The Concept of Energy in Qigong and Yoga
The concept of vital life energy that sustains life everywhere is central to both Yoga and Qigong. In Yoga, it is referred to as “prana,” and in Qigong, it is the same “qi” that is part of the name of the practice. Both practices aim to balance the energy within us. The concept of chakras is found in Yoga, and dantien is found in Qigong. Both concepts refer to energy centers that affect the surrounding tissues of the body as well as various aspects of our overall functioning. Similarly, in Yoga, there are nadis, channels through which energy flows in the body, while in Qigong these are called meridians and are arranged somewhat differently in the body. In practice, however, Yoga focuses more on the chakras and less on the nadis, while Qigong gives great importance to both the dantiens and the meridians.
Traditional and Modern Application of Qigong and Yoga
Yoga began primarily as a spiritual practice. The word Yoga first appears in the Rig Veda, the texts of the Vedic priests, the Brahmins, and later in the Upanishads, a collection of scriptures. Patanjali systematically presented Yoga later in the classical period in the Yoga Sutras. According to him, Yoga has eight branches.
- Yama – attitudes towards our environment
- Niyama – attitudes towards ourselves
- Asana – physical postures
- Pranayama – breath control
- Pratyahara – control of the senses
- Dharana – concentration
- Dhyana – meditation
- Samadhi – enlightenment
But Qigong can be traced back to the shamanic dances of the rural people of Neolithic China. Throughout its existence, it has always been associated with growth and the maintenance of health. Even today, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and other traditional Chinese medical practices are based on the theory and practice of traditional Chinese medicine, which is referenced in the earliest texts of Chinese medicine such as the Huangdi Neijing of the legendary Yellow Emperor, considered the father of Chinese medicine.
In today’s modern world, the understanding and application of Qigong is, as summarized by Master Liu He, a world-renowned Qigong master, “Qigong is essentially a philosophy for living life with mindfulness and creating an awareness of the present that leads to a better understanding of ourselves, others, and the world in which we live… It is the bridge that brings us back into harmony with nature, and with practice, Qigong is as big as the universe and full of surprises.”
Yoga, on the other hand, is a thoroughly global phenomenon, with people committed to the practice to improve the quality of their lives, both physically and mentally. For them, Yoga is the time they take out of their hectic daily schedules.
The Beauty of the Combined Practice of Qigong and Yoga
By combining Yoga and Qigong you can reach a deeper state of consciousness.
What we typically learn during our Yoga practice is integrated into Qigong, including the use of breath and qi to move and release stuck energy and ultimately heal the body by learning how to move and receive energy. Traditionally, asana practice in Yoga focuses more on building strength and stability.
Yoga and Qigong both help release stress, trauma, and the inability to move forward by bringing us into a more intimate relationship with our bodies. They help quiet the mind to hear the voice of the heart. In both Yoga and Qigong, alignment is key to promoting healthy energy flow.
In addition to our flesh, blood, organs, and bones, we are also defined by an energetic grid that is recognized in the traditions of Yoga and Qigong. These are known as nadis or meridian lines. Along these meridians are high concentrations of qi/prana/energy known as acupuncture points or “marma” points.
What this Means for You
In summary, by practicing Qigong Yoga with the movements I have curated, one not only benefits from cultivating good health through the movement of Qi throughout the body but is also able to improve mindfulness, which leads to being able to perform moving and sitting meditations with ease. As a result, practicing Qigong Yoga leads to lightness in the body and clarity in the mind.
Part of this article is credited to www.longwhitecloudqigong.com.