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  • Writer's pictureJohn Blue

Why Practice Qigong?

Let's chat about some of the great reasons to commit to studying qigong!



Many people I have met outside of China have strange responses when first hearing about qigong. They assume it is a religion, a silly dance, or a misguided attempt to get superpowers. I try to take the time to explain that it's a simple and direct practice that happens to be profound in its effects.


Imagine that you walk to the bathroom every day and stub your toe on a concrete block on the ground. There's no reason for it to be there. It's just there, like lots of painful things in our lives. In the beginning, you notice that your foot hurts but don't really understand why. After a chat with a knowledgeable friend, they say, "Hey, maybe it's something you're doing that's causing it?" You look around and finally notice the large stone on your floor. Then you find a meditation teacher to help you pay attention when walking in your house. You seek a movement expert to teach yourself to step over the rock. You visit an acupuncturist to treat the damage to your foot. And, after getting a bit healthier, you are finally strong enough to remove the concrete entirely, a little every day. This funny process is what it's like studying qigong. First, you discover the obvious stuff causing you problems. You learn to notice, avoid, and heal the troubles, and hopefully, you can remove the cause altogether.


So what is qigong? Combine gentle movements to increase softness and flexibility, postures that encourage strength and stability, and actions that aid coordination and agility. Mix in the benefits of mindfulness meditation, a positive healing mindset, and the cultivation of the same mind-body relationship that makes the placebo effect so powerful. How does that sound so far?

Oh yeah, include the unmistakable benefits of spending time in natural surroundings with friends. It's healing simply to take time out of your day to relax and nourish yourself. Systematize it all using the sophisticated, holistic paradigm of traditional Chinese medicine. Use a method refined by everyone from down-to-earth farmers to ancient masters of Daoist alchemical practice.



Unquestionably, it's a blend of the best efforts and practices from several millennia of master healers. I feel fortunate and grateful to be part of this lineage. However, many modern folks, disillusioned by lies they have been told, have come to disregard the wisdom of past sages and require newer forms of proof. I am one of those people and have been lucky enough to have these qualities proven to me over and over again. I recently heard more scientific evidence, and I'd like to share it with you. As usual, I will include citations to white pages, scientific studies, and applicable information in the dooblidoo and my blog.



The medical school at Brown University is studying the fantastic effectiveness of these practices and asked for help from my instructor. He aims to teach Western medical sciences to understand the nature of vitality and its role in health and well-being. There is no standard way to understand this simple Daoist concept and connect it to current medical understanding. Yet, clearly, it is an existing phenomenon that deserves deep study. This extensive, controlled, and randomized study examined various vitality factors. Symptoms included fatigue, stress, and mood regulation. Master ZhiCheng likes to talk about vitality signals such as a sparkle in the eye, a fire in the belly, and a spring in their step, but these are harder to define.



After several years of research and follow-up, they released the first of three papers about their results. And, of course, they were overwhelmingly positive. The benefits were literally twice as good as required to be considered valuable medicine. The gold standard for such excellent results is typically exercise and diet change. We all know how important it is to eat well and to move consistently. However, the doctors were shocked to discover that the effectiveness of the qigong prescription worked equally well. Also, because the exercises were gentle and relaxing, it was much more accessible for people already tired and struggling with motivation. We know how difficult it is for people to stick to exercise and dietary changes. Yet, most people who took up the qigong practices have continued their training to this day!




When people in the clinic ask me to list reasons why they should practice, I often cannot respond immediately. There are so many benefits that I become momentarily tongue-tied. Also, so many styles and techniques are available that we can tweak the methods for individual needs.


What are you hoping to get from your practice? Write your ideas down in a practice journal to keep track of your future progress.


You are not alone in your desire to become healthy. Because I have spent much of my life ill and injured, it is often easy to relate to people who feel trapped in their condition. Those who see me in the clinic or follow my personal stories on Patreon have heard about my path to healing. Qigong and Chinese medicine have been the most effective tools I have personally experienced, and that's why I'm passionate about sharing this system with all of you!



What's Next?:


Throughout the coming lessons, I will inform you about some of the benefits you can look forward to enjoying. As many doctors and scientists continue to re-discover throughout the ages, nourishing your qi will profoundly transform your everyday experiences and relationships. You can expect to be alternately delighted, bored, surprised, and occasionally overwhelmed by your practice. I am excited to hear about your experiences in the comment section! Let's continue to heal ourselves and build our communities together.


Homework:


Start slowly and simply, taking the easiest steps first. Begin by noticing some of the most difficult stumbling blocks in your path to well-being. Decide to commit to your personal healing journey, and look for friends to share the adventure with. Don't make big changes immediately, as that tends to end in disaster. Make use of what the doctors have been telling us and begin to eat well and move sufficiently each day. Also, take the time to rest deeply, calm your mind and emotions, and learn to release the tension in your body. You will begin to notice a beneficial feedback loop from your practice. Being well rested will leave you feeling more relaxed. Releasing tension in your body will help to quiet your mind and calm your emotions. Staying emotionally balanced will powerfully benefit your digestion. And nourishing your body will help you sleep more deeply. Everything in your system affects everything else, and life becomes easier and easier.


Allow this special Snake and Turtle Practice to begin healing your body and mind.

And remember to enjoy your practice!



Remember that this is only a tiny part of a more extensive system and sequence of teaching videos. Subscribe to my channel to learn more!


Make sure that you begin your practice at the beginning of the sequence



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