Qigong specifically pertains to a set of exercise that originated in Ancient China. A lot of the practitioners of these exercises use it to increase longevity and boost their health.
What is Qigong?
The exercise performed in Qigong is designed for the mind, breath, and the entire body. Qigong is a very old practice that helps strengthen and restore balance in the body. It is an exercise with an extremely long history.
Qi Qong is a term made up of two Chinese words, Qi means energy and Gong means exercises or work. Hence, Qigong means exercises for your energy.
Actually the word Qigong is a fairly recent term. The exercises that comprise it were formerly called Dao Yin or Nei Gong which were the terms used to describe these practices for thousands of years. Dao Yin translates to Leading and Guiding and it is so named because the postures lead and guide the vital energy or Qi across the body for various reasons based on the set of exercise or exercise. Nei Kung literally means Internal Exercises.
In modern times, Qigong is a practice that is made of various exercises. This practice has literally thousands of different forms. Hence, Qi gong has no really specific type of exercise. It is akin to the term general transportation that designates a broad meaning and does not specify a certain mode or place of transport (space, automobile, rocket, train, water, air, etc.). Each form of transportation is the same and involves going to point B from point A; but other than that each means of transportation can be very different. The same goes with Qigong.
One thing the different styles of Qigong share in common is that they all work with the energy of the body. Other than that, the differences can be extreme. There are stationary Qi Gongs and moving Qi Gongs. Some like the Iron Palm are designed for certain disciplines like the martial arts. Some are for the maintenance of health. Some are to address certain health issues. But, once again each style works with the energy or qi of the body.
Some Qi gong practices have been recently developed while some practices are thousands of years old that have been passed down from generation to the generation. Both of these practices work for a lot of people. The developers of the modern styles and practices cite innovation and improvement as their inspiration while the Qi gong systems of the ancients have endured the test of time.
You need to learn and discover the style that interests you if you are a newcomer to Qigong. You might need to know the style’s objectives, attributes, and origins.
You also need to be aware that there are other styles that may be different from the one you are practicing, if you’ve been performing a specific style of Qi Gong for a while. They may have different objectives, attributes, and modes of practice compared to the style you chose to practice.
The Different Types of Qigong
These are a few of the most commonly practiced types of Qigong.
1. General Health Maintenance Qigong – Qi gong practices to maintain your health are well rounded. They target various aspects of you health in a holistic manner with the intention of enhancing well being, boosting the entire system, and generating better health. Practically everyone can benefit from this type of practice.
2. Martial Qigong – As its name implies Martial Qigong is a training that’s designed to provide you with some sort of skill. Some of its styles include the aforementioned Iron Palm, Iron Shirt, or some activity that will help you strike and/or kick better. These styles are oftentimes a part of an overall martial arts system and are mean to be a type of isolated training. Some trainings in the system are designed to help you avoid harm and injury and to help balance your body. You need the supervision of a qualified instructor for some of these practices and they should never be attempted alone.
3. Medical Qigong – This set of exercises are practiced in order to address disharmony and imbalance in the body. They are no longer required once the disharmony and imbalance is rectified. For certain purposes there are certain practices. Skill and training is required when choosing and performing this type of Qi gong. Medical Qigong is considered a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
History of Qigong
Qigong has a history that goes way back to prehistoric times. As mentioned before, it was not always called Qigong and the ancients called the exercises Nei Kung and Dao Yin. Nei Kung refers to internal exercises or internal work while Dao Yin illustrates how the movements of the exercises guide and lead the flow of Qi all over the body
Interestingly, some researchers believe that dance, which was an essential part of society during ancient times, is one possible origin of Qi gong. Dance was a major part of Shamanic rituals, and of celebrations and ceremonies. Before the dawn of history, the Shamans were our ancestor’s doctors who were responsible for curing the sick and in the maintenance of health.
Some researchers believe that dance gradually developed into a system of movement that was designed to cure sickness and preserve health. Early Chinese texts dating as far back as 200 B.C. describe the use of Dao Yin to address certain illnesses. Later works and documents actually show the refinement of this system over time with exercises included to treat various types of illnesses and ailments. Besides the prescribed exercises, there were always practitioners and teachers who recommended additional general health maintenance practices which were integrated into the system. Eventually, Dao Yin encompassed the systems of static exercises, breathing exercises, movement exercises, and self massage all aimed at increasing longevity and maintaining good health.
A myriad of different Qigong systems have been developed over the years. A lot of these systems have been abandoned and have eventually vanished, but a lot also have survived and are still being practiced today.
Qigong to Extend Longevity and Preserve Health
A type of Chinese exercises, Qigong is designed to enhance your energy, mind, and body. Due to its effectiveness in increasing longevity and promoting health, it has been practiced for thousands of years and is still being used today by millions of people throughout the world. Qigong is followed by a growing number of people due to its aforementioned benefits (increasing longevity and promoting health) although most people think it is only used to help relieve and manage stress.
Qigong Helps Alleviate Tension and Stress
Qi gong movements involve stretching, extending, and twisting the various parts of your body. These physical activities help relieve stress and tension that might have built up within the body. One can prevent these minor tensions from turning into larger problems by consistently exercising the body using the styles of Qigong. The practitioner not only experiences physical relaxation and a sense of reinvigoration, he can also enjoy the mental benefits of Qigong like feeling calm and peaceful.
The Many Benefits of Deep Breathing
The benefits of deep breathing include:
• A state of profound relaxation
• A calm mind
• Strengthening and stimulation of the internal organs
Qigong Boosts the Flow of Blood and Qi in the Body
Qigong exercises can help release any stagnation that might arise and help facilitate the flow of blood and Qi in the body. The smooth unhindered flow of these two important life-giving elements is important for health and the maintenance of health. The body needs to constantly regenerate and repair itself even it is in good health. These tasks may not be possible without the necessary nutrients, oxygen, and energy supplied by blood and Qi. Qigong aids in the self-repair and self-maintenance of the body by facilitating the smooth unfettered flow of blood and Qi.
Besides furnishing the elements the body needs to repair and build itself. The smooth flow of blood and Qi also enables the removal of waste material from the body. When the body is unable to eliminate waste material, it can fall to illness and disease. Hence, the circulation and transport of blood and qi is extremely essential for good health and longevity.
Qigong Enhances the Function of the Central Nervous System
The Central Nervous System (CNS) and the spine are connected to all the internal organs and to every part of the body and so, the health of the body depends on the condition of the CNS and the spine. A lot of the movements of Qigong move and twist the spine which besides maintaining its strength, flexibility, and mobility, also boosts the flow of qi and blood to every part of the spine and beefs up the health of the CNS.
Qigong Helps Promote Quality Adequate Sleep
Qigong exercises can lead to longer quality sleep as they help stabilize the body functions, improve blood flow, and help relax the body. Qigong does ease muscle tension and relieves pain and soreness in the joints. Some Qigong exercises and practices are designed to help readjust the biorhythm of your body so that you can enjoy a night of rejuvenating and restful sleep. Because it helps regulate the hormones and contributes greatly to the maintenance and repair of the body, sleep is a very important part of our lives.
Qigong Supports Digestion and Elimination
The deep breathing and physical actions involved in Qigong exercises can bring about a healthy effect on the organs responsible for digestion and elimination. This benefits the body in a great way because it derives its nutrients and energy needed to repair and maintain itself from the air we breathe and the fluids and foods we take in. The body is able to optimally extract the nutrients and qi that it needs from digested food when our digestive system is functioning well. When the body is able to easily eliminate waste products, it helps prevent the rise of sickness and disease.
Qigong Maintains the Flexibility and Strength of the Joints
Since Qigong is a series of physical exercises, it helps keep the joints of the body strong and healthy allowing them to be strong, mobile, loose, and flexible. The exercises of the joints also make certain that there is adequate flow of blood to the tissue of the joints, which enables them to repair themselves, when needed, and keeps them healthy.
These are some of the examples of how Qigong Exercise can promote and maintain health and extend longevity. This article did not discuss the energetic and esoteric aspects of Qigong, only the physical. The body’s ability to maintain and repair itself is a very important part of our health and is a key factor in the increase of longevity and the establishment of good health and longevity as well as in our ability to recuperate rapidly if a problem in health arises.
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