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What is Chi Gong?

Story Highlights

  • Ancient Chinese healthcare technique
  • Practiced for healing and increasing vitality
  • Regulates blood pressure, lowers heart disease risk
  • There are various Chi Gong exercises for all ages
  • Improves skin tone, kidney function, memory

Chi Gong is an ancient Chinese healthcare system that incorporates breathing techniques, physical postures and focused intention.

Chi Gong is an traditional Chinese exercise regime practiced for thousands of years. It integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. The words ‘Chigong’ are made up of two words; ‘Chi’ is pronounced Chee and is usually translated to mean the life force or vital energy that flows through all things in the Universe. In Japanese, the word is ‘Ki’, and in Indian culture, it’s called ‘Prana’. The second word, “Gong”, is pronounced gung, and it means accomplishment or skill that is cultivated through steady practice. Together, Chi gong means cultivating energy – a system practiced for health maintenance, healing and increasing vitality. Practice of Chi gong requires integration of physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intentions.

There are various kinds of Chi gong practices that you may choose from, to see which suits you best.

Dynamic Qigong

Take deep abdominal breaths, aligning them with slow and rhythmic body movements.

Have a look at our “Introduction to Chi Gong” video with our master instructor, Khalid Shahzad Khan.

Static Qigong

This type of Chi gong involves deep abdominal breathing while maintaining a specific, stationary body posture.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a type of specialized Chi Gong that is an internal system of Chinese Kung Fu. Chi gong offers simple to perform set of exercises that can be done by anyone of any age. One is given below for anyone to practice:

Five-finger Chi Gong exercise for immediate stress relief

  • Start by sitting cross-legged with your back straight
  • Place both your hands on your knees, with palms facing upward
  • Your thumb and forefinger must touch
  • Breathe deeply through your nose, while touching your tongue with the upper palate keeping your mouth closed.
  • Try to fill your abdomen and then your chest
  • Inhale slowly to the rhythm of “1… 2… 3…”, and then slowly exhale all the air out of your nose, while counting “4… 5… 6… 7…”
  • Continue to breathe very slowly and deeply for a few minutes, and do not force the breath in or out. Do it slow, deep and easy.
  • Next step is to touch your thumb with the tip of the middle finger and continue breathing abdominally for about a minute.
  • After a minute, touch your thumb with the tip of the ring finger and continue breathing slowly and deeply. Focus solely on your breathing to shut down any thoughts and empty your mind.
  • Then join the tips of your thumb and little finger and continue the same pattern for breathing.
  • Try to take longer breaths this time and remain in this position for a couple of minutes.

Practicing Chi Gong regularly can significantly regulate blood pressure, while lowering risk of heart diseases. It also improves joint functions, and strengthens organs and nerves. Some other benefits include:

  • Improved kidney function
  • Builds immunity
  • Decreases stroke risk
  • Improves skin tone
  • Improves brain function / memory
  • Increases physical strength
  • Relieves stress and anxiety
  • Balances emotions
  • Calms the mind
  • Increases focus and concentration
  • Improves flexibility

There are a wide variety of Chi Gong practices available, varying from simple, internal forms to the more complex and challenging external styles. These are designed to interest and benefit everyone, from the most physically challenged to the super athletic. There are Chi Gong classes for children, senior citizens, and every age group in between. Since Chi Gong can be practiced anywhere or at any time, there is no need to buy special clothing or to join a health club to practice.

If you are looking to begin practicing this ancient art, find a style that you feel comfortable with and develop a consistent daily practice routine. It is recommended that you stay with a form for at least 100 days. A consistent practice is the most important asset you can develop.

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