The Life-Giving Breath Of Qigong

Matthew Carr | 19 Aug 2020
The Life-Giving Breath Of Qigong

I had just turned 29, and I was walking home with my girlfriend, enveloped in a happy glow from practising Tai Chi on Bondi beach, when she said, “Hey, what is that lump on your leg?” It turned out to be an epithelioid sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that is extremely hard to treat. It was a devastating diagnosis, considering I was super fit and healthy in other respects – I was practising Kung Fu daily, and I had a very nutritious diet.

I left no stone unturned to recover and become cancer-free. I sought help from the best practitioners of psychotherapy and bioenergetics, not to mention Filipino faith healers, Chinese herbs, meditation, chanting, diet, abstinence, you name it. But of all the healing modalities I encountered, I can categorically state that the most powerful was medical Qigong.

Your first steps into Qigong

Qigong is one of the cornerstones of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and is based on the theory of Yin and Yang; an ancient yet profound understanding of the equilibrium found in nature. 

The primary goal of Qigong is to create and build health and strength through harmonising all the systems in the body simultaneously by creating a balance between Yin and Yang. The simplest way to start practising Qigong is to become aware of your breath: you can start the harmonisation process by slowing down your breaths, letting each one become fine, soft and silent.

Once your inhalations and exhalations are fluid and balanced, you can add more elements, deliberately using both your mind and your physiology to bring increasing balance. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to a space four finger widths below your navel. Slowly expand your lower belly as you breathe in, and contract the same area as you breathe out. Let the tip of your tongue rest lightly on your palate just behind your front teeth - this connects the energy channel down the front of your body with the one along your spine. 

Tune in to your gut

Try this Qigong technique for profound relaxation and letting your intuition come to the fore.

  1. Consciously release all tension your muscles, ligaments and tendons, allowing every part of you to sink and release while simultaneously lengthening your spine which we call "a string of pearls supported from heaven". 
  2. Imagine moving your mind out of your head and down into your belly. This allows you to anchor into something stable, where things are calmer.
  3. Let your thoughts quieten down. From this space of keeping your focus in your lower belly, your ‘gut feelings’ can inform and guide you.

SMILE – Start My Internal Love Engine

Study into a relatively new branch of medicine called ‘psychoneuroimmunology’ (PNI) shows how closely the health of our immune system is related to the state of our thoughts and nervous system. 

When we think of the word SMILE as an acronym for ‘Start My Internal Love Engine’, we can start using our imagination and belief to create positive thoughts about our organs, initiating a healing response. For example, we can activate the recently discovered vagus nerve connection between our brain and our stomach to activate our digestive system. 

To help digestion, start by closing your eyes before your meal. Focus on belly breathing as you smile down to your tummy, cultivating a sense of gratitude for the food you are about to eat, and imagine your tummy smiling back. With practice, you will feel your gut actually relax in response as you turn on your parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for resting, sleeping, digestion and healing. 

Harmony is just a breath away

You don’t need decades of martial arts training to avail yourself of the healing benefits of Qigong. One of the best things about it is that you can practise it any time simply by closing your eyes, smiling, and belly-breathing. Even one or two breaths can reset you, bringing you back home to your stable centre – especially if you silently add the word ‘calm’ as you inhale, and ‘relax’ as you exhale. 

Try this whenever you feel anxious, stressed or worried, and you will see what a wonderful and reliable path it is to bring yourself back to harmony.


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About the author
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Matthew Carr

Matthew was chosen to be a disciple with Chen Hong Lin a medical Qigong master and also with Tennyson Yiu a taiji and kung fu master, studying 20 years with each. Studying and practicing Chinese and Japanese acupuncture since 1981.

Disclaimer: This Content has been developed from our generous global community and is intended for informational purposes only. This Content is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon. Further, the personal views and experiences published are expressly those of the author, and do not represent the views or endorsement of SoulAdvisor through the act of publication on our site.

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