Theory and origin of Qi Gong

A Qi Gong Primer

Theory and origin of Qi Gong

The literal translation of qi gong is “energy work.”
Chi kung is the ancient Chinese art and science of becoming aware of this life energy and learning how to control its flow through a precise choreography of posture, movement, respiratory technique, and meditation.

Qigong is a mind-body-spirit practice that improves one’s mental and physical health by integrating posture, movement, breathing techniques, sound, and focused intent.

There are literally thousands of qigong styles, and forms, each with practical applications and different theories about Qi – breath” or energy” and Gong “skill”.

The central idea in qigong practice is the control and manipulation of qi, a form of energy. A person is considered to have been born with original amounts of qi.

A person acquires qi from the food by eating, from the air by breathing and from interacting with their environment. In the body, qi represents the unseen vital force that sustains life. A person becomes ill or dies when the amount or type of qi is unbalanced within the body.

Qigong practice involves the manipulation and balance of the qi within the practitioner’s body and its interaction with the practitioner’s surroundings. The method and ultimate objective for the practice is dependent on the practitioner

Historically, the effect of qigong practice has always been subjective. It ranges from a feeling of calmness and peacefulness to a sense of well being. Throughout history, remarkable claims have also been made as a result of qigong practice.

The journey towards self-enlightenment can include descriptions of out of body experiences and miraculous powers.

Qigong is like a great river fed by four major tributaries: shamanism, spirituality, medicine, and martial arts:

1. Shamanism:
In ancient Chinese text, China was often siege by floods and widespread disease resulting from it. Legends says it that the emperor cleared the land and diverted the water by dancing a bear dance and invoking the mystical powers of constellations. As the waters subsided, people reasoned that movement and exercise can similarly cause the internal rivers to flow more smoothly, clearing the obstructions to health.

Chinese shamans used these exercises and meditations to commune with nature and natural forces and to increase their powers of healing and divination.

2. Spirituality (Taoism and Buddhism):
In Taoism, their goal is to obtain an empty, alert, boundless state of consciousness, with spirit and body in balance. Taoists and qigong practitioners were both looking for a harmony of yin and yang: inside and outside, earthly and spiritual, stillness and activity.

In Buddhism, the emphasis is placed on tranquillity, awareness, and diligent practice. Several styles of qigong were developed by Buddhists who needed an exercise and healing system to complement their lengthy seated meditations.

3. Medicine:
Chinese medicine includes acupuncture, herbal remedies, massage, diet, and qigong. Qigong is the preventive and self-healing aspect of Chinese medicine and was used in the past, as today, to teach patients how to improve their own health.

4. Martial Arts:
Qigong practice can improve performance in the martial arts or any other sport. Chinese martial artists designed or helped to improve many qigong techniques as they looked for ways to increase speed, stamina, and power, improve balance, flexibility, and coordination, and condition the body against injury.

Qi is all around us—it’s the breath of life that flows through every cell in the universe. Practitioners focus on becoming aware of the energy surrounding them, then follow a carefully orchestrated series of slow, intentional movements designed to move that energy in specific ways.

The deeper one practises, the more one can understand the purpose of each movement, allowing the Qi Gong practice to become ever more enjoyable.

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