Understanding Qigong

Qigong meditation is its healing counterpart, an ancient practice that also moves energy or chi throughout the body, to remove blockages and restore vitality.

This is a type of meditative practice that translates to “life energy cultivation.” It is considered a spiritual technique that is designed to unify the body, breath, and mind. It is deeply rooted in Chinese medicine and the goal is to cultivate and balance “qi” (chi) energy. It is a practice that is incorporated by various philosophies including: Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.

Qigong is generally done while moving slowly, with coordination and specific breathing to elicit a calm state of awareness. Many people practice Qigong for recreation and/or relaxation benefit as opposed to spiritual enlightenment. It is considered a form of exercise as well as alternative medicine. It has also been practiced for thousands of years and in a variety of different ways.

How it’s done: Assuming you want to learn Qigong, your best bet is to learn from an advanced instructor or watch a tutorial DVD. When starting out, you should learn the basics and strive to keep things as simple as possible. Once you master the basics, then you can move on to some intermediate or advanced practices.

When starting out you may focus on some simple movements and breathing patterns with awareness and/or visualization. Chanting or the usage of sound is also common in this type of practice. You’ll want to work with an instructor to get a better understanding of “softness” of gaze, stance solidity, relaxation, and general balancing.

If you’re in the more advanced stages of Qigong, you may focus on incorporating equanimity, tranquillity, and stillness. Those that are highly advanced in Qigong generally are able to perform the practice with minimal motion. Before starting Qigong, do some research and identify the type you’d like to practice – some are more related to martial arts, while others are more geared towards those seeking spiritual development.

If we’re specifically talking about the meditation, you could practice Qigong in a seated format. Get comfortable and balance your body, maintaining a sense of centeredness. Next focus on relaxing your entire body as deeply as possible. Followed by physical and internal relaxation of the body, you then focus on your breathing to enhance its depth, length, and softness.

Your mind should become calm once you’ve softened your breathing. After this, you can direct focus towards the “lower dantien” which has been described as your body’s “root.” Think of it as your centre of gravity. As you focus on the lower dantien (located three finger widths below the navel and two finger widths behind the navel), you build up more “qi” (energy).

By focusing on this exact spot, you are building up more “energy” for your body. Simply feel the energy circulating throughout your body as it builds up and maintain focus on the lower dantien.