In some ways Qi Gong sounds very much like yoga.
With roots in ancient Chinese culture dating back more than 4,000 years, Qi Gong is practised for health and long life, as meditation, and to enhance skills in martial arts.
Qi Gong has many different lineages although in modern times attempts have been made to draw them together. Influences range from Dao and Confucius, to Buddhist strands that would have brought influences from the sub-continent of India, home of yoga.
Traditionally, knowledge about Qi Gong was passed from adept master to student in elite unbroken lineages, typically with secretive and esoteric traditions of training and oral transmission - just like yoga!
The name literally translates as "life energy cultivation". The concept of "qi" or "chi" is similar to the yogic concept of "prana", that is, it is a life-force energy, and like prana, qi flows throughout everything. Health, longevity and spiritual advancement depend upon free flowing and masterfully controlled qi.
The movements themselves may be very different from those we know in yoga, but the practices are somatic, with great mindfulness of the felt sense of the body. The breath also has a place of high importance in Qi Gong. Meditation and relaxation as a pathway to wellbeing are also important. So yogis will certainly find an affinity with the practice.
At Yoga Spirit Studios we remain curious about all somatic practices and pathways to wellbeing, so we were very pleased that a teacher of Qi Gong could come to the studio to teach some Qi Gong.
Secret Elements Qi Gong combines these ancient roots with the modern knowledge of kinesiology and psychology. According to Secret Elements co-founder and trainer Sascha Wagener the system is easy and can be learned by anyone. It can be practised standing, seated or even lying. The secret to the power of these movements is in developing a deeper awareness of the body moving, and the process deepens with each practice. (Still sounds like yoga?)
This can benefit anyone, if you are recovering from illness, ageing, an athlete or a business person, anyone," says Sascha.