Qigong is many things -- on many levels. It is a meditative, relaxing, and body opening exercise. It is a mental "focusing" exercise. It is a energy invigorating exercise. It stimulates and cultivates the energy of the body-mind to more refined levels. It is a stretching exercise. It stretches and opens the body's muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints, creating more comfort and range of movement for the individual. Qigong is a breathing exercise. It brings breath deep into the body, supplying oxygen and energy to the system, so that the person can function at higher levels of efficiency, health, and awareness. Qigong is a harmonization exercise. It harmonizes the body, the breath, the mind, and the spirit, bringing a centered and aware capability to one's being -- from the inside out. Qigong is a sensitizing exercise. It increases one's sensitivity to oneself inwardly and outwardly making one more aware of what is transpiring in the body-mind system. Qigong is a system of self investigation, allowing one to access one's personal ways of acting and being. It thereby allows one to know oneself and so make changes toward improvement.
Seen simply, Qigong is merely exercise. It helps an individual to remain healthy and vibrant through the life giving properties of exercise. Qigong helps to heal and cure the body-mind of problems and imbalances which can create difficulties with one's health. It is a health preventative exercise, which if done regularly everyday can ward off disease and discomfort. Because of its non-stressful movements it doesn't injure the body's joints like many exercise regimes. It doesn't bloat the muscles with too much tension, inhibiting movement, but loosens and softens the muscles and joints, while toning and invigorating the subtle energies of the body.
Yet, Qigong can be much more than just exercise. It can put one in touch with levels of self-knowledge and feeling which can help the individual evolve and become more empowered, appropriate, and capable. Qigong stimulates vitality and a raised spirit which can stand one in good stead in a world of inappropriateness and stress.
According to Chinese Qigong theory, the mind should be the "general" of one's Qigong training. Its attitude has a bearing on one's entire being -- including one's "Qi", or internal energy, and one's spirit. Whenever one's peace of mind is disturbed, the state of one's chi and its circulation in your entire body is immediately affected.
One's mind-body state can over-excited from excess mental or emotional involvement, or from stimulants such as certain drugs or foods, or from too much yang style exercise. When this happens the Qi balance in the body can be disturbed. One can feel overstimulated, scattered, nervous, tight, bloated, or there can be over aggressiveness, too much of an egotistical attitude, insensitivity, clumsiness, etc. Just as one can be over-excited one can be under-stimulated. When one's mind/body state is under-stimulated or under-nourished one's internal condition can become sluggish or weak. In such a condition, one can be without drive, lacking self-esteem or confidence, and there can be an inability to perceive from a clear and natural perspective, etc.
One of the main goals of Qigong is to relieve the mental "scatteredness", tension or negativity which accrues from over-excess. Qigong also helps to enliven the weakened condition. In effect, Qigong can help balance the body-mind back to its naturally tranquil, healthy, and centered state.
One of the qualities one wants to achieve is normal Qi circulation, which in turn insures that all the cells of the body and brain receive the proper amount of "Qi" nourishment. When one can relax mentally, become focused and "whole" in the present, and move smoothly, slowly, and calmly then one's mind is in the proper condition. Once this state is achieve, one's health is positively affected.
The movements one does through one's Qigong do their specific job to activate one's Qi. The combined effect of Qigong's mental and physical harmonization is quiet centeredness and a bright and lively mind.
The suitably applied movements of one's Qigong combined with the appropriate focusing and relaxing of the mind and body can create a joining of the body, the mind, and the spirit, which allows one to reach the maximum of one's potential as a human being.
-- Eo Omwake