Are you wondering if any workout provides internal peace, flexibility, and fitness all at once? Qigong is a practice that delivers all these. This ancient healing technique is based on controlled breathing, meditation, and guided movements and has become extremely popular in the West. However, many people have heard about Qigong exercises but do not really know about them. If you wish to know more about how to do qigong exercises and their benefits, this is the article for you.
What is qigong?
The qigong meaning is derived from Qi, which means ‘vital life force energy’ and Gong which means ‘to work with’. The Qigong meaning is to work with vital life force energy. As per traditional Chinese medicine, Qi is a kind of mysterious energy present in all living beings and the natural world. Every action by a human being reflects the Qi within. The Qi is based on the principles of mindfulness and mediation, which are combined with physical movements. That is the reason it is often called Standing mediation.
To simply answer what qigong is, it is a practice created for more energy and less stress. It combines the spiritual benefits of meditation with exercise’s physical advantages, providing mind and body nourishment. There are qi gong exercises, but most of them are slow and controlled.
Benefits of qigong
Qigong meditation works on the entire body and mind and hence there is no part of the body that does not get the benefits of a qigong workout. While there are numerous benefits of this practice, some of them are:
- Boosts balance: The movements of Qigong exercises are slow and controlled, and thus it helps create better awareness of your body. This also helps improve strength and flexibility apart from keeping the mental balance in check.
- Clams the mind: The mind is a whirlwind of thoughts of which the majority are not of any use. When you perform Qigong therapy those thoughts are put to rest and the mind is directed towards something uplifting and calming. Since this type of meditation involves physical movement, it becomes easier for some people. The mental focus and physical movements are combined and thus, it becomes easy to calm the mind and find stillness.
- Decreases stress: School, household chores, work, job, relationships, everything leads to stress in the body and mind. It creates an unpleasant feeling and weakens the body physically and leads to various health issues. By doing qigong exercises, the nervous system calms and activates the parasympathetic nerves. It also helps to cultivate the habit of letting go of negative energies.
- Boosts overall health: Stress is one of the leading factors for various health issues. Qigong helps in reducing stress which in turn aids in boosting immunity. Also, many Qi gong exercises can address specific problems like lung problems, heart ailments, lower back pain, and more.
- Better sleep: People who have difficulty getting quality sleep will love Qigong. It relieves stress and anxiety, calming the mind. That results in greater peace of mind and restful sleep. In addition, when you get good sleep at night, you feel more energetic in the morning.
- Aids digestion: The Qigong workout involves deep breathing, which stimulates the peristaltic movement. It also massages the liver, kidney, and spleen, boosting digestion of food and waste elimination.
- Reduces chronic diseases: Since qigong reduces stress, relaxes the mind, boosts blood flow and overall health, that helps in reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Also, it is found that regular home workouts of qigong can alleviate symptoms of type 2 diseases and prevent stroke.
How to do Qigong exercises
Now that you have a fair idea of what qigong is and its benefits, you can now move on to qigong for beginners exercises. Before you start any exercise, it is important to prepare the mind and body. Stretch the shoulders, arms, fingers, knees and joints to prevent injuries. To be effective and get results, you should do them regularly. Also, try the qigong therapy at a fixed time every day.
Qigong for beginners is recommended twice a week for about 20 minutes, and depending on the purpose, the number of reps and length should be varied accordingly.
Awakening the Qi
It is among the standard qigong exercises for beginners. Stand in a relaxed and calm posture with the toes pointed towards each other. Stretch the hands away so that it hangs lower than the pelvis. Next, move your hands upwards powerlessly and when they reach shoulder height, turn the palms away and slide slowly and gently to the pelvis. While doing it, imagine that your fingers are attached with strings.
MaBu or the Horse stand
This is one of the best exercises for beginners as it trains the body and mind. To do MaBu stand with your feet wide apart, lower the hips to your knee level while keeping the back straight. The knees should be at 90 degree with the leg and shin. The ankles at 90 degrees to the shin.
Turn feet away from each other and stretch your hands to the front. The hands should be at the level of your lower chest and point the index fingers upwards. Stay in this pose for up to 30 seconds. This is practised with other forms like Martial arts.
Lifting the sky
Another qigong beginner exercise that is simple yet effective. Stand with feet slightly apart and hands below the navel and palms towards the floor. Pull the palms towards your head and then turn the palms to the sky. Bring it back towards the navel until they are at the starting position.
This is an important part of this ancient practice. Unlike other types, this can be done standing, lying or sitting. The focus is not only on the mind but also on the energy within the body.
Qigong is a practice that is a combination of physical movements, meditation, energy healing and breathing techniques. It has many proven benefits and hence has gained popularity worldwide. There are many different styles, poses and exercises which serves different purposes. Chose what you need and try out if it works for you. Qigong works best when done regularly but ensure that you don’t overdo and hurt yourself, specially during workouts for beginners, as they have yet to know how the body responds. So, integrate it into your routine and spend some time daily performing Qigong.
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