What is Qigong?

Qigong is a system of movement, breathing, and mindfulness based on the principles of Chinese medicine. These ancient techniques are used to circulate and cultivate life force, or qi. Qigong is related to Tai chi, another popular traditional Chinese exercise system, but there are important differences between the two.

The word qigong is composed of two parts. 'Qi' literally means 'breath' or 'air', and is often translated as 'energy' or vital flow. The concept is similar to the yogic notion of prana, and the more Western idea of vitality or spirit. 'Gong' means practice, or discipline. Through the practice of qigong, a greater awareness and control of qi is developed.

Qigong systems fall into one of three primary categories (although most will have some elements of each): martial arts, which focuses on strength and stamina; healing or medical, which is mainly concerned with improving physical, mental, and emotional health, whether of one's own or others'; and spiritual, whose purpose is achieving spiritual awareness, harmony with nature, or enlightenment.

Wild Goose, or Dayan, qigong is primarily a medical qigong and one of the most commonly practiced qigongs in China today. Its dance-like and enjoyable movements recall the image of a carefree wild goose. These birds were the inspiration for the monks of the Kunlun Mountain monasteries, who developed Wild Goose qigong observing the birds' graceful and efficient movement during their annual migration.