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What is Qigong?

Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice that blends together movement, meditation and controlled breathing, to cultivate and balance the body's vital energy, known as Qi. The term Qigong literally translates to "qi" or "chi," meaning "vital force" or "life energy," and "gong," which means "to cultivate."

Rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it aims to enhance physical health, emotional well-being and spiritual growth. When Qi flows smoothly and steadily through your body, you feel healthy, balanced and vibrant. If Qi becomes stagnant, you may experience disharmony that leaves you feeling unlike yourself. It encompasses a variety of exercises designed to harmonise the mind, body and spirit, promoting overall wellness and longevity.

Qigong practices often incorporate the five elements, which are foundational to Traditional Chinese Medicine. These elements help you to understand the interconnectedness of nature and the human body, guiding practitioners in harmonising their internal energies with the external world. As we explore the qualities of wood, fire, earth, metal and water within Qigong movements, we deepen our awareness of how energy flows through different pathways in the body. Each element offers a unique perspective on health and well-being, inviting us to embody the characteristics that it holds, such as growth, warmth, stability, clarity or fluidity.

Soul Sanctuary's Qigong teacher, Emma Tian Williamson explains:

“What I love most about Qigong is that it’s an incredibly mindful practice with a deeply calming effect. Its gentle, slow-flowing movements open up more awareness in the body, allowing you to drop deep into your experience, tune into the senses and your own unique energy flow. For me, it’s my moving meditation.” 

QIGONG ELEMENTS:

WOOD:
Associated with growth, flexibility and the liver. Movements in this element emphasise expansion and flexibility, promoting detoxification and emotional balance.

FIRE:
Linked to the heart and circulation, fire movements stimulate energy and joy. These exercises enhance circulation, warmth and enthusiasm.

EARTH:
Connected to the stomach and spleen, earth movements focus on grounding and stability. They help to provide a sense of security and balance.

METAL:
Related to the lungs and large intestine, metal movements enhance clarity and order. These exercises support the respiratory system and emotional release.

WATER:
Corresponding to the kidneys and bladder, water movements emphasise fluidity and calm. They encourage inner reflection to  promote a sense of peace and resilience.

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Embracing the wisdom of the elements lays the groundwork for understanding the fundamental principles of Qigong, which encompass not only physical movements but also the cultivation of mindfulness, breath regulation, body posture, relaxation and stillness. These core principles, known as Yi, Qi, Xing, Song, and Jing, form the essence of Qigong practice, guiding us towards a state of balance, vitality and inner peace. By integrating the elemental energies and fundamental principles of Qigong, we embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and holistic healing, fostering harmony and alignment within ourselves and the world around us.

FUNDAMENTALS OF QIGONG:

YI - MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION

Practising Qigong with mindfulness and clear intention helps direct the flow of Qi. Being present in each movement and focusing on your goals, whether it's relaxation, healing or energy cultivation, enhances the effectiveness of your practice.

QI - BREATH REGULATION:

Synchronising breath with movement is crucial in Qigong. Deep, slow breathing oxygenates the body and calms the mind, facilitating the smooth flow of Qi and promoting a state of relaxation and vitality.

XING - BODY POSTURE:

Maintaining proper body posture ensures that Qi flows freely through the body. An upright, relaxed posture with aligned spine and open joints promotes balance, stability and energy flow.

SONG - RELAXATION & SOFTNESS:

Releasing muscular tension and cultivating softness in movements allow Qi to flow smoothly. Softness in Qigong doesn't mean weakness, but a relaxed strength that fosters fluidity and harmony in the body.

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JING - QUIETNESS & STILLNESS:

Cultivating a calm and tranquil mind during practice helps deepen relaxation and enhances the absorption and circulation of Qi. This stillness allows for greater internal awareness and a deeper connection with one's inner self.

At the Soul Sanctuary, we believe in the connection between mind and body. Your body is built to keep you healthy, while your mind guides you towards what feels good and away from what doesn’t. When your body feels good, your mind relaxes. And when your mind is calm, your body heals better. Qigong might seem like just physical exercise, but it actually benefits your mental health too.

Here are a few ways Qigong helps both your body and mind:

✨ Stress reduction: Promotes relaxation and mindfulness.

Improved physical health: Regular practice enhances flexibility, strength and balance while boosting the immune system.

Emotional well-being: Qigong supports emotional regulation and reduces anxiety, helping you journey to a deeper sense of peace and contentment.

Enhanced energy levels: By cultivating and balancing Qi, individuals often experience increased energy levels and reduced fatigue.

Spiritual Growth: Qigong fosters a deeper connection to oneself and the universe, promoting spiritual awareness and growth.

We are very excited to announce a 5-part Qigong series that will be available on the Soul Sanctuary membership in July.

Our guest teacher, Emma Tian Williamson, will guide you through the Five Elements associated with Qigong, helping you to integrate this powerful practice into your daily life. Be sure to sign up for our FREE 14-day trial and become a Soul Sanctuary member so you don't miss this opportunity to learn and grow with Emma's expert guidance.

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