Qi Gong is a method of managing health that has been practised since ancient times in China. It has been known in Chinese martial arts for may years and millions of people all over the world practise it. In order to define the word Qi Gong, it is necessary to understand the concepts of “Qi” and “Gong”.
“Qi” is a Chinese word that means “air”, “breath” or “steam”, describing the outer, external part of the body. When Qi is used to describe the internal part of the body, it refers to breath. The word “Qi” in martial arts means vitality, life-force or energy. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is understood that health results from the harmonious flow of Qi throughout the body. In performing Qi Gong exercises, the goal is to build up internal Qi. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, all disease is considered to be a lack of Qi, an imbalance of Qi, or an interruption of Qi flowing smoothly throughout the body along the 12 major meridians.
In martial arts, the term “Gong Fu” means the diligent practise of exercises. The word “Gong” means effort.
Putting them together, Qi Gong means the conscious and systematic development of vital energy. Qi Gong is composed of these two words, indicating that it is not only how long a person practices that matters, but also the quality of the practice.
Nine Qi Gong exercises to boost your energy:
- The Sky High stretch – Left hand and Right leg stretching by 9 times
- Tap the left arm from top to bottom: outside of arm to the little finger, top of arm to the middle finger and inner arm to the thumb. Tap the palm of your hand with opposite fingers nine times. Do the same with right arm.
- Thymus Tapping – tap thymus nine times then rub the lymph glands nine times and repeat the sequence six times.
- Kidney Tapping – Gently Tap the kidneys nine times and then sweep lower back nine times.
- Shake the same arm and leg nine times – do it for both sides.
- Beach balls – Knees bent, toes pointed in slightly, bum as if you will sit on a high stool, swing both arms towards one another as if you were rolling beach balls inwards towards you.
- Hands facing each other in front, swing arms up above your head bending the knees as you move.
- Yin Yang Breath – Arms rise with “in breath” and fall with “breath out”. Arms float up as if there are balloons tied to your wrists, palms facing down. Elbows drop into your body. Arms float down with palms facing out, allow hands to drop to the side and repeat.
- Figure Eight- Toes slightly inwards. Nose over navel. Feet slightly wider than hip width. Palms facing each other. Slight hip turn at left and again at right.
- Hold your hands below the navel and ground yourself…
Several thousand years ago, the famous Chinese philosophers Laozi, Confucius, and Zhuangzi were practicing “Neigong”, which is now being interpreted as “Qi Gong”. An historical relic, “Jade Pedant inscription on Qi flowing” (770-221BC) records the training method, the theory and the health-preserving principles of Qi Gong. “The Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine, the earliest extant general medicine collection in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-A D 200) in China, systematically describes the principles, the training methods and the effects of practising Qi Gong.
The theoretical basis of Qi gong.
Qi Gong is closely related to Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes the theories of Yin/Yang, channels and collaterals (the meridian system) and organ systems (Viscera/Zang-Fu). It is also closely tied to the practice of martial arts.
In most forms of Qi Gong:
Breath is slow, long, and deep. Breath patterns may switch from abdominal breathing to breathing combined with speech sounds.
Movements are typically gentle and smooth, aimed for relaxation.
Mind regulation includes focusing one’s attention and visualization.
Dynamic (active) qigong techniques primarily focus on body movements, especially movements of the whole body or arms and legs. Meditative (passive) qigong techniques can be practiced in any posture that can be maintained over time and involve breath and mind exercises, with almost no body movement.
The primary goal of Qi Gong is to balance and harmonize the flow of Qi within the body, mind, and spirit. This can be achieved through a variety of exercises and movements that are gentle, slow, and fluid. Qi Gong is known for its focus on deep, rhythmic breathing, which is synchronized with the movements to enhance the circulation of Qi.
Qi Gong and Yin/Yang theory.
Yin/Yang theory is a philosophy as well as the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In this philosophy, everything has Yin and Yang properties. Breath includes exhalation and inhalation. Exhalation is Yang, while inhalation is Yin. Exhalation is sedation, while inhalation is tonification.
When practicing Qi Gong, it is important to understand the Yin and Yang properties of the four seasons and to plan your training accordingly. Spring and summer are warm and hot respectively and so they nourish Yang. Autumn is considered cool and winter cold, and so they nourish Yin.
Techniques of Qi Gong:
- Taoist Method.
The principal aim of the Taoist method is to strengthen both the body and mind. It is called the “dual cultivation of nature and life” because it stresses the relationship between the individual and the environment.
- Buddhist Method.
The Buddhist system gives precedence to the cultivation of the mind to improve moral discipline. The secret of this method is to lower the Qi until it reached Dantian. From there it could be pushed through to completely open the body’s natural Qi-carrying channels. The Buddhist Qi Gong exercises greatly increase a person’s health and physical abilities.
- Confucian Method
The Confucian exercises emphasize regulation of the mind to achieve a state of tranquillity that will promote moral character.
- Medical Method
The Medical techniques of Qi Gong are designed to prevent disease, promote health and prolong life.
- Martial Arts Method
The aim of Martial arts Qi Gong is to build up the student’s inner strength to the point that he or she is totally protected against both moral and physical attack.
Dantian is a very important concept that people take seriously in the world of Traditional Chenese Medicine and the martial arts. Those who practice the art and techniques of health preservation place their hopes on the Dantian.
We have three energy centers:
- Upper Dantian – Wisdom. It’s located in your head.
- Middle Dantian – emotions. It’s located in your chest area.
- Lower Dantian – vitality. In the lower torso.
In Qi Gong, the practice of focusing the mind on the Dantian usually refers to concentrating on lowering genuine Qi to the Dantian to accumulate Qi.
If you are practicing Qi Gong every day then, every day is a good day.