For over 3600 years, Qigong has been a jewel of Chinese cultural tradition. While the origins of Qigong will never likely be fully revealed, the traditions that exist today can be traced back through various monastic traditions and military lineages that are documented through oral and written traditions. While a great deal has been lost to time and records being destroyed during the great cultural revolution in China, substantial threads of the original traditions have been preserved in various schools of martial arts that have come out of China.
Today, main stream cultural information is flooded with mixed martial arts competitions, TV shows and movies that display a very specific appreciation – and oftentimes a lack there of – of what it means to be physically conditioned for training for combat. In the Chinese martial arts at the ground level, or the foundation of combat readiness and physical conditioning, is regarded as being that of physical strength and gross motor muscle control.
This is of course something that is very easy to see with the naked eye. If you see someone walking around with lots of muscle it is assumed that they train very hard in a very specific way. This is a very normal ground level, basic aspect of conditioning. Anyone who has spent a few years training in any physical discipline quickly discovers that the physical training and development of muscles is actually a very small part of conditioning. With a few years of understanding and experience of physical conditioning, a person will quickly understand that a great deal of their conditioning is dependent on their mental space, their ability to focus, and to push through different thresholds of physical conditioning. Once this level of awareness is arrived at, people either do two things – they either continue to push, using their control and aggressiveness to determine the outcome and goal threshold in their training, OR they look for deeper understanding and more substantial tools to improve their mental spaces to make training easier and no longer about pushing aggressively.
In the context of using Qigong for training, physical conditioning, mental conditioning, and combat readiness, the arena of sport psychology has long ago determined that the more relaxed you are mentally and physically the further you can go with your physical conditioning. Why is Qigong important in this context?
Qigong combines the best of sport psychology and physical conditioning, giving anyone who practices regularly a unique and exclusive toolbox and edge of self-awareness and development. How does Qigong actually do this?
Qigong does this by training the mind to be connected to the body in a way that develops a stronger relaxation principle inside your nervous system. Your nervous system’s memory can, in time, override the classic reptilian brain reactionary spaces of fight, flight, and or freeze. The way this works is through moving slow. The slow movements of Qigong allow your nervous system to learn how to be relaxed under pressure while you move, or hold a single posture for a certain period of time. Moving slow and deliberately within a Qigong set allows you to rewire the way your nervous system responds to movement, the way your nervous system observes the space immediately around you, and also how you process information. Processing information when you are relaxed and when you have developed a habit of being relaxed under pressure, changes the depth of your situational awareness. Changing and improving and refining your ability to process information and to stay in a relaxed state under pressure allows for deeper instinctual responses from a visceral gut level of understanding.
Qigong slows down the mind, the nervous system, and our programmed instincts. When you slow down your programmed reptilian responses you change the way your mind observes and processes information. Effectively you become better able to process more information faster and more efficiently. This is a subtle thing. It is not something that becomes clear overnight or even after a single class of Qigong or even maybe a year or two. It all depends on the consistency of your practice and the amount of time you spend shifting gears, rewiring your nervous system, and slowing down. The way Qigong supports the shift of awareness is through using the movement of blood in the body to massage and relax the nervous system, the organs, and overtime any tension buildup in the body. Dissolving tension in the body means that your body is able to reroute the old energy into new spaces of observation.
Join us August 20th for our upcoming workshop to learn more!
In Health & Wellness,