What is Qigong?
Qi (pronounce chee)= life force; Gong (pronounced like lung with a g)= work or practice
Qigong is the ancient Taoist art of developing and cultivating one’s energy, through movement practices, breath, meditation and clinical treatment. ’Qi’ can be translated loosely as life force (or the pervasive life-giving energy of the universe) and ‘gong’ as good work or practice. The Chinese character for ‘qi’ depicts steam rising off grains of rice. If rice is a staple food, necessary to live, then the steam rising off the rice is the essence of that which gives life. The Chinese character for ‘gong’ depicts fire below a cauldron or pot with a lid on top, depicting the ability to control or gather this steam or essence. Thus we have qigong: The practice of working with and cultivating energy or life essence.
When we are ill or having a difficult time in life we are experiencing diminished, obstructed or unbalanced flow of qi. Qigong practices and treatment help us to return to our natural and vibrant state by eliminating obstructions and correcting imbalances in our energy bodies. By balancing the body’s energy system we unleash its’ intrinsic capacity to heal and uncover our natural ability to thrive. Qigong is nourishing on all levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual and is practiced for the purposes of overall health and well being, longevity, personal growth and spiritual development. A good qigong practice or treatment is like pressing the reset button on our bodies, hearts and minds.
A Brief History:
Clear documentation of qigong, as it is known today, dates back at least 2500 years. Archeologists, however, have linked the first forms of qigong to shamanistic practices found to be nearly 7000 years old. This Chinese energy-medicine, healing system thus contains millennia of ancient wisdom. With roots in shamanism and Taoism, qigong, over time, has influenced and been influenced by Buddhism, Chinese medicine and the martial arts. For many ages, qigong practices were passed down privately from master to student. Families and lineages guarded their secret practices well knowing that they were sources of immense power. As a result of this secrecy, there are innumerable unique practices and traditions although many similarities and core teachings run throughout them all.
Quite recently, during the Cultural Revolution in China (1966-1976), spiritual qigong was forbidden as were all religious or spiritually based practices. During this tumultuous time period in China many qigong masters either fled, went into hiding, were incarcerated or worse. Thankfully this ancient healing art made it through the darkness and in this modern age of technology and information qigong is now being spread more widely and rapidly than ever before.
“Qigong is the grandparent of acupuncture, Tai Chi and the martial arts.”