May 25, 2023
DISCOVERY + SELF ENQUIRY
The below was written by Moira Gordon, Director of the Yoga For Good Foundation:
Have you heard of qigong? It is a Chinese practice that pre-dates tai chi and is said to have its origins in ancient shamanic traditions, where spontaneous movements bring about certain effects and is known today as a meditative movement practice. The flow of qi is enhanced, similar to vital energy known as prana in yoga.
This practice cultivates ageless grace, vitality and agility and is a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. Traditionally, it supports martial art practice and is an essential part of traditional Chinese medicine. Qigong has a great many styles, with common principles from practically hundreds of systems that came through different lineages.
Attendees of the Good Yoga Day in February were amazed at the similarities between the sessions demonstrating Dru yoga sequences and the five-dimensional flow developed by Simon Borg-Olivier. These yoga systems differ from what is generally known as yoga today, with slower more gentle movements and at times more vigorous movements. The movements have an internal focus on the body as a container of energy with awareness of how energy moves through us, enhanced by hand gestures and conscious breathing. The sessions at our Good Yoga Day had the effect on shifting energy, with body sensation and change of mood, as does qigong with its growth like movements. Both Dru and Simon’s system emphasise ‘energy block release’, moving energy gently through restricted areas, rather than on stretch and release.
“We can be in qigong all the time, in order to stay vibrant and alive,” delicious words that have stayed with me since I viewed a recent Shift Network’s global qigong on-line summit and it encouraged me to look further into qigong principles. The summit showcased many masters who all expressed the benefits of foundation movements, that all go deep to:
Practice is about unlocking the pathways and understanding the mechanisms of this action. There is a profound engagement of the intellect (yi) the attention (shen) and the intention (zhi). Through an activated ‘vertical axis’ of fire-earth-water, when we have achieved alignment we gain insight into our potential, and a number of powerful changes will begin.
This vertical axis is a mental and spiritual alignment that connects all aspects of our being into our body as we practise. Through vertical axis awareness, the flow of energy is optimised and diverted away from the patterns of our past that we no longer need. We accumulate a reserve of power that can protect us against disease and fatigue. In effect, we refine the quality of the energy moving through us; it nourishes our essence and illuminates our spirit.
Qigong represents the alchemy of change in three attributes:
1. Setting intention that is inclusive and greater than ourselves
2. Improved deep listening
3. Standing in our power
I recently recovered from shoulder surgery and, as part of this healing, discovered Marisa Cranfill’s YOQI, a combination of qigong and yoga. The effect is similar to Dru yoga, light and deep and supportive to restore an injured shoulder’s movement over the early months. Marisa describes her style as flowing qi energy through these six phases:
1. Attune – into the physical and earth to align structure.
2. Purge – clear tense and stagnation with twists using the breath.
3. Tonify – use the water element to strengthen your essence by connecting to the organs.
4. Grow – build the qi (wood).
5. Circulate the energy – fire.
These are some of my favourite YOQI practice sessions and a great place to begin exploring:
If you are interested in learning more about traditional Chinese medicine or practising qigong, a good place to start is to talk to your local acupuncturist who can help you with specific focus you might need to heal, then you can research the meridian line or organs that need attention and practise some simple qigong moves. This practice is completely accessible to everyone.
For more insights on restorative practices, yogic philosophy and practice tips, make sure you stay up to date with the Yoga for Good Foundation blog. If you’re interested in joining our monthly online community classes, make sure you register for practice so that you get the login details in your inbox each month.
We are passionate about sharing the joy of practising yoga and offering you an opportunity to connect with your true self on a regular basis.
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Ahimsadhara is an expert teacher and author in yoga for trauma survivors. After teaching War Veterans for many years, she is now focusing on international programs and further writing. In this class, she uses asanas to help with healthy breathing and as a preparation for pranayama and yoga nidra.
Angela is an experienced Yogi and Dru Teacher Trainer, environmental campaigner, peace educator, and avid traveller, always seeking the best methods to promote health through Dru Yoga’s practices. Join Angela on the mat for a simple journey through energy block release, alignment with sequence, asana and mudra to leave you feeling refreshed, inspired and welcoming change.
Our sole mission is to create opportunities to do good for others through yoga.
And we’re making an impact.
…for their incredible contribution to our Life Now Yoga and meditation programs!
This generous donation will mean we can buy new yoga equipment, run a new yoga class in Broome, and enhance our meditation program for cancer patients and their primary carers.Cancer Council Western Australia
Their grant is enabling me to offer FREE trauma informed therapeutic movement and relaxation to frontline mental health and social services staff in Bega.
Participants are really valuing the time out for themselves and experiencing integrated poly vagal theory. And I get to be in a teaching space, yay!PremKranti Counselling
…allows us to reach more underserved and vulnerable community groups who can benefit from a trauma-informed yoga and embodied mindfulness practice at zero cost to the participants.
Some of the community groups we’ll be serving in the current months include 000 Foundation, Men’s Walk and Talk and WAGEC.Yoga on the Inside
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