Place your hands at the sides of your body. Bend you knees slightly while relaxing your hips. Open your diaphragm by slowing inhaling and raising your arms towards the ceiling. Exhale in the same motion as you move your arms back towards the ground. Congratulations, you have just completed the first step in a Qigong class.
Qigong (chi-kung) is an ancient Chinese health care system offered at Tai Chi and Kung Fu schools. It’s very approachable to everyone, especially to senior citizens. It’s an integration of physical postures, breathing techniques, and focused intentions.
According to the World Tai Chi Qigong Federation, the name Qigong is translated from the Chinese to mean “energy cultivation” or “working with the life energy.” Its techniques are designed to improve and enhance the body’s Qi, which is the fundamental life energy responsible for health and vitality.
There are thousands of variations and approaches to Qigong, making it fairly difficult for beginners to fully comprehend what it actually is. It should be taken as a way of approaching life rather than a physically demanding exercise, such as running or weight lifting.
The primary motivation is the source for healing, strength, balance, emotional relaxation, and stress management. It has proven to improve physical functioning, limits fall risk, alleviates symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as lowers blood pressure in older adults.
Similar to that of other activities you engage in for the first time, Qigong is a learning experience and a lot of learning happens through practice. Monthly events and classes are held frequently, so checking your local listings would be the best option for getting involved.
Push past the workout fads and give Qigong a try. You never know what could happen. Like the Chinese proverb once said, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”