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Qigong: The New Age Yoga?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

At the center of almost of every ancient culture are several energy building and energy equalizing exercises, or mediation-cum-exercising routines, that have evolved over several centuries.

India has its Yoga and Tai chi is very popular in China. Qigong is an older generation of sequences of body movements that are graceful but which build inner mental focus as well as balanced abdominal breathing, which creates in the person the proverbial ultimate vital energy, referred to as the Qi.

Qigong, also known as Chi Kung, is the process of achieving the trinity of a relationship, consisting of the confluence of the spirit, energy and matter. Almost all martial arts believe the ultimate goal of all their practice is achieving the ultimate energy, or Qi. Ancient Chinese society practiced Qigong in several forms. Medically Qigong is used to prevent and cure several ailments. To the martial artists, qigong is a practical training sequence to achieve all martial capabilities. Both Taoists as well as Buddhists follow it to achieve deep meditation.

All the various ancient streams were synthesized into the modern interpretation as introduced during the Cultural Revolution. However, four main types of training continue today – dynamic, static, meditative as well as external support aids. With dynamic training, the movements are well choreographed and seek physical as well as mental disciplines. Tai chi is perhaps one of the most popular of the methods. In the meditative type of training, a particular posture is maintained and visualization is made of philosophical concepts that keep the Qi moving within the body. In the fourth type of Qigong training, external agents are involved such as herbs, physical manipulation as well as interactions with living organisms. Ideally, qigong is composed of one or the other type of training.

Qigong is popular as Chinese yoga and has graceful body movements, focused mind set as well as very deep breathing that originates from the abdomen. The free movement of the energy will lead to vital energy, or Qi, that is effective as well as evolved. This ancient practice is what the modern Chinese athletes are fast adapting to in order to enhance their inner energy. The slow and graceful movements are fascinating athletes in far away California to help achieve the internal space gracefully and peacefully.

According to experts, when Qigong is slow and graceful it is the modern Tai chi and in the faster methods it is tantamount to Kung Fu. Qigong is the typical feature of Eastern cultures that banks on the use of energy to create internal well-being. Most western cultures, on the other hand, concentrate on the mechanics or the creation of energy or matter and the mass it creates. A typical Qigong procedure would involve a combination of the four training types from the meditative to the physical manipulation to help the body achieve both physical as well as mental peace, bringing about greater internal energy that is the core of our being. The West would call it vital energy, while the East sees it as the inner energy or breath that will lead the body to achieve the rightful path throughout our everyday lives.

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