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  • Maria Alda Gomez Otero

What is Qigong?

In a website about qigong classes and spirituality, you might wonder what it is that I am talking about when I say qigong. You are right at asking yourself that question. Believe me when I say that there isn’t an easy answer to that.

First, qigong is composed of “qi” = “energy, mood, sense” and “gong” = “doing something that takes practice to master”, so literally “qigong” means “doing something to our energy, mood or sense that takes practice to master”. That can take many different forms. For example, a qigong exercise could be hugging a tree and connecting to the tree’s energy; another qigong exercise is making a loud sound and letting go of certain blocked emotions, changing your mood; yet another qigong exercise will help you release all the toxins in your joints, changing your physical health. Qigong is almost as ancient as human beings and some researchers believe that some qigong movements had their origins in the Chinese healing traditions of shamans. During centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors have maintained qigong as a practice for themselves and as a prescription for their patients, together with herbs, massage (Tui Na) and acupuncture.

Qigong is linked to medicine and spirituality

Qigong has always been linked to medicine and spirituality, to physical and mental health, as well as meditation. Many different qigong schools practice movements to improve their health and attain higher levels of consciousness. As Kris Deva North, a Taoist qigong trainer, told me once, the higher one wants to go in terms of spirituality, the deeper their roots should be. One cannot achieve Nirvana or Heaven without having their feet well planted on Earth. We are flesh and bone, as well as spirit. Qigong is an ancient Chinese art that aims at looking after your body as well as your soul.

Qigong is not associated with any particular religion. In line with the Chinese culture of mixing and respecting philosophies and religions, some Taoists do qigong regularly; some Buddhist do qigong regularly; and some Christians do qigong regularly. I am sure some Muslims do qigong regularly, and some atheists too.

There are many reasons why people choose to practice qigong. Some find it is good for their physical health, relieving aches and pains; others see how their moods change and they find challenging relationships easier; others are looking for a way to lengthen their lifespan; others are looking for something that would calm their racing thoughts and anxiety.

Qigong in Dragonhead Qigong

Dragonhead Qigong was born to offer online qigong classes, teaching physical movements that help you increase your physical health. Most of the movements are standing and require a little effort each time, creating flexibility and strength without pushing our bodies too hard. This is what makes it perfect for all ages. As an additional benefit, your mental health will also improve, as you will see your mind calming down over time.

Remember that “gong” means that it takes time to master, so do not expect miracles in just one class. Generally, it takes regular practice to get the benefits of qigong. Some movements have beautiful names, such as Dragon Flying or Crane Dancing. The classes will focus on a theme inspired on what is happening around us: seasons, lockdown, world affairs, nature.

One part of the classes will be dedicated to self-massages or energy exercises that can improve your general health or can relieve symptoms of common conditions, such as indigestion.

Every qigong class will also include a meditation based on the Buddhist, Taoist or other traditions. This is because Chinese culture allows for fusion of different philosophies. I have trained with a Buddhist qigong teacher for a few years and I also did workshops with different Taoists practitioners over the years. Grandmaster Liming Yue mixes Buddhist and Taoist chants in his spiritual qigong practices, which I joined many times. But spiritual qigong or “shen gong” will require another article.

In this post, I have given you a general overview of what qigong is in different Chinese schools and traditions. If you wish to experience the physical qigong movements, self-massage and still meditations, I would invite you to subscribe to my blog or email me to receive the Zoom invitation and join my online qigong classes.

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