Learning qigong during COVID-19



That’s Robert Peng above, my qigong teacher whom I started learning from last July. I could never have imagined when I signed up this past January for his 14 week online medical qigong course that half way through we’d be sheltering in place with a pandemic. Knowing I’ve been strengthening my lungs, among other organs, has been an odd salve.

Qigong, qi gong, chi kung, or chi gung is a centuries-old system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial-arts training. Wikipedia

Peng was born and raised in China and he has studied the art of qigong since he was eight years old. He met his qigong master not far from where he lived. His qigong master was the boiler man at a housing residence for foreigners in his village. It’s quite an amazing story Robert tells in his book, The Master Key.

Last July my friend sent me a link to Peng’s 5 day workshop at Omega, a spiritual-type retreat where hundreds of courses are given in residence on a beautiful green campus in Rhinebeck, NY. Of course, as these things go, my friend decided not to take the course, so I took a bus up from Port Authority on my own with a bit of trepidation. I basically knew what qigong was but had never done it. But you know how the story goes, by the second day I had new friends and felt right at home.

That course has been my daily practice, and exercise, outside of my daily 45 minute to one hour walk. I do two twenty minute spiritual healing exercises that focus on the gathering and circulating of chi (energy) within my body and from the universe. They invigorate the upper, middle and lower dantean, which is to say help to make you more wise, compassionate and strong. The medical qigong course I just completed, Yi Jin Jing, is a classic set of qigong exercises that strengthen 12 organs in the body – i.e. heart, small intestine, large intestine, liver, lungs…timely for going through a pandemic.

I encourage you if you are looking for a practice that’s like yoga, but actually easier physically and more meditative to look into qigong. I do know it’s made me more calm and centered, physically strong and balanced, pick up on when someone’s about to call me, so I would say, more in tune with the universe. Well, I had to say it didn’t I? 😉

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