What is Qigong?
We have some really special qigong events on the horizon! You also may have noticed Thrive hosting more consistent offerings in our classroom and around the Southeast. Qigong is the perfect antidote for the busy lives, chaotic and sensational news cycles, and constant overstimulation that we face today. Yet qigong is still somewhat new in the West and many people that could get profound benefit from this ancient art still have no idea what it is. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when nobody knew what yoga was…! While the best way to understand qigong is to participate in a class, I will try and give you a sense here of what you could expect.
Let’s start with the word. Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) translates into something like ‘life-force’ or ‘energy’. Gong means ‘cultivation’ or ‘skill’. So Qigong means something like: “to cultivate the life-force”. Well, that’s all well and good, but to cultivate it for what?!? There are qigong exercises for the cultivation of lots of different things, but in the classes we offer, the intent is to cultivate abundant health and vitality at every level of our being. In fact, as a health practice, qigong is so effective it is one of the ‘five branches’ of Chinese medicine.
So, what does the practice look like? What can I expect in class? Great questions! Imagine the balance and grace of Tai Chi, without all the complex choreography! Movements in qigong may be seated, or even lying down, but most often we are standing. We use relaxed, flowing movement along with some gentle shifting of weight from leg to leg in order to create simple, repetitive movement patterns that are easy to practice. We often coordinate the breath with our movement (“inhale as the arms float up to the shoulders, exhale as they drop back down to the waist”). We may also use visualizations to add another layer of significance and aid in our intended focus. All this together makes qigong a very powerful moving meditation that has profound benefit for body, mind and spirit!
Most people leaving a qigong class report feeling calm, grounded, and yet invigorated. The benefits of qigong go much deeper than that. But it’s fun to practice a healing art when practicing is so, well, fun! Our classes emphasize having fun. After all, a smile itself is medicine!
In our public offerings we try to make sure we have something for everyone. If you are brand new to the practice, we assure you, this will be extremely approachable and easy settle into. If you already have some experience with qigong, rest assured you will add new layers to your practice that will only improve what you’re already doing. Look forward to seeing you at our next event!!