I believe that everyone should do qigong. Young, old, and everyone in between. It’s the perfect activity and here I offer three all encompassing reasons why:
“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realise this and you will find strength”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.
Whilst social media algorithms and marketing executives might disagree, we do have control and power over our own mind.
We just need to find a way to quell the inner chatter and learn to focus our attention, which is constantly stimulated and distracted by outside influences.
If we really want to find calm, balance, to be present in what is happening right now, we need to practice. It is not something that will come naturally.
Many people find it hard to sit and meditate, and as a result give up or don’t even try in the first place. This is a shame, the world would be a better place if more people meditated.
Here is where the subtle power of qigong works its wonders as a form of moving meditation:
Attention can focus on the external movements of the body when you start as a new qigong practitioner and because the body is moving, you do not feel distracted by the stiffness and aches that can often accompany seated meditation (sitting still can be pretty painful sometimes!).
As your practice develops and you have learnt the basic movement patterns (which are mostly quite simple and repetitive), you can focus your mind on the breath, the muscles, the joints, weight distribution, sinking the weight, movement of energy, and relaxing, relaxing, relaxing… all the while drawing your mind’s attention away from your daily routine, daily problems, stresses, work, your phone… whatever it is that usually keeps your mind occupied throughout the day that you really do need a break from.
“Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.
Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.
The hard and stiff will be broken,
the soft and supple will prevail.”
Dao De Jing, verse 76
Our bodies are designed to move. If they don’t, our health will surely deteriorate and decay, making way for injury, illness, and disease, and we will die before our time. There’s no sugar coating it, movement is that important.
I think that qigong is the perfect activity to base your movement practice on. It is low impact, it is easy to learn, it doesn’t have to take long to practice, and that practice can be anywhere. Personally I’ve practiced everywhere from the Shaolin Temple in China, to a disabled toilet on an industrial estate in Crawley (I don’t allow myself excuses for missing practice!).
Qigong can become your main focus or it can be used to complement other activities and sports, it dovetails very nicely with yoga, will keep you mobile and flexible for anything else that you like to practice, golf, tennis, hiking, football, weight training…. Whatever your activity of choice, qigong will keep your body feeling relaxed, supple, mobile – and it will keep you doing it for longer!
Learn qigong, become a disciple of life – and keep on moving!
“Breathing control gives man strength, vitality, inspiration, and magic powers”
There are many breathing techniques that it is possible to learn when delving deeper into your qigong practice but the simple message is, just breathe.
It doesn’t take much effort from wherever you are, sitting or standing, just straighten yourself up a little and take a few deep breaths in, and out. Everyone instantly feels better – calmer, more energy, more focus. It’s a magic power at our disposal anytime!
The great thing about qigong breath work is that the movements and the breathing are synchronised, helping with coordination, focus, and allowing a deeper breath as we expand and contract our body with the breath.
Most people breathe way too shallow, and up in the chest. There is no wonder that our systems feel like they are constantly under stress – we are constantly activating our flight or fight response with such short, rapid breaths. A regular practice of qigong over time will naturally deepen and slow down your breathing.
So it’s easy to learn, easy to practice, has a profound impact on our mind, our body and our breathing…. What’s not to love about qigong? You can even learn online with our courses and lessons. It doesn’t matter which one you choose from, all the benefits are roughly the same and the courses are accessible for everyone.
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