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Class Spotlight: Qigong

June 15, 2011

This week marks Yen Yoga & Fitness’ one-year anniversary! In celebration of this milestone and in gratitude to all our students who continue to support and inspire us, we’re offering free classes all week long. This is the perfect time to sign up for that class you’ve always wanted to try, but in case you’d like to know a little more first, we’ll be highlighting our class offerings all week right here on our blog.

Known as the mother of Chinese medicine, qigong (pronounced chee-gong or chee-kung) is an ancient mind-body discipline that integrates postures, breathing, and focused intention. Like other mind-body practices like yoga or tai chi, qigong promotes healing by reducing stress and creating movement and awareness within. Qigong shares other similarities with yoga, too, in that it is a broad umbrella encompassing many different traditions and methods, and it can be practiced for many reasons, including relaxation, exercise, self-healing, martial arts conditioning, and spiritual development.

The name, in fact, says it all: “Qi” (often known as “chi” in the West) translates as flowing air, energy or life force; “gong” is often interpreted as meaning power or achievement. Combined, these two Chinese characters imply the harnessing, cultivation and manipulation of life’s intrinsic vital energy.

Qigong is often likened to a form of slow martial arts mixed with breathwork and meditation. Because it is so gentle, it can be practiced by anyone at any age and level of fitness. The rhythmic movements build balance and stamina, reduce stress, increase energy and concentration, and stimulate all the systems of the body, improving cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions. Regular practice can help you maintain health, stay connected with your spirit, and bring a greater sense of calm into your life.

Some claim that qigong dates back more than 5,000 years—but the practice certainly has a place in our modern lives. An excellent stress reliever that doesn’t require special props, clothing or locations, qigong can easily be developed into a lifelong practice. For less active people or the elderly, it’s a wonderful way to get the body moving; for more active people, it provides a beautiful compliment to other forms of exercise (especially strenuous activities like cycling and running), helping you slow down and restore balance to body and mind.

To check out a Yen Yoga & Fitness qigong class, simply visit our online schedule.

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