What is Qi Gong and does it really strengthen your health?
Qigong gymnastics is becoming popular on a par with other Eastern practices. The article figures out of what this system of exercises consists, for whom it is suitable and whether it is worth spending time on.
What is Qi Gong?
Qigong is a holistic system aimed at achieving and maintaining health. It includes gymnastics, breathing exercises, and meditative practices.
The word "qigong" consists of two components:
"Qi" - the flow of energy, vitality, the fundamental concept of Chinese philosophy.
"Gun" - work, achievement.
It turns out that qigong can be translated as "working with qi."
The qigong system is based on Chinese traditional medicine and has been shaped by various religious trends, including Taoism and Confucianism. Over time, the emphasis of this practice has shifted from traditional philosophy and culture to health benefits, application in medicine and martial arts.
Internal and external qigong
Qigong can be divided into internal and external. Internal qigong is a practice in which the master controls his qi energy, helps the patient to remove qi-blocking and regulate the flow of energy. However, we will not consider this type of qigong - we will leave it to Chinese traditional healers.
External practice includes smooth, controlled movements, control of breathing and thoughts.
Qigong training is a kind of meditation, which allows you to calm your thoughts, relax your muscles and get rid of stress, which, in turn, has a positive effect on your mood and health.
External qigong can be divided into two classes:
Static qigong is the preservation of fixed poses in which a person relaxes, concentrates on his or her condition, performs breathing exercises.
Dynamic qigong is an exercise and elements of self-massage.
Qigong adepts claim that the practice can treat a wide range of diseases, but official medicine does not recognize the effectiveness of this system.
For whom is qigong suitable?
Qigong includes simple postures and movements, which, unlike yoga, do not require good stretching and mobility of joints. On the contrary, they can be performed even by a person with physical disabilities.
The dynamic part includes turning the body, bending, squats, movements of hands. Due to the lifting of the arms, the spine is stretched. Side-to-side turns and tilts develop flexibility of the back.
In general, qigong gently warms the body, without an overload of the muscles, and various pats help to better disperse the blood.
Since the movements are smooth and conscious, qigong is suitable for people of any age and level of training. Gymnastics has practically no contraindications and is used to:
Relieve psychological stress.
During Qigong classes much attention is paid to thoughts. You need to fully concentrate on the practice, and if you have extraneous thoughts, first calm them down and then continue. This helps relieve and overcome psychological stress.
Constant concentration on movements is reflected in the work of the brain, accustoming it to attention and awareness.
Recover from injury.
Qigong movements are smooth and light, so the risk of re-injury is very small.
How to get started?
You can practice qigong with an instructor, or you can start by scooping information from videos and books.
How to find a good teacher?
Choosing a bad instructor, you risk your health even with such a gentle load system as qigong. So, the instructor should:
Look good. Qigong is a self-healing system, and practitioners or mentors should take care of their health. If the instructor is overweight or unhealthy, you should consider whether you really have something to learn.
Answer your questions. A good teacher will be able to answer all your questions. If instead of an answer you get the indulgent “You will understand later” or “You don’t need to know it,” leave.
Take care of your concerns. If you or other students experience pain and discomfort in class and report this to the teacher, he or she should not ignore the complaints.
Have a great experience. Ask how long your teacher has been studying and where he has been studying. If his experience is not much more than yours, is it worth paying for training?
Evaluate the instructor, ask his students whether the lessons truly help them, and only then make a decision: study with him or find another.
How to do it yourself?
If you choose to do it yourself, YouTube videos and books about qigong will help you.
On YouTube, you will find quite a few clips from famous qigong instructors. One of them is Lee Holden. He shows simple sets of exercises, explains what certain movements help you to relax, what you should feel while doing them.