Center Yourself with QiGong

Pedram Shojai
3 min readMay 12, 2021

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The Urban Monk

When the world gets a little crazy, I turn to the practice of Qi Gong to help center my mind, body, and spirit.

You’ve probably heard the term Qi Gong and may not know what it is or what it does.

I want to share some insights into how this practice can help you focus inward when everything around you feels like it’s out of control.

Let’s start with the meaning of the two words.

Qi (pronounced “Chee”) can be translated as “life force”, “energy”, or “vital breath”.

Gong (pronounced “Kung”) is more of a general term meaning “work” or “skill”. Together, they can mean “energy work” or “breathing skill”.

Qi Gong can be described as a Body-Mind-Spirit practice based on movement, intention, and breathing.

It is a practice of self-cultivation to bring about a more harmonized internal state, leading to feelings of peace, love, happiness, and bliss. It can be used to improve physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health.

All at the same time.

By moving through various motions and breathing techniques, you activate and circulate qi throughout your body, which opens and smooths the flow of energy through the acupuncture meridians.

(Meridians are pathways, connecting various acupuncture points, which carry blood and qi to or away from vital organs in the body.)

This leads to…

Calming the mind; awakening (or furthering the development of) spiritual energy; clearing stress; detoxifying the blood and body; releasing negative emotions; energizing the system; releasing tension and stiffness in muscles; supporting the lymphatic system; increasing lung capacity, providing more oxygen for optimal functioning; harmonizing the nervous system; facilitating communication between conscious and unconscious mind; and promoting overall health and healing.

Phew!

Qi Gong can be seen as not only a style of meditation but also philosophy and medicine in its own right.

In Eastern traditions, “medicine” is understood as anything that helps.

Combining meditation, philosophy, and medicine is a truly holistic approach.

There are thousands of styles of Qi Gong which generally fall into three categories — martial, medical, and spiritual. At the root of all of these styles is the pursuit of balance between Yin and Yang.

The earliest reference to Qi Gong dates back to the period of The Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti, who may have reigned as early as 2700 B.C.

Historians have found records of Qi Gong movements and dances to ward off illnesses dating back at least 5,000 years.

The term Qi Gong didn’t become generalized until the 20th century. For a more in-depth history of the formation of Qi Gong, click here!

I’ll leave you with this...

In traditional Chinese medicine, stagnation is seen as the cause of all pain, sickness, fatigue, and disease.

By moving and circulating qi, our bodies stay healthy. Lao-Tzu says it best in his work, the Tao Te Ching, “Truly, to be hard and stiff is the way of death; To be soft and supple is the way of life.”

There are a lot of great resources out there that you can use right at home with no previous skills needed.

Here’s one from my archives where I teach a simple exercise to relieve stress. Check it out here.

If you enjoyed these thoughts and think we’ve got something in common, I have a feeling you’re going to love the Urban Monk Academy. It’s the home of every class I teach — from Qi Gong to Life Gardening to Dream Yoga and even Tantra — and for two weeks, you can try it for free.

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