Qi Gong, a 5000-year-old practice, is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine. This is why it is often viewed as a health activity. Qi means energy and gong refers to changes in this energy. Qi Gong consists in moving the body's energy to balance the body and mind. But what makes Qi Gong so popular?
Why has Qi Gong become so trendy?
This ancestral Chinese practice is so appealing because it is accessible - at any age. You don't need to be in really good shape and it can be adapted to all ages.
For children, Qi Gong can help reduce hyperactivity and develop motor skills by imitating five animals (mimicking the postures of a monkey, bear, tiger, deer and crane to express emotions - the tiger expresses anger, for example).
For pregnant women, Qi Gong can be beneficial for the baby's proper development.
Qi Gong is also perfect for older people and can relieve joint and rheumatic pain.
For professionals, Qi Gong improves concentration, relieves insomnia and reduces stress.
For athletes, Qi Gong provides an excellent preparation for sport by helping you improve body awareness.
How do you do Qi Gong?
In theory, there are as many ways to do Qi Gong as there are Taoist practices (Tao means path). These practices also include Feng Shui, Tai Chi Chuan, Dao Yin and Wutao. The philosophy is much more complex than the practice itself. The aim is to move energy through the proper meridians (there are 12 meridians and 8 extraordinary ones, which are the paths the energy in our body takes to bring the body and mind into harmony). Qi Gong is based on three main principles: slow movements associated with the meridians breathwork, because the breath provides a rhythm to life, and poses that help circulate energy.
Qi Gong: back to nature
Qi Gong is intrinsically linked to nature. It is both the model for and explanation to this trend: centring yourself, becoming one with nature in a fast-paced society constantly subject to pressure and stress. Qi Gong is often illustrated by the tree pose, one of the best known. This pose represents the power of energy. The feet are rooted, in contact with the earth, arms toward the sky. All Qi Gong movements draw inspiration from nature and its vitality (fluidity and flexibility for water, calm and peaceful for rock, etc.). Depending on the season, certain Qi Gong movements are complementary to a detox diet in spring, better energy control in summer, "rooting" in autumn and activating the circulation in winter.
The objectives and benefits of Qi Gong
The objective of Qi Gong is to better control the energy flows and exchanges in the body. Qi Gong can affect your body, emotions and mind. Controlling your energy can not only reduce stress but also increase breath and body awareness, helping you gain confidence. The ultimate goal is to gain wisdom. This practice follows the Tao, which represents self-realisation, the quest to understand and master oneself. Qi Gong improves the body's functions, strength and flexibility.
By helping the energy to circulate, the body and mind are better poised to deal with daily challenges. Qi Gong is an excellent activity to do along with a physical activity to help relieve body and spiritual discomfort. Because you don't need any particular physical strength, as it relies on developing your energy, it has quickly become a new fitness trend!