For many years the American public seemed unaware of Qigong. Its related spin-off, if you will, Tai Chi, was known but not really understood. Most people usually say that it is a series of graceful dance movements from China that helps the elderly with balance issues and seems very complicated. When told of Qigong there is a momentary flash of interest but it is quickly forgotten as it to is expected to be too difficult to learn.
The reality is, as many of you are aware, that Qigong is easy to learn. Whereas Tai Chi is a martial art, qigong is a system of wellness. As stated by Gaiam, "T’ai chi requires much discipline. The position of your knees, feet and spine are all crucial to the proper execution of form. Qigong is less rigid; it is a free-form practice." ... "Anyone in any condition may participate in its breathing exercises, and may adapt its simple moves to their own level of physical ability." ... "The founders of T’ai chi were also well-versed in the practices of Qigong, and interwove elements of it throughout their system of self-defense." Thus many of the well known postures of Tai Chi are also done in Qigong, such as Cloud Hands, but the emphasis is not on body positioning but breathing and energetic flow.
Many Qigong instructors predict that Qigong will gain a much greater awareness in the next few years and even surpass yoga as a practice. As Anthony Korahais wrote in 2016, "Qigong is empowering. Yoga is empowering too. But unlike yoga, Qigong doesn’t require physical strength or flexibility. In fact, too much physical strength can be a hindrance with qigong. Body builders, for example, often struggle to relax the muscles and let go of deeper layers of tension.
An art that doesn’t need brawn for success is empowering to women, to the physically unfit, to the disabled, to children, and to smaller-sized men like myself."
But awareness is growing!
In the last month, three articles on Qigong came across my desk ... well, my iPad.
The first is entitled Qigong Might Be the Wellness Secret You Never Knew You Needed
From improved mental health to better focus, the practice is full of benefits By Bibi Deitz. It is a short article describing what qigong is, as described by Giselle Wasfie, an acupuncturist and herbalist who is certified in Qigong, who the article interviews. "Qigong is a moving meditative art," ... "It's a system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial-arts training.", and its benefits, "there are many health benefits to the practice, which can lead to an overall improved state of health."
She goes on to answer why Qigong is better known, stating, "For lack of a better word, Qigong can be foreign to many audiences," Wasfie says. "Much like yoga in its early days, not many people are familiar with it and people don't know where and how to start." But this probably won't be the case forever, she adds: "I think if a celebrity were to champion it, many more people would hear about it and try it out."
The second article, Qigong benefits, types, and how to get started from Medical News Today asks and answers much the same questions, but goes into greater detail, especially concerning its benefits.
The last, and most recent article, The Mind-Body Benefits of Qi Gong—an Ancient, Meditative Movement Practice By Samantha Lande, discusses, although briefly, how to practice Qigong.
Hopefully this is a trend and we will see many more discussions, explanations and studies showing the benefits of Qigong. As well as just how easy it is to practice.
Enjoy the practice, reap the benefits, spread the word!