“To study and at times practice what one has learned, is that not a pleasure?”
Part of my program here at NCNM requires that we attend weekly qigong classes for 3 years, to learn specific forms passed down from a lineage of master Qigong practitioners in China. This requirement also includes a weekend retreat once per term, for a total of 12 retreats. My experience with this work has been profound and has supported an uncovering and transformation of layers of “muck” that inevitably builds up in life.
I enjoy qigong because it can be practiced anywhere, at any time. There are yang styles and yin styles, some of which no one would suspect you are practicing because it can be as subtle as an internal awareness of breathing.
Qigong can be translated as “energy work”. Qi is the chinese word that means “life energy” and gong means “work” or “benefits acquired through perseverance and practice”. Essentially, we are working with our own energy, clearing blocks within our bodies in order to increase our own mind, body, and spiritual vitality.
Two years ago, I started writing daily about my experiences with qigong, noting the significant shifts that occurred within me as well as the subtle fine tuning successes I experienced. When I started learning different forms at school, I decided that it was important to practice more than the required once a week class time. This was my way of committing to my own and my future patients’ well-being. Without practicing and experiencing it daily for myself, I’d find it hard to talk about it to anyone else, let alone transmit how worthwhile it is.
What did I learn? -That the benefits are countless, and I’m really not over exaggerating ! It was a week after I started a daily practice that my asthma and allergy symptoms significantly decreased, my body felt less achy and tight, and my sleep was deep and relaxed. Waking up in the morning was never too hard for me, but after starting qigong, mental fogginess decreased, my energy increased, and a lot of common anxieties or stressors seemed to dissipate. Two years later, having an on and off again daily practice, I am able to use what I’ve learned through class, workshops, and a teacher that I study with, to ground myself and find that place of calm within me to guide me through life’s daily stressors. In this mind space, I feel like situations that would normally irritate, annoy, or stress anyone out, will float by without having the ability to break me down nearly as much as I used to let them.
Qigong can support many illnesses and regardless of physical capabilities, there is always a way to modify. There are plenty of research and stories that talk about the more chronic conditions, like Cancer, that have had marked improvement and even complete remission, after incorporating a daily practice of specific forms (advised by a professional).
Some general benefits:
- Greater stamina and vitality
- Reduced stress
- Enhanced immune system
- Improved cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, and digestive function
- Lower blood pressure
- Better balance
Mental stability, proper restoration time, and the ability to breathe fully are essential in thriving in life, and as a culture we continue to ignore how much our bodies crave this! I am excited to have found such a love in qigong. I will, without a doubt, incorporate it into my sessions when I start to see patients in the clinic as well as sending them home with specific forms to practice (that can support the condition they are presenting) in between visits. In the meantime, I will enjoy writing about the benefits and posting poses or forms that may help make our days a little easier. If it’s something that interests you, many communities offer qigong classes to the public. As always, if you have any specific requests, I’d love to address them.
*A wonderful book to read is called: “The Way Of Qigong; The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing” by Kenneth S. Cohen.
“True peace of mind is not dependent on circumstances. It comes from the inside.”