What is Chi Kung?
Chi Kung literally translates to Energy Art or Energy Exercise. It can best be described as the management of the body’s energy, including gathering, conserving and sharing energy.
According to Wong Kiew Kit various exercise systems existed in China which were believed to cure illness, promote health and longevity, enhance fighting skills and increase spiritual awareness. These were known by different names such as the Art of Internal Strengthening, the Art of Developing Eternal Youth and the Art of Longevity. They were all concerned with the idea of energy or chi, but it was not until the 1950=s that they collectively became known as Chi Kung.
Records now show that by around 2700 BC the Chinese had developed what we now know as Chi Kung and that this had been integrated into their system of medicine. The earliest forms of Chi Kung were probably some kind of rhythmic or trance like dance, which was thought to balance the energy in the body.
What are Chi Kung exercises?
There are literally hundreds of different forms or sequences used in chi kung but generally speaking they all centre around the same basic principle, although there are some martial art Chi Kung training which have their own individual techniques. In our class we tend to focus on two, Standing Like a Tree and the Golden Sun sequence.
The main points to consider when doing Chi Kung exercises are:-
– the physical movement should be performed correctly, especially in the initial stages when you are learning the sequence. The movement should be done with relaxation, gently and gracefully. The most important thing is to be natural and in sympathy with those around you and the world in general.
– Energy, or Chi, is the second element involved in these exercises, though it is not necessarily of secondary importance. Energy in this context can be associated with several things but is most frequently thought of as something gained from the food we eat and the air we breathe. Too much attention to the way you breathe can itself cause more problems than it solves, because people concentrate too much on the techniques. The best advice is to breathe naturally.
– The third and, probably the most important aspect, is the way the mind is brought into the equation. You will the most benefit from the exercises if, as well as co-ordinating the movement with the breath, you focus the mind. When the mind and the movement are harmonised then we really are involved in the art of Chi Kung. This can only be brought about if your mind is still and you are mentally and physically relaxed, with no irrelevant thoughts drifting through your mind.