This post was written by our community partner Courtney Alex
When people ask about the benefits of Qigong, I almost don’t know what to say. If you ask several of my teachers, they’d laugh and say, ‘Qigong is good for everything!’ and what an understatement that is. Over the last 10 years of my practice, it’s been like an entire life makeover, from body to soul and back again. It’s reshaped my relationships, my body, and the way I respond to challenges and stress.
So, how can a movement technique be good for everything?
Qigong is one of the five branches of Chinese Medicine along with nutrition, massage, acupuncture, and herbs. In the Taoist philosophy that underlies Chinese Medicine, it’s said that we are born healthy and whole. And so, our body – including our mental and emotional state – knows how to find balance and return to health. Qigong is a practice meant to help restore the body back to our health, in all ways.
Similar to acupuncture, Qigong moves energy through Acupressure points and Meridian lines, Some use visualization and color, sound, even texture to help our body balance out. The most amazing part is that we do this theough movement, learning with each practice how to re-balance and restore our health. In a Qigong class, we learn to let go of holding tension, to let energy move freely instead. Our bodies cam then return to their natural rhythm.
In my experience, this has meant learning to let go of stress and tension patterns such as squeezing my shoulders and holding my breath when the stress of modern life, well…happens. Whereas this would have caused stiffness, mental fog or fatigue in the past, I now find myself breathing into my center when challenges come so I can face them with more clarity. I hear from so many students that class gives them insight, even a big breakthrough, about how to better support their health or move through a challenge they’re facing.
So, how can Qigong be good for everything? When we learn to move through life while letting go of tension, our bodies are more free to be in their natural state of health – and that includes physical, emotional, and mental health. With every practice, we get more familiar with this way of being.
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More about the author: In understanding how to balance my own chi or energy, how to comfortably sense energy around me, and the response to it within, it seems there is a deeper story to everything. And through the many challenges I have had to date – from health crises to relationship and career transformations – I can see how valuable it is to learn to balance my own energy, connect to my own well of wisdom, and decipher the messages buried within. I feel truly lit up when I am able to share this with others where I live now on Maui and beyond.