Qi – pronounced ‘chee’, means vital energy. Gong means accumulating or gathering.
A human being essentially lives on qi (energy). Our life and vitality comes from our inner qi. Qigong enhances, improves, strengthens and circulates your qi. There is a Chinese saying which translates as “Medicine is not as good as food, and food is not as good as qi.” When our qi is healthy and strong it moves easily around our body, circulating with the natural flow of life, physically and emotionally. This is thrown out of balance when we experience chronic stress or negative life experiences, overwork, eat and drink unhealthily or have a polluted living environment. Energy can get stuck in our body, presenting as tension, lethargy, headaches, poor digestion etc. Qigong helps you to move stuck qi out of your body, improve the healthy natural flow of qi and strengthen your vitality. In physics, the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed. These same principles have been understood and harnessed in the ancient practices of qigong.
All energy vibrates, we’ve known this in the West since scientists like Einstein, Joule and Tesla tested their theories and found what has been understood experientially for centuries in ancient China, India and also in the Americas and other very old cultures. Thomas Young (1773-1829) is thought to have been the first person to use the modern term ‘energy’ instead of vis viva in 1807. Vis viva translates as living force. The therapeutic practice of ‘tapping’, or vibrating using the fingers and hands on certain pressure points is part of the ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine healing system. Acupressure massage, tapping on acupressure points and distance healing all stimulate points on the meridians – energy channels which run all over the body, originating in the internal organs and also externally around different energy pathways. These channels have been related in Western medicine to the nervous system along with other anatomical definitions to help with scientific understanding of how they work. In qigong we utilise these meridians along with the natural healing capacities in nature to clear toxic or negative energy out of our body and sink it deep down into the Earth, visualising the detoxifying qualities of the earth to purify this dirty energy and burning it up in it’s molten core, to be transformed into clean energy again. Please note, although this is part of the practice, the simple movements and breathing practices in qigong are therapeutic without worrying about being able to visualise all these details. The whole point is to be as relaxed and tranquil as possible.
Qigong can either refer to a system of practice or a single type of exercise, either in the form of movement or simply a tranquil practice, focussed on qi. Ancient Dao Yin practice is part of Qigong healing. Dao Yin means to externally move your body so that it becomes softer, and to internally circulate the qi to become more harmonious. The purpose of Dao Yin, taiji quan and meditation is to enhance our qi, so they can all be seen as forms of qi gong, or ‘energy gathering’. However, when we talk about qigong practice, usually we’re referring to the many different ‘forms’ or groups of qigong exercises which make up a complete practice. For example, I teach a very little known form called Nine Interlocking Rings qigong, as well as Internal Organs qigong (Ba Duan Jin), 8 Divine Turtle Points, Restoring Womens Vitality qigong-yoga, and several more.
Tuning in to how our energy feels as we move or simply stand in a relaxed stance, we allow the body to flow, rather than using force. This helps our energy to circulate easily. We relax and breathe deeply to promote energy flow. Your body has so much more potential than we’re often led to believe. We have the power to heal ourselves and this has been known and acted upon by many people for thousands of years. We are strong and resilient and your body is capable of balance and harmony. In one session of qigong exercise anxiety is reduced and the body and autonomic nervous system is balanced. One of our most natural healing tools are our hands. Qi gong strengthens our connection with this energy so that we can use it to direct healing energy around the body and clear out toxins. During qigong exercises we focus on the palms throughout the movements, sometimes thinking about breathing through them, sometimes sending heat and light out from the centre. It can look to an observer like a qigong practitioner’s hands are simply moving up and down and around, while to someone who is practicing qigong exercises, there is a coordination with inner qi and breathing.
The initial standing position – feet shoulder width apart, spine stretched upwards, tailbone sinking downwards and knees soft, opens up the Gate Of Life (‘Ming Men’) acupressure point in you back, in line with your navel. This is regarded as one of the strongest points for strengthening the overall constitution. The top of the head and the hands moving upwards connect us to the Heavenly Qi, our feet flat and rooted to the floor, connecting with and absorbing the natural healing powers of the Earth’s Qi. Arms are open and relaxed so there is space under your armpits. Your abdominal muscles are relaxed and your belly expands like a balloon as you inhale slowly through your nose. In the centre of ‘heaven’ and ‘earth’ we are enhancing our Human Qi. The purpose of all this is to achieve harmonious qi. The lower Dan Tien, an energy centre four fingers width down from the navel, is like a reservior of power where we store the energy we gather during qigong exercises. We place our palms one on top of the other on this point at the beginning and end of practice to connect with this energy centre.
If you’d like to join me for qigong lessons, which include meditation and acupressure practice too, I have an online community for those who need to ‘pay what they can’; a membership group which gives you access to around 50 different lessons, along with new ones every week, a private messenger group, and one-to-one Zoom calls every month; and private 10 week online courses via Zoom where we work on your individual needs. Check out my Facebook page for one off classes too (in ‘events’).
Send me a message for more information or to set up a free initial chat on Zoom.