In the Chinese tradition, human beings, nature and the universe are seen as living organisms, not as mere mechanical systems. They are infused with life and connected, internally and externally, by an invisible energetic force. This life force is referred to as “Qi”. It is the essence of your life; the very ‘stuff of life’ – your energy is life itself. According to this theory, the underlying source of dis-ease in human beings (and animals) is an imbalance in this refined network of energy. This can occur on one or more levels relating to the body, the mind, the emotions or the spirit.
Qigong is a very ancient way to connect ourselves on all levels with nature and the universe. The first form of Qigong dates back around 10 000 years ago, when it was performed as a Chinese shamanistic ritual called ‘The great Dance’ (Da-Wu). The first recorded references of Qigong stem from 4 000 years ago, describing another dance, to ward off disease, balance energy and regulate breathing. The word Qi refers to ‘breath’ or ‘energy’, and ‘Gong’ means ‘work’ or ‘cultivate’. Qigong is the understanding of the flow of life, and the cultivation of this essential life energy through gentle movement, breath, self-massage, meditation, and sound.
Qigong is regarded as part of the Chinese healing arts and is a profound form of self-regulation. It teaches us to take care of ourselves, and its gentle yet powerful exercises help to integrate and benefit the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels of our being. The movements are intended to clear, conserve, strengthen, and transform our life force or energy, and to stimulate its uninterrupted circulation through the meridian system. When we practice Qigong, we improve and balance our vitality consciously and intentionally, and maximise our energy potential. We also cultivate the ability to feel with the heart and sense with the body what nature is trying to communicate.
During my acupuncture studies I felt strongly, that in order to be able to treat people with needles and manipulate their energy, it would be helpful to learn how to feel and experience energy in my own body. Through the study and practice of medical Qigong, my energy levels and health improved and I experienced a stronger connection to life in and around me. Inspired by my positive experiences, and supported by the wisdom of Chinese Medicine, I began sharing my understanding of this powerful, balancing practice.
The main focus of Qigong is to access the centre of the body (lower Dantian), and to direct our movements and apply our strength from within this energy centre. Connecting to this inner core helps us feel centred and calm, and we experience ourselves being part of the larger web of life.
All movements and breathing are done as conscientiously as possible, in order to develop a strong awareness of the body and its energy. It also strengthens our intention (Yi), and promotes a clear and stable mind.
Qigong can be done as a complete practice on its own or as a preparation for other physical disciplines or meditation. It can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Without sound, without substance,
dependent on nothing, unchanging,
all pervading, unfailing,
One may think of it as the mother of
all things under Heaven
- Lao Tze -