OCT 2018

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[ 52 ] • # dayspamagazine • october 2018 alternative health by Allison Young Moving Meditation A Chinese practice based on gentle movements and breathing, qigong is simple to learn and provides a wealth of benefi ts. Q igong may date back more than 4,000 years, but most We sterners weren't even aware of it until quite recently. Today, it's estimated that more than 950,000 American adults have practiced qigong. Pronounced "chee-gong," the term is derived from Mandarin words "qi," meaning life force or vital energy, and "gong," meaning skill or practice. Together, they refer to the cultivation of energy with an aim to maintain health and increase vitality. A cornerstone of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this ancient form of self-healing has roots in Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, and can be traced back to silk paintings from the second century B.C. Developed and honed as both military training and a tribal dance, qigong teachings were shrouded in secrecy and passed down through families and villages, which led to thousands of diff erent styles. Two main strands are practiced today: a movement-based form that incorporates breathing exercises; and medical qigong, which is more similar to Reiki. Read on for a breakdown of this popular practice and its numerous health benefi ts. Movement Qigong In this form of qigong, practitioners lead groups or individuals through a series of slow-paced, rhythmic motions that are simple and quick to learn. It's typically done while standing, but can also be carried out sitting or lying down. Unlike tai chi, an overlapping art originally intended as a form of self-defense and combat, qigong is more adaptive. It can include individual exercises repeated a number of times, sequential movements, self-massage and meditation, all linked with deep circular breaths. "The principles of qigo ng are learning how to breathe deep, how to adjust your posture, and how to move intentionally," says Bryon Abrams, certifi ed qigong and tai chi teacher at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. "It's essentially a dynamic meditation." The practice isn't solely about moving the body; breath and movement are combined with conscious intention, the goal being to draw qi energy into the body and to breathe out stress, worries or © GETTY IMAGES

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