Qigong practice puts us directly in the flow of the universe and opens us to learn from the world around us continuously.
Sometimes, this means paying attention to the cosmos. Other times it means pausing to listen and receive wisdom from animals, rivers, trees, and healing plants. And then, sometimes, it means listening to the hidden folk, like Dragons, who can also be our guide.
Dragons… powerful, mysterious creatures that have appeared in mythical tales for thousands of years, are also essential archetypes in Qigong practice. Ancient Chinese sages developed extensive Qigong practices dedicated to cultivating the unique gifts and qualities of dragons.
Even though dragons (might 😉 ) not exist on planet Earth, their archetype and energy are very real. In this post, I'll offer an overview of Swimming Dragon Qigong and share four primary empowering benefits that this ancient Qigong practice provides.
In Chinese legend, dragons were good omens and lived well over 1,000 years.
Swimming Dragon Qigong taps into Chinese dragons' wood energy, representing prosperity, good luck, and harmony (unlike the aggressive, fire-breathing European dragons).
These Swimming Dragon practices are considered "empowerments." The ancient Taoist Shamans used to give "empowerments" to the villagers and to those who needed support or healings. These empowerments are often dances and energy work practices or shape-shifting rituals to give the person receiving them power and wisdom of that particular animal or archetype. Over time they became rituals and Qigong forms or Taiji forms to express a certain type of energy medicine. In essence, they became an energetic science rather than a mystical practice that was separate from everyday life. In the modern day, these forms are ways we can keep the mystical infused with the ordinary and have a movement practice to keep our body healthy, emotions balanced, and our mind clear.
During the practice, you'll spiral, coil, and stretch your body as you mirror the movements of a Dragon swimming through the water. These movements evoke the same energies of the benevolent Chinese dragons: longevity, strength, and harmony.
What Is Swimming Dragon Qigong?
Although the exact origin is unknown, we know that several forms evolved through various lineages over the centuries.
Swimming Dragon Qi gong is a practice for longevity. It focuses on flowing, serpentine-like and bird-like movements that are wonderful for cultivating both physical and internal resilience.
Swimming Dragon practices are easy to learn, and people often experience their benefits fairly quickly because Swimming Dragon practices engage the entire body and generally work with spiraling and coiling movements. Today, it is most commonly practiced for its benefits of resiliency and longevity, but in ancient times, it had martial applications for combat.
Four Empowering Benefits of Swimming Dragon Qigong Practice
1. Cleanses and Clear Stagnation
Swimming Dragon Qigong focuses heavily on full-body body spiraling movements. Energetically, these spiraling exercises free up and "squeeze out" stagnant energy from the internal organs. Imagine using your hands to wring murky water out of a wet sponge. Physically, this helps undo knots in the body and releases muscle tension.
Mentally and emotionally, the process does the same with negative thoughts and old feelings. If someone is experiencing stagnation in their heart or mind, Swimming Dragon is a potent way to move the energy and release it in a healthy and constructive way.
Many Swimming Dragon exercises have the effect of massaging the internal organs. The rotating movements exert gentle pressure on different parts of the body. Because each organ is associated with a different kind of Qi and emotions, the practice can cleanse the entire energy system.
The cleansing process also activates the body's healing energy and allows it to circulate freely, including between all three Dantiens, and delivers an abundance of Qi to all the cells in the body.
2. Improves Strength and Flexibility
Swimming Dragon Qigong is a Full-body practice. The spiraling movements provide another wonderful benefit for the physical body: they improve your flexibility and strength. While you practice, pay attention to how it feels to twist your upper body in one direction gently. You might notice this movement stretches a vast network of connected muscles in your back, shoulders, arms, and abdomen all the way down to your legs.
In Swimming Dragon Qigong, we pay special attention to rotating and spiraling movements that focus on stretching lines of tension in these parts of the body—promoting increased flexibility and a blissful feeling of being loose and relaxed. Of course, since this is a powerful practice, every one of us needs to focus on gentle movements, so we don't injure ourselves.
In addition to flexibility, Swimming Dragon also increases your strength. When you practice, you will notice there is a push and a pull to the movements. Just as part of your body relaxes into the rotating movements, another part is actively engaged in order for rotations to take place. Once you integrate and soften to the flow, it feels like one effortless movement as your entire body finds harmony and grace like a scintillating dragon.
3. Boosts Internal Power
In Qiqong, the combination of strength and flexibility leads to another potent gift: Resiliency.
Swimming Dragon Qigong is a powerful practice for cultivating resiliency. This applies to both the physical and energetic body. If you have practiced Qigong before, especially the Five Elements, you may notice that the qualities of Swimming Dragon are similar to the qualities of the Wood Element, which is not a coincidence. The Dragon is closely associated with the Wood Element.
Because Swimming Dragon practices massage and activate Qi in the organs, it can have numerous benefits for various organs. Some of the internal benefits for the organs include opening the lungs and diaphragm, stimulating the kidneys and balancing Jing energy, regulating digestion, improving intestinal health, balancing hormones, and connecting the heart and kidneys (fire and water), which balances Yin and Yang energy.
4. Enhances Longevity
All of the benefits already mentioned naturally result in enhancing longevity!
Today, the quest for longevity is one of the primary reasons that most people practice Swimming Dragon Qigong. Swimming Dragon Qigong does not only help you live longer but to feel more vitally alive. When your body becomes more resilient and your organs healthier, living longer is easier. You are adding years to our life and life to your years.
I look forward to morphing into a dragon and practicing with you!
I'd also like to bow to my teacher Lee Holden for teaching me how to awaken the Dragon within 🐉🙏🏽🌿
Would you like to start your day clear, energized, and with a light, joyful heart? Click here to get the 13 Minute Morning Qigong Practice for FREE!⬇️⬇️⬇️
Hugs and deep bows of gratitude to you and your practice