This week we are focusing on physical wellness, which is critical and foundational to any healthy lifestyle. Qi gong is a series of body movements that, much like yoga, focus on breath work and mental focus, with its literal translation being “energy work”. However, unlike yoga, the majority of qi gong poses are performed while standing, though there are a few seated positions as well. The practice of qi gong is rooted in Taoist philosophy and traditional Chinese medicine and has been around for over 5,000 years. Many of the sequenced movements facilitate opening in the pathways of the energy meridians that run through the body, and can often trace the edges of our energy fields.
According to “What is Qi Gong? (And How You Can Start Practicing Today)” in the Yoga Journal, “These systems act to harness willpower, to focus, and to help practitioners channel their energy through their palms.” The mental focus required for qi gong is a main component of the practice. Think of it as a sort of kinetic meditation.
The goal of qi gong is to be present in the moment, process energy and emotion that might be stuck within us and let go through inward and outward movement. And while it has been shown to improve quality of life, reduce stress and decrease depression and anxiety (something we could all undoubtedly benefit from in today’s climate), there are numerous physiological benefits to practicing qi gong as well. For instance, regular practice of qi gong boasts increased bone density, improved cardiovascular and pulmonary function, a strengthened immune system and improved balance.
We here at OWC like to promote a healthy lifestyle (which certainly includes indulging every now and then). There are many different ways to find balance of body and mind. Our founder, Véronique Raskin, swears by this method and practices Lee Holden’s style of qi gong daily, which she has found to be especially helpful in the last year. “I am hooked on his 7-minute program each morning, to get my energy going, and in the late afternoon I do the 20-minute PM program to let go of accumulated stress. I have studied with many teachers in the past few decades, and I find Lee’s to be the most directly applicable to our modern life,” says Véronique. If you’d like to learn more about Lee Holden’s style of qi gong or try it yourself, you can check out his website here.
Shojai, P. (2019, January 6). What is Qi Gong? (And How You Can Start Practicing Today). Yoga journal. https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/what-is-qi-gong/
Nunez, N. (2020 May 27). 9 Health Benefits of Qigong. Medium. https://medium.com/x-factors-in-life/9-health-benefits-of-qigong-cc1c76f65098