What Is Qigong?

by Norah McIntire, L.Ac.

Join me for the upcoming Introduction to Qigong class! Starts August 24. Information here. Register here.

The phrase qigong essentially means energy practice or energy work. It is similar to tai chi (which tends to be more familiar to people) in certain ways, but the basic idea is a repeated series of movements that you practice to cultivate your energy and health.

An advantage that qigong has over tai chi is that there is less of a learning curve. Tai chi is taught as a form, a series of movements strung together. This is fantastic but can take a long time to learn. Qigong exercises, on the other hand, can be short and sweet individual movements which makes them easier to learn and master.

There are many types of qigong, some slow and meditative and others vigorous and martial. The elements that they tend to have in common regardless of the particular style, however, is an emphasis on mindfulness, posture, and breath.

Because there are slow and gentle styles, qigong can be great for those who have limitations that prevent them from engaging in rigorous exercise regimens. Qi gong can also be fantastic for those who are looking to incorporate meditation into their daily routines.

According to Western research, suggested benefits associated with qigong include improved cardiovascular biomarkers, regulated immune system activity, increased bone density, decreased anxiety and improved pain levels.

Another advantage is you do not need fancy workout equipment, expensive fitness clothing or a gym. You just need a little space and the willingness to practice. Qigong can actually be a very enjoyable habit.

Check out this video for an extremely easy qigong exercise for a quick boost of energy. (As with all qigong exercises, listen to your body and do not force yourself past any limits). And if you dig it, I'm offering a beginning qigong class online that starts on August 24.