Qigong: An ancient exercise perfect for home-based practitioners

Perhaps you don’t have a lot of time for exercise but you want to incorporate a simple routine into your day. Or maybe you live in a small condo unit or you only have a tiny space that you can use as an exercise area but are determined to find a way to exercise. 

Some people don’t have the budget to buy exercise equipment or pay for courses but are serious about getting fit through exercise. And yet there are those who may be advanced in years or suffering from illness or disability and are not able to run or do an intense workout but still want to be physically active.

If you are one of these people, consider qigong (chi-gung), a gentle movement practice that originated from China thousands of years ago. Aside from slow movements, qigong involves breathing and visualization/relaxation, making it a holistic workout for body, mind and spirit.

A small space is enough

It is ideal to do qigong exercises outdoors to get the full benefit of the healthy morning sun and fresh air. But if this is not possible, one can do qigong exercises in the house, inside a tiny room even. No special equipment or clothing is necessary, and no previous training or expertise is required. It is generally safe for all — young people, senior citizens, and those who are sick or suffering from disabilities. Best of all, it is free and simple enough for anyone to follow.

Regular practice = great benefits

There have been numerous studies that confirm the various health benefits arising from the practice of qigong. These benefits include the following: more energy; reduced stress, fatigue and anxiety; improved strength and flexibility; better sleep and immunity; healthier heart and blood pressure; stronger bones and better balance; and greater focus; among other things.

However, one must remember that changes don’t happen overnight. Regular practice for a considerable length of time is necessary to experience dramatic benefits. It is important to learn how to execute the forms properly and to breathe correctly. Cultivating a relaxed and clear mind is also necessary.

An invitation

Since we are in the midst of a pandemic, the best way to learn qigong is to look for videos and guides online. A good resource would be the daily shibashi Zoom sessions with Eyo Morales and Mel Gaddi. A new Zoom link is sent out each day before the 9:00 a.m. qigong community practice.

Shibashi is just one of many qigong routines. Tai chi is also a form of qigong; it has several styles, with various forms arising out of the different styles. A beginner may start with shibashi or a basic tai chi form like the Yang Style 10 Forms. You can find many instructional videos on these online.

Set up your qigong space by cleaning it and removing clutter. If it will help you relax, try to create a peaceful atmosphere by playing some calming music. Clear your mind, breathe naturally, and focus on the experience. May you find bliss in your daily practice.