and start with the pronunciation of qigong. Although there is no real translation for the Mandarin q, the closest in English would be “chee gong”. If you want to hear the true pronunciation spoken by a native Mandarin speaker, check out this YouTube video.

 

Qigong was developed thousands of years ago as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with acupressure, acupuncture, and herbal medicine. Qi is often translated as “life-force”, “bioelectricity”, or “consciousness” and gong is often translated as “cultivation or practice over time”. Qigong, or cultivation of life-force energy”, consists of movement, meditation, and breathing…flow that leads to deep relaxation. This quote by Nigel Mills describes my perception of it perfectly: “Qigong is a way of being. Being soft, yet strong. Qigong is a way of breathing. Breathing deeply, yet calmly. Qigong is a way of standing. Alert, yet relaxed.” Sounds simple, right? It totally is!

 

Embracing the Tree

 

Three Types, Five Elements, Thousands of Styles

 

There are three different types of qigong: medical, spiritual, and martial. Medical qigong focuses on preventative medicine and therefore emphasizes health, vitality, and longevity of the body. Medical qigong actually gave rise to acupuncture. Spiritual qigong focuses on cultivating spiritual energy through stillness and visualization. Finally, martial qigong focuses on physical movement.

 

The five fundamental elements of qi are elements found in nature: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth. Our bodies reflect these elements, each of which is associated with a yin and a yang organ. Focusing on these elements through qigong helps tune into our organ functions and energy pathways as we harness our life-force.

 

There are thousands of different styles of qigong…and no, I don’t know them all! Regardless of the type or style, all qigong is about the cultivation of energy. After tai chi, the Eight Brocades is the most popular style of qigong and falls under the medical type. Some of the movements from the Eight Brocades help eliminate fatigue and harness energy (qi), allowing for greater longevity.

 

There are many more benefits to practicing qigong, including but not limited to the following:

 

  • Strengthens organs
  • Builds bone density
  • Destroys free radicals
  • Decreases stress
  • Improves circulations
  • Builds immune system
  • Improves posture and flexibility
  • Improves memory
  • Aids in digestion

 

Who doesn’t want those things? Sign me up!

 

My Experience

 

I started receiving acupuncture around 20 years ago, and I actually discovered tai chi before I discovered qigong. (I still practice tai chi chuan, short form to this day. Side note: tai chi is a form of martial qigong.) My acupuncturist at the time also taught qigong, so I did some classes with him. And then life got in the way. Cue having children, building house, taking vacations, switching careers (ahem…I’m in my third one now).

 

And then the pandemic hit, and I found myself doing some major soul searching. I started to practice meditation and qigong again and took a few energy healing classes. All of this quite literally saved my sanity. I was able to stay calm in the storm and find the joy in every day life. I love qigong so much that I decided to become certified to teach. Sharing this magic with everyone will continue to bring me joy! There are two tiers of certification, and ultimately you can become a master teacher and teach others how to teach.

 

Do you have an interest in learning qigong? Check out my schedule of classes or let’s connect through email or a free 30-minute discovery call. Where else can you practice movements like “Buddha Holding Up the Earth”, “Dragon Stretches Its Tail”, and “White Crane Soars in the Sky”?

 

Love and light,