Qigong For Rookies: How an Historical Chinese language Follow Can Enhance Your Well being

Qigong For Rookies: How an Historical Chinese language Follow Can Enhance Your Well being

Interested by cultivating a mindfulness follow that isn’t fairly as rigorous as yoga? Qigong (pronounced “chee-gong”) could be the modality for you. This historical Chinese language artwork combines intentional breath, mild motion, and meditation to focus the thoughts, promote rest, and enhance mobility.

Whereas qigong’s origins are deeply rooted in conventional Chinese language medication—which additionally encompasses acupuncture and natural treatments for illnesses—its recognition has grown far outdoors the medical discipline. Right this moment, qigong is practiced by individuals of all backgrounds all over the world and is especially fashionable amongst aged populations as a result of its repute for enhancing steadiness, mobility, and temper.

Grasp plant-based cooking with Forks

Spring Sale! Up To 50% Off Our Programs
For A Restricted Time

This information to qigong for newbie’s provides you a radical have a look at what it’s prefer to follow qigong, an outline of its philosophical and non secular underpinnings, and a science-backed examination of the way it can increase your well being.

Desk of Contents:

What Are the Origins of Qigong?

The first intent of a qigong follow is kind of actually expressed within the two Chinese language characters that make up the phrase: “Qi” interprets to “lifeforce vitality,” whereas “gong” means “to skillfully domesticate.” Collectively, qigong is the follow of cultivating and honing your lifeforce vitality. For those who’re a yoga practitioner, qi is just like the idea of prana, which is seen because the non secular energetic present that flows by way of all issues. Each traditions use particular respiration and motion methods to encourage a robust “circulate” of vitality to help a wholesome physique, thoughts, and coronary heart.

Qigong originated in China round 2146 B.C. and was closely influenced by Daoist philosophy, significantly the idea that concord with nature is of the utmost significance. The primary bodily manifestation of qigong started as a collection of workouts that imitated the actions of animals. These workouts related individuals to their surroundings, honored the pure world, and helped ease an aching physique after an extended day of labor.

“Nature influences and informs quite a lot of the qigong practices,” explains Martha Blane, a Zhineng qigong instructor at Qigong For Life, who’s studied the follow for 20 years. “In a single train you could be shifting like a fowl, so your focus might be fully enveloped in embodying this picture of the fowl’s wings and feeling that lightness in your physique.”

Qigong later integrated an understanding of the physique’s vitality meridians utilized in acupuncture to assist stimulate sure organs or launch stagnant vitality that was believed to trigger illness. As qigong developed over the centuries, it underwent tons of of various iterations which have led to the various totally different types practiced at the moment. Whereas nuances abound in qigong, most practices fall into one in every of three classes: medical qigong (which focuses on enhancing your total well being and eradicating illness, usually solely accomplished by a medical skilled ), martial qigong (which focuses on creating energy and agility, reminiscent of tai chi), and non secular qigong (which focuses on cultivating internal consciousness).

Conventional Chinese language medication holds that an individual is most wholesome when their qi, or lifeforce vitality, is plentiful and flowing. Qi might be impaired by unhealthy meals, emotional misery, a foul residence or work surroundings, or overworking/underworking the physique. The mix of intentional respiration, motion, and mediation in qigong is supposed to revive homeostasis to your qi.

“As you follow increasingly you find yourself dwelling in a qigong state, which is the state of feeling related, centered, and grounded,” says Blane. “It’s such as you’re floating down the center of a river, not being drawn to 1 aspect or the opposite. Your feelings keep extra balanced and harmonized.”

What Are the Predominant Parts of a Qigong Follow?

Blane explains that there are 4 foremost parts that perform because the constructing blocks of most qigong practices. Collectively, they permit the physique and thoughts to drop into the current second and domesticate a extra compassionate, related, and aware relationship with the self.

  1. Intention

To reap the complete advantages of qigong, it’s necessary to clear the thoughts of distractions earlier than you begin shifting and respiration. It’s regular for the thoughts to stray all through your follow, however regularly and gently bringing your focus again to the sensations in your physique and high quality of your vitality will flip every session right into a shifting meditation.

  1. Breath

Deep, diaphragmatic breaths are an important element of all qigong workouts. Many workouts encourage a sample of sluggish inhales by way of the nostril and elongated exhales by way of the mouth. This breath sample helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the thoughts and relaxes the physique. Actively partaking your breath is believed to assist flow into qi by way of the energetic meridians of your physique and assist open up blockages or stagnation which are stopping steadiness.

  1. Dantian (vitality facilities)

In qigong philosophy, the physique holds three main vitality facilities known as dantian. They’re believed to carry concentrated quantities of qi, which might be honed and strengthened by bringing sustained consideration, motion, and breath to every vitality heart.

  • The decrease dantian is positioned under the stomach button and is claimed to carry jing, a kind of qi that’s believed to be an individual’s genetic essence, the vitality supply from which our our bodies develop and develop from the time of conception.
  • The center dantian is positioned within the heart of the chest and is taken into account the house of qi, which nourishes and helps the organs by way of all of the issues we eat, reminiscent of meals and media.
  • The higher dantian is said to the third eye and corresponds to a common non secular vitality known as shen, which is claimed to assist us assume clearly, make smart selections, and act justly.Many qigong practices deal with cultivating energy in all three vitality facilities, ranging from the underside and shifting upward, to create a wholesome circulate of vitality from the underside up.

Many qigong practices deal with cultivating energy in all three vitality facilities, ranging from the underside and shifting upward, to create a wholesome circulate of vitality from the underside up.

  1. Motion

Qigong might be each a singular train and a related sample of actions. For those who solely have 5 minutes within the morning, you’ll be able to repeat a single approach a number of instances and nonetheless really feel the advantages. For those who take a full class, you’ll study many various actions which are typically purposely interlinked to encourage a selected bodily or energetic profit.

Whereas this would possibly sound difficult, all these foundational ideas are meant to maneuver you towards one purpose: a state of larger calm and readability. “The principle two ideas I train are ‘loosen up’ and ‘broaden your thoughts,’” says Blane. “We work on stress-free the physique, coronary heart, and thoughts to let go of all of the chatter. We don’t goal for an empty thoughts however as an alternative a state of being the place you’ll be able to simply watch your ideas with out turning into them. As you loosen up, then you’ll be able to broaden your consciousness outward and see issues clearly. That’s the qigong state—being concurrently relaxed and expansive.”

Qigong vs.Tai Chi: What Is the Distinction?

Qigong is the precursor to tai chi and might be seen because the great-grandmother of all different practices that work with cultivating qi, or lifeforce vitality. Tai chi is included below the bigger umbrella of qigong as a result of it mixes conventional vitality management methods with martial arts. Extra just lately, tai chi has developed to be much less about defensive abilities and extra of a fluid motion follow that develops flexibility, steadiness, stamina, and management within the pursuit of higher well being. Qigong is usually extra static than tai chi within the sense that the workouts don’t essentially circulate right into a sequence of repetitive actions. However the largest distinction lies within the authentic goal: Whereas tai chi is historically structured as a protecting martial artwork, qigong doesn’t emphasize fight.

Is Qigong Secure to Follow?

Qigong is a really mild train that’s protected to follow and has only a few contraindications. Nonetheless, individuals who have hassle balancing or are prone to falling could need to follow a seated model of the workouts, since a average degree of coordination and muscle engagement are required to maneuver by way of the postures. As at all times, you must seek the advice of your physician earlier than beginning any new train routine.

“There is just one sort of one that shouldn’t do qigong,” says Blane. “And that’s an individual who isn’t open to the expertise. In the event that they’re going to stroll into class with a crucial thoughts, they shouldn’t be there. It gained’t do any hurt after all, however they possible gained’t see the advantages.”

What Are the Well being Advantages of Qigong?

Since its inception greater than two millennia in the past, practitioners have credited qigong with aiding many various bodily and psychological illnesses, however solely just lately has fashionable science seemed on the claims. Whereas there may be nonetheless extra analysis to be accomplished, a major variety of peer-reviewed research present constructive well being outcomes amongst individuals who frequently follow it. Let’s check out a few of the commonest well being circumstances it’s been proven to enhance.

Stress, Anxiousness, and Despair

A number of analysis critiques, together with a 2021 meta-analysis of the psychological influence of qigong on adolescents, have discovered correlations between an everyday qigong follow and improved psychological well being, though researchers emphasize the necessity for bigger and extra methodologically rigorous research. A evaluate of 15 research from 2013 concluded that melancholy and total high quality of life had been the 2 strongest areas of enchancment, and a 2011 randomized managed trial discovered qigong to be comparable with cognitive behavioral remedy for decreasing signs of scientific melancholy. Moreover, a 2020 research discovered sufferers with a historical past of drug abuse reported a major lower in nervousness signs after partaking in a qigong follow, and it was discovered to be as efficient as their normal therapy for melancholy.


In a 2016 randomized managed trial, qigong improved sleep period, sleep effectivity, and psychological well being amongst a bunch of cognitively impaired older adults who struggled with insomnia. The experimental group participated in two months of standard qigong lessons, and researchers discovered that the constructive impacts on sleep endured even 4 months after individuals stopped training qigong. A 2018 research discovered that Baduanjin qigong (one of the vital widespread branches of qigong) relieved musculoskeletal ache in adults with power sickness, which in flip lessened their insomnia signs.

Parkinson’s Illness

A 2020 meta-analysis discovered {that a} constant qigong follow considerably improved the motor signs, strolling capacity, and steadiness of individuals with Parkinson’s compared with a management group of Parkinson’s sufferers who didn’t partake in qigong. A research from 2022 discovered that qigong helped enhance the vary of movement in sufferers’ decrease limbs and could also be indicated as a non-pharmacological intervention for Parkinson’s.

Ache Reduction

A 2018 research discovered qigong to be efficient for relieving power neck ache, though not essentially simpler than conventional train therapies. The researchers famous that the low price and relative ease of training qigong at residence make it possibility for these managing power ache. A 2020 evaluation reported that qigong provided important enhancements in ache, stiffness, and bodily perform for sufferers coping with knee osteoarthritis, though the research authors famous that additional analysis is required to completely assess the influence.

Steadiness and Coordination

A 2020 research monitored a 12-week qigong class for a bunch of practically 100 older adults and noticed important enchancment of their steadiness and gait on the conclusion of the course, particularly amongst individuals of their 60s and 70s.

Cardiovascular Well being

A 2020 evaluation of a number of randomized management trials of sufferers managing power coronary heart failure discovered that tai chi and qigong practices offered superior enhancements in restoration and rehabilitation in contrast with sufferers who solely practiced common train. Researchers concluded that qigong is a promising supplemental remedy to enhance coronary heart well being.


A 2021 evaluate checked out information from greater than 350 sufferers and found that their blood strain diminished considerably after a qigong follow in contrast with a management group that didn’t have interaction in qigong. One other 2021 research confirmed that in contrast with no train, qigong had important constructive results on each systolic and diastolic blood strain, and the researchers posited that it might have a fair larger impact if the follow was stored up for longer durations of time.

Immune System

Qigong helps cut back psychological and bodily stress, which in flip reduces pressure on the immune system. A 2020 meta-analysis discovered that training qigong had helpful physiological results on the immune system by decreasing irritation and stimulating immune cell responses.

What Is It Prefer to Follow Qigong?

The idea of strengthening your lifeforce vitality can simply sound summary, so I took two digital lessons with Blane to really feel it in my very own physique. Whereas I’d by no means tried qigong earlier than, I’m a yoga instructor and was capable of decide up on the similarities (and variations) between the 2 practices. Right here’s what it was prefer to follow qigong as a complete newbie.

Class 1: Breath As Medication

Blane’s first-class emphasised qigong respiration methods, very like pranayama workouts you would possibly discover in a yoga class. Earlier than specializing in our breath we warmed up the physique and began shifting our qi by frivolously tapping up and down our limbs, twisting our torsos side-to-side, and shifting our arms in a round movement that felt like choreography from a kung fu film. After this mild awakening of the bodily physique, we sat all the way down to deal with totally different respiration methods. One concerned alternate-nostril respiration to advertise calm, whereas one other included quick and sharp bursts of inhales and exhales to extend our alertness. In between every breathwork spherical I used to be instructed to therapeutic massage my head with sweeping motions that began at my eyebrows and moved up and over my scalp. (This seemed like when a cat or a rabbit cleans its head with its paws.)

Respiration deeply from my diaphragm for practically 40 minutes was extremely calming, and my prior information of yogic pranayama practices helped me keep centered. My thoughts and physique felt clear and mellow after class, and my mind, which may typically be filled with racing ideas, was a lot calmer for just a few hours after the follow.

Class 2: Discovering Steadiness

The second class was rather more movement-based and centered on the theme of steadiness. Blane guided us by way of a seated opening meditation that left my whole physique feeling pliable and wiggly. It was mid-February, and Blane spoke to us in regards to the altering of the seasons from winter to spring. She talked about how the continuous cycles of nature train us to domesticate the steadiness and suppleness to circulate from one chapter of life to the subsequent.

After grounding into our our bodies with a meditation, we stood as much as open the vitality meridians in our our bodies by tapping on totally different acupressure factors. This left me feeling energized and alert, and I might really feel a tingling sensation beneath my pores and skin that’s just like how I really feel after just a few solar salutations in a yoga class. We then moved onto extra round, flowing workouts that intently linked breath to motion. One train, known as Crane Neck, helped relieve stress within the neck and shoulders that may typically construct up from working a desk job. Two different workouts engaged our sense of steadiness by difficult us to face on one leg as we circled the floating ankle or by transferring our weight onto our tiptoes whereas our arms moved in choreographed patterns.

Class ended with a standing meditation that concerned holding static upright postures for a minute or so every. We then bowed to one another, and the follow was over. I felt prepared to leap right into a full day of labor as quickly because it was accomplished. The tightness that may typically creep into my physique after an evening of stressed sleep was a lot alleviated, and any mind fog I awoke with was nonexistent. Whereas I didn’t really feel as bodily stretched out as I do after a yoga class, I knew the purpose was to enliven my vitality extra so than to maneuver my muscular tissues, and Blane’s class delivered precisely that.

How Do I Begin a Qigong Follow?

Curious to provide qigong a attempt however not able to put money into a category? Observe together with bite-sized routines by way of YouTube movies. We’ve curated just a few of our favourite movies that display qigong for freshmen to get you heading in the right direction:

  1. Find out how to Really feel Nice In 10 Minutes – Newbie Qigong Routine


  1. 7 Minute Qigong Routine – Straightforward Newbie Follow to Invigorate the Qi


  1. 3 Greatest Qi Gong Workout routines for Rookies


For those who determine this can be a follow you take pleasure in, the subsequent step is discovering a instructor you’ll be able to persistently follow with and study from, so begin by Googling qigong lessons close to you. Daoist temples or organizations typically host free or low-cost lessons, and there are many academics who present digital choices so you’ll be able to study within the consolation of your individual residence. You should definitely at all times examine a instructor’s credentials to see the place they studied, who has influenced their follow, and what type of qigong they concentrate on. The one factor left to do then is preserve a gentle follow, and observe how qigong modifications your life!

Qigong For Rookies: How an Historical Chinese language Follow Can Enhance Your Well being


Learn More →