This form of Qigong is an easy to learn symmetric routine which was developed by Buddhist monks for health maintenance and to restore circulation during long periods of meditation. It can be performed sitting, standing or without any physical movement at all, so anyone can do it. I was one of those monks. The form’s antecedents are found in the Ba Duan Jin, the Yi Jin Jing, Heaven and Earth QiGong, and Falun Dafa. For variety we sometimes include Healing Sounds, the Animal Frolics and other Qigong forms.
Qigong benefits balance, body awareness, flexibility, and Qi flow. All of these contribute to improved cognition, emotional stability, better sleep, better digestion, faster healing and injury prevention.
What is Qigong (pronounced chee kung)? A movement meditation that works with Qi to benefit health. Roger Jahnke, who has taught and written extensively about Qigong (and I highly recommend his books) says it means “vitality enhancement practice.”
Qigong originated in China thousands of years ago, and refers to various movements, self massage and meditation practices that move or strengthen Qi. There are thousands of styles and patterns found all over the world today. In ancient times families, monks, physicians and soldiers developed their own styles and we have some of those informing our practice today.
What is Qi? Qi is what animates us, it is the energy that produces function, it is the basis of all action, reaction and interaction. So although Qi is one thing, there are hundreds of different labels referring to it in each of its different capacities. Analogies for Qi include “energy” and “life force.” There is no direct translation and what could be more elegant than to leave the word as is and experience the meaning for yourself?
Although Qigong routines often appear simple they are carefully designed through theory and practice to stimulate and free the flow of Qi thru the channels and collaterals; to strengthen and replenish Qi. The movements and activities are all employed with clarity and attention, with deliberation and mindfulness but that does not imply rigid - stern - discipline. The beauty of working with Qi is that it has a colossal grace, an immeasurable connection to everything else, it requires a humility and respect and openness to be affected intentionally. We learn to lead and to guide Qi, it can't be forced. We learn to let go and allow rather than control and demand.
This particular form of Qigong is designed to flow from one move to the next so it’s easy to remember and quick to complete. It can take just fifteen minutes a day. Anyone can benefit from it. Athletes and yogis find that body awareness improves and offers insight into present and past conditions. Aged and infirm individuals notice a rapid gain in well being whether physically or mentally performing the routine. The more often it is performed the better the results but doing it only as often as needed to not forget the routine is still beneficial too. It is not physically challenging or competitive, it is a personal journey that enhances the experience of living.
There’s no black belt in Qigong, the challenge is in showing up to practice every day and learning about yourself and how to live better. There’s no special gear required though loose comfortable clothing works best. You can wear shoes or not, it’s up to you. We will have yoga mats to protect the gym floor and chairs to lean on for balance.