Are you looking to gain health benefits through the practice of a simple style of exercise?

Would you like an easy method that is renowned throughout the world to improve your immune system, extend your lifespan, increase your energy, relax your body and calm your mind?

Qi Gong (氣功), pronounced “Chee-Gung”, is an age-old tradition to a healthier being, both mentally and physically. The ability to improve or even maintain health by just doing a few minutes a day is some of the advantages offered from this profound art. Originating in China, Qi Gong dates back more than 2,500 years ago.

Created from two different characters in Chinese, the first part consisting of “Qi”, translates into the breath. Where as, “Gong” is expressed as meaning, work or cultivation. So, the literal translation into English of Qi Gong is “breath work.” This interpretation is extremely accurate when a person is learning the beginning stages of how to process the coordinated movements with the human breath. This body connection is developed through movement, visualization and breathing all combined together in an easy rhythmic motion.

When applying the mentioned attributes together, many positive effects happen within the human body. Movement helps with opening of the joints in the body, allowing a person to move freely. Many difficulties can happen when stiffness in the joints sets in such as a lack of flexibility, range of motion, and loss of being active. With most movements in a Qi Gong set, stretching and opening of the joints is a foundational skill.

This skill helps to create unification within the muscles and related joints. Using subtle lengthening and contracting of muscles through a prearranged set of movements ensures that all muscles are balanced and equally strong. Typically, when we do not have a good range of motion, joints and/ or muscles can freeze, prohibiting normal activity. However, with Qi Gong this harmony in the muscle tone contributes free movement for the whole body giving a solid dose of physical encouragement for the body to continue to be lively.

Brain stimulation through the use of visualization with Qi Gong helps maintain the brain’s cognitive functions. This is done through the concentration of the prearranged movements creating a meditative state of being. While in this relaxed but still aware consciousness, the brain is able to develop more “white matter”, as well as, “gray matter” in the brain.

White matter in the brain helps send information throughout the regions of the brain, while the gray matter processes the created data. This development of overall brain matter increases a person’s ability to better deal with everyday situations, with a sharper and healthier mind helping to fight the aging process of cognitive function within the brain.

Using the breathing techniques to bring the movements and focus in for the harmonizing of the total body is the ultimate goal. When this is achieved, the optimal gains of Qi Gong can be felt and have a lasting effect. After movements are learned and can be done without hesitation, the typical breathing pattern is to inhale as the limbs or hands come towards the body’s centerline.

While exhaling should be in sync as the limbs move away from the centerline. This breathing should not be forced but done naturally as if one is walking freely. When properly executed, a person should remain well oxygenated, contributing to the body feeling refreshed and clear of mind.

Regardless of the internal complexities, which occur during the practice of Qi Gong, the movements are easy and economical. A person does not need to directly focus on what is happening internally. The point is to begin the steps and become familiar with the process of movement through the use of the breathing techniques.

Just doing the actions according to the routine will allow the body to regain balance naturally, improving a person’s health. The mention set here is from the I Liq Chuan system, from Master Sam F.S. Chin and is based from the Yi Jin Jing (八段錦氣功) set of Qi Gong. This is a great beginner set because it can be done within 3 to 4 minutes using a small amount of space. Also, the movements are very simple and are easy to follow no matter what your experience is. In good health, enjoy!!

Jose Tomas

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