Qigong, also referred to as Chi Kung, is an ancient Chinese form of exercise. It involves the repetition of a very specific set of precise movements. Some are gentle, some vigorous, some large and expansive and some subtle.
Movements are combined with deep breathing techniques and meditation to help relax, focus and align the mind, body and spirit.
The aim of Qigong is to promote and balance the flow of ‘Qi’ (a form of energy) through various energy channels (pathways) within the body. This can have a harmonising and rejuvenating effect believed to nourish all parts of the body and improve longevity.
What are the benefits of Qigong?
Qigong has a wide range of physical, mental and spiritual health benefits. This includes strengthening energy flow to internal organs, improving circulation to the brain and supporting heart health. It also balances emotions and aids the management of stress and anxiety.
Since Qigong is a form of martial art it can increase your strength, balance, power and help prevent injury. The calming effects of Qigong help to support the management of healthy blood pressure. The gentle exercises help relax muscles, loosen joints and aid mobility particularly useful for arthritis.
Qigong is also viewed as a spiritual discipline leading to self-awareness, tranquillity and harmony through mediation, mantras and mudras to help develop a sense of enlightenment.
All classes encourage you to learn how to be aware of your Qi and to develop your sensitivity to this awareness. Then you can start to eliminate Qi blockages, correct Qi imbalances and strengthen the energy meridians that flow around the body.
What can I expect from a typical Qigong class?
Qigong classes are typically run by a single instructor and can be held in small or large groups, in spaces like community halls or in gym studios. Some classes will even take place outside in suitable green spaces – parks, private gardens, beaches or recreation grounds.
You’ll need to wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely and regulate your body temperature.
The class instructor will slowly demonstrate the set of movements for that class giving you a chance to watch, learn and then repeat these movements yourself. During classes the instructors may come over to you and give you individual guidance.
How do I find a Qigong instructor that suits me?
There are lots of different styles so it’s important to go to a few different induction classes before committing to a series or ‘term’ of classes.
Some instructors will bring in more meditation, others will focus on deep breathing techniques, some classes will encourage more dynamic movement whereas other classes will involve holding the postures for a long time.