What does Qigong mean?

Qigong is a very all-inclusive modern Chinese term that applies to integrated mind-body-breathing techniques and practices. It encompasses all forms of energy exercises, mind-body healing, or therapies. Qigong is a Moving Meditation and Mind-Body wellness practice which is a combination of Movement, Posture, Breathing, and Awareness.

What have you been learning since the pandemic started back in March last year? I’ve learned to shake more, to shake several times a day.

This week start by doing nothing: listen to your body, attend to your body – with close observation inside and outside, then circle your joints slowly, loosening whatever parts of your body feel tight and keep reminding yourself that you are ‘the world expert on your own body’; then for the self-healing massage start with the place that bothers you most, where you feel tight or numb – extending to every square centimetre – stroking, tapping, holding, rubbing. Remember there is no right or wrong way. There is only your way.

After getting ready with the first three stages of practice then just shake! Shake, Rattle and Roll… 

Shaking activates the parasympathetic nervous system and signals the brain to calm, relax and let go. Shaking also activates the lymphatic system of our body, which helps our body get rid of the toxins.

Shaking wards off illness and boosts your immune system and reduces anxiety and fear.  There is no right or wrong way to shake or vibrate. You can start either with feet firmly on the floor, shoulder width apart, or sitting rooted in your chair with a vertical spine, or lying down – then, shake your body and loosen your joints. Vary the shaking from vertical like Irish dancing to horizontal like a dog after a swim, and then all over – sometimes focussing on specific body parts which feel numb or immobile. Breathe deeply with long breaths out while making sounds such as ‘hah’ and ‘eee’ – the sound helps to lengthen the outbreath and increase lung capacity.

Animals naturally shake to release stress hormones. Many dogs shake themselves after an emotional moment, whether a good or bad one. For example, they might shake after having an almost-fight with another dog or after a long, intense hug from you. Don’t worry – he’s not trying to tell you he didn’t like the hug.

One of the supposed benefits of shaking is that it helps open up and widen the energy channels in your body and encourage a smoother flow of Qi-energy.  It is a form of Qigong.

This short film is the fourth stage of taiji practice. It’s less than three minutes.  I recommend shaking for at least five minutes and see what happens.  Remember to do nothing, paying attention to your soft limit. 

Try shaking to this for 3 minutes with Animals Shake

Or the original Shake Rattle and Roll

or climb a tree and shake with the upper branches!

a child smiles
climbing the tree

tree smiles
climbing the child

smile climbing
the child tree

the leaves shake

These first four stages of practice: Attention – Self-Health Massage – Circling Joints – Shaking are practices most top athletes will do before and after they compete or perform.  They may get their coach or physio to do the massage for them. ‘It’s a common sight in multiple sport and fitness arenas. Athletes will shake out their limbs prior to, during or following a play or a lift. I’m sure you’ve done it yourself on many an occasion.’

N.B. All of what I’ve just written has nothing to do with “Shakers” – an early Christian sect renowned for their furniture making, but for those interested in history, Shakers certainly shook in the early 1700 and they’re still shaking today. And somewhat related shaking meditation is Latihan – I know people who practice Latihan which also involves shaking and spontaneous movement – it’s a spiritual practice, similar to spontaneous qigong.

If you’d like to follow taiji & qigong with a plethora of free videos on youtube, try following Jeffrey Chand


One thought on “What does Qigong mean?”

  1. Jeffrey Chand routine is really interesting and I will definately have a go at it, thanks for passinf it on– Robert

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