To start our guide to Qigong for beginners, we need to take a look at the meaning behind the word “Qigong”. In order to do this, we need to break it down into the two separate components that comprise the word Qigong. Qi, which is pronounced “chee” is ancient Chinese concept that dates far back beyond written history and is loosely translated as the concept of “life energy”, which the Chinese believe exists in all things. All of traditional Chinese medicine as we know it today is practiced based on the concept of Qi and the need for it to flow smoothly within your body in order for you to be healthy.
The other half of Qigong for beginners is the word “gong” and simply refers to work or cultivation. In this particular case when you combine the two words back into a single entity, it can be roughly translated as working with your life energy. By learning how to become in tune with our Qi, we can use this knowledge to improve both our physical and mental health.
How does Qigong for beginners work to accomplish this? The answer to this is rooted in over 3000 years of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as it to deals with the flow of energy throughout the human body. Those who practice TCM believe that this life energy flows in channels throughout our bodies and that when this flow is interrupted, ill health and other medical and mental problems occur. By practicing breathing exercises, stretches and gentle movements, we keep these channels open wide and thus allow the flow of Qi to move smoothly throughout our bodies.
There are three main concepts you will need to learn in Qigong for beginners that you must master in order to receive the maximum benefit from your practice. These are breathing, your mental state and your posture. Starting with your posture, you need to understand that one of the most important things you will need to learn in Qigong is that you must relax. Every movement you make will be done slowly and very deliberately.
Your mental state is also very important and much like you would do, if you were going to meditate, you must learn to clear your mind of your life’s stresses and distractions as they will only serve to hinder your ability to practice. Similar to reaching the ultimate level of meditation, this can take a number of years for you to master, but you will find yourself reaching deeper levels the more you practice. The trick is not to concentrate on trying to clear your mind, but to let your thoughts slowly fade away in a natural manner.
Finally and in many ways, the most important concept is your breathing. While we all know how to breathe, learning to breathe as you learn Qigong for beginners is slightly different. Again this is similar to meditation in which you breathe in through your nose and fill your lungs to approximately 75% of capacity slowly and evenly. Exhale through your nose as well, this is known as abdominal breathing and is intended to be an exercise that helps you to clear your mind. All of these concepts combine to help bring your Qi back into proper alignment and restore your overall health and sense of well-being.