In reality, qigong is an umbrella term for all kinds of exercise where you use the mind attentively, deepen your breath and hold or move the body in space. Practically all human activities can qualify, given the appropriate state of mind. That is why you can use a qigong approach to riding a bike or pounding spices with a mortar, for example. Therefore the most important aspect in qigong is an understanding of the principles. Then, the ways in which these principles can be applied are endless. So let's talk about the principles!
The number one principle is qigong is “the mind leads the qi”. That means that it all starts with the mind. Before you type anything on the keyboard, your mind sends the signal to reach for it. Another important principle is “if your mind is on the qi, then the qi becomes stagnant”, which means that your mind has to be ahead of the action (here qi could be understood as that which enables the action to occur). When you take a step, do you think about the step you just made or think about the next? Simple, uh?
Yet, as it happens, most people have trouble concentrating their minds for a certain period of time, say a minute, on a simple task, say walking, which is pretty much automatic. Make the test. Stand up and walk attentively around the room, vividly conscious of the feeling of the breath entering and exiting your lungs, the contact of your feet with the floor, and guiding yourself smoothly step by step. Most people find their concentration falters and when that happens their breath becomes erratic and the stepping unstable. Come on, do it. I'll be here waiting.
Are you back yet? Maybe now you realize how challenging it is “to be one with mind, breath and body”. And that was just walking. In fact, it could be considered quite an advanced exercise, since you need to be simultaneously present to various subtle bodily sensations. That overwhelms your nervous system and your awareness shuts down. Don't worry, practice makes perfect.
Now you realize the state of mind I am talking about. That state of mind, combined with deep breath and slow, rhythmic movements or a correctly aligned static posture, has the ability to reach deep into your being and untie physical, mental and emotional tensions. And the good thing about it all is that, once you understand the principles, you can apply them to any activity you like.