What is Qigong and How Qigong Works?

Tekson Teo | February 3, 2022

What is Qigong?

It gets your body to work, not you.

Qigong is an inner exercise. Not knowing the fundamental difference, many people approach the exercise as just another external exercise. As a result, they can’t optimize what they do.

What is qigong?

A simple answer is that it is an exercise that helps you stay healthy and young by balancing your vital life energy, also known as the qi energy.   

The word is translated in several other ways. It’s, for example, also known as “chi gong”. So if anybody asks you, “Why is chi gong?” The answer is what exactly you’d give about qi gong.     

The exercise originates from China and has a transition of thousands of years behind it. Unlike popular activities like jogging and swimming — which are external exercises — qigong is an inner exercise. It does not just train muscles or cardiorespiratory fitness. Instead, it works to cultivate and balance energy in by aligning your mind, body, and spirit.

Not knowing the fundamental difference, many people approach the exercise as just another external exercise. As a result, they can’t optimize the qi exercise.  

It is, therefore, imperative that you know the distinction if you want to get the most from the activity. You must never forget that while most exercises get you to work on your body, qi gong gets your body to work on you.

To explain what I mean, I’d like to go all the way to the extreme to look at a type of qigong exercise that is motionless.

Yes, motionless.

In other words, you don’t move at all when performing exercise. How can you ever exercise without moving a body? For many people, it is hard to imagine. The primary thing that we know about exercise is movements. 

You can do precisely that with qigong because the approach is entirely different. You get your body to work on you, so it can still work even when you’re not moving.

What is qigong – How qigong works when it is motionless

What is qigong and how qigong works?

One such exercise in qigong is zhanzhuang, or standing meditation. “Zhan” means stand, and “zhuang” refers to a pole. So you may also call it standing pole exercise.

Watch the video to see how the exercise is performed. 

You don’t have to move when you are doing the exercise. You stand there without doing a thing. Can you imagine? Although the exercise doesn’t require you to do anything, it’s miraculously powerful.

The exercise, which has been in existence for thousands of years, has proven to be so effective in maintaining health, prolonging life, healing diseases, and getting you peace of mind or even spiritual enlightenment.

What is intriguing is that what you do is not the ultimate aim of the exercise. It is what you get your body to do. As a practitioner, you just do what is required to condition your body to work on you.

You just stand there. You are not standing like waiting in a queue to buy a ticket, though. You stand in a manner that conditions the qi energy to flow smoothly within your body — so that it can work on you.

You do several things to allow the qi energy to flow smoothly in the body. Among the first things you do is align the parts of your body critical to the energy flow.

Where do you get “water” for the “well”? It’s from your sole where two acupuncture points on your foot, known as yongquan, are located We may translate it as the “bubbling spring”. It’s the “spring” where the “water” is.

Where do you get “water” for the “well”? It’s from your sole. There are two acupuncture points on your foot known as yongquan. We may translate it as the “bubbling spring”.  It’s the “spring” and where the “water” is.

If you stand in such a way and align the two sets of acupuncture points, you bring the “water” – an analogy of the life energy – to go up to your shoulders and then go around your body. 

Then, to ensure that the “water” would go from your foot and to come up to your shoulder, you have to align your body in such a way that your top, which is your baihui or the Crown, is aligned with the bottom of your torso, which is perineum or huiyin.

In addition, you’d soften your body. The very basic is to hanxiong babei, where you’d lose your chest and expand your back. You don’t stiffen yourself like a soldier. You relax your shoulders and curve your chest to soften the body for enhanced flow.

You also lose your armpits to allow better flow. Like what the old masters will tell you, leave a gap in each of your armpits hold an egg. 

Then, just stand that.

When you do that, the energy flows, and your body works on its own to bring you the many benefits of qigong.

What is chi gong?

I’m talking about this exercise because it is an excellent illustration of how qigong works.

It is so easy. You can even do it when you’re watching TV or when you’re standing in a queue. Of course, you’d eventually find that you want tranquility during exercise with minimum distractions.

Can you see that instead of working on your body, you can get your body to work on you, and this is the miracle of qigong.

This is, of course, an extreme example. For most qigong sequences, you have to move. But the principle is there, in that you allow the qi energy in your body to be aligned in such a manner that it circulates, and then it also clears blockages, and sometimes it also clears away the toxins in the body.

So it is a very different exercise. If you are new to it or have been doing your qigong exercise as a stretching routine, then it’s time for you to find out more about what qigong exactly is to get more from whatever you are doing.