COVID-19, Qigong, Relaxation, Self-care

Simple Qigong for Respiratory Health

If you are looking to move beyond self-soothing into some deeper self-care (learn the differences here), you might be interested in Qigong (also spelled chi kung, pronounce “chee-GUNG”). This is a practice related to taiji (t’ai chi) that uses repeated motions synched with breath to circulate blood, lymph, and energy through the body. Medical studies have shown that taiji improves immune system response, and it’s been used in China specifically to help people recover from COVID-19. If the idea of energy movement feels a little “woo-woo” to you, know that these practices also help you breathe deeply, limber you up (especially in the torso), and help you focus calmly on something that is not the dire news of the day.

I think qigong is an easier place to start than taiji, because instead of flowing from one move to the next in a choreographed form, qigong has you repeat one move several times before moving on to the next exercise. Ideally, you’d learn from a teacher, because there are things about the way it feels that are hard to convey via video alone – but even just following along the videos as best you can will be a help.

Today’s video is by Bruce Frantzen, who has studied several lineages from masters in China. He starts with a couple minutes of talk about how qigong can help against Coronavirus. The actual practice is only 3 moves that take 3-4 minutes. The key takeaway is not that qigong or taiji would help you avoid it forever (it won’t) but rather it will help your immune system respond rapidly and effectively.

I find this approach very calming philosophically – my goal is not to lock myself away and never, ever come in contact with the virus, but rather to accept that it is fairly likely I will catch it, but to have a body and mind resilient enough to overcome it. This approach may or may not be for you, especially if you have underlying conditions or lowered immunity. I have to say, it’s a leap of faith for me after my last bout of pneumonia in 2016. So, I’m isolating, washing well, AND doing qigong!

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