Balancing and harmonizing the human being as a whole, strengthening brain functions, developing psychic powers, but also working on character formation and improving the state of mental and physical health: this is where the Qi Gong, a millennial energy discipline based on coordination between movements from the inner center (dantien) with the breath, leads to. Introduced in the fifth century in the Shaolin monastery in China by the Indian Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, this form of ancestral gymnastics is composed of slow and soft movements associated with concentration and control of breathing, postures and stretches – also present in Chinese medicine and in the Taoist tradition – which lead to the flow and control of the vital energy to find inner harmony.
If “controlling energy” is its essence, “the right practice” is one of its foundations. The effort causes pain and overcoming its own limits can be harmful and prevent from moving with awareness. To achieve balance and space alignment, therefore, gentle and regular movements that allow to accumulate qi (vital energy) are necessary. The Qui gong is precisely this: the art of cultivating Qi, increasing it, strengthening it and refining it, through external and spiritual techniques that have positive effects not only on the body’s organs, but also on the nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system. In the “static” and “dynamic” version, this discipline is also often included in wellness programs that include Taoist exercises and self-massages – useful for improving internal breathing and for strengthening energy – and the practice of Tai chi chuan. As a Taoist metaphor reminds us, “practicing Qi gong without studying tai chi chuan is like wanting to make a powerful machine go without putting gas in it”.
Where Qi Gong can be practiced?
Lands of balance and regeneration, places of peace and wellbeing, spaces where time has a flow unknown to most people and the natural cycles of sun and moon mark the rhythm of the day: Thailand and Vietnam are the ideal scenery to approach the practice of Qi Gong which, born in China, has rapidly spread to countries in the rest of the East. The art of slow movement and the cult of energy control has then crossed the natural boundaries of its origins contaminating cultures apparently distant from the one in which it has its roots, like the European one.
See here My Ideal Traveling programs for Qi Gong