"If yoga is a straight line, qigong is a spiral," Thomas Drodge explained to Vogue. A spiral that might just lead you to enlightenment. Drodge is a yoga instructor, Chinese medicine doctor and qigong instructor who teaches his students how to increase their energy, strength, and consciousness in qigong inspired classes and retreats. His weekly classes offered on Wednesday mornings in Tribeca, explore the foundations of Daoism, the movement of yin and yang in our body, and our relationship with ourselves, others, and the environment.
This is, in a nutshell, what qigong is all about. This moving meditation increases vitality, optimizes health, and strengthens our connection to the environment. Many people like Drodge believe that practicing qigong can transform your life. Even if qigong doesn't lead you to enlightenment, it's likely to calm your mind, leave you feeling less stressed, and help you better tackle the tasks and challenges you face during the day.
Qigong is an ancient healing modality that's been practiced in China for thousands of years. It's technically a branch of Chinese Medicine and can be practiced alone to maintain your health or with a qigong practitioner for some inner and outer healing. Research has shown that practicing qigong has many benefits for both your mind and your body.
Qigong Practice Getty Images
What does practicing qigong involve?
Breathing exercises and different body postures are practiced to help cultivate more energy or qi in your body. If you've ever wandered through Chinatown in downtown Manhattan, you've likely seen qigong practiced in the park with the sunrise or sunset. The movements are slow and fluid, resembling more of dance than an aerobic workout.
But just because qigong is slow, doesn't mean it isn't difficult.
The focus of qigong is on learning to feel your qi or energy as it moves through your body. You might feel a tingling sensation at first. It also might take a few weeks of practicing to get into it and learn to feel the rhythm of your body. Moving slowly and consciously can be challenging when you first start to practice. It can also be exhausting afterward. If you've ever felt drained after an acupuncture or reiki session, you'll know the feeling. Qigong is a form of energy work and energy work can be invigorating, but often tiring at first.
To reap the healing benefits of qigong, one should practice daily, even if it's only for 5 minutes in the morning. Consistency is key to cultivating more qi and keeping it strong. Here are the best qigong videos for beginners and once you've mastered the basic moves, a few videos for intermediates.
The Best Qigong Videos for Beginners:
30 Minute Qigong Practice for BeginnersYoutube
Learn the basics of qigong in this 30-minute practice from Yoqi Yoga and Qigong. You'll learn how to feel your qi and purge, tonify, regulate, and circulate your qi. This is a great class to get started with if you have time to practice for 30 minutes once a day.
5 Elements Qigong Practice for BeginnersYoutube
If you only have time to practice for 12 minutes a day try this quick qigong routine for beginners. This class walks you through the 5 element poses which help connect you to the elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Having a strong connection to the 5 elements is believed in Chinese Medicine, to be the key to health and longevity.
Qigong Posture for Lower Back Pain Beginner Youtube
For days when you can't find any time to practice, try this quick posture for lower back pain. Sitting all day at work can put a lot of tension on your lower back. This 1-minute posture can be practiced at work or home, every hour or so to help keep your energy flowing.
The Best Qigong Videos for Intermediates:
Qigong Practice for Brain Optimization IntermediateYoutube
If you're feeling stressed out or suffering from mental blocks at work, try this brain optimizing qigong routine. This moving meditation helps relax your nervous system, get your qi flowing again, and increase blood flow to the mind. Movements in this practice will help balance the right and left hemispheres.
20 Minute Daily Qigong Practice IntermediateYoutube
Once you're comfortable with practicing qigong, try doing this 20-minute routine every day. Practicing this traditional routine known as the "8 pieces of silk brocade" is said to improve your health and slow down the aging process.
Qigong is a great meditative exercise for anyone of any age to practice. Because the movements are slow and fluid it's safe to practice qigong daily for up to an hour without physically straining your body. Some experienced qigong practitioners even practice for up to 2 hours every day! If you don't have time for that level of dedication, 15-20 minutes a day is enough to reap the benefits. The movements of qigong may be gentle, but the effects of a consistent practice can be powerful.
If you're looking for high-intensity workouts you can do at home, try these tech-enhanced at home fitness trends!