The Many Benefits of Qi Gong
Are you feeling blocked up emotionally, spiritually, or physically? Have you been looking for a new practice that can double as an exercise routine and a spiritual ritual? There are so many fantastic practices that combine working the body with working the mind and spirit, but none so much as rewarding and satisfying as Qi Gong.
If you have heard of Tai Chi, then you’ll already be well on your way to learning Qi Gong, also known as Chi Kung. Similar to other practices that focus on energy within the body, Qi Gong helps improve your energy flow to heal, revive, and maintain the positive energy within yourself and even support physical health.
What is Qi Gong (Chi Kung)?
Qi Gong or Chi Kung is a centuries-old Chinese practice for physical and spiritual health. It combines the preciseness of technique and the monotony of repetition to help rejuvenate you and improve your energy flow. The method relies heavily on deep, controlled breathing and the twisting and stretching your body’s energy channels. Because of its proven success in improving physical health, especially when recovering from injuries, the practice has been an accepted addition to health-related methods by medical authorities in China.
The practice dates to 2696–2598 BCE and the Yellow Emperor. You can also find it in the Huangdi Neijing book of internal medicine, which has been the fundamental source for two millennia for Chinese medicine. The practice focuses on Qi, also known as Chi, the energy that flows through the body through gates and channels.
If you observe someone practicing Qi Gong, you’ll notice that some repetitious movements are gentle and slow while others are vigorous and demanding. The practice uses both small, almost imperceptible movements with large movements to align, stretch, and improve different Qi gates and channels throughout the body. Ultimately, the goal is to relax as much as possible so that Qi can flow freely.
The 12 Meridians in Tradition Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi flows through the 12 meridians of the body. These meridians are the basis for many healing practices, including acupuncture, meridian massages, and Tai Chi. Understanding the different meridians and their governance of Qi and the body is extremely important to your practice of Qi Gong.
The 12 meridians are connected to major organs in the body and work with the centerline meridians, also known as the conception vessel and the governing vessel. The principal meridians are:
- Lung meridian – through which we consume energy
- Large Intestine meridian – where we process waste
- Stomach meridian – where we pull nutrients from things we consume
- Heart meridian – sends our blood throughout the body
- Small Intestine meridian – through which we pull water and nutrients
- Bladder meridian – through which we expel toxins
- Kidney meridian – where we regulate our male reproductive system, blood, and marrow
- Pericardium meridian – through which we regulate emotions, energy, and protection of the heart
- Triple Warmer meridian – through which we balance our wellness and metabolism
- Gall Bladder meridian – where we store toxins
- Liver meridian – through which we maintain our flexibility, circulate our Qi, and regulate the reproductive systems of females
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses the knowledge of these 12 meridians to direct the focus of acupuncturists, massage professionals, and Tai Chi practitioners. Massage and acupuncture practices, for instance, follow the mapped-out lines of Qi channels and gateways to apply pressure for certain conditions and complaints. On the other hand, Tai Chi practitioners use the knowledge of these channels to focus the breath and choose certain movements in achieving their goals.
Active vs. Passive Qi Gong
You can choose to follow active or passive Qi Gong or combine both to achieve your goals for the practice. Active Qi Gong is also known as dong gong, which focuses on enhancing Yang energy through active movements and breathing. Passive Qi Gong focuses on Yin energy by practicing stillness of both the body and mind, flexing the mind to alter energy flows instead of physical movements.
In other words, active Qi Gong looks a lot more like the traditional Tai Chi practices most people have witnessed, while passive Qi Gong looks like meditation.
Benefits of Qi Gong
At the elementary level, Qi Gong is a meditation, breathing, and exercise practice that can help the body and mind relax and heal. At a deeper level, improving the flow of Qi throughout the body revives your spirit and helps you take control of your life.
To properly benefit from practicing Qi Gong, one must learn about Qi, how it flows through the body, and precisely which different channels and gates regulate parts of the body and spirit. By understanding exactly how to use Qi Gong, you can target specific issues you might be dealing with and quickly help your body and mind to heal.
Supporting Mental Health
Both active and passive Qi Gong practices are great for supporting your mental health because the fundamental goal is to relax and focus on your breath. Meditation of any kind helps you to improve your awareness and presence in the moment, which is an effective method for checking in with how you feel physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. You can also help your mind to stop obsessing over the past or future, which are prevalent sources of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Both Eastern and Western medicine leaders promote stillness, deep breathing, and meditation as therapeutic practices that improve one’s ability to relax and shake off negative thoughts and emotions. Being still with yourself and improving your breath can reduce excessive adrenal responses in the body and stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system.
Lower Risk and Improve Symptoms of Chronic Disease
Because both active and passive Qi Gong methods are gentle practices, whether they include exercise or not, it is a great practice for supporting health even for those at risk of or suffering from chronic conditions.
Qi Gong does not interfere with other medical treatments, so it is entirely safe to practice as long as the practitioner does not push their body beyond their limits. These gentle and repetitious movements help to stimulate blood flow, stretch your muscles and ligaments, and lower stress. These benefits are proven to help lower your risk of suffering from many common chronic diseases.
Improving Muscle Strength and Precision
Qi Gong depends on your ability to repeat exact movements over a period of time, so performing them exactly over and over will help define your muscles. These practices, as a result, also improve your awareness of your physical presence within space. With enhanced muscle strength and stretches that increase your flexibility, you will get much better at putting your body into precise forms and staying very still, improving your balance.
Medical studies have shown improvements in how Qi Gong practitioners walk and balance, regardless of age. Older adults that practiced weekly for 12 weeks showed promising results, and young adults increased their stability scores by over 16% in another study over eight weeks.
Reach Spiritual Enlightenment
Aside from the health benefits, both physical and mental, of Qi Gong, there are so many other spiritual benefits. Those who dive into the meditation portion of Qi Gong during their practice can pursue enlightenment and improve their life of ritual and prayer. Overall, spiritual Qi Gong focuses on enhancing self-awareness and finding harmony and balance within oneself.
Through the regular and rigorous practice of active and passive Qi Gong methods, practitioners can take complete control of their body, mind, and spiritual energy. Mantras, prayers, and mudras are combined with mindful awareness and active management of energy flow within the body.
Achieving this ultimate awareness of energy flows allows expert practitioners to pinpoint imbalances and actively tend to them. Whether these imbalances are caused by physical injury, mental instability, emotional suffering, or even those passed down by previous generations, Qi Gong practitioners can actively target this imbalance and treat it using Qi Gong methods.
If you are interested in spiritual improvement using Qi Gong, I have many free resources including prayers, rituals, mantras, and more that you can incorporate into your practice. Once you begin, you’ll soon realize how freeing and empowering it is to slow down, breathe, and take control of your body, mind, and spirit.
YOU ARE LOVE!
You are a beautiful Living Being filled with light and love, born from stardust. You are unlimited potential in every direction. With a focus on discipline, virtue, and your own goodness, you can become as expanded and liberated as you desire.
BLESSINGS TO YOU!
There is no “Other.” There is only you experiencing yourself.