In North America we tend to focus on “the body” when we exercise and have a tendency to believe there is no gain that comes without pain.
Our “external” approach to exercise ignores the “internal” deeper currents of our “being” based on a paradigm that does not fully acknowledge the interconnectedness of things including the mind and body.
Far too often our lives are spent in busy-ness. Interestingly, in Chinese language the character for busy combines the characters for the heart …..and death! While this may not be an exact translation it does serve as an indication that too much….of anything, is lacking in balance.
Qigong is a Chinese system of exercise which draws us beneath the surface of our overstimulated lives. It is a beautiful blend of exercise and meditation that makes the mind and spirit tranquil, improves performance in sports, and cultivates health, well-being, and long life.
Twelve Benefits of Qigong
1. Well-being and improved health. Qigong emphasizes the whole body, whole system health. While it is true that
qigong will often cure specific ills, this is not the primary reason for practice. It is not only a matter of adding years to your life, but life to your years.
2. Clear and tranquil mind. When the mind is at peace, the whole universe seems at peace. World peace begins with you; it is your responsibility to find a peaceful heart and mind. Then you can heal and transform others just through your presence. If you have a tranquil mind, you will make better decisions and have the skill to know when act and when to be still.
3. Deeper, more restorative sleep. Qigong will help you find the deep relaxation and mental quiet necessary for sleep.
4. Increased energy, including sexual vitality and fertility. Qigong people have more energy; it can reverse energy and restore youthfulness.
5. Comfortable warmth. Qigong is great for cold hands and feet. Circulation improves, and the body generates more internal warmth when it is cold.
6. Clear skin. The skin, like the intestines, is an organ of elimination. According to Chinese medicine, as your qigong improves, your body eliminates toxins, and the skin becomes clear.
7. Happy attitude. There is an old Tibetan saying, “You can tell a Yogi by his or her laugh.” Correct and moderate qigong practice usually creates an optimistic and joyous disposition.
8. More efficient metabolism. Digestion improves, and hair and nails grow more quickly.
9. Greater physiological control. This means that aspects of the body that were imbalanced or out of control begin to normalize, for example, breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, hormone levels, and states of chronic inflammation or depletion.
10. Bright eyes. The qigong master’s eyes are said to glow in the dark, like a cat’s. The eyes also appear bright because the spirit and soul are luminous and the heart is open.
11. Intuition and creativity. Intuition and creativity generate each other and come from the same source, an awakened brain and being, an ability to think with the gut, to feel with the mind.
12. Spiritual effects. Advancement in qigong is often accompanied by a variety of spiritual experiences. For example, synchronicity, meaningful coincidences, become more common. When the qi is abundant, clear, and flowing, the senses perceive and are permeated by a sweetness.
Adapted from The Essential Qigong Training Course, by Ken Cohen (Sounds True, 2005). Copyright (c) 2005 by Ken Cohen. Reprinted by permission of Sounds True.