Qi Gong connects the mind, body, and spirit through integration of movements, breathing techniques, clearing the mind, and through posture. Contrary to popular beliefs there are many different forms, techniques, schools, styles, and traditions of Qi Gong.
Qi Gong is a practice that cultivates Qi, or vital energy. Our body uses Qi for every aspect of life: physical, mental, and spiritual. There are many more benefits to Qi Gong than the following but I've curated FOUR benefits to get you started.
Four Benefits of Qi Gong
1. Less Stress
Who doesn't want less stress in their life? What does stress mean? Qigong is can help clear the stress, tension, and tightness that reside in our body. Stress will manifest in many different ways in the body but qigong can transform the stress into vitality.
2. Calm the mind
When the mind gets agitated, overly energized, it means there are too many thoughts trapped. Dr. Shin Lin's research at UCI showed that qigong practitioners found a boost in both alpha brain waves and beta brain waves, which suggest not only relaxation but mental focus. It is mindfulness in motion and it's an embodied practice that is meditative to help to calm the mind.
3. Boost Immune System
Your immune system's main goal is to ward off unwanted invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and diseases. Several studies show that qigong has a positive effect on the immune system and at reducing inflammation. It circulates blood, oxygen, and energy through the organs, move stagnant energy through the meridians, and decrease stress and tension in the body.
4. Anyone Can Do It
One of the most amazing thing about qigong is that not only does it have a whole bunch of health benefits but anyone can do it. The movements are fairly easy to learn. You don't have to be fit, flexible or even be able to stand. The movements can be modified to fit any person and with consistent practice, it will supporting the body’s natural tendency to return to balance, and also gently, yet profoundly, create a healthy mind, body, and spirit connection for the practitioner.
Qi Gong has been used for thousand years of traditions as the foundation of healing.
Consistently doing Qigong can give back the balance for the mind and body connection, mend emotional and physical issues, and even deepen our connection to Universal wisdom.
Qigong provides us with additional Qi, this is the energy that becomes our life force. When our body’s vital wisdom is “reawakened,” the possibilities are boundless and our body is now reenergized to make decisions about how or when to restore the balance by itself.
Qi Gong Forms for Beginners
It's estimated that Qi Gong exercises go back about 4,000 years. And they emphasize breathing, stretching, enhancing circulation, and calming the mind.
Here are THREE very easy movements to try from a technique called The 8 Brocade. Below is a full tutorial of all 8 movements from Mimi Kuo-Deemer, a well-known qigong master. The first exercise is called Push Hands to Heaven. And this is very good for regulating respiration, digestion, and elimination, also stretching the back and relaxing tense and stiff muscles. To begin, 1. Bring the feet about shoulder width apart. Interlace the fingers below the navel. 2. And you’re going to breathe in, and lift the hands up. And now push the palms forward, and bend at the hips, breathing out. 3. Flatten the back. Straighten up. Breathe in. Stretch. Push the palms up. Look up with your eyes. And breathe out coming down, pushing the palms out to the side. 4. Repeat steps 1- 3 twice, breathe in, again, folding at the hips. Breathe out as you push toward, flattening the back, weight to the heels. And straighten up, breathing in. And breathe out. 5. In between, do what is called a harmonizing breath, very gently bringing the hands up to the heart level, and gently coming back down. The second exercise is called the Wise Owl Gazes Back- this is very good for neck and shoulder tension or pain. And it's also very good for neurological conditions. 1. Start with the feet a little further apart, palms facing back, relaxed. 2. Rotate the palms forward, breathing in. Turn the head and neck on the left, looking over your shoulder, slightly down. And bring back the hands to the front, closing your palms in front, bringing them close to each other, and breathe out. 3. And now do this also on the right side. Very gently, breathing in, looking over your shoulder and down, breathe out to the front. 4. Repeat it once for each side, breathing in, looking over and down, and breathe out. Opening the palms, breathing in, and breathe out. Back to the front, and again. In between, do the harmonizing breath, lifting up, breathing in, and breathing out. For the third exercise, it is called Clench the Fists and Glare Fiercely. Glare means open the eyes wide, and have a little bit of "umph" in there. This is a punching exercise.
1. Put your feet a little wider apart in a horse stance, with your two clench fists in each side of you waits, and now you're going to punch forward with your right hand. Open the eyes wide, unclench your fist after doing the punch and roll the fingers in the air (pull back as if you’re pulling something from thin air when you’re rolling your fingers) now pull back your hands, clenching your fist again and bring it back to your side. As you punch, breathe out, open wide, and pull back. This is very good for the liver. 2. Do it again on your left, punching, open the eyes, glaring, and back. And out, and roll back. 3. One more time, each side, punch, pull back. 4. And last time, legs open really wide, and then pull back. 5. Come back to a neutral position. 6. Again, do the harmonizing breath. Do this three times. It's always nice to do things in threes.