Qigong is a powerful form of exercise that combines the elements of meditation and physical elements, bringing about a system that helps in healing, energizing and strengthening the body. It dates back to thousands of years ago, and is theorized to have been created during ceremonial dancing by the tribes in various parts of China. It might have been created initially to strengthen the dancers both physically and mentally, as well as to ward off diseases. The art has progressed and been refined through the years, resulting in a modern distinction of three types of exercises: for martial purposes, for medical purposes and for meditative purposes. Past records state that many emperors successfully used Qigong exercises for longevity, and that army generals used this exercise to train and strengthen their army for battles during wars. Modern day medical researchers are also looking at how Qigong can heal organ systems and the body in many different ways. These exercises are meant to strengthen and balance the flow of Qi energy through your body, enlighten your Shen and preserve your Jing. The important concepts are the Yin and the Yang; Yin is being it, while Yang is doing it. Regularly practicing Qigong comes with many benefits:
1. Body Strength
Qigong works differently when compared to “western” practices when it comes to strengthening muscles. Exercises like aerobics and cardio are designed to build strength by contracting the muscles; this contraction is where the feeling of power comes from. Qigong exercises on the other hand aim to loosen muscles, and promote a feeling of relaxed power that come from unstrained and loose muscles. It believes that contracted muscles do not let the Qi flow through your body. The exercises in Qigong also strengthen the organ systems inside through certain movements, and even has specific exercises to help specific parts of the body (e.g. Liver recovering from hepatitis).
2. Better Cardio-Pulmonary Function
The deep and relaxed breathing exercises in Qigong help the oxygen to permeate deeper into our body tissues. This way, the heart and the lungs are strengthened immensely, and the results can sometimes be better than those who do aerobic and strenuous exercise that is traditionally thought to do the same.
3. Prevent Injury
Injury typically occurs when our muscles, ligaments or joints are overstretched during some sort of exercise regime. Qigong exercises teach you how to move correctly without straining yourself, how to move joints without locking them and how to properly relax during practice. Moreover, Qigong also helps to improve flexibility of your body, increase energy levels, and improve fluid circulation throughout the body. Finally, the exercises also teach you how to relax your body during a fall so that the intensity of the injury can be reduced.
4. Emotional Balance
Stress comes very often from the emotions that we are feeling, and Qigong exercises can help balance the emotions in our mind. According to Qigong, physical exercise can help with emotions like anger. The process of Qigong can help release strongly repressed emotions and can also help with suddenly over-expressed emotions. There are specific movements designed for different ailments like grief, frustration, irritability and other combinations of the negative emotions in our body.
5. Nerve Strength
One of the main ways that Qi flows through our body is through our nerves. When we initially start working on the Qigong exercises, we use the nervous system to clear out blockages and get in touch with our body. As we continue, our nerves become much more strengthened. It is believed that the qi is an intermediary between the mind and the body, and a person who is at an advanced level of development of qi can feel the nerves independently from the body.
6. Faster Healing
In the case of an injury, one can use the gentle and low-impact movement of the Qigong exercises to help the body heal faster. Firstly, the uninjured parts of the body can still be moved, and this helps to guide the fluid circulation of the body as well as the flow of energy throughout the body. This also helps the lymph system to be energized and work faster. Secondly, Qigong helps the mind and the body to relax. This relaxation stops the unnecessary blockage of energy flow that can be caused when the body is tense. Relaxing the uninjured parts can help the injured part heal faster. It is important to remember that you must not strain the injured part of the body under any circumstances. The other parts of the body can do the movements, but not the injured part.