VITALITY THROUGH MOVEMENT
The practice of Qigong has been invaluable in my life, both physically, emotionally and mentally. Born with a father established in martial arts, I often denied the more competitive nature of punching and kicking. Rather, I saw the dissonance in being ‘martial’ as a chance to create a better understanding between two parties. In fifth grade I was a conflict mediator, later a part of the high school mediation club, and finished university with a degree in conflict and communication.
What does this have to do with Qigong? Everything…
Qigong (skilled breath), originally termed Dao Yin (guiding energy), is an ancient Chinese mind-body healing art practiced for thousands of years and likely having roots from India and Tibet. Qigong improves one’s mental and physical health by integrating postures, movement, breathing, techniques and focused intention. A large bonus to practicing Qigong is emotional clarity and decreased inflammation markers.
For me, learning Qigong was paramount in finding balance in life, the perfect blend between the breath, coordination and strength of martial arts and the inner peace developed through conflict mediation (self-mastery) techniques such as meditation.
Metaphysically breath is also to considered as consciousness, regulating human emotions and creating equilibrium in the body.
"Both the quantity and quality of breath have a definite and direct effect upon human health."
-Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chishti
How does it work?
Qigong can be experienced in a number of forms, but the instruction is always the same.
Create sustainable, and efficient, energy for use in daily tasks; self-care, relationships and business. Whether one spends 5 minutes in a posture, or 40 minutes working through several postures, the goal is always to practice the creation of harmonious synergy and congruency between the mind, body and soul. We call this Qi.
What's the science behind Qigong?
Every change in our state of health is reflected in numerous electrical and biochemical changes that occur throughout the body. Although we cannot say that any particular compound is qi, scientists in both in the East and West have noted that certain biochemicals behave like qi and may help explain how qigong works.
Emotions occur in the mind and body. Emotional states accompany the synthesis of neuropeptides, the chemicals of the emotions, sending them flowing to various parts of the body. This explains why we feel profound restfulness when the mind is centered, a queasy stomach when we are anxious, or a racing heart when we are in love. Two factors suggest a close connection between neuropeptides and qi. Firstly, neuropeptides, like qi, are produced in response to state of mind and influence the health of the internal organs. Secondly, neuropeptide receptor sites are located on the immune cells. This means that, like qi, neuropeptides form a link between consciousness and immunity, mind and body.
DHEA is the most abundant steroid in the human body. It is required for sex hormone synthesis and is found in equal concentrations in the brain and the adrenal cortex. DHEA levels vary among individuals and tend to decline with age. High levels of DHEA have been correlated with youthfulness, less disease, and a stronger immune system. When DHEA levels are low an individual is in a stage of adrenal exhaustion and will be on the verge of developing significant illness. The practice of qi gong has been found to increase the bodies natural immune response, increasing DHEA levels decreasing cortisol production.
Biophoton emission can be a source of important information about an organism’s status. When muscles or nerves are activated, the intensity of biophoton emission increases. Biophoton emissions have also been measured radiating from the internal organs. The characteristics of photon emission indicate the health of the cells and whether they are multiplying or dying. Among the many conclusions of the research reported on below is that Qi Gong masters can consciously control blood flow and other metabolic processes, functions normally regulated by the autonomic nervous system.
Learning and practice in the same course
The final goal of the Qigong practice is the self-understanding of life. It is a long-term process of self-cultivation and continuous exploration. From this point of view, Qi, the vital energy that we obtained through self-cultivation, is merely a portion of the latent energy of life. When you use Qigong to help another, you cannot reach the acme of perfection due to the attitude of the other, as well as the changing factors of the disease itself.
It is well known that every person's expectation for health is different. The teachers job is not simply technical, but the work of an artist. Let us learn and practice Qigong in the same course so as to achieve mastery through a comprehensive study of the subject and utilize the knowledge to better serve our self-care practices.
For research on Qigong please visit the the Qigong Institute website