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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02375

Effect of Meditative Movement on affects and flow in qigong practitioners

  • 1University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Department of Digital Humanities, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Traffic Research Unit, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 4CICERO Learning, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 5Cognitive Brain Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland

Qigong is a Meditative Movement exercise that consists of mindful movements, regulation of breathing and attentional control. In this study we investigated whether Qigong practice might be associated with the affect and flow of its practitioners during the exercise. Although practitioners of Meditative Movement anecdotally describe flow-like experiences and strong effects on affect there are only a few empirical studies that focus on acute effects of Qigong practice on affect, and to our knowledge none on flow. Understanding these phenomena could shed new light on the interrelationship between body movement and the embodied mind. Self-reported affect and flow of qigong practitioners (N=19) was probed in four qigong sessions, one week apart, each lasting about an hour. We used the PANAS (Positive And Negative Affect Schedule) to measure self-reported affect pre- and post-session. Additionally, open-ended questions were used to further inquire the specific quality of the post-session affect. Flow was measured using the Flow Short Scale, twice during each Qigong session and once after it. Our results confirm previous studies that Qigong practice shifts affect towards positive valence. Content analysis of the open-ended questions further revealed that the resulting experience can be described as restful, relaxed, happy, balanced and clear. Although the lack of a control group/condition preclude drawing firm causal conclusions, our results indicate that Qigong practice produced flow already 20 minutes into the session, and that flow state intensified at 40 minutes and 60 minutes. Future directions for studying affect and flow in meditative exercise are discussed.

Keywords: Affect, Qigong, Meditative movement, Expertise, flow experience

Received: 27 May 2019; Accepted: 04 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Pölönen, Lappi and Tervaniemi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Pasi P. Pölönen, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, pasi.p.polonen@helsinki.fi