You’ve heard of tai chi. You may have even taken some yoga classes along the way. But you may not have heard of another beneficial practice that creates a mind-body connection—qigong. So what is qigong?
While this ancient practice may have some of the same elements as other forms of holistic exercise, it is an entirely different thing—and its benefits can be great.
• Qigong components
• Qigong benefits; and
• Your body’s physical reaction to the practice of qigong
• What Is Qigong?
• What Does Qigong Do for You?
• 8 Qigong Benefits for Your Mind & Body
• Frequently Asked Questions About Qigong Exercises
• Want to Learn More About What Qigong Does for You? Find Mental and Physical Clarity Through Movement With Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi
• Body; and
In Korean yoga, there is a principle that says your breath can help to relax and refresh your brain. The slow movements and breathwork of qigong are said to stimulate the life force that flows through your body and can help strengthen your mind-body connection.
As qigong increases the supply and flow of energy throughout the body, it can have many benefits.
It is known to harmonize and enhance the bodily systems— leaving you feeling refreshed, revitalized, stronger, and more centered.
Qigong helps your mind and body align as one, feeling balanced and harmonious.
Slowing your movements forces you to be present and listen to your body. When you slow your movements, you slow your breathing—which in turn slows your thoughts.
Because your breath influences the state of your nervous system, slowing your breath can automatically help to calm your brain and slow your brain waves to match.
• Stress relief
• And more
Qigong is safe and easy for almost everyone, so it’s worth trying out for its potential health and spiritual benefits. Breathing is a key component in their success.
Please keep in mind that, since each person is different, everyone will have different experiences while practicing qigong. It’s best to begin with the help of a trained professional.
• Worried; or
It may seem like your mind is going a million miles per hour fretting about the past or worrying about the future. When there is a gap between your mind and your body, you may feel all kinds of unwanted emotions.
Many people try to stop bad thoughts by controlling their minds, but this is pretty much impossible. The trick is to change your body and breathing rhythms through qigong.
Slow and flowing qigong movements can influence your body, breath, and brain to help you focus your mind while reducing stress and feelings of anxiousness.
A study has shown that people with mild hypertension experienced significant drops in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure after just ten weeks of qigong.
If you are experiencing high blood pressure you should consult your doctor. But practicing qigong with Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi could also be a natural way to help combat this silent killer.
Another study showed that people with chronic fatigue syndrome who participated in a four-month qigong intervention program had significant improvement in their fatigue symptoms and mental function compared to the control group.
A review of several studies found that people who practiced qigong regularly had higher levels of certain immune cells, which helps boost the body’s immune response.
• Bacteria; and
…it may be a good idea to give it a little extra help by incorporating qigong into your routine.
Since qigong typically includes postures that require concentration and coordination, it is known to help strengthen balance.
While this can be vital in preventing falls for the senior population, qigong is also known to improve balance in healthy young women.
• Fatigue; and
• Difficulty sleeping
If you are suffering from a chronic illness or in the recovery period, qigong may help enhance your overall well-being.
According to East Asian energy philosophy, qi flows through energy pathways throughout your body called meridians. This conduction of energy can affect the body’s nervous system.
Studies have shown after a qigong session, the energy flowing through meridians becomes stronger and the balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems is improved. Autonomic balance has been proven to help increase longevity and quality of life.
If you have been injured or had surgery, you may find it difficult to participate in many types of exercise.
The slow, gentle pace of qigong and the mind-body connection it promotes can support your recovery process.
Qigong routines can be of different lengths, intensity levels, or styles, but they all incorporate these three major components.
Regulating the mind through qigong takes mental focus. But instead of working hard to control your thoughts, you achieve this state by syncing your brain with your slow breath and movements, achieving a state of quiet and tranquility.
Much of the success of your qigong practice depends on the levels of quietness and peace you can achieve.
• Frequency; and
…of your breath.
Often, when we are awake we don’t pay enough attention to our breathing and tend to take shallow, quick breaths as we move throughout our days. We may even hold our breath sometimes!
Taking slower, deeper breaths as we tend to do in our sleep can not only help improve our body’s physical functions but can also lead us into a meditative state.
While you practice qigong, your aim should be to combine the slowing of your mind and breath with equally slow movements of the body.
When you adjust the body to its correct postures, you allow your body to direct the qi flow.
There may be many ways to perform qigong, but there are two main categories of qigong: active and passive.
In passive qigong, the focus is on embracing energy through body stillness and the mental harvesting of qi.
In this form of qigong, the body isn’t outwardly moving, but the mind is actively moving energy throughout the body. This category of qigong could be compared to traditional meditation.
With active qigong, you combine intentional, flowing movement with breathwork designed to enhance your energy.
These gentle, coordinated movements are repeated and synced with easy, deep breathing and lead to the slowing of brainwaves and stillness of thoughts.
The benefits of qigong are so great that you should do it every day if you can. But obviously, that isn’t practical for everyone. Practicing qigong two to three times per week will help you reap its rewards. As you continue to feel more comfortable practicing qigong, you can begin increasing the number of times you practice it each week.
Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi offers online tai chi and qigong classes, so fitting this practice into your schedule may be easier than you think—plus, you’ll probably feel so great after doing them that you’ll want to participate as many days a week as you can.
How long it takes qigong to work depends on the person and how they go about it. If you are more in tune with your body, you may find it easier to control your flow of energy, even from the beginning.
If you find that you have trouble stilling your mind and slowing your breath, these concepts may take some time to practice. (But that is why qigong is called a practice, after all!)
If you’ve gotten this far, you are likely to be excited about the benefits of qigong and eager to jump in. But what’s the best way to go about doing that?
At Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi, our goal is to help you find a path to a happier, healthier life by offering the best in holistic fitness through online and in-studio classes.
Want to try qigong and tai chi? We have classes for you. More interested in yoga, meditation, or breath work? We’ve got you covered there, too.
• Mental; and
…health. Contact us today to find out how to get started.