I love qi gong! It uplifts me, it connects me, it keeps me flexible, it energises me, it helps my balance. It is also my sacred space wherever I am. It brings me peace.
Qi Gong is a Mandarin Chinese term that literally means “energy work”. The pronunciation is easier understood in the West by using the Wade-Giles spelling of Chi Kung. The term covers a broad field of activities from a group of simple exercises, called forms or styles, to part of meditative practices in Taoism, to martial arts training, and to the prevention and treatment of all manner of ailments.
It is based on a concept that there is an underlying “energy” that flows through and sustains all matter on earth. It is the “missing” element in Western understanding of the makeup of life but one that has been well understood by Chinese for centuries and is the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Lao Tsu in the seminal work “Tao Te Ching” refers to it as the Tao or the Way. It is that which gives life to all things. It is the way things work. But like the wind, we recognise it by its effect, not by something we can define or grasp.
Qi Gong and Tai Ji Quan (better known as Tai Chi) are two branches of this great tree of knowledge along with yoga from the rich traditions of India. Indeed some refer to qi gong as “Chinese yoga”.
Ranging from simple to quite complex all forms of Qi Gong training are designed to:
- Balance and refresh the energy levels within our body.
- Promote health and well-being.
- Reduce the effect of the daily stresses inherent in our modern lifestyle
- Reduce the onset of body ailments
- Bring focus to meditations
These effects are subtle but real and discernible and there are growing bodies of scientific studies, which support this. Qi gong presents a practical option for maintaining a healthy body and mind for as little as 20 minutes a day of gentle exercise.