What is Qigong? Understanding the Chinese Art

Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice that combines many elements, all of which are based on the belief that the world is made up of energy, and that by manipulating and transforming this energy, you can heal yourself and others with just a few simple techniques. It may sound a little hard to believe, but Qigong has existed for over 5,000 years and nothing exists for that long without being beneficial. 

Qigong Beliefs

Qigong is based on the belief that the body is full of energy, all of which flows through a series of interconnecting lines, known as “meridians”. This energy comes in two forms, “Yin” and “Yang”. If there is a balance of these two energies within the body, and if they are allowed to flow freely through the meridians, then you should be happy and healthy. Problems occur when there is an imbalance or a blockage, and the extent of the issue, as well as the location, determines what problem you have.

Qigong Practices

Qigong is not just about one thing. It is a system of practices, all based around a few core beliefs. The goal of all Qigong is to live a happier and healthier life, which is why most of the practicers focus on healing and on keeping the energy within your body balanced and free-flowing.

Some of the beliefs and the practices that make up Qigong include:

  • Meditation: The meditation practiced in Qigong is similar to the meditations that make up the core of Buddhism and Hinduism. The difference is that Qigong meditation requires you to open your energy channels before you meditate, and there is also an emphasis on visualization techniques and on proper breathing. Unlike meditations performed as part of a religious practice or for introspective purposes, there are many different meditations in Qigong, all with their own benefits.
  • Exercise: In Qigong, exercise is as common as meditation. Qigong exercises are slow moving, more like active meditations than anything else. The purpose is not to have you sweating or breathing heavily, and these exercises can therefore be performed regardless of your strength or fitness.
  • Diet: What you eat is very important when it comes to keeping your energies balanced. That’s because a lot of the energy in your body right now gets there through the food you eat. Qigong labels all ingredients as either “Yin”, “Yang” or “Neutral”, and you are tasked with eating a balance of these. The same applies to liquids, and fasting is also an important aspect of your diet.
  • Healing Techniques: You may already be familiar with some of the techniques used in Qigong, as they have become popular in their own right, even down here in Australia. One such technique focuses on applying pressure to energy points in order to remove blockages and it is very similar to the practice of acupuncture. You don’t need to stick needles in your body to get this benefit though and you don’t need to go to an expert, licensed practitioner either. Qigong schools teach simple acupressure techniques like Qi-ssage, which can give you the same benefits, but without the risk or the difficulty associated with acupuncture.