Balance Energy with Qigong
Purpose: Qigong (pronounced chee gong) may help to balance the internal energy (Qi) of the body. When Qi is balanced, the mind and body may be calm and the function of each organ may be improved.
Qigong is a 4,000 year-old practice that aims to balance the body's internal energy (Qi) through the combination of body movements, breathing, and meditation. Internal energy is said to be balanced when it is neither too strong (Yang) or too weak (Yin), but at the optimal level. At the root of Qigong is essence (Jing), internal energy (Qi), and spirit (Shen). Jing is the essence of who a person is from birth. Jing also includes the essence from the food and air which are absorbed into the body. Qigong theory implies that people are born with a certain amount of Jing, and since more Jing cannot be created, it can only be improved through training. Shen is a person’s spirit and has the ability to guide the movement of Qi. Once Jing is improved, Shen will become more regulated and capable of guiding Qi.
In Qigong theory, Qi circulates throughout the body in a system similar to that of the circulatory system and nervous system. Qi supplies energy to every cell in the body. Just as a machine needs to receive the proper current of electricity to function optimally, each cell needs to receive the proper level of Qi, otherwise it will degenerate more quickly than normal. Thus, Qi can be neither too Yang nor too Yin, but must be balanced.
There are twelve major Qi channels that are connected to the organs and extremities, eight Qi vessels that store Qi like a reservoir, and millions of tiny Qi channels that carry Qi from the twelve major channels to every cell of the body. The Qi channels can experience blockages and the reservoirs can become depleted. Qi channels can become blocked by improper food, poor air quality and degeneration of body tissues. Qigong aims to regulate the flow of Qi through the channels and replenish the Qi vessels so that each organ will receive an appropriate amount of Qi and function optimally. A blockage is removed by increasing the level of Qi in order to widen a Qi channel and push the blockage out of the way. Since Yin and Yang need to be in balance, Qi levels should only be increased slightly above optimal levels so that the Qi channels are widened slowly as the blockage is removed.
Circulation of Qi is heavily influenced by thoughts and emotions. Qigong training aims to improve the Yi (wisdom mind) so that it can be in control of the Xin (emotional mind). Yi is a mind that is calm, peaceful, clear and able to make correct judgements while Xin is a mind that is excited, energized, confused and expresses desires and emotions. When Yi is in control, Qi will circulate more freely and Shen will be clear and strong. Consuming food that is impure will increase Xin and upset the emotional balance, while consuming food that is pure will help the body and mind to remain calm, clear, and function properly. To regulate Xin, a person first investigates the root of their emotional disturbances, then uses meditation to strengthen Yi.
Meditation can foster peace of mind, which will help to regulate Qi and bring calmness to the Shen. Meditation begins with relaxing the mind in order for the body to relax and the lungs to loosen, which will in turn slow the breath and heartbeat. Breathing should be done with the muscles of the diaphragm and abdomen so that the abdomen expands during inhalation and contracts during exhalation. Each breath should move in and out through the nostrils and be deep, calming, continuous, slow, soft, and uniform. Once a deep relaxed stage is reached, the opportunity will arise to sense the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and spleen. The other organs can be sensed indirectly through noticing the sensations of the muscles surrounding them. Over time, an ability will be developed to sense the level of Qi in each organ so that Qi can be guided towards or away from the organ to create an optimal balance. The relaxed state that is generated by meditation will also relax muscular tension and widen constricted Qi channels. In Qigong, it is said “use your Yi to lead your Qi.”
Practice: This practice may help someone to balance energy with Qigong.
Discover Qigong Methods to Practice
There are books, Youtube videos, teachers, and local classes that can provide instructions for practicing Qigong correctly:
The Root of Chinese Qigong by Jwing-Ming Yang, PhD
A Qigong teacher can explain, demonstrate, and teach the correct use of body movements, breathing, and meditation. Furthermore, a teacher may be able to provide a list of Qigong methods that will address specific health needs. Online Qigong teachers include:
Local classes can be found through an internet search or by asking people for recommendations.
Practice Qigong Correctly
The following are YouTube videos by Qigong teachers demonstrating Qigong methods:
An introductory Qigong playlist by Damo Mitchell:
An introductory Qigong playlist by Holden QiGong:
An introductory Qigong class by Holden QiGong:
An introductory Qigong playlist by Qigong with Kseny:
An introductory Qigong morning routine playlist by Qigong with Kseny:
An introductory Qigong evening routine playlist by Qigong with Kseny:
Resources: Below are additional resources that may help someone to practice Qigong.
The Root of Chinese Qigong by Jwing-Ming Yang, PhD
The website of Damo Mitchell, containing paid courses and free Qigong instructional material
The website of Holden Qigong, containing paid courses and free Qigong instructional material
The website of Kseny Gray, containing paid courses and free Qigong instructional material
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