What is Qigong?

Qigong (pronounced ‘Chi Kung’) is a powerful type of health exercise, which has been practiced for centuries in China. It is based on gentle movements that are specifically designed to benefit and balance health.


Qigong can be used as a mean of developing the relationship between mind and body, melting tensions and relaxing. This way of working supports all the systems of the body and the individual as a whole. By removing the tensions and "holding-on" that get in the way we can dissolve blockages in the Qi system, thus re-establishing the proper flow of Qi.


There are many version of Qigong. The one I teach and I'm familiar with is the 18 Tai Chi Qigong Exercises and 5 Element Qigong as taught by my teachers Matthew Rochford and Joe Salmon at Tai Chai Nation in the UK.


Qigong is practiced in a relaxed manner and all movements are generally done slowly (although you can practice them at any speed to suit your needs and inclination). This combination of slow, relaxed and fluid movements calms the nervous system and promotes the flow of natural Qi in the body.


By harmonizing these movements with relaxed and deep breathing, Qigong also calms the mind whilst boosting the body's natural energy resources. Primarily, it is the relaxed, gentle movements and deep breathing that make Qigong so beneficial for health.


During the class and as a preamble to Qigong, we practice Daoyin exercises. Daoyin is a form of Chinese Yoga which emphasizes stretching and loosening exercises to help prepare the body and mind for Qigong and Tai Chi Chuan practice whilst also helping to establish improved flow of Qi in the body.


Daoyin exercises can help in three different ways: 

  • Physiologically, the exercises help to warm up the body, improve flow and body temperature, reduce risk of injury, stretches key muscle groups and stretches tendons. It also helps to aid in the relaxation of muscles, stimulates the lymphatic system and helps to keep the body supple.
  • Psychologically, warming up begins the process of bringing the mind into the body, freeing it from the business of the world.
  • From a Chinese Medicine perspective, stretching helps to promote the flow of Qi through the meridians. As each joint is seen as an energy gate in Qi Theory, each warm up will promote the flow of Qi through the joints, thus breaking up energy blockages.