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©2011 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)
Qi Gong (pronounced chee kung) is a set of gentle exercise movements that move chi—or the life force energy—through the body to increase your physical energy, release blocked energy that leads to illness, and enhance you vitality and outlook on life.
QiGong is an ancient set of exercises, which include many different styles that were passed down from generations of families throughout Oriental history. These qigong healing exercises build and balance the life energy—chi—and focus on concentration, deep breathing and movement. Once learned, it is simply a meditation in motion for body, mind and soul.
I recently learned qi gong and was astounded by the immediate results. For several years I have learned about nutrition, herbs, supplements, emotional inner work and various forms of exercise for different health issues. Each one had a tremendous healing effect and carried me forward to the next level of the healing process. But then I hit a stagnation period and could not advance any further. I knew this stagnation was from blocked energy and to resolve it I would have to learn more about the life force that is in all of us to move to a higher level of healing.
Energy, the life force, chi, the spirit that moves through all things, god, goddess—whatever name you are comfortable with, it is the very essence of all beings. Energy is the vital life force that runs through everything. It is what spins the chakra wheels in your spine. But when it gets blocked, it can’t flow through those areas of your body that hold pain or disease. When these blockages are released, the energy flows again, giving you increased physical energy and mental concentration. For example, picture a stagnant brown, dark green pond of water. Fresh water can’t flow in, and there is no movement downstream. That is what blocked energy in your body feels like. Now picture clear moving water flowing into the pond and washing it downstream until all is clear. This is what movement of chi feels like.
Qigong is simplicity at its best. You don’t need special clothing, props, exercise equipment or a special workout setting to learn qi gong. The exercises are a low impact, gentle and safe stretching routine as is, or a great warm up for more intense workouts and outdoor activities.
I started with the Qi Gong DVDs as well as a book, Qi Gong for Beginners by Stanley D. Wilson, and I learned 8 simple basic movements that only take around 12 minutes to perform. The exercises are so effective, you will notice a dramatic way in how you feel within the first few minutes. I know it’s hard for many of us to fit an exercise routine in our hectic schedules, but even a basic qigong routine of 8 movements can be done before heading out the door. And the burst of energy will start your day off on a high note. As you improve, you can add longer routines from QiGong DVDs for greater health benefits.
When I first started qi gong, I did it for a week and loved how I felt. Then my life got busy and like I did with other exercise routines, let it slip out of my schedule. I felt the difference the first day, and the next, and the next. For a week the stagnation crept back in a little more, until I realized exactly how much I was benefiting from qigong. So I started back and felt a huge relief in my body as I was able to move again. Each day there was improvement. Each day I had more strength and retained the strength from the day before. At that point, I vowed to never skip a day of qigong. It is the most important thing I do for myself every morning. Even if I’m tired and don’t want to, after the first 2 movements, the energy courses through my body and I am ready to tackle the day.
What are the Health Benefits of Qi Gong?
- Strengthens the entire body
- Improves posture, spinal alignment and flexibility
- Relieves tension and pain from muscles
- Promotes deeper breathing
- Boosts energy
- Boosts your stamina
- Stimulates the immune system—a healthier immune system prevents and heals illness
- Relaxes your body to reduce stress
- Returns the body to the right size and shape
- Improves sexual arousal and functioning
- Increases cardiovascular fitness
- Digestion is improved
- Increases longevity while maintaining youthfulness
- Improves a positive outlook on your life
- Emotional well-being develops
- Concentration improves
- Self-awareness is enhanced
- Enhances a more spiritually based life
Qi gong improves physical, emotional and spiritual well-being your life. It restores a strong and balanced energy flow through your entire body. As with any new exercise routine, check with your health care professional if you are rehabilitating from an injury or experience physical pain before starting qigong.
Click on the links for Qi Gong books and DVDs to begin this amazing health promoting routine to your daily life.