Qigong: A practice to feel vibrant and alive

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:

  • accept the vulnerability of the possibility
  • create the space of potentiality
  • move obstacles so we can advocate without aggression
  • practise and take these attributes out into the world.

An intellectual, attention and intention practice

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

  • I do this practice to live longer and enjoy my family.
  • I am practising for my home and to be more engaged in my community.

2. Improved deep listening

  • Resolve conflict.
  • Let go of what we believe is being said.
  • Find greater energy to heal ourselves (forgive in a way that is good for us).

3. Standing in our power

  • Commitment.
  • Affirmations to remind us we are on a journey and invite the universe to join in.

Qigong to restore injuries

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.

6. Integrate.

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.

Community yoga classes

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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Free
22nd March 2024 12:30pm (AEDT)

Hatha Community Class with Ahimsa Helen Cushing

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.

Free
22nd April 2024 12:30PM (AEST)

Dru Yoga Community Class with Angela Baker

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.

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