Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice that’s just as useful and profound today as it’s ever been.
qi = our life force and energy
gong = the act of cultivating our qi
Tip: Pronounce it like “chee-gong”.
Qigong aims to do just that – cultivate your life force and energy to get you feeling reinvigorated, gently usher in a greater sense of mindfulness and tap into a sense of clarity and calm. It’s a form of moving meditation. Visually, picture flowing positions and postures and measured breathing patterns to accompany them. Physically, it’s all about connecting with your inner energy.
Here’s a few beginners’ movements to get you started:
- Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart.
- Give a gentle, relaxed smile.
- Gently place your hands on your lower abdomen (one hand on top of the other).
- Close your eyes and connect to the moment.
- Inhale to get the air into your abdomen (like you’re filling a balloon).
- Cycle through inhales and exhales a few times.
- Open your arms out with relaxed shoulders.
- Lift your arms up slowly, until they meet above your head without touching each other. This is called taking in external qi.
- Lift your head up with the movement so you’re looking at your arms when they’re above your head.
- Press the energy down by moving your arms down in front of you until your fingers pass your hips. Throughout this movement, your elbows should be pointing away from your body and the fingers of your left hand should point at the fingers on your right hand.
- Circle your arms up with an inhale to repeat this flow.
- Cycle through this movement a few times.
Qigong has a lot of benefits:
- Appropriate for people of all ages
- No need for lots of space
- Minimal time commitment
- Low-impact, low-intensity movements
- Helps stimulate circulation
- Helps cultivate mental clarity
- Reduces stress
- Has some ability to lower blood pressure
- May have some positive impact on risk factors for Type 2 diabetes
But it’s also, simply, a beautiful ritual.