Qigong for a healthy life

Qigong differs from tai chi in that tai chi is a martial art that uses free-flowing movements.

by Sheila Eastman — 

What if you had a self-healing tool at your fingertips that you could use every day to put your mind, body and spirit in a great place? This tool would help you quiet your mind for clarity, improve memory and ease decision making. This self-healing tool is qigong, pronounced “chee-gong.”

There is no doubt that many of us are caught up in being too busy. We plug along, without any thought of learning to savor the moment and be still for a bit each day — until something happens to our health. Only then do we decide we should make changes, once the damage has been done.

Qigong differs from tai chi in that tai chi is a martial art that uses free-flowing movements. Since it is a martial art, you can also use it to defend yourself. It is done standing up and is fairly challenging to learn; thus not everyone can perform the movements in tai chi.

On the other hand, qigong is a 4,000-year- old self-healing exercise program with its roots in Chinese medicine. Qigong focuses on teaching how to cultivate chi (life’s vital energy), which perpetuates every living thing in the universe, as well as every function in our bodies. Free-flowing movements are done in repetition, along with deep diaphragmatic breathing, while practicing good posture.

Since the movements, in most cases, are very easy to learn, you can get to that sweet, quiet place of moving meditation without a long learning curve. Qigong can fit into anyone’s life, especially people who are physically challenged, since it can be done sitting or standing and practiced just about anywhere.

As a qigong practitioner, I teach “mindful posture” and “mindful breathing” while performing flowing movements. During a class, we learn to concentrate and come to understand that cultivating energy to flow throughout our bodies will help perpetuate overall good health.

And if you just need a pick-me-up, you do not have to move your arms or legs. For example, you can take deep diaphragmatic breaths in the car while driving, before an important meeting to calm and collect yourself, or while the kids are taking part in their activities. “Mindful posture” means that you stand or sit tall and proud all the time, which will build core strength every minute of the day.

Remember that you must feed your brain and body, daily. Learn to appreciate the present moment and quiet the brain chatter, which will ultimately put you one step closer to a healthier, happier you.

 

Sheila Eastman is a qigong practitioner teaching in the Phoenix area. She is a senior fitness instructor, Tai Chi Easy and brain fitness facilitator who has used qigong successfully to help control chronic pain from auto injuries. She is the creator of EZ Qigong Movements. www.ezqigongmovements.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 31, Number 2, April/May 2012.

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