by Lauren Swanger, holistic health enthusiast and research journalist
What is Qigong, or breath awareness?
Qigong is actually made up of two Chinese words. Qi (chee) is translated to mean “the life force or vital-energy that flows through all things in the universe.” The second word, gong (gung) means skill attained through practice. Qigong integrates breathing, physicality, and focus. Its techniques are designed to improve and enhance the body’s qi. Breath is life, and life is breath. But to say that qigong is “just breathing” is far too simplistic. It underscores the importance of controlled breathing and mindful intent to complement physical movement. When physical movement is combined with proper breathing and focus, the benefit of exercise is increased significantly.
People who regularly practice qigong do so to maintain their health, clear their minds, and reunite with their spirit. It is an essential part of the mind, body, and spirit’s connection. Qigong promotes better health regardless of a person’s age, life circumstance, disability, or spiritual beliefs. It can be practiced anywhere and needs no special equipment. Practiced regularly it will help to: channel energy, improve physical balance, develop better concentration, reduce stress, and bring to one’s life an overall sense of calm.