Yoga Chi Gung is, in a sense a product of our times. Drawing from ancient disciplines, this holistic system for good health is able to integrate two diverse systems that grew in complete isolation from each other and brings them together for the edification of today’s practitioners.
Yoga as the modern world knows it is a system of asanas (or positions) and exercises that include meditation techniques to achieve wellness of body and mind, whereas Chi Gung or Qigong as it is also known is known to be a Chinese meditative practice that employs gracefully slow movements and breathing techniques to improve the circulation of Chi or Qi in the body.
Yoga Chi Gung also draws from other wellness systems or disciplines such as Awareness through Movement, Pilates and the Alexander Technique to assist in overall self development. The main principles of Yoga Chi-Gung are:
- Using principles of biomechanics, the body is sought to be stretched in the most natural way.
- The accent is on extension without tension, and in challenging the body and mind without stressing it. The practice of the system should be according to the individual or person’s own abilities.
- Joints such as knees, elbows and hips are soft.
- The idea is to stretch only as much as 90% of a person’s capacity, so that there is some reserve at all times.
- The important thing is breath awareness rather than breath control. Breathing should be done naturally but with full awareness of it.
- It is important to concentrate and be aware of the center (Dantien, Nabi, Hara).
- Intelligent sequencing or Vinyasa are used to build intensity of the movements while easing one into the prescribed postures rather than making hard or sudden movements.
- The distribution of weight is such that there is a strong foundation of the postures.
- The neck and face are to be in a relaxed position.
- Since this system of wellness and good health is about working within one’s own abilities, it does not require past experience or learning or even any kind of exceptional flexibility to practice.
Yoga Chi Gung is said to benefit in a number of ways; by improving and enhancing chi as well as blood circulation with the body, by increasing the practitioners suppleness and strength, by improving one’s sense of balance and sense of being centered and increasing one’s range of motions and physical abilities.