Qigong, which is sometimes spelled Chi-Kung (and pronounced chee-gung), or Chi-gong is the study and practice of cultivating vital life-force (Qi or Chi) through various techniques, including: Breathing techniques, Postures, Moving Meditations, and Guided imagery.
Qigong originated in China many centuries ago, and has a diverse history through many different teachers and lineages. The Chinese government more recently has tried to regulate and standardize Qigong throughout China, and cracked down banning some types. The Chinese Health Qigong Association, established in 2000, now strictly regulates public qigong practice, with limitation of public gatherings, requirement of state approved training and certification of instructors, and restriction of practice to state-approved forms.
Today there are many types of Qigong taught and practiced throughout the world, that differ in intent, style and practice. Still there are common principles that all the styles have in common.
Principles of Qigong compared to Empatharian
Whether viewed from the perspective of exercise, health, philosophy, or martial arts training, common principles emerge concerning the practice of qigong. These are very similar to Empatharian.
Wikipedia states these as:
- Intentional movement: careful, flowing balanced style
- Rhythmic breathing: slow, deep, coordinated with fluid movement
- Awareness: calm, focused meditative state
- Visualization: of qi flow, philosophical tenets, aesthetics (Empatharian visualizes energy and oxygen flow, etc.)
- Chanting/Sound: use of sound as a focal point (Empatharian uses words and sentences, silently or out loud)
Additionally these principles of Qigong differ from Empatharian:
- Softness: soft gaze, expressionless face- In Empatharian, the face can be expressive and make eye contact.
- Solid Stance: firm footing, erect spine- In Empatharian, we use a moving form, which is firm yet light, and spine is supple, not always erect.
- Relaxation: relaxed muscles, slightly bent joints – In Empatharian the muscles stretch and reach, and then relax, and joints can be held straight or slightly bent, depending on the gesture being communicated.
- Balance and Counterbalance: motion over the center of gravity- In Empatharian the movement is always aware of balance and the center core, but creates an alignment with the body in different ways.
Goals of Qigong Practice and Empatharian Practice
The goals of Qigong practice include:
- Equanimity: becoming more fluid, more relaxed
- Tranquility: having empty mind, high awareness
- Stillness: making smaller and smaller movements, eventually to complete stillness
The goals of Empatharian practice include:
- Energizing: core energy, inspiration, enthusiasm
- Awakening: empathy, intuitive understanding, neurological function and literacy
- Articulating and Expressing: thinking abstractly, asserting non-violently and peace-building.
Common Techniques and Results of the Practice
Movement Meditation– though they may look very different, both forms Qigong and Empatharian include types of movement meditation.
Body Tapping Techniques– Qigong and Empatharian use self-massage with gentle slapping or tapping of the limbs, torso, and head.
Breathing Techniques– Qigong and Empatharian both use the belly breath, and various other breathing techniques.
People practice qigong for many different reasons, including for recreation, exercise and relaxation, preventive medicine and self-healing, meditation and self-cultivation, and training for martial arts. Practitioners range from athletes to the physically challenged. Because it is low impact and can be done lying, sitting, or standing, qigong is accessible for disabled persons, seniors, and people recovering from injuries.[
Clinical research has had difficulty in creating valid results for qigong and its potential benefit in treating disease. With no evidence of any therapeutic effect, cortisol levels generally measure lower in qigong practitioners, showing a decrease in stress levels.[
Empatharian practitioners, like Qigong practitioners, claim lower stress levels, improved range of motion, and decreased pain. In addition, some evidence of advanced healing, faster healing, and postural improvement with Empatharian has occurred.
Primarily people do Qigong and Empatharian as a spiritual practice, to embody and align body, mind, and spirit. Qigong may focus more on a calming effect, while Empatharian focuses more on an awakening and energizing effect.
Empatharian is a more energetic practice that people of all ages can enjoy, that can be moved or danced, and that involves more than just the movement portion of the practice. Empatharian is not representative or originating in any particular national arena, and aims for universal appeal, to all cultures and language speakers. In addition, it is easy movement which can be done by all ages and fitness levels, from kindergartners to seniors, and people with disabilities as well.
Research on Empatharian would involve simple measures of intellectual and literacy functioning before and after a practice period of at least 45 days. Spiritual practice with Empatharian improves the mind, the body, and the spirit.