Qigong meditation for beginners: mindfulness, benefits and techniques

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Meditation is all about creating calm, but choosing a technique can be overwhelming. From yoga to mindful meditation, how do you even begin to refine what is right for you?

If you are looking for a meditative practice to control your body and mind, qigong meditation can help you feel those “ohmmmm” and “aaaah”.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views poor health as a sign that your body’s natural energy flow – known as qi or “chi” – is blocked. It is believed that Qigong helps prevent this blockage and promotes a healthy flow of qi throughout your body.

To do this, qigong combines meditation with gentle movements and controlled breathing techniques to harness this energy and strengthen your body. It is believed to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

No matter what type of qigong you practice, the general #goals remain the same: to connect to the earth for healing and to let energy flow freely through your body.

In TCM, yin and yang represent these forms of active (yang) and passive (yin) energy. Active qigong focuses more on controlled movements, while passive qigong requires stillness and breathing control.

Active and passive qigong share some characteristics, including the use of visualization, relaxation, controlled breathing, and good posture.

Each type can be practiced either a) externally with a qigong therapist or b) internally by yourself. While most people go for solo qigong, you can choose whatever works for you.

Qigong active

Yang is all about this active energy, focusing on strength and dynamism. Active qigong focuses on intentional movement and breathing to stimulate your yang energy.

Also known as dong gong, active qigong involves repeated coordinated movements in a gentle flow. This technique is believed to promote balance, muscle flexibility, body awareness, and blood and lymphatic drainage.

If you think this sounds a lot like yoga, think again. While both involve an intentional flow of movement, yoga focuses more on stretching and holding poses. Active qigong is all about maintaining the flow by continuously moving through various sequences to maintain this gentle yang energy in your body.

Passive Qigong

Passive qigong harnesses the power of yin energy to focus on stillness and breath control to mentally cultivate qi energy.

The flow in passive qigong is mental. Your body may adopt a calming stillness, but your mind remains active to keep the energy moving.

There are two main types of passive qigong: visualization (cun ​​si) and mental focus (ru jing). Passive qigong can be performed while sitting, lying down, or even standing. Standing meditation – or zhan zhuang – is believed to promote increased vitality and power during meditation.

Embryonic breathing is another way to deepen a moment of passive meditation. This breathing technique helps revitalize your body and mind through deep lung breathing.

Traditional Chinese meditation offers a ton of benefits, and qigong is no exception. While more research is needed to prove some claims, here is how qigong can benefit your mind and body.

Stimulate balance

The controlled movements of Qi Gong help to become aware of your body and its relation to space. This not only affects flexibility and muscle strength, but it also helps control your sense of balance.

In a 2011 study of young women aged 18 to 25, those who practiced qigong for 8 weeks showed a 16.3% increase in stability scores compared to those who did not. .

A 2020 study of adults aged 51 to 96 found similar results: Those who did qigong weekly for 12 weeks showed improved balance and gait scores compared to those who did not. have not done.

Fight against stress and anxiety

Qigong meditation has all the elements necessary to eliminate stress and anxiety: visualization, breath control and gentle movements.

Controlling the breath in particular is a key part of meditation. When your breathing is calm and controlled, your body often feels relaxed and secure.

Focus enhancement

It’s easy to get away from whatever task you have to do (we see you trying to tempt us with your wonderful distractions, your cell phone!).

Because qigong forces you to focus on your mind, body, and breathing, regular practice can help strengthen your ability to focus in other areas of your life. However, more research is needed in this area.

Reduce the risk of chronic disease

Again, we need more research in this area, but what is available looks promising. Reported benefits of qigong meditation can include reduced stress, increased blood flow, and overall well-being, which could potentially lower your risk for chronic disease.

One review also found that regular qigong practice improved symptoms in people with type 2 diabetes, while another review suggested that qigong and tai chi may help prevent strokes.

Most people choose to practice qigong in the morning, but you can incorporate a regular routine at a time that works best for you.

Qigong is generally safe to practice every day and typically lasts 10 minutes to 1 hour. But keeping a regular practice is more important than the time it takes. Remember that any form of meditation is a practice that you must constantly follow.

Getting started with qigong can be a bit overwhelming. Here’s a basic breakdown.

How to start an active qigong practice

The many postures incorporated into active qigong take time to learn. The easiest way to master all the movements is to enroll in an active qigong class or take a guided video.

Sessions will often begin with a series of breaths in and out to connect and control your breathing, before starting a series of postures to awaken and activate your qi.

This Yoqi Yoga and Qigong routine is a great place to start your qigong journey. This 30-minute routine walks you through (and explains!) A set of common qigong movements and breathing techniques.

How to start a passive qigong practice

If passive qigong meditation is more your jam, we’ve got you covered.

To get started, simply sit upright, close your eyes, and breathe. Let your belly rise and fall with each inhale and exhale. Continue to focus on your breathing for 5-10 minutes.

If you want to add a bit of visualization, imagine things that make you feel happy or calm when you breathe (a tropical beach or a fairytale cabin?).

Another popular visualization technique is rainbow meditation. Imagine the colors of the rainbow, and with each breath, fill your body with each color, one at a time. As you breathe out, allow yourself to release both the color as well as any tension, distraction, or negativity you may have.

So what does mindfulness have to do with qigong? A little, in fact.

Mindfulness is becoming aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions in the present moment.

When combined, mindfulness meditation and qigong practices can work hand in hand to provide you with healing aid from a self-aware energy flow.

Both focus on your mind, body, and breathing, opening you up to greater self-awareness. The practice of visualization also allows you to access specific thoughts and feelings to anchor yourself in the present moment.


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