When practising Qi Gong, your concentration and breathing techniques lead you into your Chi energy awareness. It is a process of focusing in and letting go at the same time. Through deep relaxation and expanding your consciousness, you are able to create a frame of mind that is large enough to encompass your entire mind – body – spirit/s functions, yet focused enough to allow outside distractions, worries, and everyday hassles to drift away.
The Transformative Power of Deep Slow Breathing
Slow, deep, lower abdominal breathing is a powerful tool for healing and transformation. A wide range of emotional and physical problems can be helped by slow breathing which can be practiced both while lying down or sitting or standing. It is a tool to deepen into a calm, centred and intuitive state.
‘Once set in motion, the whole body is unified and must be light and filled with spirit’Tai Chi Ch’uan Classic, 12th – 14th centuries’
Body and Mind
The cultivation of the body and mind is designed to develop integrated movement and full body awareness, optimum alignment (top/bottom, left/right, forward/backward), balance and rootedness, fluid and relaxed lengthening and releasing, soft power and core strength. Practising under the guidance of a teacher will slowly restore channel elasticity and natural movement and promote healthy joints and pleasure in the body. As far as the mind is concerned, the aim is absorption in the present moment. The fully present mind can explore internally and dwell in the breath, the whole body or its particular parts. Alternatively, it can move out to connect with sky, earth, sun and moon, trees, birds, flowing water and so on – especially when we practise outdoors.
‘A day and a night of regular breathing can [reverse] twenty years of chronic illness’Yuan Hao, 15th century
Breathing is unique among autonomic functions such as cardiac, digestive and hormonal systems, in that it is both automatic (most of us breathe without conscious awareness or intervention) and at the same time can be consciously controlled. This ability to consciously control the breath is used as a powerful tool for emotional, mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Chi Gong teaches long, slow and deep breathing down into the lower abdomen – a method that helps manage anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.