Qigong (alternatively spelled chi gung or chi kung) is a form of gentle exercise composed of movements that are repeated a number of times, often stretching the body, increasing fluid movement (blood, synovial and lymph) and building awareness of how the body moves through space.
The internal movements also differentiate qigong from almost every other form of exercise in the West that often emphasizes prolonged cardiovascular movements (such as in running and biking) or that focus on muscular strength training (weightlifting).
For most people, the ﬁrst and foremost beneﬁt of qigong lies in the relief or prevention of chronic health problems. The range of maladies that have been helped by qigong in China include cancer, internal organ ailments, poor circulation, nerve pain, back and joint problems and general physical disease.
The practice of qigong helps manage the stress, anger, depression, morbid thoughts, and general confusion that prey on your mind when your chi is not regulated and balanced. Strengthening and balancing the energy of your mind enhances your ability to detect subtle nuances and to perceive the world and its patterns at ever-increasing levels of complexity.
Qigong is also useful on the spiritual level. The ultimate aim of all inner Taoist practices is the alchemical transformation of the body, mind, and spirit, leading to union with the Tao. Feeling the energy of your body makes it possible for you to understand the energy of your thoughts and emotions, and this leads to comprehending the energy of the spirit. From here it is possible to fully understand the energy of meditation or emptiness, and through emptiness it is possible to become one with the Tao.
What to Expect
Qigong comprises a diverse set of practices that coordinate body (調身), breath (調息), and mind (調心) based on Chinese philosophy. Practices include moving and still meditation, massage, chanting, sound meditation, and non-contact treatments, performed in a broad array of body postures. Qigong is commonly classified into two foundational categories: 1) dynamic or active qigong (dong gong), with slow flowing movement; and 2) meditative or passive qigong (jing gong), with still positions and inner movement of the breath. From a therapeutic perspective, qigong can be classified into two systems: 1) internal qigong, which focuses on self-care and self-cultivation, and; 2) external qigong, which involves treatment by a therapist who directs or transmits qi.
Popular Qigong Books
The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing (Paperback)
By Kenneth Cohen
by Roger Jahnke