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Qigong, also known as chi gong, is a system of movements designed to improve both physical and mental fitness. It involves the use of meditative exercise to help you prepare for more intensive martial arts or meditation training. Created by the Taoist monks in China, qigong has existed for more than 2,000 years. The best way to practice qigong is by becoming familiar with the four basic components of the art. These are the dynamic phase, the static phase, the meditative phase and the use of external aids.
During the dynamic phase of qigong training, the emphasis is placed on movements and posture. Tai chi, another form of martial arts training, can be incorporated into this phase. When first beginning to practice qigong, it is highly recommended to view the dynamic phase of the art as an opportunity to master tai chi. The qigong movements are designed to be very fluid in nature, teaching you to be able to control the way your body moves and improving your physical balance. The dynamic phase is the most active of the four phases.
The static phase will be the next step taken when attempting to practice qigong. It is centered on your ability to manipulate your body into various poses and postures, as well as your ability to hold those positions for an extended period of time. Many of the postures are similar to those found in tai chi and can be compared to some positions found in various forms of yoga. It is believed that if you wish to practice qigong in an attempt to improve your health and well-being, you should be able to gain control over your body through these exercises.
The third phase that you will encounter when attempting to practice qigong is the meditative phase. This is believed to be the most spiritual of the four phases as well as the most focused on mental ability rather than physical ability. The third phase involves the use of various types of Chinese meditation in order to produce a heightened sense of consciousness through a more relaxed state of mind.
The fourth and final phase of qigong uses external aids to help in the overall mental and physical process. This phase typically involves a variety of qigong accessories, including herbal mixtures and physical manipulation. The various herbs used in the practice have high regard in Eastern philosophy and are believed to increase your ability to reach your full spiritual potential. There also are forms of massage and other forms of physical contact that are used during this time to center the body's physical energy.
After all four phases of qigong have been mastered, they are designed to work in harmony to increase your vital energy, thereby reducing stress levels and increasing overall quality of life and energy levels. You can learn more about how to practice qigong by watching an instructional video, reading an instructional book or taking a qigong class. These classes often are offered by martial arts centers, fitness centers and even some community service groups.