by Lisa Katz
People today are seeking ways to improve health and increase happiness while facing rising medical and insurance costs. Traditional treatments for degenerative illnesses often have limited success and the cures can create secondary health problems. The effects of emotional stress and busy life-styles on physical health are more widely recognized.
Many people are turning to healing traditions of other cultures to compliment or fill the gaps left by Western medicine. One source of growing interest in this country is the art and science of Qigong. Practiced in China for thousands of years it continues to be the cornerstone of Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with acupuncture and herbalism.
What is Qigong? Qi is life energy, the force that animates all living things. Gong means work or “benefits acquired through perseverance and practice”. Thus, Qigong is the form or practice of actively engaging with Qi and the exchange of Qi between human beings and the universe.
Qigong involves slow, simple movements that develop an awareness of Qi energy in the body while gently exercising the muscles and internal organs. Along with moving exercises the practitioner learns meditations that help calm the mind and emotions. There are many different styles or schools of Qigong, the most well know being Tai Chi, but all are based on common principles of physical relaxation, mental calm and balance. Qigong improves circulation, tones the muscles, strengthens the immune system and relieves stress.
Qi is free, it is everywhere, and is accessible to all. Qigong is holistic — involving the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts of a person. It empowers the individual by providing a simple means of self-healing.
Moab is fortunate to have a variety of opportunities for those interested in learning about and trying Qigong. Regular classes have been held since 1998 through the Phoenix Rising Center. Special workshops, including chances to learn from recognized Qigong Masters are offered each year.