We are energy and we live in a field of qi, “vital breath” or “life energy.” Qigong means “working with or cultivating the qi.” It is the ancient Chinese art and science of becoming aware of this life energy and learning how to control its flow through a precise choreography of posture, movement, respiratory technique, and meditation. Qigong teaches psycho-physiological self-regulation; we become aware of bodily functions conventionally considered involuntary– blood pressure, respiratory rate, even the flow of blood and nutrients to internal organs– and learn to restore a healthier balance.
The only investment needed is time, a half-hour to an hour each day is recommended; the dividends of better health, increased vitality, and peaceful alertness accrue daily and are cumulative.
We are a product of nature. Being out-doors simply puts us closer to nature, where elemental energy will be the strongest. Being outside directly re-connects us with the source of our being and invokes us to participate with the process of life, along with all the diversity that goes with it.
Always wait at least half an hour after eating a meal and after a full meal, longer is better. There is a saying. “If the belly is filled with food, there is no room for qi.” A full belly interferes with breathing and movement.
The popular tradition for the direction to face during qigong practice is for men to face north, and woman to face south. That is because men are considered yang and they face the yin north to obtain harmony; whilst as women are considered yin and they face the yang south.
From ancient times, to overcome a life-threatening conditions, qigong was advised to be practised during “The Four Sacred Periods”: that is Sunrise, Sunset, Midday and Midnight. These are the times of the day when yin is changing to yang, or yang changing to yin: when we are more susceptible to disease. We can use these periods to maximise the benefits of qigong in curing disease.