The practice of meditation is an ancient one, dating back approximately 2,000 years, if not longer. Many of the different forms of meditation originated in the Eastern hemisphere, primarily in India, Japan, and China, and several different forms of meditation evolved from each country. There are numerous different types of Chinese meditation, but the most well-known and widely practice include Tai Chi, qigong, and Buddhist meditation.
Tai chi is one of the most popular forms of Chinese meditation, not just because of the relaxing mental state that it promotes, but because it is also good for toning the body’s muscles. This form of meditation consists of a series of graceful poses that flow fluidly from one to the next. Tai Chi can be broken down into different types, each focusing on a different aspect, such as developing a strong sense of spirituality or increasing flexibility. While Tai Chi is generally safe, those who have joint problems should speak to a physician before beginning a regimen.
Qigong, also referred to as chi kung, is a form of Chinese mediation that also acts as a system of healing in traditional Chinese medicine. In Chinese, “qi” means "life energy;" qigong focuses on helping the practitioner learn to recognize and harness that energy. The human body is full of involuntary functions, from breathing to digestion. By becoming in tune with those functions, by recognizing the moment when the heart beats faster or respirations become more intense, the practitioner can learn how to counteract those moments by telling the body to relax. Modern biofeedback machines work on the same basic concept.
Buddhist Chinese meditation is a term that actually encompasses a number of different types of meditation, each focusing on a main goal of bringing the practitioner closer to enlightenment. Buddhism originated in India, but was brought to China approximately 500 years later by traders traveling throughout the region. Buddhist meditation can have one of two aims: fostering tranquility or promoting a deeper understanding of the world and the practitioner’s place in it. Although all forms of Chinese meditation are spiritual in nature, meditation is a significant part of the Buddhist system of spirituality.
Excelling in the different types of Chinese meditation involves plenty of practice and discipline. While the methods can be learned from a book, Internet research, a class, or a personal instructor, success depends solely on the practitioner’s level of dedication and patience. For some, meditation comes naturally, but for others it can take years to master.