Practiced worldwide Incredibly, Qigong is practiced nowadays by millions of people in the whole world. Just in china alone, it is estimated that there are 200 million practitioner's a day. Meanwhile in the United States, a recent study done in 2009 states that there are approximately 29 million people practicing one form or another of Qigong. This gymnastic art can safely be practiced by all ages and most physical conditions. The elderly, kids, people with a good state of health and even people with a more fragile health. Whether you are in to athletics or you are simply unfit and overweight, there are benefits for everyone. With the grand variety of styles Qigong can offer, it adapts itself to each particular case.
What is Qigong? Qigong physical and mental practice that enables us to cultivate vital energy, an energy that is essential to maintain organs and to regulate the vital functions of the body, keeping them in perfect harmony. The word and practice was born in China, the country and culture that has done the most for developing this ancient art of body, spirit and mind. It is said that it stems from the ancient ones (immortal ones) from 5000 years ago and beyond. From then on it was nurtured by the Taoists, and at a much later date became a very important part of Buddhists daily life. In simple terms, “Chi = vital energy” and “kung= skill that requires practice”. A good definition would be- Gentle art that requires time, effort and practice to enable one to cultivate,generate and radiate vital energy via the combination of movement, breath, mental awareness and attentiveness.
Qigong the natural choice Qigong is generally practiced standing up with no requirement for any type of equipment, apart from our own physical body and the will to practice. The ideal environment for practicing is in nature, especially where chi is abundant, for example in a forest, on the beach or by a lake. In this manner one is able to absorb in to ones system the beneficial effects in to our own organism.The general belief regarding "energy" in the world of Qigong is that it is abundant,but obviously there are certain locations where it is overflowing.
Energy and Movement The practice of Qigong differs from many other sports in the sense that each movement has been studied and is said to generate and flood certain areas of the system with energy. The goal being a type of global treatment that enables us to attain more strength, elasticity, oxygenation and an overall increase of energy. All of this is attained by training in a very relaxed manner, It is not something that can be forced. Instead it is more about being in tune with oneself and learning how to just let your energy flow. Gradually as one becomes accustomed to qigong, one knows when the practice is flowing ,the mechanical aspect take more of a backseat role.
Traditional chinese medicine Traditionally in China, Qigong was practiced for different reasons which lead to different results. For instance in traditional Chinese medicine it is used as a form of preventative medicine and also as a way of recuperating after injury. Certain pains or illnesses are treated with specific qigong movements aimed at strengthening certain organs and its corresponding meridian,which in turn affects corporal functions.
The martial aspect It was and still is practiced in the military regime, as a way of improved training for soldiers and special forces. In this case, qigong was used for its ability to increase strength, endurance, flexibility along with relaxation and awareness whilst in combat. In martial art, qigong forms part of what is known as the inner art “nei gong”, this is the base of the skill that leads to refined movements and a strong psychological outlook . All serious martial artist practice one form or another of Qigong, this is when the two arts become one.
The Tao and the Buddhists Another focus of practice is allied to spirituality and religion for Taoist and Buddhist alike. It primary focus is ; if one balances the human energy systems to a very high grade, one is much more empowered and free to reach enlightenment having cut through the extremities of human mind. In the case of Taoism, one has tamed the bull and is now able to be at one with the Tao. In both cases, the awareness generated is applied to knowing oneself, this is turn destroys confusion. It is from this perspective that one is able to realize the truth of life.
Original Taoist Qigong One of the oldest scrolls showing the first representacions of Qigong
Bodhidharma´s Buddhist touch It is said that Bodhidharma (the Indian sage) had a great influence over Qigong, inspiring all the monks for a more determined practice. This gave birth to a renewed focus of Qigong, whereby the maintenance of the physical body and an increased vitality was an essential part of daily life. It is well documented, that the Taoist gave importance to all parts of the human being and cradled a highly refined holistic approach. When these teaching merged with the Buddhist ones the whole system was enriched. This art has been handed down to us, thanks to the enormous effort and practice of thousands of dedicated humans. We can continue that lineage and allow the benefits to grow.
1001 forms Nowadays there are an infinity of Qigong styles , with over 10000 different styles designed for different objectives and types of people. Some forms are very soft and simple, but at the same time have produced great benefits and results. On the other hand, there are intricately complex styles much like dance routine's with highly choreographed movements that require much more time, effort and dedication.All in all, Qigong adapts very well to ones timetable, lifestyle and devotion.
Health benefits The Chinese and North American authorities have maintained academic conferences, investigating the benefits attained through Qigong practice. These studies indicate that Qigong helps correct bad postures, highly improves breathing, promotes deep states of relaxation, causes favourable chemical changes in the blood, increasing awareness and concentration. Likewise it has been shown that it alleviates arthritis, asma, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, chronic fatigue , fibromialgia, headaches, migraines, or a great variety of ailments.
The muscle tissue gains elasticity The tendons are strengthened
Breathing is regulated ,improving the oxygenation of the whole body
Possible health benefits -Improves blood circulation and the lymphatic system -Stretches muscles, tendons and ligaments without damaging them -Improves the quality of our respiration and promotes deep oxygenation of the body - More refined communication between the brain and the body leading to an improved neurological system. -Aids physical equilibrium -Improves our skeletal system by means of twists and gyrations, these in turn affect the articulations and the spinal vertebrae. -Deep physical relaxation. -Improved sleeping patterns. -More vigor and physical resistance to exhaustion.
possible emotional and mental benefits -Quietens the mind, providing peaceful states and mental clarity -Reduces inner mental chatter -More emotional balance, more capacity to handle and process our emotions (energetic blocks in turn cause mental-emotional and physical blocks, when the chi flows it naturally removes any blockage that we hold on to). - Increased sensation of feeling earthed and connected to your centre. -improved access to our intuition and inner wisdom. -Deeper relaxation capacity. - Increased sensation of vital strength, more control over oneself. - More positivity, joy of living and vitality. - More in touch with our physical body.
Possible energetic benefits -Improves circulation, storage and generation of Chi-energy. -Improves the energetic nutrition to all organs, systems and functions of the body. In sports and martial arts, Qigong is the key to the development of stamina, Coordination,speed,flexibility,balance and Resistance to injury. Qigong exercises will improve ones performance no matter what sport one practices. Because Qigong includes dynamic movements and soft techniques, it can be practiced standing up or sitting down. This allows it to be beneficial for young people as well as elderly people.The exercises can be adapted to each individual if needed, this is what make it an ideal alternative for anybody recovering form injury or a illness. Qigong combines very well with other therapies and never substitutes conventional medicine, in fact it complements them. If you do have any doubt please talk it over with your G.P.
Earth, Man and Sky The most basic principle behind Qigong is summerized in three basic parts, Earth, Man and Sky. Its aim is to gradully regulate and perfect the way human energy interelates with the earth and the cosmos. As we are learning to cope with all that modern culture has gifted us with, we have lost touch with our fundamental reality. As qigong becomes more and more common, it is artfuly being adapted to the way we live and work in the west. This is the only way for us to reap the benefits it has to offer. Even in china, the old way of transmission is being adapted so that the ever increasing population can practice this art.
Qigong in the 21st century The practice of Qigong differs from many other sports in the sense that each movement has been studied and is said to generate and flood certain areas of the system with energy. The goal being a type of global treatment that enables us to attain more strength, elasticity, oxygenation and an overall increase of energy.All of this is attained by training in a very relaxed manner, It is not something that can be forced. Instead it is more About being in tune with oneself and learning how to just let your energy flow. Gradually as one becomes accustomed to qigong, one knows when the practice is flowing,the mechanical aspect is not what is not so critical.
Mountain retreat El Incanto Our way is somewhere in the middle between the traditional and the modern. We have chosen a remote location in the mountains as it is what we feel is the ideal place to practice, a place where mans presence is felt but does not dominate. Quiet easily we are ready to apply our western rules to Qigong and this can quickly destroys many parts of the hidden teachings, leaving us with a physical exercise alone. A very important part of Qigong is the manner in which we practice, we need to be relaxed,focused and peaceful. All in all we are practicing to enable us to be an individual in perfect harmony with the whole, which is quiet different from the normal focus of sports.
Courses & workshops We offer some very complete introduction Qigong courses that covers all the basic information, which is essential to enable one to practice a safe and elegant Qigong. You will learn all the mayor stances, correct breathing and the ideal mental focus which gives place to a confident qigong practitioner. Likewise we contribute the general philosophical view which generally lays hidden in the movements, so that one can attune to the true benefits of Qigong. A very important part of Qigong is to practice with what is otherwise know as an empty mind or a clear mind. To achieve this in the past as well as in the present, a person would need to disconnect from their environment, and all of those things that are known to trigger our mind or negative emotions. It is in this way that we begin to experience our body, emotions and mind in a more direct manner.
The patient art Qigong is not a competition, it aims at gradual improvement. That we feel contented with who we are and each act that we do. This is something that can be experienced by everybody once the basic technique is understood. We recommend once one has become clearly comfortable with what has been taught in the course, the group returns at a later date so as to go over and revise all that has been learnt and to improve technique. At the same time, learning in groups inspires each individual to give the best of themselves during the Qigong sessions.
El Incanto Our retreat centre, “El Incanto”, is situated in the heart of Andalucia, with panoramic views towards the National Park “El Torcal”. Come and enjoy a Qigong weekend or a 7 day silent retreat in the authentic Spain, a land that talks of leyends and magic and that still holds its natural spirit. An oportunity to fill your life with positive energy. The first step is up to you! Learn to cultivate and generate energy for you own wellbieng. More than 200 million people already are, Contact us at “El Incanto” and start practicing.
Contact us If you would like to know more about our workshops or classes, please dont doubt in contacting us. We are always available to clarify any doubts you may have.Give us a ring weekdays or via email at anytime. Mail: [email_address] Tel: 00 34 691 978 399