Qigong Breathing - The Practice of Life Energy
So, what the ……. is Qigong Breathing? Are you one of the many who has seen it written or performed but never known what it was? Do you even know how to pronounce it? Or are you one of some who know how to pronounce it and think you know enough about it? Well, if you belong to any of the above groups, you might want to read on to discover just how much you really know or don’t know about Qigong and didn’t even know it.
Firstly, Qigong is pronounced 'Chi Koong' and some people also spell it Chi Kung or Qi Gong (or even Qui Gong, which is wrong). It is an ancient form of Chinese remedial exercise which is preventative, healing, relaxing, meditative, gentle and accessible to all ages and sexes. Qigong is part of traditional Chinese medicine and is an excellent self-healing treatment. It doesn’t cost anything to perform, requires no equipment, takes up little space, and most of its many styles may be learned in no time.
There are many definitions of Qigong but they all agree that: any practice involving the mind, body and breathing which can reinforce and balance life energy could be defined as Qigong. Such as, for instance, relaxation, yoga, meditation, Reiki, chanting or breathing techniques. To the Chinese these are all forms of Qigong. This can be said because the regular practice of any of the above has similar results. Yet, some styles of Qigong, rarely or never heard of in the west, are known to bring extraordinary results.
The word “Qi” (chi) means life force (energy). “Gong” means ability, or skill. Combined the words translate to mean practicing life force (energy), or, rebalancing it. And because "Qi" also means breath, or breathing, it's often translated as Qigong Breathing.
Now, you may say, why should I do Qigong? Or what is this new practice - Qigong? Amazingly enough it is not new at all, in fact it is thousands of years old. And you do it without even knowing it. Animals do it too!!!!!! Many Qigong styles are taken or learned directly from animals (you can find more on that subject in other sections of our website).
So, every time we relax our mind and body, rest, sleep, take a stroll through nature, when we are without a care in the world, or responding to emotion as nature intended, that is crying from grief, shouting in anger or laughing from joy, we are doing Qigong. When we injure ourselves and yell ‘ouch’, or pray, or sing for joy, dance in high spirits, we are doing some sort of rebalancing, in other words practicing Qigong.
But when we deliberately practice some advanced forms of Qigong we can know for sure that we are rebalancing our energies in a systematic way. And if we practice regularly and persistently, day after day, we will get results, great results and more. The regular practice of Qigong, not only maintains health, but its good effects flow on into whatever we do, increasing productivity and levels of accomplishment.
There are countless styles of Qigong and it would take many life times to learn them all. Fortunately, we need learn only one to achieve everything we need.
Most human beings are basically influenced by their senses, such as hearing, sight, taste, touch and smell and it is to these factors we continually react and are strongly influenced by. Unless we undertake to elevate our levels of consciousness with Qigong.
In the west we put a lot of emphasis on the brain, the logical mind and its ability to analyse and reach a conclusion. But intellectual reasoning is far from wisdom and higher consciousness.
Qigong has the ability to help us transcend the senses and reach a higher state of consciousness or, in other words, develop higher levels of energy where mind (or the energy of thought) can control matter (i.e. change their structure, move them around etc.). There are Qigong masters, people who have practiced Qigong all their lives, who are renowned for their wisdom and freedom from material desires. Their lives, the way they live and act, are a silent witness to the freeing power of Qigong.
Qigong breathing has a long history. Some say it is a million years old, in fact there are records of it which go back to when writing was invented. Yet, it has never been so popular as it is now in China. Literally millions of Chinese practice some form of Qigong every day of their life and the official word is, Qigong has saved the government billions of dollars. We are confident that within 10-20 years, Qigong will be known world wide as the medicine of the new millennium.
Major reasons for Qigong’s expansion in recent times are as follows:
There are many different styles or forms of Qigong. There are at least five major sources of it. The Buddhists have about 70,000 styles, the Taoists about 30,000, then there are thousands of Kung Fu and Chinese medicine styles and hundreds of Confucian styles. So you can see it is not short on forms.
The beauty of Qigong is that there are styles to suit all ages, and all states of health, even people who are too weak to get out of bed or sit up. As long as a person can follow directions mentally they can do Qigong and get results. What is important to understand is that Qigong can bring great and unexpected results, but not always quickly. Qigong usually works slowly and steadily despite the fact that many people can have major results amazingly quickly.
As I said earlier, many styles may be learned in only three to four sessions, but there are also some styles so complex a teacher is required to be present every day, for years, to check the student does not go wrong. The important thing is to do Qigong regularly, that is every day. Not once or twice a week but every day. And results will come. You can do the same form for the rest of your life.
Qigong does not look much from the outside but the effects are powerful on the inside. And continuous. It not only brings health but maintains health. It works on every level: physical, emotional, mental, psychical and spiritual. To do Qigong regularly is the best health insurance you will ever get. Compared to what it costs to stay in a health fund Qigong is cost effective to learn and to practice. Once learned it won’t cost you a cent to do it all your life.
Most importantly, Qigong improves your overall constitution. It breaks the vicious cycle of stress, it increases your energy levels, it gives you hope, strengthens your mind and keeps you mobile. And, most important of all, keeps you in balance on every level. In China they openly say that Qigong has been known to cure, not just alleviate, a large range of diseases. These include some forms of arthritis, liver and heart disease, deafness, poor eye sight, hormonal imbalances, drug addiction, asthma and so on. Even cancers. There’s a stack of evidence in China supporting these claims.
The practice of Qigong is especially valuable for older people - it helps prolong quality life, maintains mobility, memory and clarity of thought. It can prevent all kinds of diseases, it is calming and brings contentment. Chinese literature claims that it not only can prevent but it can even treat stroke victims.
Of course, the younger you start Qigong the better. Many famous Qigong masters started Qigong when they were only four or five years old. Today, in their forties, fifties all up to nineties or more, they are renown in China for their remarkable healing abilities.
Qigong helps people take charge of their life, take control of their health and their body, become less dependent on doctors, even give them up.
People practicing Qigong breathing have noticeably become more loving, more compassionate and less critical of others. Not only that, but in many cases, especially those who stick with the practice for many years, their work skills improve, they begin to achieve their ambitions. Unpublished authors get published, artists win critical acclaim and so on. People have been known to develop psychic powers such as clairvoyance, telepathy, the ability to see auras, even to levitate. These are the side effects of years of practice and the accumulation of higher levels of energy.
No one can buy the results of Qigong. They come only with steady and persistent practice. And the rewards of regular practice are the same no matter if you are rich or poor, black or white, young or old. But a warning comes with Qigong also - good results will not come to those people who are nasty and do bad things, such as lie, steal or mistreat others. Do both good deeds and Qigong, and unbelievable results will be your reward.
When your writer first heard about Qigong breathing, in Beijing, he was skeptical. But, since then, having experienced good results himself, received feedback from his patients, students and his entire family he has no doubts whatsoever about Qigong today. Many Chinese took up Qigong as a last resort when both Chinese and western medicine failed to cure or slow down their terminal illness. Not only did some of them recover completely, they also felt younger and happier than before. I have met many of these people and heard their stories.
The authenticity of Qigong is now backed by the considerable amount of research done in China. It is also officially recognised as a genuine healing therapy by the government of China. And its use is encouraged in the medical system generally. There are even hospitals across China where Qigong is the major therapy.
All through the eighties and nineties there were some great masters of Qigong who used to get the same sort of reception the Beatles used to get in the sixties. Wherever they would be instructing or talking, people would come in their thousands, some just to be within range of their remarkable energy.
To regain your health, doing Qigong, is only the beginning of what its practice can do and no one is ever too old to start.
Qigong is for those who:
Wish to be in control of their own health and wellbeing.
It is also extremely good for the weak or older and for those without material or spiritual comforts.
Qigong can transform not only the ailing body, but calm the troubled mind and spirit.
The identifying characteristic of an advanced practitioner of Qigong is non attachment to material things, a steady peaceful mind and a compassionate nature.
Qigong is not for those who:
- like to depend on doctors and hospitals
- don’t want to live longer
- like to look older
- like stress and anger
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