Life can so easily pass us by when we don’t purposefully take the time to pause, breathe and tune into our body. Small ailments, whether they are physical or emotional, begin to build up and take away from our overall sense of wellbeing. We often continue to push forward as our modern way of life has us falling into the mindset that busier is better and our busy schedules often mean that time for quiet and mindfulness is pushed down the list of priorities or squeezed out completely.
A practice we value highly at Eden is Qigong. While it has been practised for thousands of years, Qigong has surfaced in our modern society in recent years as people have rediscovered the incredible benefits that this meditative practice can provide.
What is Qigong?
Qigong is an ancient form of yoga with roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy and martial arts. ‘Qi’ translates to ‘energy’ or ‘lifeforce’ and ‘gong’ translates to ‘work’, literally meaning ‘energy work’. Most of the practice is performed standing, however, there are seated variations or it can even be practised in complete stillness. Using a combination of techniques related to breathwork, postures, meditation and guided imagery, the purpose of Qigong is to cultivate and balance our Qi, the force that traditional practitioners believe is the source from which all life thrives.
Performing Qigong involves slow, graceful movements that stimulate the flow of energy throughout your body. As one flows through the different positions, the breath is synchronised with each movement and the eyes track the motions that the body travels through. This promotes a heightened awareness and helps to relieve stress.
From an outside perspective, Qigong appears to closely resemble tai chi. However, Qigong is exclusively focused on healing and is easier to master.
The goal of practising Qigong
The main aim when practising Qigong is to wake up to the present moment. By anchoring your focus on harmonising your mind and body, Qigong helps you shift blocked energy that’s caught in emotions such as anger and frustration. Our desire for addition and reluctance to let go can charge our bodies with negative energy that can cause suffering below the surface. Qigong helps to relieve us of this suppressed energy and regain internal balance.
There are a number of different branches of Qigong, but there are a few fundamental elements that are core to the practice. A couple of these are mental focus and breathwork.
Mental focus and staying engaged with the present moment is crucial to performing Qigong successfully. This is a skill that, although seemingly simple in principle, is not often demanded of us in our modern lives and will likely require practise and patience to master. Tracking your body movements with your eyes and channelling all of your focus into this helps centre your attention.
Breathwork is another critical element of Qigong. Coordinating your breath with your movements and mental focus drives energy through intended pathways and opens blockages. Although breathing is a function that our body subconsciously does every moment of our lives, our breathwork is key to unlocking the wondrous benefits of Qigong. Learning the correct breathing techniques is necessary in order to achieve these.
Mental and physical effects
Qigong can provide a wealth of benefits that are especially important in our modern lives. As it is a healing practice, Qigong helps balance and harmonise our internal bodily systems and correct imbalances that occur through life. These may occur from deep-rooted emotions such as anxiety, stress and grief, physical trauma or injury, an unbalanced diet, a lack of physical exercise, or any other number of causes.
Qigong practitioners believe that our energy, or Qi, should flow smoothly – like a river. Blockages cause our Qi to build up and prevent other areas from being nourished, whereas Qi that is flowing too rapidly can exhaust or internal systems. Qigong helps balance these energies for optimum wellbeing.
The stress-relieving benefits of Qigong are also widely celebrated. Believed to be the original tool to reduce stress, this ancient practice has the power to reduce inflammation in the body through its meditative principles.
Qigong at Eden
Here at Eden, Qigong is incorporated into two or three mornings of our guests’ daily programs: to wake up and approach the day mindfully and set the tone for the rest of the day. Our wonderful Qigong instructor, Johnathon, guides our guests through the intentions and techniques of the practice to ensure that everyone can reap the maximum benefits from each session and can integrate this into their everyday lives beyond their stay with us.
If you would like to learn more about Qigong at Eden, please feel free to fill out our enquiry form, reach out to us at [email protected] or give us a call on (07) 5533 0333.