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Why Qigong Is Important and How You Can Start Practicing Today!

Our qigong demonstration at the Chinatown Festival on August 18, 2019

Why Should I Care About Qigong?

Qigong is about your quality of life now and in the long run. This includes your mental health and managing your stress and anxiety as well as your physical health. You have to ask yourself, what do you want to be able to do now and when you are 20, 40, 50, or 100 years old? 

With the regular practice of qigong, one can learn to breath better; relax; relieve stress and anxiety; boost one’s energy; actively fight disease and cancer; stabilize blood pressure; how to eat, drink and sleep; and understand why ‘healthy’ is a relative term to oneself and how to achieve it. 

Armed with various qigong techniques, one can also learn to increase blood, water, and bioelectrical circulation; improve flexibility in every joint; build physical strength, endurance, and power; increase bone density; develop stronger joints, ligaments, and tendons; and improve the structure of one’s physical body with a stronger core. It’s a perfect compliment for martial arts practitioners and athletes.

If you want to be able to experience life with fewer limitations even when you are 80 or 100 years old, you will want to learn about and practice qigong because there may be no other system that approaches quality of life in this holistic manner.

What Is Qigong?

Qigong (pinyin: Qì Gōng, 气功) is a general term used to describe a practice, art, or exercise relating to Qi, and Qi is a general word used to describe breath and energy. Qi is often further described depending on the school of qigong. For example, some schools will attach a spiritual or religious intent to the idea of qi and qigong.

At our school, we interpret Qi in a general sense – meaning that of energy. This energy is the make up of everything that we can perceive with our ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and skin. Therefore every part of you is made of qi, and our environment including the land, mountain, air, sun, and entire universe is also made of Qi.

Taken in this context, qigong then is the practice of energy within our body as well as outside of our body.

The practice of Qigong is both mental and physical. It is a mental practice because it is about awareness of Qi in and out of your body, and it is a physical practice because it is about optimizing your body for the environment.

Demonstrating 1st Movement of Shaolin Ba Duan Jin

How Can I Get Started with Qigong?

If you are unable to attend one of our schools, then one of the ways you can start is by learning to breathing better. You can increase your overall energy and reduce stress and anxiety just by paying attention to your breathing and trying some basic breathing exercises.

For example, you can try chest breathing and abdominal breathing. 

In chest breathing, the basic technique is to inhale and exhale in a regular cycle and repeat it 10-20 times. You can start with a 4 or 6 second inhale and exhale and try to breathe in and exhale as much air as you can. This gets your chest moving and exercises your lungs. You can do this several times a day, for example, first thing in the morning, after lunch, and before or just after dinner. 

In abdominal breathing, you attempt the same breathing cycle as the chest breathing, except you are trying to use your diaphragm muscle – this means means your chest doesn’t move at all. When you do it properly, the diaphragm muscle enables the air to move downwards into your stomach area, raising your belly. When you relax, you will naturally exhale and your belly lowers. Most people will find this a foreign idea and struggle with it. You can try lying down when doing this exercise at first because it’s easier to relax your whole body.

It is important to practice both breathing techniques as they use different muscles and will derive different benefits. Experiment and see what works best for you!

The 7th movement of Shaolin Ba Duan Jin improves back flexibility