Qi (pronounced “chee”) means “life energy”. Gong (pronounced “kung”) loosely means “cultivation”.
Qigong is a Chinese art of “life energy cultivation”, or moving meditation, that incorporates breathing and movement to trigger a healing response by putting your body into parasympathetic (rest and healing) mode.
No need for a mat, these are not floor exercises. You can stand or bring a chair to sit. Feel free to try the tapping and shaking portion of the class in the morning to wake up, or the last part in the evening to help you sleep.
Focus on using your breath along with exercises that gently stretch, bend, twist, and turn your body to help increase energy levels, relieve stress, lower your blood pressure, detoxify, and allow your body to heal.
Each exercise works on different and very specific organ systems, channels and meridians in the body that correspond with Chinese medicine and acupressure points. There are over 45 in one video!
This online class includes tapping and shaking exercises (called “qi-scattering”) to stimulate energy and the lymphatic system and circulate more oxygen to the tissues, plus a number of other benefits.
While doing the exercises, you want to exaggerate your breath. Breathe in through your nose as if you are smelling the fresh air, and then breathe out of your mouth with a soft “shhhh” sound as if you are telling a child to quiet down.
You may hear the instructor breathing louder, but that is only to guide you; you want to keep your own breath fairly soft, with a few exceptions as noted.
It is important to remember to breathe, and it can be helpful to use your imagination to visualize what each exercise is called.
For example, “show your heart to the sky” or “holding the pearl”… you will find you can move further when the focus is taken off the “stretch”.
As you learn each exercise, try to do some outdoors.
Go at your own pace; easy to modify to your intensity level.
More about qigong at the Qigong Institute.
Wear comfortable clothing and drink plenty of water.
Instructor: Marie Davino
Further reading: A complete guide to Chi Gung by Daniel Reid
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