Understanding the Qi in QiGong
QiGong - simply means energy (qi - pronounced chee) and work or cultivation (kung or gong). So, when we practice qigong, we are cultivating energy. Jing is inherited qi. This is the qi that we get from our parents and is stored in the kidneys. As we enter into life, we take our first breath and Kong qi (breath qi) mixes with jing qi. In the winter, our energy or qi returns to the kidneys where it is protected through the cold winter months and begins to rise again to the surface in Spring. Qi moves from the kidneys to the liver in spring and from the liver to the heart in the summer, becoming more external before sinking again through the fall and winter.
In QiGong, we work primarily with breath qi which gets converted to zhen qi (true qi) or what we in the west simply call qi. Qi strengthens the body. Qi depletion leads to a weak body. So, by cultivating or nurturing qi, we build a strong body.
It is the slow, gentle pulling and stretching of soft tissues that allows the muscles in spasm, or muscles that are tight from over compensating, to loosen and relax. This stretching progressively relaxes the joints and increases the range of motion of the joints. As activity of joints improves, one is able to gradually and eventually recover to normal activity. Increased qi flow and blood flow to the area aids in the natural recovery and healing of the body.
When starting out with qigong, it is best to practice simple movements for short periods of time scattered throughout the day. This builds strength and stamina.
To maintain one's current level of health, qigong should be practiced at least 3 times a week. For healing and improved health, it is recommended to practice qigong at least 5 times a week if not daily. Practicing several times a day every day will reap the most benefits and lead to improved longevity.
The progressive continued practice of qigong will result in higher levels of physical health and overall fitness.