Well, you are made of earth, so, by learning to move your dirt, mineral and water components, yep, your earth body, you find out about your Qi. Qi is the thing that moves: EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE! When you practice Qigong you become connected with the inside of yourself. Qigong is internal work, why? Because moving the energy inside yourself benefits your STRUCTURE: your bones, tendons, blood, muscle and liquids, and benefits the FUNCTION of your internal organs like: pee more, pee less, build blood=oxygen=energy, don't build blood=feel cruddy, stagnate. You practice to create stability, peace, calm, rational thinking of your MIND. Then the BODY can relax and give you feedback. Then, you begin to know yourself. The practice of Qigong is specific:
1. Movement of the form
3. Develop the mind for one focus to guide the Qi and activate stuff
Qigong slows you down. As a practice you learn to slow the body down, instead of trying so hard to get out of your brain. There is no need to think about what you are doing when you practice Qigong, the body itself is learning a new way of being, it absorbs the Qi during a class like osmosis, no thinking. Then, subsequently, the mind slows down. When the mind slows down, you conserve energy, you can think with your intuition, your gut knowing, your self-knowledge. This translates into:
1. Know what to do with your life, have self confidence
2. Make good decisions, solve your problems
3. Take care of your physical body without so much work
Do I have to wear special clothes? Stretchy clothes are good for moving, shoes are optional. If your feet hurt and you need to wear shoes, then for sure, wear em!
Is Qigong religion based? No, qigong is not a religion, it is a philosophy for how to live your life. It can incorporate some Buddhist concepts and helpful ways of seeing yourself. The process of Qigong teaches you to take ownership of not only your body, but your brain as well. The spirit piece is a way to connect with all living things. We can connect with nature, in space and time as well as connect with the energy of other sentient beings: animals, bugs, growing things, air, water, the elements you live in every day and that contribute to your well-being or drain you of well-being. Your ability to perceive these things becomes clear as you keep practicing.
Is Qigong difficult to learn? While each form takes awhile to "absorb" and learn, it is never about how well you can practice, or, how good you are at it. It's just about showing up and doing it! You practice qigong quickly, a bit sloppy, what you may think is the wrong time, or the right time or you are too tired, or too hyped up, all of this is good stuff! You take all of it and just practice, and you breathe, then you begin to see with your other senses what is happening in yourself, what is happening around you. You find books and information to further your understanding. You meet with others and practice the forms, you feel change in your body and in your mind. You practice some more, you practice when you are bored and feel nothing, you practice because you begin to understand why Qigong has survived for thousands of years as a self-healing, self-knowing ancient art.
What does Qigong mean to me? I find I am able to focus and complete things. I have the ability to "turn off my brain" at night and sleep. Qigong has helped me know how to be in my kids lives as well as when to stay out of their stuff. It has helped me to understand and continue to love my significant other. Qigong has given me the ability to detach from excessive emotion, not get wound up in drama of my own making as well as other people, this saves me a ton of energy. I have the ability to enjoy nature free of allergies, strong Lung Qi to enjoy high mountain altitudes. I am able to see life - like in a slow-mo, close up movie of nature and people and the shining quality of these things. I can be of use to myself and others, because I know a bit of who I am as a part of the whole. I know that I will continue to learn with Qigong for the rest of this life, this way of being in the universe, as it is without measure.