Qi Gong is a discipline that requires great control of breathing and concentration: here are the benefits and how to practice it
Qi Gong is a very interesting name for a particular discipline: originally from China, it provides a series of positions related to the control of breathing and mind. Qi Gong arises from the fusion of philosophy and traditional medicine, as well as obviously from Chinese martial arts. But let's start from the basics: the term Qi Gong, meaning both air and spirit and energy, expresses the concept of "vital breath" and therefore means technique of the spirit. The history of this discipline is very ancient and curious and has its roots in a very distant past, more than 4,000 years ago. Over the years, the Qi Gong discipline has been declined in several forms with the aim of satisfying different needs depending on the individual. We want to remember that Qi Gong is not a therapy and that its practice, even if validated by known beneficial effects, is not scientifically approved for the treatment of particular disorders or pathologies.
In any case, it is possible to say with total tranquility that by carrying out this activity in a constant and regular manner, various advantages can be obtained, namely: greater relaxation, peace of mind, serenity and a strong general balance. On the other hand, we will talk about the positive effects on the body later. Although Qi Gong has become very trendy in recent times, until the first half of the twentieth century it was limited to a small slice of the population, although it was a widespread practice in some universities, hospitals and rehabilitation centers. In the following years, due to the increase in accessibility to this special discipline and, consequently to the questioning of the skills and professionalism of some masters, the Chinese Organization of Qi Gong was established. In fact, it is concerned with regulating this practice by establishing strict requirements and certifications which masters must have in order to teach.
- Qi Gong: why to practice it and its benefits
- How is Qi Gong practiced and how many types are there?
- How does a Qi Gong lesson take place?
- Qi Gong: are there any contraindications?
Qi Gong: why to practice it and its benefits
Have you ever wondered why to practice Qi Gong? Surely, among the first reasons we find the fact of being able to learn to better manage the breath and control one's body. In any case, Qi Gong has a strong therapeutic effect and allows you to reach a high level of general well-being: the philosophy on which the discipline is based, in fact, states that this inner peace can be achieved through exercise, concentration and meditation. This means learning to listen to your body and mind, putting them in close contact. Therefore, Qi Gong is practiced because it can bring a series of benefits from a psychophysical point of view.
First of all, it favors the unblocking of all the energy centers present in the body and mind, contributing to a better flow of vigor. This helps a lot to reduce the stress and anxieties typical of the daily routine, the usual ones due to work worries. The benefits of this Chinese technique can also be found in an improvement in the quality of sleep, as well as a reduction in blood pressure, cardiovascular and pulmonary systems and the muscular system. In short, a real cure-all in all respects! From a physical point of view, Qi Gong also has the task of improving all internal organs.
In fact, not surprisingly, there are specific techniques that support the liver, heart, lungs and it is precisely for this reason that in China the discipline is exploited to prevent any disorders or diseases. In addition, if you suffer from panic attacks or anxiety, anger, constant thoughts, Qi Gong can be a very valuable help: it will help restore mental balance and serenity, through an exercise of profound meditation. It is essential to perceive the energy that passes through your body and raise your spirit in order to start feeling better. In practical terms, therefore, we can say that Qi Gong, a functional Chinese practice, is able to:
- Improve general health and concentration;
- Reduce anxiety and stress;
- Improve sleep quality and preserve internal organs;
- Improve lymphatic and blood circulation;
- Balance emotional states.
How is Qi Gong practiced and how many types are there?
At this point, you may be wondering how Qi Gong is practiced. Until now, in fact, we have learned the benefits and therapeutic effects of this ancient Chinese technique, but now it is important to find out how to put it into practice in order to obtain a clear improvement in one's quality of life. It is essential to be able to coordinate mind, body and breath and it is possible to do this only through three important criteria: posture, awareness and breathing. This practice is conducted through a series of exercises and positions, as well as fixed patterns that we will see shortly by identifying the main types of Qi Gong. The first we choose to mention is external Qi Gong, which is the one associated with Chinese martial arts. The main goal is precisely to strengthen the body through a series of targeted and gradual exercises called "Ying Gong".
Those who practice this type of Qi Gong undergo a series of remarkable strength tests, which then require a very delicate massage with specific oils. In second place we find the internal Qi Gong, whose main purpose is precisely the nourishment of one's energy and the liberation of all energy centers. It can be both static and dynamic and therefore with a healthy or martial address. It is obvious that extreme and constant work of concentration is necessary for both cases. Are you curious to know the other types of Qi Gong and their characteristics? Very well, let's continue on this journey to discover this ancient discipline with still too mysterious roots. We therefore find ourselves talking about static Qi Gong: it is characterized by various declinations of the discipline itself, whose directional line is meditation, obviously.
Then, there are two meditation techniques that characterize static Qi Gong: Buddhist breathing, also called post-natal, for which the abdomen expands during the inhalation act while it retracts during the exhalation; and the Taoist one. The second, inverse, provides for the abdomen to retract and contract during inhalation and expand during exhalation. Curious, right? Obviously, these two breathing techniques require a high level of concentration and being able to complete the goal is not easy without persistence and hard work. The last type of Qi Gong is the dynamic one, obviously and par excellence. It, as the name implies, provides a greater number of exercises and positions, very valid. The best known, especially for those who are passionate about the discipline, are the "Ba Duan Jin", "Ba Da Shi", "Wu Xing" and many others. They are all exercises that are not too complex, but nevertheless challenging, which aim at relaxing and contracting the muscles in association with meditation.
How does a Qi Gong lesson take place?
If you have read the article so far, you may be wondering how a typical Qi Gong lesson can be carried out. We have learned that this ancient discipline is based on some fundamental pillars, such as exercise, concentration and meditation, but now it is good to know how long it takes to learn to practice correctly. First of all, the presence of a teacher is essential for those who approach this technique: a qualified person who believes in what he chooses to transmit, who has studied and who can demonstrate his skills through a series of certifications. Even if Qi Gong is not considered a real therapy to date, it is always good to contact an expert in the sector, avoiding those who improvise a professional.
In any case, after a good level of practice and awareness has been achieved, it is possible to practice in complete autonomy. The classic lesson begins with a series of breathing exercises, then moving on to a series of static and subsequently dynamic positions, all associated with the control of breathing. Remember, breath management is the foundation of Qi Gong along with meditation. Generally, the lesson also includes moments of intense meditation and can be held in any place and at any time: it is still advisable to practice outdoors early in the morning to get more benefits. This happens with many disciplines, including yoga.
Qi Gong: are there any contraindications?
Although Qi Gong has so far proved to be a practice with significant beneficial effects, there are also some contraindications to keep in mind. If you are a beginner with Qi Gong, it is advisable to avoid breathing techniques that are too high and it is precisely to learn how to manage this aspect that the presence of a teacher is essential. In addition, some particular exercises or techniques should be avoided by women who are pregnant in order not to cause any damage to the creature they carry in their womb. Finally, a certain level of precaution must be taken by subjects suffering from particular pathologies or various ailments and it is good to ask for a doctor's consultation before starting to practice.