An Introduction to Qigong

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AFTER READING MY STORY and those of some of my students in this book you might think Qigong is something mysterious or magical or supernatural. Albert Einstein said, "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."

It is the mystery that leads us to wonder and to search, discover and learn. Once the discovery is made and you reach understanding then the initial mystery is gone.

Qigong is like this. It seems so mysterious to many. But, once you understand it you see that Qigong is not mysterious, just a wonderful gift that is available to everyone.

Hearing music coming out of a radio might seem mysterious or magical or supernatural to someone who's never heard of a radio. You can't see the radio waves. You can't touch them. But, they're real. You don't have to believe a radio will work. You just turn it on, tune it in and it works. If you learn the basics of how a radio works, then there's no mystery at all.

Let me explain the basics of how Qigong works.

You and Qigong

Even if you've never heard the word Qigong before, you've been doing it all your life. You've been practicing a type of Qigong since you were born - sleeping. In fact, you practiced Qigong a lot when you were a baby. Sleeping is a type of Qigong.

Scientists still don't know why we sleep. The heart still functions while we sleep. The blood still flows. The lungs breathe. Your brain is still active. So are your muscles, just ask anyone who tosses and turns a lot. But, physiologically there is no reason for sleep.

So, why do we sleep? Sleeping is a natural meditation. Sleep is one of the ways we're born with to help balance the energy in our bodies. That's why we need sleep. Qigong is all about energy balance. So, you see, sleep is one type of Qigong.

Physical activity is the Yang part of our everyday life. Sleep is the Yin part of everyday life. As in all things, Yin and Yang need to be in good balance.

How do you feel after a good night's sleep? When your energy is well-balanced, you feel great. When you don't have a good night's sleep you don't feel so great. Your energy is out of balance. Sleeping is a passive way of practicing Qigong. By learning more and practicing Qigong in an active way you can learn to maintain that balance. Qigong can help you to sleep better and feel great, rested, relaxed and balanced.

Qigong comes from China. The history of Qigong predates written records. Some archeological studies have found evidence of Qigong practices as far back as 7,000 years ago. Thousands of different styles of Qigong have been developed over the millennia. Some are still steeped in mysticism and secrecy and taught to only a select few.

Today, in China, millions of people practice one style of Qigong or another everyday. You can see them in any park by the hundreds and thousands. They practice Qigong for a very practical reason. They want to feel good and live a healthy, balanced life.

Qigong comes from two words, Qi (pronounced chee) and Gong. Qi is the universal energy that makes up and flows through everything in the universe. In our bodies, Qi means vitality or life force. Gong means to practice, cultivate or refine, leading to mastery. So, Qigong means to cultivate or refine one's vitality or life force through practice.

Qi energy has two basic forms, Yin and Yang. For a person to be in perfect health, Yin and Yang must be in perfect balance. Your body, everyone's body, has two kinds of Qi — internal Qi and external Qi. The Qi moving inside the body to keep the body alive is called internal Qi. The Qi sent out by a healer to help others to heal or do things outside the body is called external Qi.

We are all born with this vital and intelligent energy, Qi. It is comprised of an informational message and its carrier. It is the complex energy substance fundamental to life itself and to all things, animate and inanimate. When Qi flows, life continues and health is obtained. When the flow of Qi pauses or is interrupted, you get sick. When Qi stops, that is the end of life.

So in Chinese medicine and meditation, people always talk about Qi, Qi, Qi. Moving the Qi or getting the Qi moving is very important in Chinese healing. Qigong is one of the most powerful ways to move the Qi. It works. That's why millions of people do it everyday.

Qigong is all about balance, balancing the energy of mind, body, emotions and spirit. The mind and the body, the emotions and spirit are not separate things. They are all part of you. You can't focus on one and ignore another without causing problems for yourself. Qigong is the simplest and most powerful way I know of to bring about that perfect balance. It is one of the most powerful self-healing practices ever developed. Qigong is truly a health wonder of our world.

Qigong can help you to heal not only physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually and all at the same time. Your body, mind, emotions and spirit are all interconnected. In truth, they must all be in balance for you to be completely healed. Through the practice of Qigong you can experience the perfect balance you are meant to have. The benefits of Qigong are as many as there are aspects to life.

Qi (Energy) is Everything

Everything in the universe is energy or Qi. Since the work of Albert Einstein scientists have recognized that everything in the universe, everything we can see and even the things we cannot see, is composed of dynamic relationships of energy. Everything, everything, everything is energy.

A rock, a tree, the air, your body, your mind, all are energy, just in different forms. You are an energy being. So am I. We all are. As Einstein proved, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. But, energy can be transformed, changed, manipulated, put to use.

For example, when you heat water, it becomes steam. The energy of the water still exists just in a different form. That is what the word Qigong means, working with the Qi, the energy, transforming it, putting it to use.

Illness is also a form of energy, but we can transform it into something beautiful and blessing. This is what Qigong healing is about.

Qigong combines meditation, focused concentration, breathing techniques and body movements to activate and cultivate our Qi as it flows through the invisible energy channels, the meridians, of the body. If you're familiar with acupuncture you know it's also based on the energy meridians in the body. But, acupuncture requires a skilled expert to help you. Qigong you can do for yourself.

Qi can flow with the nerve system of our bodies, the circulation system and the meridian system. Qi can also flow on its own without following any systems in the body. This is what makes Qigong even more powerful than any other healing modality.

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