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Qigong -- China's Answer To Yoga

Nov 8, 2007
Like Yoga from India, the ancient Chinese form of exercise called Qigong has a long and interesting history spanning more than three thousand years. Originating from early tribes that imitated animal movements, it was later recognized as a medicinal form of healing as well as an important aspect of Chinese martial arts.

Qigong was often practiced by Taoist and Buddhist monks for many centuries, who passed down their teachings from master to disciple, giving rise to its secretive and religious connotations. Similar to Yoga, it was frequently practiced as a meditative form of exercise by the monks, enabling them to tap into universal energies for example.

This metaphysical aspect of Qigong can be found in the term itself actually. Qi, after all, literally means "breath" in Chinese, and also means "energy" or "lifeforce". Qigong then refers to the technique of breathing, or harnessing the energy, since inhaling and exhaling are tools which can be used to build up your strength, or lifeforce.

Like Yoga's many different schools, there are many different styles of Qigong as well, more than three thousand in fact. They all aim to rejuvenate one's physical, mental and even spiritual health through various body movements and breathing methods. Compared to the Yoga exercise which is made up of a series of poses, Qigong is characterized by its slow but graceful movements. Both exercises can have their inherent dangers if practiced incorrectly, but in general are relatively safe for most people.

Nowadays, there are many good guides for anyone interested in taking up this path of self-healing and rejuvenation. One book in particular, "Qigong Secrets: An Ancient Chinese Method For Healing And Relaxation", teaches Qigong exercises with clear, easy-to-read instructions and diagrams. These exercises are accompanied by demonstrative names like "Big bear turning side to side" and "Wise owl gazes back". The book also explains how Qigong works and more importantly, its various benefits which range from revitalizing the liver, to alleviating depression and heartburn.

Many forms of Qigong are especially suitable for the elderly due to their non-strenuous, low impact nature. In contrast to the typical aerobic or gym workout, Qigong emphasizes relaxation and controlled breathing instead. In China, Qigong's various health benefits are widely acknowledged and it is common to see various small and large groups of men and women, some in their pajamas, practicing the art every morning in public parks and open spaces.

Though some skeptic scientists argue the need for scientific evidence for making such health claims, many people swear by the therapeutic benefits they have received through practicing Qigong, citing its long lasting history. The Chinese government has also included it as part of its National Health Plan. Unlike Yoga which has become a global phenomenon, however, Qigong is only slowly beginning to enjoy a rise in popularity beyond its borders.

The rise in popularity of Qigong can be seen in the increasing number of its classes being offered all over the country. Corporate types, or people with certain injuries who can't handle more strenuous forms of exercise, find it a comfortable and useful method for toning the body, or de-stressing after a day at the office.
About the Author
3 years ago,Estevan was a frail and sickly person who visited the doctor almost once a month for various ailments.One day she discovered Qigong Secrets )and became a practitioner.Today,she's the healthiest person in her workplace,going more than 468 days without sick leave.
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