Qigong F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is Qigong?
- A system of physical exercises designed to improve health, peace of mind, and vitality.
- It is also a form of meditation designed to harmonize the flow of living energy within the body.
- Qigong is a simple, yet extremely effective method for improving the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of life.
- With a history of over 4,000 years, Qigong is a national treasure of China.
What does the word “Qigong” mean?
The Chinese word “Qigong” is composed of two words: “Qi” and “Gong”.
“Qi”: It is very hard to translate the word “Qi” into English as there is no literal equivalent. Qi is best described as the living energy inside of us that gives us life and consciousness. The concept of Qi is known in other cultures by different names. The ancient Greeks called it Aenema (that which animates), the Hindus called it Prana, the Israelites called it Ruach, and Star Wars fans know it as The Force.
If you take two identical twins who are alike in every way, and one of them dies, the only difference is that the living twin still has Qi flowing throughout his body, whereas the deceased one no longer does.
“Gong”: This is the Chinese word for “skill” or “work”. Anything that requires training, study, and discipline is a form of “Gong”.
Thus the word “Qigong” literally means: “The skill of developing life energy.”
Is Qigong a religion?
In fact, one of the reasons why this website was created was to expose the charlatans and con artists who have been using this revered art form as a form of religious control.
Although the original concepts of Qigong are rooted in Taoist thought, the original practitioners of Qigong never prayed to any deity or practiced a particular form of religion.
Qigong was intended to be used as a tool to access the upper limits of human potential. It was intended to be freely available to everyone as a way to improve their lives. It was never intended to become involved with any form of religious doctrine.
The so called “teachers” of Qigong who have corrupted the art and tried to turn it into a religion (such as the infamous Falun Gong cult in China) are not true teachers of the art. They are nothing more than con artists who have perverted the art form in an attempt to control others.
It would be accurate to say that although Qigong does contain concepts of oneness and spirituality, it is not a religion. In Qigong, there is no requirement (or even request) to pledge allegiance to a particular God or deity.
Many high-level Qigong practitioners are devout Christians, Jews, Hindus, and so forth. They practice Qigong as a way to become more effective and dynamic people. They practice Qigong as a way to cultivate physical vitality, mental focus, and emotional calm.
Many Qigong practitioners are also atheists and agnostics who practice for the exact same reasons as religious people.
Qigong has no concern regarding your chosen faith or lack of it.
Many religious Qigong practitioners even pray with their chosen faith while performing Qigong exercises. There’s nothing wrong with that.
How old is Qigong? What is its history?
Depending on which source you ask, the art of Qigong is anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 years old. The real answer is that no one knows exactly as the origin of Qigong has been lost in antiquity.
If you ask 10 different Qigong experts on the history of Qigong, you’ll get 10 different answers. I’ve written down my answer to this question HERE.
What physical benefits can I get from practicing Qigong?
As a form of physical exercise, Qigong provides all the benefits of Tai Chi practice while at the same time being easier to learn. Qigong is an excellent way to become more physically fit, flexible, energetic, and strong.
It is one of the few forms of effective exercise that is non-strenuous, and can thus be utilized by people of any fitness or health level.
In modern China, Qigong is successfully practiced by people looking to overcome various forms of pain and disease. It is so effective that various forms of Qigong have been sanctioned by the Chinese government as a form of medical treatment.
Qigong exercises may at first seem strange to Westerners who are used to the idea that exercise must be painful, hard, and strenuous. Contrary to the “no pain, no gain” concept of exercise found in the West, Qigong believes in “no pain, ALL gain.”
Qigong exercises are soft, rhythmic, flowing, and incorporate deep breathing with gentle movements. The idea is that there are more effective ways of strengthening the body than strenuous exercises.
Qigong exercises look deceptively simple. They ARE simple to perform, yet the thought process that has been put into creating them is anything but simple. Legitimate Qigong exercises are constructed using theories from Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture theory, breathwork, and the science of electro-biology.
Most Qigong exercises are:
- Easy to learn.
- Completely safe.
- Require no additional equipment
- Do not require lots of room to perform
Yet based on thousands of years of practice in China, just some of the physical benefits are:
- Improved health and energy
- Faster recovery from pain and disease
- A stronger immune system
- Greater physical strength and stamina
- Improved flexibility.
- Much less joint pain
- Rapid detoxification through improved lymphatic functioning.
- Slower aging response
- Improved metabolism (and thus easier weight loss)
What mental and emotional benefits can I get from Qigong?
- Improved ability to cope with stress
- Greater focus and concentration
- Improved memory and learning abilities
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Improved mental awareness and alertness
- Increased ability to stay “present-minded”
- A difficult-to-explain sense of inner peace that comes from knowing that everything in the universe is a form of perfection, even if you personally don’t like it.
Qigong is a form of meditation. The benefits of meditation practice have been well documented as a form of stress reduction and improved mental functioning.
As a form of meditation, it is non-religious and does not ascribe to any particular doctrine. The meditative aspect of Qigong is meant to strengthen as well as balance the presence of Qi in the body.
Can anyone learn Qigong? Do I have to be Chinese to learn Qigong?
You do not have to be Chinese to learn Qigong.
Although it was originally created in China, one of the beautiful aspects of Qigong is that anyone can learn it well, regardless of gender, race, nationality, age, and even level of health.
The priceless benefits of Qigong are available to anyone who is willing to invest a small amount of time and effort.
How much time does Qigong practice take?
It depends on what form of Qigong you study as well as what your goals are.
For example, a simple, popular, and effective form of Qigong is called The Eight Section Brocade or Baduanjin in Mandarin. It takes less than 10 minutes to perform and produces remarkable improvements in physical and mental wellbeing.
Other forms of Qigong can take as long as 30, 60, or even 90 minutes or more to perform. These forms are usually highly specialized and are done to develop healing or martial arts abilities. In the future, we may offer instruction in these more specialized forms but for now we recommend The Eight Section Brocade as a great place for the average Joe or Jane to get started.
Are there different types of Qigong?
Yes, there are thousands of different Qigong forms ranging from the mainstream forms to really obscure ones practiced by one or two teachers.
However, even with all the many different types of Qigong, they will all fall into one of three different categories:
1. Medical Qigong: These are designed to improve physical health, resistance to disease, recovery from illness, and emotional wellbeing. It also includes Qigong forms designed to teach people how to become healers, which is another topic we will discuss on this site.
Examples of Medical Qigong forms: The Eight Section Brocade, Hua Tou’s Five Animals, Six Healing Sounds.
2. Martial Qigong: These are Qigong forms designed to train warriors and fighters for hand-to-hand, as well as armed combat. These forms are rooted in China’s long history of military warfare. When practiced diligently, they not only develop extremely high levels of physical fitness, they also teach sophisticated methods of self-defense and martial arts.
Examples of Martial Qigong forms: Tai Chi Chuan, Ba Gua Zhang, Hsing-I Chuan
3. Metaphysical Qigong: Often created within a religious context, these forms of Qigong were created to achieve a greater understanding of reality and the universe.
Examples of Metaphysical Qigong: Buddhist Qigong, Confucian Qigong.
I want to begin practicing Qigong and reaping its benefits, how do I start?
First, read the rest of the articles on this website to gain a unique understanding of Qigong. If you’re still interested, look into purchasing our Qigong instructional DVD: The Eight Section Brocade, as a great tool for both the beginner as well as advanced student of Qigong to develop greater physical and mental cultivation.
Watch the DVD, practice the exercises for 90 days. If you don’t like it, send it back for a full refund.
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