by Steve Whan
Qigong comes from two Chinese words: Qi (chi) means energy and gong (kung) which means a skill or a practice. Qigong therefore means a skill or practice of cultivating energy.
Qigong is famous in China for curing chronic disease and promoting health. For thousands of years millions of people have benefited from Qigong practices and believed that improving the function of Qi maintains health and heals disease. In traditional Chinese medicine, good health is a result of a free flowing, well-balanced energy system.
Regular practice of Qigong is believed to cleanse the body of toxins, restore energy, reduce stress and anxiety, and help individuals maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. There are thousands of Qigong methods. One of the most popular forms is Universal Standing Post. Please give this a try:
- Feet are parallel and shoulder width apart when measured on the outside of the feet.
- The knees are bent so that if a straight and vertical line were drawn from your knees to the ground, it would touch the tip of the big toe.
- The back is vertical and as straight as possible given that the back is never fully straight. You must sink straight down and not bend the back backwards at all. This is one big mistake that most people make.
- The chin is held pulled in slightly but not forced and the tongue is placed up onto the hard palate like saying the letter 'L'.
- The eyes are not closed nor are they fully open (staring). They will look to the ground about 20 feet away.
- The shoulders are dropped naturally and the arms are held such that you are sort of hugging a tree with the elbows dropped below the wrists and shoulders.
- The palms are turned out slightly so that they are at an angle of 45 degrees to the ground with a straight line of skin but not stretched between thumb and forefinger.
- The fingers of each palm are held about three inches apart. The upper side of the forefingers should be in line with the under side of your nose.
- The buttocks are held slightly under naturally as this is the natural position for the lower back when the knees are bent. Do not force the bum under as this is just as bad as sticking it out.
- The toes are held slightly but not as much as to turn your toes white, concave. Like as if they are gripping the ground.
- Breathing should be deep but relaxed and not forced. In the beginning, you should always use a natural breathing pattern where the abdomen expands upon inhalation and contracts upon exhalation. You breathe with your diaphragm and not your neck.
You should try to hold this posture for 10-15 minutes. This might be difficult, however it will be worth it. You will begin to shake, not violently but a vibration will take over your whole body and you will begin to perspire from your palms and fingertips.
After some minutes, check your posture again to make sure that you haven't slowly crept up and your knees are still bent. You should simply but with much difficulty, think upon nothing at all! Just do nothing, no conscious thought at all -- this is the secret to good Qigong.
The 100 day bet:
Gong also means a long period of daily effort. For instance, you can do something for 100 days and accomplish one gong. Do the Universal Standing Post for 100 days -- keep track on a calendar -- and see for yourself if it makes a difference to your health and well-being!