Updated: Dec 26, 2020
Yesterday I described QiGong to the members of my family (that are not so foo foo la la hippy dippy) as slower than Tai Chi, which is slower than Karate. Laughter ensued as I am sure they were confused as to the purpose and reason for slow movements and meditative breathing. I resolved at that time to research and write a blog that does QiGong more justice than my poorly conceived description yesterday! Here goes...
Practicing Qigong (ch'i king, chi gong) usually includes a moving meditation, coordinating slow movement with deep rhythmic breathing and a meditative state of mind. World wide people have been practicing Qigong for exercise, relaxation, meditation and self healing as well as training for martial arts for over 4000 years.
Qi means literally means air or breathing but is used to mean 'life force' and Gong means work or practice.
When practicing Qigong, you are
literally working with the 'life force',
and WOW, can you feel it.
Over time there have been five subsets of the practice developed each with their own theories and characteristics, Chinese Medical Qigong, Daoist Qigong, Buddhist Qigong, Confucian Qigong, and Martial Qigong.
There are hundreds of 'forms' or postures in Qigong and they can mostly be organised into the following categories: Medical, Martial, Spiritual, Intellectual and Life Nourishing.
Tai Chi and Chi Gong differ in a few ways. Tai Chi focuses more on form and discipline, Chi Gong is more free form. Chi Gong is considered a health form while Tai Chi a martial art. Both complement and magnify the other. In China, Chi Gong is a daily health practice for many.
Similar to the Indian system of Chakras, Chi Gong has three dantiens or energy reservoirs. The Lower dantien is located three inches below the naval, middle dantien in the center of the chest and the Upper dantien is located at the level of the forehead or third eye.
This article on yogajournal.com I found extremely interesting and educational. It is well written and easy to ready, and has lots of information about the energy processes. Please check it out!
15 years ago I first was introduced to Chi Gong through my massage therapy school. Our sifu (teacher or master) was named Daniel and he came twice a week and led us through postures, as an extracurricular activity. Out of the 30 or so students in my class, just a small handful would attend these sessions. I'll tell you what, without Chi Gong I would NOT have been able to get through the stress of full time work and part time massage therapy school.
For me, Chi Gong is like sleeping
and running and drinking water
and eating food all at the same time.
Up until recently my chi gong practice has fallen by the wayside, in these last couple weeks I have been introduced to a marvelous teacher who has helped me to remember the joy. Her name is Maria, and her and I are in an online class together learning how to lead women's circles.
A few weeks ago, Maria and I had the honor of leading a circle together with another sister, and through the power of co creation she introduced me to a chi gong move called 'circling fists to sink the chi'. We used this as our movement piece for circle and it was wonderful to ground with, to reach and bring in energy and return the energy to the earth in a cycle. The breathing and movement, allows you to sink into moving meditation with ease. My brain and heart tingled as we did the form, and I remembered how my body felt when practicing Qigong.
This morning I had the honor of joining her Qigong online lessons. Maria describes the movements and the philosophies so well, I just loved following along with her. She is currently accepting donations for attending her Friday morning class. I encourage you to donate as when you exchange energies you will help her to impart the knowledge and guidance, and facilitate the path for you to receive.
Maria Chowdhury's Tai Chi & Qigong classes are fridays at 10am Central Time (US) and located at https://www.pathwithharmony.com/online-classes
This mornings practice stirred up some much needed energy in me. The weather is beginning to cool down for me here in Las Vegas, Nevada, and today is the day after the overindulgence of Thanksgiving. I needed this energy session to blast away some stuffiness I have been feeling in my head and chest and bring digestive relief too.
The wonderful way Maria honors the directions, honors ourselves, our teachers and our hearts, reminds me of how blessed I am to share space with her. We did a wonderful movement that rolled the chi up our spines and got bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger, we acknowledged our past, present and future selves. My body heated up, the room heated up and my breathing and body movements just felt so melodic and soothing. It really was wonderful.
If you are unable to make her classes live, I believe that Maria records and sends them out upon request too. I know I will be using my lessons recording again this week to reinforce the forms, to relax and stretch my body and bring a sense of grounding and gratitude to my day to day life.