How can Qigong be used to improve wellbeing and performance in the workplace?

Qigong combines natural movement with the breath in order to strengthen and balance our emotional, physical and spiritual aspects. Its effectiveness in corporate environments is well known in Asia but the benefits are only just now being explored in the west.

 

Taking time to breathe, calm the mind and improve clarity

The world in which we live has a tendency towards busyness. Although it’s possible to perform many tasks simultaneously, all too often we find ourselves compromising one task by worrying about another competing priority. Perhaps the preparation for the meeting later in the day is distracting you; maybe it’s trying to work out how to fit in everything you need to do between finishing work and getting home. We are constantly finding ourselves under pressure either from others, or from ourselves.

Qigong will not reduce your workload; it will not create more hours in the day: what it can do is provide simple techniques to find clarity and perspective. It can help us focus on what is relevant in the moment and prevent us from being distracted with worries and concerns about what might happen, it can help us to become more aware of the way in which we communicate, more aware of the consequences of our actions both on ourselves and others.

 

Creating time for Qigong as part of the working day

Engaging in regular Qigong sessions, our mind is initially distracted from its normal thought process as we learn the movements, then, as the movements and intentions of the forms become second nature, this distraction evolves into a meditative stillness.

Although regular Qigong sessions are highly beneficial, it is not always possible to find the time during the working day. A new approach needed to be found that would provide the benefits of this powerful practice in a range of simple techniques that can be used at any time.

Of course, for those wanting to truly explore the depths of understanding that reside at the heart of this practice, there are no shortcuts; but for the purposes of introducing the benefits of Qigong to the western workplace a new technique needed to be found; a technique that empowers and encourages us but is so simple it requires nothing more than our own awareness. The approach that has proved most effective is in exploring the effects of doing things wrong…

Doing things ‘wrong’ in Qigong – and understanding the effects

We are all familiar with the idea of learning from our mistakes but the idea of intentionally doing something wrong in order to learn tends to be alien to us. In the world of Qigong we have the luxury of being able to explore what ‘wrong’ feels like. We can notice how certain movements restrict our breath, we can identify habits that cause us discomfort and explore how our movement and intention affects the people and space around us. In exploring the ‘wrong’ we can better understand how to correct things. You could say that understanding ‘wrong’ helps us to appreciate ‘right’ whereas assuming we are ‘right’ in our approach prevents us from finding better ways of doing things.

Using techniques that are so simple they quickly become second nature, we can notice the things that we can improve in our work life. Not only that, these same Qigong techniques offer us clues that help us develop healthier emotional, physical and, dare I say, spiritual approaches to our everyday challenges.

 

Learning to move effortlessly

Another major benefit that Qigong can bring into the corporate sector is the enhancement of our understanding of movement. Whether this is employed in physical work in order to make it less tiring or is used to minimise injuries both in and out of the workplace, the benefits of moving correctly can be a major boost.

In the same way as the powerful engines of luxury cars are intended to provide effortless grace, Qigong enables us to harness our core strength in order to move effortlessly; it encourages us to engage our entire body in movement to prevent us from over-stressing a particular area and potentially causing damage.

 

In practice

Bringing Qigong into organisations, either within bespoke training courses or as part of a well-being programme, has been well received. The benefits have ranged from improved communication skills to a noticeable reduction in stress and tension as well as helping with more deep seated health issues.

Corporate Qigong is not a serious or intense thing, it’s not about committing to an arduous training regime, it’s not about following a process of procedure; it is about having the opportunity to explore techniques that can make big differences in our work and home lives, it’s about observing how we respond, it’s about having fun and finding real benefits in simple ideas and techniques.

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