All You Need To Know About Qigong, The Ancient Art That Uses Energy To Heal
Malini Mundle, 67, a Qigong practitioner and a member of Silver Talkies Social, who got attached to it in 2007 shares her experience with Qigong and highlights how it can be beneficial specifically for seniors.
Are you aware of Chi Kung, also known as Qigong, that helps one to master the art of developing energy for health, vitality, longevity, mind expansion and spiritual cultivation which are a few of the key ingredients to active ageing? If not, here we are to make you aware of how this ancient Chinese healthcare modality involves the three treasures of an individual – form, energy and mind and increases the fitness in mind and body, develops vitality and enables curing stress along with various degenerative and chronic ailments. Although its origination is rooted back to 1122 BC, Qigong which means the work one does to cultivate energy over time has made a strong comeback at the beginning of the 21st century and has gained popularity over the recent past. Malini Mundle, 67, a Qigong practitioner who got attached to it in 2007 shares her experience with Qigong and highlights how it can be beneficial specifically for seniors.
How does Qigong work?
Chinese Medicine states that we fall sick for three reasons: deficiency of Chi or energy, blockages of the meridians or energy channels and Yin/Yang (outside-inside) imbalance or disharmony. When one practices Qigong, there is a substantial increase in the level of one’s Chi or energy that makes the immune system stronger. This naturally can heal many physical issues. Meditation associated with Qigong relaxes and recharges the energy and can act as a natural healer. Practicing Qigong frees the energy that accumulates inside the body enabling its natural flow thereby alleviating blockages. This balances the emotions, reduces stress, increases vitality, agility and flexibility and rejuvenates body, mind and spirit. Slowness, lightness, clarity, balance and calmness are the key qualities of Qigong.
How and when is it done?
The five essential principles of Qigong include relaxation, concentration, meditation, harmony and breathing.
RELAXATION – Be soft and yielding. Exert no strength.
CONCENTRATION- Let the mind direct the movement.
MEDITATION – Balance the movements of the mind, the body and Chi
HARMONY – When thoughts and movements are in accord, you gain the power to feel.
BREATHING – Breathe naturally through the nose into the abdomen. With the abdomen relaxed, tranquility will prevail.
According to Mundle, significant improvements to health and well-being can be achieved after practicing Qigong for just a short time. During the meditative exercises, the energy flowing inside the body is felt. When all the channels are clear the energy will be very strong. Outside the body will feel soft, all the muscles and joints are relaxed, and this means that the inside is strong.
Mundle says: “Qigong is best practiced early in the morning or at sunset, preferably in the open, in a park where air and earth chi (energy) is abundant. There are no dietary restrictions though Qigong trains in balance and harmony in all aspects of life. Eating in moderation and mindfully and practicing on an empty stomach is good.”
Why Qigong is beneficial for seniors?
Here is why every individual above 60 must practice Qigong.
Qigong can heal and prevent a large number of age-related conditions: Be it Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cataracts, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma and even cancer, Qigong is known to act as a healer and reduce suffering along with saving your pocket and cutting down on medical expenses. Being a holistic theory, Qigong can improve breathing, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and aiding in stroke recovery simultaneously. Not just treating them, Qigong can prevent ailments as well. Studies have found that those doing Qigong have been able to maintain their body weight, bone density, blood pressure, eyesight, hearing, flexibility, cholesterol levels thereby keeping several diseases at bay, having perfect eyesight and hearing, maintaining their natural hair colour without having to apply dyes, firm and lustrous skin and looking much younger.
Qigong can improve the quality of life: Not being sick or disabled due to practicing Qigong is itself bliss. Additionally, the lives of older adults improve with Qigong as they are able to feel hungry and enjoy yummy foods, stop feeling lethargic, have better concentration, better memory, become stress-free, happy and more alive. These ways, Qigong can provide the perfect dose of active and happy ageing.
Qigong can prevent accidents: The older population is more vulnerable to falls and accidents. Qigong can help prevent accidents in several ways. Starting from making an individual stronger, healthier and more alert, it can improve his or her balance, eyesight, coordination, hearing and make him or her more flexible. Thus, one will be at a lesser risk of falls and he or she will have better visibility, will be more alert, will have a stronger grip and much better control of the body.
Experiencing Qigong and observing the difference
Mundle’s engagement with Qigong began 13 years back when her Master, an American living much of his time in China got in touch with her. At that time she was working in a hospice as a psychologist for cancer patients in terminal stages. He wanted to do Qigong healing with these patients and teach the movements to those who could.
“This started a journey into a form which was akin to slow dance. At the time I was in the 5th year learning and performing with a dance group and was looking for a new form of activity that would not be as fast-paced as I had a degenerative lower back problem. Yoga did not appeal nor did the gym. Additionally, I found myself unable to meditate in the traditional way because of a chattering mind and discomfort in the sitting position. Meditative Qigong ticked all the boxes. It gave me dance-like movements, greatly improved my breathing and focus as I learnt to balance the breath and the movement to achieve a rhythm conducive to being meditative,” says Mundle.
For the next three years she continued to learn with the master at Delhi, Dharamshala and Bangalore and due course, she utilised this form with psychiatric patients that she found to be immensely beneficial. “I consider myself a Qigong practitioner of a life-enhancing practice which I have shared with groups in workshops over the years. I found my ideal form of meditation and movement. This is an individual choice for both seniors and others. Yoga and dance suit some, the gym or walking and stretching suit others. For older people like me, this form is easy as it does not put a strain on joints and muscles and once grasped is gentle and soothing and rejuvenating,” she says.
Did you know that sound therapy could be an amazing non-invasive way of tackling many age-related health and mind conditions, that too without any side-effects? Find out more about sound healing here.