Recently a new morning group activity was introduced to peers at Perry Wellness Center. Qigong (also known as Chic Kung) is an exercise regimen with ancient roots in Chinese healthcare. Staff member Ric Vogt is a practitioner of Qigong, and she demonstrated several movements to the group, while describing the background and benefits of the regimen.
“Qi” means “energy” and “Gong” means “work.” As the name implies, Qigong focuses on the the exercise of one’s internal energy. A total of 18 different exercises integrate postures, breathing, movements, and meditation. Qigong has been practiced for at least 5,000 years, but it is having a 21st-century resurgence in the West. The more well-known practice of Tai Chi has its origins in Qigong but with a greater focus on martial arts.
The techniques associated with Qigong rely upon several principles, including: intentional movement, awareness, rhythmic breathing, visualization, and chanting or other sound.
Practitioners of Qigong utilize its exercises as part of their routine for general health, special advancement, or even martial arts training. Benefits include relaxation and stress relief, mental sharpening, increased energy and vitality, and improvement or healing of degenerative or chronic diseases. As part of a holistic health regimen, it has even been used to treat cancer.
While more traditional exercises and sports are practiced regularly at Perry Wellness Center, peers enjoy learning a wide variety of health practices that promote total mind/body wellness. Qigong is one exercise program that may offer both better physical conditioning and a more tranquil state of mind.
Ric Vogt currently practices nine out of 18 Qigong movements. In her first demonstration, Vogt shared the importance of the movements relative to proper breathing and energy. Peers were challenged to stand and slowly copy the instructor’s movements as she led the class. Close attention was required and achieved to varying degrees.
“This is a good exercise each day,” Ric stressed. “But first thing Monday morning, this can be a challenging group session!”
In the photo above, Ric Vogt leads an early morning group in the movements of Qigong.