Qi Gong is an ancient method of cultivating internal energy for the maintenance of health and wellbeing. Originating in China, more than 2000 years ago, Qi Gong utilizes breathing techniques, the use of various physical postures and meditative practices to regulate the activity of the mind.
"Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water... Be water, my friend.” Bruce Lee
Qi Gong is widely used as a method for treating depression and chronic fatigue, improving the quality of life for cancer patients, and healing arthritis. There are many other health conditions for which Qi Gong is routinely used. During the coronavirus pandemic, Qi Gong was used extensively in the coronavirus wards of Chinese hospitals to help strengthen the immune system. Qi Gong, as a branch of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), was given a central role by the Chinese government in the fight against the coronavirus.
The term Qi Gong means energy work and can in some senses be seen as a Chinese version of yoga.
It has been around for at least 2000 years, though there are records of practices that show that some of the origins of modern Qigong go back 5000 years or more. There are estimated to be over 3000 different forms of Qi Gong, most of which are performed in the standing posture, though there are some seated variations as well.
The many forms of Qi Gong fall into one of two broad categories. These are:
These different Qi Gong forms act to enhance willpower and focus and to help practitioners harness their own internal energy, thus increasing their vitality and working to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Some forms of Qi Gong have a spiritual focus, largely drawn from Buddhist Qi Gong. Visualisation is used along with mantra work such as in the practice of Chi Nadi from the Buddho system: an esoteric Buddhist practice that works with the energy generated within a specific meditation practice.
Virtually all Qi Gong forms involve some form of specialised breathing techniques which is coordinated with the movement of the body and for the more passive forms where there is no movement, the breath is guided to various energy centres within the body.
Dong Gong is the active or dynamic (yang) form of Qigong, and is characterized by slow, flowing movements and can include the use of meditation, massage techniques, chanting, and sound meditation.
Jing Gong is a much more passive (yin) form and utilizes practices focused on the inner movement of the breath and still body postures.
Qi Gong is also a profound spiritual practice that can lead to the realization of one’s true nature.
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