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What is Qi Gong?
If Tai Chi is the base of the tree, Qi Gong is the roots. Qi Gong roughly translates as energy work. Tai Chi is a dynamic form of Qi Gong. Qi Gong is an even more subtle form of exercise than Tai Chi. It resembles a form of standing meditation in which we co-ordinate gentle movements of the hands and body with the breath.
In many ways Qi Gong is a more physically gentle form of exercise than Tai Chi and is suitable for practice by more elderly or incapacitated participants. That’s not to say those who are young, energetic and healthy can’t benefit from it. It’s like a more internal form of cultivation and movement of energy than Tai Chi. Qi Gong potentises the Tai Chi practice making it more powerful. Speaking as an acupuncturist Qi Gong also enhances an acupuncturists ability to manipulate and move Qi in the body making the physical aspect of treatment more effective.
What are the Benefits of Qi Gong?
Like Tai Chi, Qi gong is a health promoting practice. It moves Qi through the muscle, bone and joints but through intention it also works on a deeper level to energise and vitalise the organs. That’s not to say Tai Chi doesn’t benefit the organs but Qi Gong enhances in a much more concentrated way. Like Tai Chi it also calms the mind and promotes a state of meditative mindfulness. I always begin a Tai Chi class with a Qi Gong practice in order to awaken and invigorate the Qi before moving and releasing it with Tai Chi.
Qi Gong exercise is also very closely linked to breathing. We sink our breath deep into the abdomen to a point called the Tan Tien (Dan Tien). This is the physical energy centre of the body. By sinking our breath to this point we engage the diaphragm (the muscle related to the solar plexus). Diaphragmatic breathing results in deeper breaths that fill the lungs from the bottom up. This in turn means we get more oxygen into our body with each breath. It releases tension from the abdomen; the practice of abdominal breathing is like a gentle workout for the muscles. It also releases tension from the low back as the diaphragm expands around the kidneys also. Deeper breathing leaves us feeling more relaxed, reduces the heart rate and relieves stress.
I am currently offering Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Meditation training via private tuition. Please call to arrange a session.