Body - Energy - Spirit] movements of meditation and health for body, mind & spirit:
Learn how to cultivate your natural ability to heal and attain a life of vitality and harmony. :
Taoist Arts of Serenity & Healing : What is Qigong?
An easy-to-follow combination of controlled breathing, focused concentration, and simple movement.
A simple definition of Qigong is: Qi, which in Chinese means energy or life force. This is the energy that wakes us in the morning, gets us through our day and helps us survive from birth to death. Gong, in Chinese means to work. So in essence when we do Qigong, we are working or exercising our energy.
Qigong works with the body's energy. Ancient Chinese wisdom calls this energy "Qi" (pronounced "chee," sometimes spelled "chi"). Qi has been called the "mother of blood."
"It is believed that by moving Qi through the body, you can heal yourself of many ailments," says medical doctor Richard Gerber, author of the definitive text for energetic medicine, "Vibrational Medicine: New Choices for Healing Ourselves" as well as "Vibrational Medicine for the 21st Century".
Qigong is the grandfather of Chinese medicine, Tai-chi, acupuncture, Shiatsu, and Reiki. The Qigong exercises look similar to the meditative movements of Tai-chi. Many try to cloak Qigong in mystery. A Master often teaches just a little at a time, giving the student, the grasshopper, only what the Master feels he should learn.
Qigong for centuries has been the corner stone to athletic performance in many fields!
Athletes such as martial artists, have benefited greatly by the strength, endurance and overall health gains achieved through a dedicated practice of Qigong.
All athletes of any level and age can greatly improve their skills through Qigong practice. Every part of the body can be enhanced.
Bones, muscle, tendons, lungs, as well as nervous, circulatory & immune systems can be strengthened beyond the normal levels achieved through more traditional training methods.
Since Breathing is critical for life on all levels, good healthy Breath is essential in any activity. It is fundamental in the process of eliminating toxins, reducing stress, freeing the tissues to allow proper blood flow and nervous function of our nerves and brain.
In fact, improper breathing can result in respiratory difficulties, heightened levels of stress, musculo-skeletal dysfunction, reduced immune system function and an overall depletion of our general health and well being. When our Breathing is healthy and strong, our body, mind, and spirit will reflect that health.
The way of revitalisation :
The way of revitalisation :
Qi Gong can be further defined as "the use of breathing to develop the Qi for special purposes, such as fighting or healing" or "to work out or exercise the internal energy". Qi Gong as you might have gathered is a Chinese method of breathing and movement combined and is part of a holistic system of self-development.
Most people these days have seen the Tai Chi diagram, which shows the interaction of Yin and Yang. Yin represents the contracting, withdrawing and yielding movement of energy and Yang represents the expanding, reaching and energising movement of energy, both of which interact with each other continually and cannot exist independently of each other, for example, during daytime you have the light of the sun (Yang) and the shadows (Yin), similarly at nightime (Yin) you have the light of the moon and stars (Yang).
The Yin breath is very shallow, and is the way most people breathe in the Western world. This contributes to many chest, throat and related disorders, when breathing in by this method it raises the upper chest, shoulders and collarbone, the lungs receive very little air.
Yang breathing on the other hand is very deep as it concentrates on the utilisation of the diaphragm (usually referred to as diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing). The muscles become more elastic and the internal organs are massaged through the pressure and so keep their position within the body.
I will cover briefly two, which I consider the two primary breathing practices used in Qi Gong, these are;
1) Abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing (post-birth breathing): This is usually the first method of breathing a practitioner will learn, the tongue is placed behind the front top two teeth resting on the gum, keep the chest relaxed and hollow (this may be difficult at first) and drop the diaphragm down, you inhale through the nose expanding the abdomen on all sides, this is centred at a point known as the Dan-Dien (the position of this centre lies 4 finger widths below the naval and 2 finger widths inside). Then you exhale through the nose contracting the stomach and pulling the anal and sexual muscles upwards. This is a cyclic breath.
2) Reverse abdominal breathing (Pre-birth breathing): After a person has practised the abdominal breathing until it is second nature one then begins the Pre-birth breathing, as the name implies this would be how the foetus obtains nourishment in the womb. Here on the in-breath the abdomen is drawn in, the anal and sexual organs are contracted and the vital energy rises up from the Tan-Tien , to the diaphragm (which remains lowered), at the same time, the air drawn in through the nose is brought down to the diaphragm and here, the two energies are combined , again , as shown by the Tai Chi diagram . On the out-breath the abdominal area expands and the pressure in the perineum is relaxed, the energy moves back to the Dan-Dien and the air moves away from the diaphragm as the two energies again separate. No force is used during the breathing practise.
So, why learn and practice Qi Gong ? Qi Gong is and has been developed by the Taoists and forms one of the strands of the eight Brocades (these comprise the many arts of Chinese healing). Over the last few thousand years many experiments and tests have been done on the use of breath to promote physical health, longevity and well being. Today much of this work is being carried on in the Beijing Institute in China and by individual practitioners. Qi Gong concerns itself with the flow of Qi within the body, the storing of Qi and the development/utilisation of Qi. The benefits of practising Qi Gong are not restricted to conventional labels, the goal is longevity and good health mentally and physically, thus Qi Gong is called the way of rejuvenation. I myself have found great benefit from the practice of Qi Gong and Tai Chi, I haven't had a cold or anything else for that matter for over 15 years, basically these practises have improved every aspect of my life in body, mind and spirit. Qi Gong is being used to effectively treat and cure almost all diseases and ailments, as an example, there are many documented case studies effectively treating Psychosis, Epilepsy, Heart disease, Hepatitis, Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Tumour cases and bone diseases to name a few.
Chi Kung is one of China's greatest achievements
Chi Kung is one of China's greatest achievements
Originally, Qi-Gong was developed for general exercise, and to keep the body free from illness and disease.
Qi gong was created from the accumulated experiences of countless generations by thousands of wise men and sages. Many of the theories and training methods have been kept secret, and only recently made available to the general public.
The philosophy of Taoism employs Qi-gong practise and cultivation to maintain harmony with nature and the universe.
Qi gong practise and training is based on adopting Chi or energy from nature and the universe to strengthen and balance the mind, body and spirit, through breathing and vocal exercises, movement and meditation. At a later stage other methods of development were introduced, which involved strengthening the muscles, tendons and bones, washing the bone marrow and nourishing the brain. (iron shirt qi gong training).
These later methods were required to reverse the degeneration of the organs and the body, which was necessary for old age and good health.
Fundamentally, Qi gong is divided into 2 sections: internal and external. When starting Qi gong practise, initially, we learn how to relax the mind, relax the body, exercise the lungs and regulate the breathing by practising moving Qi gong and clean body Qi gong.
Practicing moving, clean body Qi gong will clean the rubbish and toxins out of the body, clear blockages from our body and relax our muscles, tendons and nerves. This in turn will keep our psychology happy and strong, exercise our lungs, which then will relax and calm our entire body and organs, especially the heart.
When we have learned to dispel the rubbish and tension from our bodies and relax our minds and regulate the breathing, we can now start to incorporate some still meditation. This will help to control the Kan and Li (water and fire) aspects of our bodies.
As our body becomes more relaxed, calm, happy and free from tension and stress our blood circulation, nervous system, endocrine glands, and the function of the body and organs will then be strengthened, regulated and balanced.
When we have dispelled all the rubbish from our bodies and accumulated sufficient Qi or energy through practise, then we are ready to incorporate Iron Shirt Qi gong training.
Qi-Gong restores the vital energy expended through life, and as we get older, practising qi-gong will keep our bodies strong, flexible, supple, young and happy. Qi-Gong stimulates change and enriches our life through attaining physical and emotional balance; placing us in touch with our own physic force. As we become more advanced in our practice, we slowly develop a psychic and spiritual awareness, unique and relative only to ourselves.
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