"Where the thoughts are, there is the energy, where the energy is, there flows blood, but where the blood flows, there is recovery" (Chinese proverb). Seen from the outside, little happens at Qigong. Practitioners just stand there, shifting their weight every now and then, or moving with quiet, flowing movements. "Inside", on the other hand, happens a lot. Qigong (literally: care of the life energy) is one of the oldest Chinese healing methods, in order to increase the life energy of humans and to bring to flow.
What does qigong do?
Qigong exercises include stretching, slow-motion, breathing, and introductory exercises. They are intended to strengthen the musculoskeletal system, but at the same time to make it supple and flexible. Qigong regulates breathing, circulation, nervous system and metabolism and strengthens the immune system. At the mental level, concentration, memory and learning ability are promoted.
In China a matter of course
Qigong is part of daily life in China: it is used for the prevention and treatment of illnesses, it is meditation and philosophy at the same time. People exercise in the parks in the morning to strengthen themselves for the day, Qigong is used in schools and colleges in the breaks to promote mental regeneration.
In Europe, too, Qigong is becoming increasingly popular and is now also recognized medically: It is recommended by physicians and health insurers for maintaining health and performance, the Federal Association for Health e. V. has classified it as a quality-assured relaxation method.
Why Qigong for children?
Many children react to our modern world with their daily hectic rush, constant overstimulation and relative lack of physical activity with restlessness, absent-mindedness, lack of concentration and aggression. Qigong can have a positive effect on such stress phenomena. It can help children to find rest and concentration again, to consciously perceive their body and to develop a positive attitude to life for the here and now.
The children are not tired afterwards, but refreshed and ready to take up. Therefore, Qigong is also suitable for use in school, for example, as a concentration-increasing movement break in the classroom or as a relaxation offer (for students and teachers) during the break.
Is there a special Qigong for children?
Qigong for children was awarded by the President of the German Qigong Society. Zuzana Šebková-Thaller developed and made known in Germany and other European countries; in the homeland of the Qigong this special form is unknown. As a rule, the same movements are used as in adult exercises. But they are integrated into child-friendly narratives and conveyed in a playful way. Often the children do not realize that they practice Qigong exercises. Under the guidance of a trainer they transform into snakes, penguins and eagles and imitate their patterns of movement. They feel so strong that they experience their own characteristics.
Exercise: Standing like a tree
But other elements from the natural kingdom are also used. For example, for children who are not resting, the exercise may help "stand as a tree". The children stand with their legs shoulder width apart, the knees are slightly angled. Both serve a particularly firm and stable state. They imagine that their roots spread in the ground, thereby gaining strength for the growth of the tree. The trunk grows, the leaves unfold to the suns, the flowers open. Usually the children do not have to be animated to certain movements, they find them in the stories by themselves.
Exercise: The eagle crashes on the prey
An exercise that should sharpen attention and concentration is "The Eagle falls on the prey". The children should learn to live out aggression without losing their composure. Playfully imitated here is the relaxed flight of an eagle, who lets his gaze wander into the distance (the children stand as in the "tree exercise" and spread their arms), then a mouse sees (the children stand on their toes, lift that right knees and arms even higher) and falls on the prey (the children utter a "Ha" scream, squat down, the claws are spread on the ground, the eyes are spellbound). The eagle has caught the mouse, is proud of itself and lets the mouse run again. The children return to the starting position and smile.
In this exercise, the children should learn different poles: top and bottom, wide view and sharp gaze, a clear purposeful action and the serenity to let go of the gained, fun and serious. The mixture of physical and mental relaxation and relaxation trains the body's perception and should give the children strength and energy.
When can children start Qigong?
- Qigong can be used as early as infancy. Then the exercises consist only of touching, massaging or tapping.
- From the age of 2-3 years, "Qigong for two" (one adult and one child or two children) is performed. This form consists of various massages, which are incorporated into funny stories.
- From the age of three, children can start with small independent exercises and exercise cycles.
- Older children and adolescents are treated like adults. For them, it is important to explain exactly the process and technique and also to show how and why the exercises work.
Qigong can be practiced anywhere, anytime. It is therefore also well suited for the family environment. Special sports clothing or clothing is not necessary. However, you should make sure that the clothes are not too tight and constricting and that no heavy footwear or high heels are worn.
Where is Qigong offered?
Qigong courses are offered at family education centers, community colleges and other health facilities. Through various model projects (eg for the prevention of violence or preventive health care) and pilot studies, the Far Eastern healing method should also be published in schools and kindergartens.