I have always had a fascination with the Zen qualities of the Eastern arts. I love their order and discipline, their cleaness of lines and the way they seem to calm the spirit and quiet the brain. This is primarily why I began studying the martial arts and yoga. That, and I liked the fact that I was exercising and learning to defend myself in the event of an attack. In actuality it was akin to killing three birds with one stone, if you will. Stress relief, exercise and defense all wrapped up in one neat, nice package. Can't beat that with a stick:)
Several years ago I discovered Qigong (chee gung). Qigong is an Eastern energy healing art and Chinese health care modality. The word Qigong is made up of the Chinese character Qi, which can mean breath or energy, and Gong, which can mean exercise or work. So the practice of Qigong can be like doing "breath exercise" or maybe "energy work". Either way, it's all good and good for you! Quigong is an ancient art that can be traced back thousands of years and it is the basis for Tai Chi.
The best way I can describe it is to liken it to a healing dance. It is a combination of exercise and meditation or moving meditation. It really can't be described in words but must be experienced. I am no expert at Qigong. For one thing, I have never been able to find a teacher in my area. Most people have never even heard of it. I have studied the art through books and recordings and any information I have been able to gather.
I enjoy practicing Qigong and alternate it with my yoga practice. In Qigong one uses deep breathing, much as is used in yoga. The deep breathing is combined with slow, synchronized movements. Together, these two help to bring body, mind, and spirit into balance and alignment.
Qigong has been proven to relieve stress, which increases the bodies immune system, helps organs work better and just makes you feel better overall. Research has indicated that regular Qigong practice can eliminate chronic pain and symptoms, reduce the need for some medications, and help control diabetes, among a host of other beneficial things.
Qigong, like yoga and martial arts, stresses the importance of living in the present, not the past or the future.
"To be too connected to the past prohibits forward motion. The past pulls on us with anticipation, worrying about what has already happened. The future tortures us with expectation, always fearful or excited about what is to come. To be fully present is to take into account all of who we are, all that has happened, all that is happening and all that will happen."~~Garri Garripoli
I hope you have enjoyed this brief introduction to Qigong and if you ever have the opportunity to try it, I highly recommend it.
Namaste and God bless