Friday, September 21, 2012

So what is qigong?

Put simply, “qi” (sounds like "chee") basically means energy and “gong” refers to the exercises you do to cultivate it. It is an ancient practice, with its roots in Chinese medicine, martial arts and philosophy, taking many forms that vary widely. It is not a religious practice but you can bring your personal spiritual beliefs to it if you like. Some of the postures involve a lot of movement, while others (like the exercises in my book) are done seated with gentle movements or by being still, in either a standing, sitting or lying-down position.  

With the Six Healing Sounds, you use your breath combined with smiling, visualization, gentle movements and sound vibrations to get rid of stale energy (excess of negative emotions) and bring new energy (positivity) into the body. It is a gentle process that is done with “relaxed intention” because when you are calm the body’s healing mechanisms are supported.  Being calm also helps you to think more clearly and creatively, opening you up to gaining new insights about yourself. The Six Healing Sounds helps you to foster loving and compassionate attitudes towards yourself by putting some distance between you and your negative feelings. You do not attempt to aggressively force negative feelings out of your body because in doing so you will only make them grow stronger. Instead you see them as having a function. Feelings arise to communicate something and once you recognize that, you can be grateful for them and then send them on their way.

The Six Healing Sounds finishes off with the lying-down position which brings you to the Wuji state, the deepest level of energy cultivation. This is a time when you become still, and like mindfulness meditation, you let your thoughts float past without making any judgements. There is no intention to do anything in this state, you simply relax and allow your awareness to deepen.  

Qigong is something that can be done throughout the day. Every moment you are deciding whether to be positive or negative. Walking, cycling, cooking and cleaning are all examples of things that can be done using the principles of qigong to help you to stay positive, energetic and lovingly connected to yourself and to the world around you.