The What and How of Qigong

Qigong pounced Chee-guong (气功); literally means 'life energy cultivation'. It is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial arts training. With roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy, and martial arts, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance Qi (chi), translated as "life energy".

Qigong practice typically involves moving meditation, coordinating slow flowing movement, deep rhythmic breathing, and calm meditative state of mind. 

qigong 101


With roots in ancient Chinese culture dating back more than 4,000 years, a wide variety of qigong forms have developed within different segments of Chinese society: in TCM for preventive and curative functions, to promote longevity and improve moral character; it is also of meditative practice.

Contemporary qigong blends diverse and sometimes disparate traditions, in particular, the practice of "internal alchemy" the ancient meditative practices of "circulating qi" (Xing qi 行氣) and "standing meditation" and the slow gymnastic breathing exercise of "guiding and pulling". Traditionally, knowledge about qigong was passed from adept master to student in elite unbroken lineages, typically with secretive and esoteric traditions of training and oral transmission,  and with an emphasis on meditative practice by scholars and gymnastic or dynamic practice by the working masses.

The popularity of qigong grew rapidly from 1976 through the 1990s, with estimates of between 60 and 200 million practitioners throughout China. 

Today, the practice of qigong spread is worldwide. Millions of people around the world practice qigong for different health benefits including for recreation, exercise, relaxation, preventive medicine, self-healing, alternative, medicine, self-cultivation, meditation, spirituality, and material arts training. 

Header image by Mudretsov Oleksandr

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