Updated: Jan 23
Qigong (Chi-Kung) and the understanding of Qi (Chi) is one of the great treasures of Chinese culture.
It has emerged over thousands of years from constant research, development and practice. From ancient times to the modern world, we as human beings are on a continuous journey of self-enquiry to discover our true identity and purpose in life.
Qigong originated in China as a way of cultivating spiritual, physical and emotional health. Similarly, other cultures had holistic approaches to connect and harmonise with their local environment and their known universe. When we lose this connection it causes problems and we are not able to enjoy the experience of life as much as we could.
The emphasis on the spiritual life, rather than the material life, is one of the major differences between eastern and western cultures.
According to Chinese medicine, many illnesses are caused by imbalances in the mind.
Movement is a manifestation of Yang activity, and stillness reflects the calmness of Yin. In today's hectic world, over activity causes Fire to flare up and uses one's reserves of essence and energy, while the stillness of meditation cools the Fire, calms the system, and conserves vital resources.
For health improvement and maintenance, the Qigong participant does not have to be an expert. Anyone can learn to practice Qigong.
The objective of the exercises is to strengthen the Qi in the body and remove obstructions to Qi flow that may have developed due to injury, diet, disease, emotional states, or other factors.Concentration of the body movements, breath and mind are the three main principles of Qigong practice.
Qigong has a dynamic (Yang) and stillness (Yin) component where these three main principles apply; Qigong can be referred to as a mindful or mediation practice.
The term meditation refers to a variety of techniques or practices intended to focus or control attention. Today, many people use meditation outside of its traditional religious or cultural settings to improve their health and wellness.
Researchers have been collecting data on meditation for many years and countless studies have shown that meditation has not only a mental but a physiological effect on the body. Many of the findings show that, among other benefits, meditation can help reverse heart disease, reduce pain and enhance the body's immune system.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that meditation affects parts of the brain that are in charge of the autonomic nervous system which governs the functions of our organs, muscles and body systems.
Stress compromises these functions so it makes sense to harmonise these functions to help ward off stress-related conditions such as heart disease, digestive problems and infertility.
While western scientists are still exploring exactly how and why meditation works, we already know that it has both physiological and psychological benefits. Many therapists now consider it a valid complement to more traditional therapies and anything that helps fight stress is a welcome tool.
- Simon Blow